Once you’ve got the SEO basics down — things like optimizing your pages and posts for certain phrases and getting mentions of your site on high authority sites — you might start to wonder, is it working?
And depending on the metrics you’re using to measure the success of your SEO efforts, you might think it is.
But let me tell you — you’re probably lying to yourself.
And you’re not alone. A lot of my clients come to me with a false sense of security about how well they’re actually doing in the search results.
Here are the most misleading ways you could measure the success of your SEO efforts.
3 Rookie Mistakes When Measuring SEO
1. Asking Your New Clients How They Found You
OK, while this might seem like a good idea, there’s one big problem with this approach:
Your new client will not remember all the different marketing touches it took to get them from, “Who the hell are you?” to “Yes, I have to work with her."
It’s fairly unlikely your new client is going to buy from you after one visit to your site after one search on Google.
It’s MUCH more likely your new client could discover you through Google, opt-in to your list, and several weeks/months later actually become a paying customer.
The problem with this method is the same problem with eye witness testimonial — we humans do not have perfect memories.
2. Googling Your Keywords
This one is far, far too common, and is one of the biggest reasons people might think, “If I’m #1 in the search results for my target phrase, how come I’m not seeing a huge increase in orders or inquiries?”
Let me let you in on what should be a more well-known secret: EVERYTHING about Google is a personal experience.
So when you search for keywords on your own computer, you’re going to see a completely different set of results than someone who doesn’t live in your city, have your search history or is signed in to your Google account.
Basically, your own Google results are lying to you about how “successful” your different SEO efforts are.
You can sort-of get around this by searching in an incognito or private window in your browser and make sure you’re signed out of your Google account, but even then you’re not seeing a completely un-personalized set of results. Best to avoid.
3. Stalking Your Keyword Rankings
This metrics is one that is far more common and gets us a little more toward the end goal, but it’s still not what we’re really after.
You could be incredibly psyched you’re ranking Top 5 for a random set of keywords. But, if those keywords aren't bringing you quality traffic? Then they’re doing squat for your bottom line.
So while I’m OK with you having an occasional eye on your keyword rankings as a secondary measure of SEO, keyword rankings alone does not equal any sort of success when it comes to SEO.
Then, Um, How Exactly Should We Measure Our SEO?
What are we really after when we’re trying to carry through on various SEO campaigns? More traffic? Almost.
We’re after more QUALITY traffic.
So how do we measure that?
We can use Google Analytics to measure the quality of the traffic we’re getting from search engines.
If we see the quality of the traffic going up, meaning they’re opting in and buying from us, then we know we’re getting the RIGHT kind of traffic from search engines.
If we see it going down or lots of traffic, but little-to-no quality? We know we need to make some tweaks to our SEO approach.
Over to You
How do you measure the quality of your SEO efforts? Do you fall back on any of the techniques mentioned in this article? Do you have another way you measure your SEO success? Share with us in the comments!