Measuring SEO Marketing Results
As you begin to implement your SEO marketing strategies and tools, you should have a way to track and measure how they're doing. How can you fix something if you don't know what's broken?
I am a fan of Google Analytics. I am an even bigger fan of the price— free. There are several other analytic programs out there, and I'm sure many work very well. But like most people, I started with Analytics, built it into my web pages, got used to it's interface, got comfortable, and now it's efficient to keep using it. Plus, I find it to be an incredibly valuable and insightful tool to learn how my visitors are interacting with my web sites and pages.
I have to admit, there are so many measurement that Google Analytics tracks, I don't always look at them all. I have a few favorites that keep me occupied and give me a solid understanding of who is visiting my site, and what they are doing when they are there. No matter which program you are using to measure and track your visitors, I suggest watching the following measurements:
Although it's not an overly helpful number by itself, total visitors is still a good number to track and memorize. If nothing else, it gives you a base that you can compare to as your SEO efforts begin to pay off and your traffic grows. In addition to total visitors, I feel
Search Keywords Used to Find Your Site
These are helpful because I know what people are searching for when they find my site. I may also use these words in my page title and headline to help keep my search raking strong.
This tracks how many people leave "bounce off" your site after visiting only one page.
Wikipedia's bounce rate page states that a bounce can be caused be several actions including: clicking on a link to a page on a different web site, closing an open window or tab, typing a new URL, clicking the "back" button to leave the site, or if a session times out.
I usually like my bounce rate to decrease with time, meaning more visitors are remaining on my site and clicking around endlessly. However, I also look at the bounce rate in a positive light. In today's get-it-quick, instant access and delivery society, most information seekers want their data, news or info and they move on. Maybe, just maybe, some of my bouncers are finding exactly what they are looking for, reading it, learning it, and moving on with their busy lives. Maybe. Like most things in life, I'm sure it's a little bit of that and a little bit of other things.
Most Popular Pages
Important to me because I like to know what pages people find most helpful, and which may be benefiting most from my seo efforts. Also, if a topic is popular I tend to update that page more ofter and add more pages like that to my site more often.
Time Spent on each page
I'm not sure how long people shod be spending on a web page, but my guess is that it is not too long and not too short. If I see someone has been on a web page for seven minutes, chances are they fell asleep or when out to the store and forgot to close the browser. I've read that many web administrators set the session time out limit at eight minutes.
How Visitors are Finding my Site
I've learned to look closely at search engine traffic and referral traffic in my analytics reports. These are helpful when determining how visitors are finding my web site/pages, and which are used the most.
Organic traffic: comes from search engines and directory listings. These are unpaid.
Referral traffic: Comes from links on other web pages. I prefer these to be unpaid. Other do not.
I primarily use this as a base to see an aggregate measurement grow from month-to-month.
I love this measurement. Who doesn't want to share information with the world? I use this to see how my web site and its information is gaining ground and usership around the world. Plus, I like the feeling of knowing that someone in South Africa may have landed a job partly because they learned to write a cover letter on my site.
There are many, many more measurements that can be used to analyze your web site. I suggest you open an analytics account with the company of your choice and start tracking your progress!