Dealing with SEO in your business can be a minefield. You get everything from companies who bamboozle you with jargon without saying anything substantial through to unsolicited emails from SEO “experts” claiming they will get you to the top position in Google.
Who can you believe when it comes to SEO?
There are two steps to answering this question. The first is to understand what you can realistically expect from an SEO strategy and the second is how you can measure results to ensure you get what was promised.
So, if the SEO company you are talking to is not talking in plain language, walk away. If the SEO company you are talking to is promising something that is not realistic, you should also be cautious. You should walk away too if the SEO company is unwilling to use common methods of measuring results (or is unsure how).
What Can You Realistically Expect from SEO?
Nobody except a very small group of Google employees knows exactly how the Google search algorithm works. In addition, the algorithm changes constantly as Google works to improve user experience.
These facts alone make it impossible to promise specific results from an SEO strategy, but there is more. In particular, there is no way of knowing what your competitors will do. One of your competitors, for example, could start spending three-times your SEO budget at the same time as you start doing SEO. How good will a promise of the top spot in Google be in this situation? Not very good at all.
Therefore, what you should expect from an SEO strategy is a clearly outlined list of actions the SEO company will take to promote your website in a Google-friendly way. This can include actions they will take on your website, content they will produce, outreach efforts they will make, keywords they will target, etc.
When this is done correctly, you should see improvements on a number of key SEO measurements.
Key SEO Measurements
Below are four key measurements you should consider when analysing the success of your SEO strategy. You will need a baseline for all of them before you begin a new SEO strategy, though, so you have something to compare to. When taken together, they will give you a rounded view of the success of your campaign.
- The number of keywords where your website ranks on page one
- Whether the position of your website is moving up or down for specific keywords
- New keywords that your website ranks for
- Users – the number of people who visit your website
- Sessions – the number of visits
- Pageviews – the number of pages viewed
You should also check and compare the traffic you get specifically from search engines – Google Analytics gives you this information. You need to do this because an increase in traffic to your website might come from a source other than Google.
Bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your website after visiting only one page. This will give you an indication of the quality of traffic you are getting, i.e. is the SEO strategy targeting the right keywords to bring you the right traffic?
You should also set up conversion tracking on your website, so you can see the percentage of Google search visitors who convert into sales or leads.
As you can see from the above, SEO does not have to be overly complicated. So long as you have a consultant who is realistic about what can be achieved, and you measure the effectiveness of the strategy properly, your efforts should be a success.