It's no surprise to us when clients are hyper-focused on ranking reports as a measurement of SEO success. After all, they hired us to increase the visibility of their website(s) in the search engines. But in an industry that is constantly changing due to Google's algorithm changes, the way we show clients the value of our services has to adapt as well. Now that Google Analytics no longer shows individual keyword data, and SEO campaigns are becoming more about content & integrated social media marketing, the reports we show our clients as indicators of a successful campaign need to reflect that.
Here are 3 essential measurements of SEO success:
- Organic Traffic – as our Director of SEO Project Management, Chris Surovick, says, "A number one ranking without click-throughs is not going to be very valuable to clients, is it?" No, Chris, it is not. In fact, we often see pages in the 5th, 6th, and 7th spots in the SERPs with higher click-through rates than number ones. That's why we are educating our clients about the importance of traffic over rankings, and our monthly reports reflect that. Are people coming to the site? Are they getting what they need? The answer to that question brings us to another important metric, conversions.
- Conversions – every website has a purpose whether it's to bring in leads, sell something, or educate people. If you don't have Goals set up in Google Analytics then how can you tell if a website is doing its job? At WebiMax, one of the first steps in launching an online marketing campaign is identifying a website's target objectives and making sure Google Analytics is set up to capture that information. A webpage with a number one ranking in the SERPs but that doesn't accomplish its intended purpose isn't ideal. Showing clients forward movement by tracking increases in leads, sales, or time spend on a page is far more indicative of success.
- Social Referral Traffic – as social media becomes a bigger part of the online marketing picture, it's important to be able to show clients the value of these efforts. Under "Acquisition" in Google Analytics, there's an option to view traffic coming from social sources:
If you click "Overview" under "Social," you can see a summary of how many visits to a website are coming from social sources. The Overview also shows how many conversions, or "Goals," were completed directly by social channels or with the assistance of them.
This isn't about ignoring rankings altogether. There is still merit in climbing the SERPs; however, ranking reports do not tell the whole story. At WebiMax, it's our job to show clients the true value of an SEO campaign from all angles. And, as the industry continues to change and evolve, so will our reporting.