Let’s face it, search engine optimization is not easy. There’s A LOT that goes into it! Right from on-page SEO which is making sure you have optimised your writing with the right keywords that you’re looking to rank for, to off-page SEO which involves backlinking, social sharing and bookmarking, to say the least, there’s much to be done. But once you’re through, how do you know if all your efforts are working out for you? Here’s a quick guide to help you find out if everything you’ve done to optimize your article is working.
1. Google Analytics
We’ve talked about analytics before. It’s definitely our favourite (free) tool from the master of search – Google. Let’s face it, most of the SEO work you’ve done is to rank high on Google, so using Google Analytics is a great way to kick this off. There are a number of important stats and figures you should be tracking regularly to stay updated with what’s working and what’s not. These metrics include the number of pages visited, bounce rate, time on site, and click-through rate. Metrics like this will show you a quick overview of which pages/posts on your site are performing the best, but most importantly why. You can then use that insight to revive old content or create new content.
2. Keyword phrases
If you’ve used the correct keyword phrases while doing on-page SEO, you will start ranking higher in Google for that particular search term, plus many other related terms. The boost in rankings may lead to more traffic. Sometimes, however, it doesn’t. So in order to know how your keyword research is paying off, you need to track your rankings. You can do this by linking Google Search Consol to your Google Analytics account. Once that’s done, you’ll find it under Acquisitions > Search Console > Queries. Set a timeframe (we usually do a 6-month trend), and you’ll be able to see the average position for each of these keywords.
3. Organic search percentage
The best way to know if your SEO skills are actually working for you is by keeping track of your organic search traffic. By checking your ‘sources of traffic’, you will know whether you’re gaining or losing organic traffic. To find this information, open Google Analytics and navigate to Acquisitions > All Traffic > Channels. Here you will find the channels from which you receive traffic. These include Organic, Social, Direct, Referral and Other. The most important one to look for is Organic Search. You want to be getting most (or at least a fair share) of your traffic through organic search. If you aren’t, then you need to work on adding more rankable keywords and fulfilling user intent with your content.
4. User Behaviour Flow
It’s time now to get fancy. At Creometric, we love data, graphs, and fancy charts. When it comes to analyzing SEO, it doesn’t get fancier than Behaviour Flow. if you’ve never used this option in Google Analytics it may seem overwhelming and confusing, but once you get used to it, you’ll find that it’s pretty cool. Open Google Analytics and navigate to Behavior > Behavior Flow. The flow diagram can be set to show you many different aspects or views. By default, it is set to Landing Pages, but for SEO, we’ll want to look at it by source. The flow starts with the source of traffic, with Google being our main concern for SEO. Behaviour Flow shows you how users interact with your content in a diagrammatic way. It gives you a visual representation of the problem areas that you may need to concentrate on. The most useful things to look at in Behaviour Flow are the number of drop-offs (exits from your site) and the content funnel. To learn more about how to use behaviour flow, check out this handy article.
5. Lowest Organic Traffic Earners
You probably already track your high traffic earners, however, low earners are posts that bring in little to no organic traffic. They are of no value and can bring down the integrity and rank-ability of your entire site. When you identify low earners, you can either update them and turn them into high earners, or delete the post and redirect the URL to a related post or page. To find your lowest organic traffic earners among all of your content, in Google Analytics go to Behavior > Content > All Pages. To find only the organic search traffic, go to Acquisitions > Search Console > Landing Pages. You’ll have to set the date range to a suitable period of time, such as 1, 3 or 6 months. Then expand the list to show at least 100 items (more if you have a lot of posts). Then go to the very last page. Start backtracking till you the posts start showing up.
6. Track Conversions
Last but not least, the metric that matters the most for your success is conversions. Conversions are the engagements you want readers to make on your site. These engagements include clicking on your CTA (call to action), subscribing to your monthly newsletter, engaging with your social media buttons, etc. It’s great to have lots of people reading your content, but if they aren’t interacting, you haven’t really captured them as a customer. It’s not necessarily about making money, but without conversion, you cannot be successful. To start tracking conversions, you can set up a goal in Google Analytics. Setting up a goal isn’t as straight forward as it may sound, but it’s not so difficult either.
- Start by identifying the top 5 or 10 places where conversions matter the most on your site. This could be things like a sign-up box for your mailing list, a link to a product or download you sell on your site, a link to a “find out more” page, a video you want people to watch.
- Go into Google Analytics and navigate to Admin > Goals. Then click New Goal.
- Click Custom > Continue.
- Name your goal and leave the Goal slot as is. Then click Destination > Continue.
- If you’re tracking is a link (such as to another page on your site, a video, a PDF, etc), then add the link in the Equals to field and click Save.
And you’re done! Now that you’ve set up your goal, you can see the results by clicking going back to Home > Conversions > Goals > Overview. You can choose which goal to look at in the upper left corner dropdown. The results will show you how many times the destination link was clicked and its source. This will help you determine if your link placement is working or not. A lot of conversions mean you’ve done something right. If not, then you still have some work to do.
We hope this article was helpful in guiding you to get the best out of your SEO efforts. If it was, consider sharing it with your colleagues, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.