John Wanamaker is considered to be one of the early successful American marketers. His famous quote still holds true today:
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
The way we market and advertise has changed over the past one-hundred years. But the sentiment still holds true with digital advertising as well.
We may have analytics, rankings, and key performance indicators. Yet how can you be sure you’re getting your money’s worth with your SEO campaign?
The problem no longer is about not having enough data, it’s about having too much data to analyze. Every tool you buy into, every platform you use, they each give you analytics and reports to help track every moment of progress. Yet with so much data, it’s difficult to reach any conclusions.
Let’s dig down to the root of SEO. SEO – search engine optimization – is all about getting your business to rank high in Google and other search engines for your key terms. Any SEO campaign you put together is designed to maximize these actions. Why spend if you don’t know if it’s working? That’s what a good strategy is for.
Results are fluid; strategy is always changing. Google’s core mission is to give results that please its users. And when marketers figure out how to better penetrate the system, Google counters it by refining its algorithms to provide purer, more user-friendly results. Google’s sole goal is to provide results people find useful. And they make changes all the time to stay true to that mission.
That makes it more difficult to play to win. (Not impossible, just tougher.)
SEO For The Long Run
While a lot of advertising programs are designed for the short-term, SEO is considered a marathon in the marketing world. You can’t throw money at it today and expect it to work immediately. You also can’t expect it to keep working for months – years without a little work. When you invest in SEO, you keep at it week after week, month after month, knowing the rules will keep changing right along with it.
That’s often why inexperienced marketers get frustrated with SEO strategy. They watch a video or attend a seminar and gain a little insight. They play around with it for a bit, and expect it to work. They don’t watch what’s really important, and therefore have no idea if their actions are working.
You have to track your site’s performance regularly. You also have to keep an eye on your competitors. Without that comparison, you have no idea the impact of what you’re attempting to do.
What are Key Performance Indicators?
Key performance indicators – KPIs – are metrics and measurements you use to determine if your SEO campaigns are successful. It’s important to tie these directly to your marketing goals.
- Are you building a brand and looking for awareness?
- Are you driving traffic to your site for sales?
- Are you looking for leads?
Without asking these questions first and defining your outcome, you won’t be able to determine if you’re on track with your results.
Key performance indicators include:
Organic search traffic
There are two kinds of traffic: pay per click and organic. When you type a keyword into Google and pull results, you’ll find ads and organic results. You can buy your way in through pay per click. Or you can use SEO tactics to appear organically in the other results.
SEO is about building your organic search traffic to be more visible where your prospects are looking. If you think about your own search patterns, chances are you click more frequently on organic results. So do the majority of searchers. Statistics show that:
- The #1 search result in Google has a 31.7 percent click-through rate.
- The #1 organic search result is ten times more likely to be clicked than the #10 result.
SEO gets you there.
If you don’t know what your prospects are looking for, you won’t know where to be. And while this may seem like a static endeavor, it’s not. As the world changes, our thoughts change right along with it. Before 2020, did you ever think toilet paper would have so much interest?
Start with the keywords you know about your business. SEO campaign tools then use that to build outward, assessing all the ways your prospects try to find you.
Whenever you build interesting content, your goal is to go viral. What that means is you hope people find your information useful, and share it with their friends. And so on.
It takes tracking to know and understand where your customers are. If you’re giving hobby tips, LinkedIn might not be your best choice. But without analyzing it, you’ll never know.
With a great social account, you’ll be building your authority as a business. The more people find your information useful, the more links you’ll receive. And that, my friend, is a key strategy in your SEO campaign.
What do you want people to do on your site? Request a free report? Fill out a form? Make a purchase?
Conversion is what it takes to get people to take action. The more you pay attention to these numbers, the more refinement you can do to the page.
Let’s say you build a landing page as an opt-in for a free report. You create an ad bringing people to that page. If you watch conversion rates, you can determine how many people take action. 100 percent? 50 percent? 10 percent?
These numbers can help you determine where to put your focus.
Backlinks are used for measuring popularity and authority. If a page links to your site, it signals your content is valuable.
However, this strategy has nuances that change all the time. Years ago, marketers figured out Google cared about linking. Link farms were created to buy and sell links based on authority. Google figured it out and banned the practice through its algorithm refinement.
While more careful about the process, Google still uses backlinks to understand authority. Quality is key. This is something you have to build organically by paying attention to your content. It’s part of your long term SEO campaign.
Click-through rate is a straightforward metric. You calculate it by dividing the number of views or impressions a page receives by the number of times it’s clicked. It tells you how effective your information is.
You can build content, but if nobody clicks, it’s worthless.
How well does your current SEO campaign work? Are you tracking it well enough to dive deep and really understand your prospects and customers better? Or are you still scratching your head, wondering how you can communicate online better?
There’s only one way to know for sure. Let’s chat.