How To Measure Your SEO Performance
The first step towards measuring how well your SEO is performing is to understand all the terminology. The jargon is equally as complicated to understand as the best SEO practices. So, let’s break down some of the jargon and metrics to help you understand what your SEO agency is doing.
Key Measurements on SEO
Here are some key numbers your agency should be talking to you about, sometimes it is hard to understand all the numbers when they are mixed with some digital marketing based jargon.
Traffic is the number of users who click on and visit your website. You could be appearing on the search engine results page (SERP) but not getting traffic.
Time on Page
Time on Page is a self-explained measurement, but it isn’t just about users spending a long time on one of your pages. If they find the information they want quickly, e.g., a phone number on ‘Contact Us’ then a low Time on Page will not be a bad thing.
Bounce Rate is when a user visits your website and ‘bounces’ straight back off, this is not good and ideally, this number should be as low as possible. However, there are times when this is not bad, similarly to Time on Page, where the user is looking for a telephone number or getting quick information and then closing the browser.
This useful measurement can be set up in Google Analytics and will track how much of the page each user scrolls on the page. Scroll Depth is key to understanding if the user is viewing or scrolling to the relevant content before clicking something else (including back).
Conversion Rate is an easy to understand metric where the formula is; goals completed (e.g., sign up to your newsletter) divided by unique visitors. Understanding your conversion rate is crucial because you will be able to work out an ROI from your website traffic.
A Backlink Audit measures how many unique websites are linking to your website and will also highlight the quality of the links. If the links are low quality, then this can harm your site.
Monitoring your SEO Agency
SEO is not an exact science, but it is far from guesswork. Because of the long term investment style of marketing that comes with SEO, it would be easy for a faux agency to take your money for a few months, while stringing you along by telling you that ‘SEO takes months, you need to wait longer to see the results’. While this has some truth to it, they should be able to give you practical examples of the work they have been doing for you and be able to explain their process clearly, they should also create an SEO strategy and discuss KPIs with you. If the former sounds more familiar than the later, it seems like it might time to look at a different agency.
An agency with nothing to hide will be transparent and open with you about what SEO work they are doing for you. Here are some key indicators that can help you to determine what work your SEO agency is doing.
Not Asking You For Help
This might sound counterintuitive, but if the agency has not talked to you about a list of keyphrases or information on your competitors, then this is likely a red flag. If they have not asked you for login details for your CMS or Google Analytics, how could they be making changes?
A good agency might even be asking you to produce some content seeing as you know your business better than anyone else.
Not Making Suggestions
If the agency isn’t in communication with you, this is a noticeably bad sign. However, if they are in contact with you and they aren’t talking about what changes you should be doing, the chances are that they are either doing nothing. They could possibly be doing something that is considered bad practice and could do damage to your website.
If the agency does not go through the work they have been doing, then they are likely doing something wrong. A good digital marketing agency will be able to give accurate descriptions of the work and techniques they are doing. If your agency is saying things like, ‘it’s too complicated to explain’ or ‘we can’t disclose our exact practices due to confidentiality’ then you should be worried that they are not doing much or potentially doing something harmful to the website.
Doing Something Harmful
After using the expression, ‘doing something harmful’, several times in a negative way, it is apparent that it is something important. An example of doing something harmful is creating a lot of bad backlinks to your website. They might also overly use optimised keyword anchor text as backlinks; this is a significant bad practice in Google’s eyes and will end in a penalty.
The best way to tell if your agency is doing this is if before you go through keyphrase research, your link audit shows a few or no optimised anchors, but after telling your agency what keyphrases are important, all of a sudden you have a lot of anchor links that are the same as the keyphrases.
Your Ranking Changes
If your ranking goes down, this is obviously the opposite of what you want to happen. Sometimes certain page rankings will decrease and others will increase, so this is not necessarily a cause for concern.
If you start ranking for the wrong keyphrases, then you may have more of an issue. The keyphrases you are trying to rank for will help to obtain targeted traffic, who are the users you ideally want visiting your site and potentially converting to sales.
Your Traffic Goes Down
A decrease in traffic is much more of a concern, if there is a sudden drop-off, it could even be an algorithmic penalty. The other reason is due to a change in the search engine’s algorithm, so it might not be down to harmful techniques from your SEO agency.
From this guide, you should have a better understanding of how to measure your SEO performance and key warning signs from when an agency is not doing what they should be, in order for your business to grow.
The key things you want from your agency is commitment, transparency and obviously, results. Herdl can help to provide this for you as a trusted SEO Agency, where you will receive detailed monthly reports, an expert and friendly team of digital marketers and analysis-driven improvements. If you would like to hear more, then make the leap and get in touch!