Increasingly, we’re hearing from clients and prospects who are seeking help with optimizing the online search results for their business website. Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential part of successful online marketing.
Interested in knowing more about SEO? Check out our July post on the topic.
Once initial SEO measures are in place, it is important to monitor your results going forward. Doing so will keep you informed about what is and is not working and help you identify early-stage problems – like a “healthcare” check-up for your website. Each time you monitor your results, you will have information to help you make adjustments for maintaining or improving your search results.
Monitoring search can be done as easily as putting your keywords in Google and seeing how your website ranks in the listings. However, we recommend using one of the many tools available to provide details about your site traffic. Google Analytics is one of the most common tools available, and it is available at no cost to you.
Not sure what to monitor? A recent post on SearchEngine Land provides 21 metrics for monitoring your SEO health. We share some of the highlights from that post here to help get you started:
- Organic traffic changes. Organic traffic is the measure of hits to your site pages coming from the search engines. This indicates how many internet users are finding you through search. Changes in organic traffic to pages of your site alert you to problems (decreased traffic) or opportunities (increased traffic). Use additional metrics to direct you to the cause of the change – whether positive or negative – and make adjustments accordingly. If there is an increase on one page, apply what you learn to increase traffic to more pages of your site. If there is a decrease, make course corrections to stop the downward trend. Note how users are accessing your pages in order to identify potential issues with traffic from mobile devices (which is growing exponentially). Tip: Set up an alert in Analytics to get an email if your organic traffic changes 5 percent or more over the previous week.
- Direct traffic changes. Direct traffic is the measure of hits on your site pages from those who type in your URL. Since many users may initially find your site through organic search then return to your site directly, this metric is also an important one. (Some organic search through browsers encrypted for privacy or mobile devices actually shows up as direct traffic instead.) Decreases in marketing activity and thereby brand awareness can cause decreases in direct traffic. As in organic traffic, make adjustments according to what you learn from your monitoring activity. Tip: Set up an alert in Analytics to get an email if your direct traffic changes 10 percent or more over the previous week.
- Page load speed. As explained in our July post, page load speed is an essential metric to monitor for SEO purposes. A slow page load rate acts as a signal of negative site quality to search engines; it also reduces effective ‘crawling’ of your site and frustrates users, making them likely to leave your site without spending much time there. (Crawling is how search engines ‘read’ and index your pages.) Tip: Set up an alert in Analytics to get an email if page load speed increases by more than 10 percent. Set up page load monitoring of your highest traffic pages through gtmetrix.com.
- Bounce rate increases. A bounce occurs when a visitor leaves your site after viewing only one page. An increase in bounces can be a clue to problems such as irrelevant content, incorrect keyword targeting, poor user experience, slow page load speed and inaccurate meta data. When you see an increase in the bounce rate, use other metrics to identify the cause and make adjustments accordingly. Tip: Set up an alert in Analytics to get an email if your bounce rate increases by 10 percent or more.
- Keyword rankings. We addressed keywords in our July post as well. When keyword rankings go down, the listing of your website in search results will be lower – meaning less readers will find you when they search for companies like yours. Use your metrics to find out which keywords are trending downward and why, and make adjustments accordingly.
Read about more metrics for monitoring your website’s SEO at SearchEngine Land.
If you would like help getting started with Google Analytics or want to take your monitoring to the next level, contact us here at Page Progressive. We help numerous clients set-up and monitor their SEO, and we would be glad to help you. Give us a call today!
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