SEO – It’s Not All About Ranking?
As we wrap up the discussion of the Internet Marketing KPI’s, let’s finish by discussing what to look for when you’re engaged in an SEO campaign.
It Starts With Ranking, But Doesn’t End There
The easy metric to measure in SEO is keyword ranking. Are you ranking higher today than you have in the past? When we consider ranking, there are now more variables to how ranking works than even a year ago.
Some options that will affect how you rank are not always intentionally set by the user, but can be used by a dishonest provider to show artificial visibility. As you explore ranking with a provider, be sure to ask about the following:
- Do the results come from standard or personalized results? Personalized results means if I click on your link, your site will show higher for me the next time I do the same search.
- Are the results local or national? Google, by default, will set a user’s location to where it believes the person is, and then will serve up local results first (this was part of the Venice Update). If you depend on local traffic, you want to be sure you’re visible to your local audience, which may be different than the national audience.
Great, I Have Search Engine Rank…Now What?
If you stop with SERP ranking, you may never achieve effective marketing. You can achieve good ranking, at least for a short time, but get little to no traffic to the site, let alone conversions. The next step to consider is the amount traffic coming to your site.
When we evaluate traffic for our SEO clients, we look at two areas for non-paid search (as Google Analytics calls it). Both of these are derived from manual filtering, it’s not a setting you can put into Google Analytics.
- Branded Search Traffic – This is the traffic derived by people searching for you or your particular product brand. The goal of any SEO program should be to maintain visibility in this area, which means you will have some traffic, but you want to see the percentage of branded traffic decreasing as it compares to non-branded traffic.
- Non-Branded Search Traffic – This is the key to SEO, where people are finding you and visiting your site because they are searching for your type of product or service. For instance, if you find a result for Starbucks while searching for coffee shops, that is non-branded. You want to see this increasing as a percentage over time.
Don’t Forget Conversions
Even if you can get a million visitors to your site a day, if it doesn’t increase your bottom-line, it’s all for naught. The piece you should keep an eye on is of course conversions. As you increase visibility, and your site starts generating more traffic, you’ll want to ensure that traffic is converting. SEO historically has ignored this piece of the marketing puzzle, but it is absolutely critical for your success.
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