Thanks to Duncan Kingori from SERPBook for sharing his insights in this guest blog post.
SEO ranks as one of the most dynamic activities in internet marketing today. This is precisely why tracking your SEO campaigns will help you see which keyword variations improve your indexations, which ones improve your rankings, and which ones don’t pay off.
Constantly adding content is great, but what good is it if you don’t track results to see if it’s drawing in the right kind of traffic. SEO tracking is the best way to avoid stagnation by actively measuring and analysing how your website content is affecting your rankings.
Without proper SEO tracking, you run the risk of not knowing which optimisation strategy will best suit your site, which will reduce your chances of ranking over more authoritative websites.
Now that you know a bit about how important it is to track your SEO progress, let’s take a look at the kind of risks you’re susceptible to if you don’t.
1. Keyword Conversion Rate
The aim of any SEO strategy is to establish and maintain your site as a valuable online resource. As a startup enterprise, you will notice that some keywords just don’t convert. Tracking your SEO will help you identify areas you need to improve and it will help you develop an optimisation strategy that improves every time you put up new content.
Not tracking your SEO progress will leave you restricted – in the sense that you won’t be able to identify and structure your content based on the right keyword variations.
Put it this way. If you constantly use keyword research tools, then you know finding the right keywords takes a bit of time. Often keywords are abstract, some obscure, and some work. How will you know which ones are useful if you don’t constantly track your progress?
2. Organic Traffic Indicators
If you’re operating a start-up website, then it will take a lot of useful, resourceful content to get you to rank as an authoritative website. This means that your best bet for attaining this status is to attract as much organic search traffic as possible. Note that if you fail to track your SEO campaigns, you will be unable to analyse and identify which of your SEO activities influenced this growth.
This tracking process serves the single, important purpose of finding your strongest and most influential traffic sources. All this data is contained in Google Analytics, and it gives you a clear indication of what active steps to take to improve your position on the SERPs.
3. Backlink Quality
As your website grows, backlinks become a common feature as a kind of ‘‘vote of confidence’’ for useful content. What most website owners don’t realise is, some backlinks are actually detrimental. Through such resources as SEO spyglass, you will be able to gauge the quality of your backlinks, monitor their profiles and to know which ones hurt your site, and which ones improve your rankings.
Website owners that don’t track their SEO progress remain in the dark. They shove dozens of meaningless backlinks into their content and run the risk of link related penalties. Tracking your SEO campaigns helps you realise the value of quality links, as opposed to quantity.
4. Search Traffic Conversion rate
As mentioned earlier, organic traffic is your best bet when you’re starting out. If your content is any good, then you will begin to notice an increase in traffic. Unfortunately, increased traffic doesn’t indicate better conversion.
This is where your Google Analytics account comes in.
Analysing the kind of conversions you get from your organic traffic will help indicate just how effective your campaigns are, and how your calls to action or proposition compare to other online marketing strategies.
5. SEO Spending
If you don’t have an effective SEO analytics tool that helps you track your performance in real-time, you won’t be able to pinpoint if and when your overall investment is actually paying off. If, for instance, you have no way of knowing if what you spend on your SEO campaigns goes beyond your projected revenue, then you’re in real trouble.
Lack of tracking means you have no indication of when to change strategy, or when there is no potential benefit on any of your SEO activities when your targeted keywords don’t work as they ought to, or if you have a poor-working website.
This means your rankings will go down drastically because you have no idea when or how to change things up.
SEO progress is favourable only when the benefits outweigh the costs. The only way to get a clear view of this is to track your progress.
6. Proper SEO Planning
To have a clear indication of where you are going, you need to know where you’ve been. That’s why tracking SEO progress is necessary for any business seeking to make waves online. Knowing what works and what doesn’t will help you make more informed decisions in as far as your SEO planning is concerned.
Running regular audits on your website and SEO activities will help give you a clear indication of where to inject the most resources for the best results, that way you don’t waste crucial man-hours on campaigns that don’t improve your ranking on SERPs.
Not tracking your progress leaves you exposed, your decisions won’t be informed, and your strategies won’t be based on any actual market research. Nothing you do at that point will help advance your site’s image, and you will most likely waste most of your resources.
7. Performance and Rankings
The only way to clearly see how your strategies are affecting your rankings, or how your website performs in vertical rankings is to track your SEO progress. Audits on how your site performs in vertical searches, overall conversion rates and performance reviews on Google or even Yandex networks help you figure out if you need to maintain your approach or change strategy altogether.
You also get the added advantage of ensuring the intended landing pages show up for the keyword variations they were meant for. This means that each page that shows up will provide the resource required. This is a sure-fire way to improve your conversions.
Not tracking your progress means you won’t even know if your site is pulling up the wrong pages on search queries.
8. Returning Visitors
Every bit of content is as useful as the sum total of traffic it attracts. Traffic to your site counts for nothing if people don’t come back for more. The question on every website owners mind is ‘’is my content good enough?’’. Getting people to navigate to your site is easy, getting them to pay attention to your content is a different story.
Tracking the metrics on the ratio of returning visitors compared to the total visits allows you to answer the question of how useful your content is to your users, and if it will ultimately improve conversion. Not tracking your SEO progress does nothing for you, you may have tons of traffic, but very few conversions.
9. Social Signals
Another key metric that is a clear indicator of just how resourceful your content is, is how much and how often people share it on social media platforms. When someone shares your content, it means they find it useful enough to put it out there for other people to see.
The tweets, the likes, the shares, and the retweets act as a show of confidence in your content. Every time your content is shared, it reaches a new network. This ‘’share’’ metric is what you track. Not tracking these social signals means you don’t get to know the value of your content or lack thereof.
10. CTR, Dwell Time and Bounce Rate
The debate is still raging as to whether all these factors actually influence Ranking. If a visitor only visits one page on your site, then very quickly goes back to the search results, then your content didn’t resonate. (Bounce Rate)
On the other hand, if a visitor spends more time on your site, visiting multiple pages. Then it means you answer some or all of the questions they searched for, which means they found your site useful. (Dwell Time)
Now, if you run a PPC campaign (Pay per Click), then a higher time-on-site means the kind of content you’re producing actually works! All these metrics can be measured to help tell you what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and where you need to differentiate.
This kind of information will help you leapfrog your competition in terms of strategy. You won’t be privy to this data if you don’t constantly track your SEO progress.
Tracking your progress doesn’t just give you a strategic advantage in as far as monitoring successes or shortcomings in SEO strategy, it also allows you to gain access to analytical tools that help to optimize on your content marketing.
Knowing which of your landing pages attract the most traffic is essential to know what changes to make in terms of structure, especially where low performing pages are concerned.
Lastly, tracking your SEO progress gives you a clear indication of whether your marketing strategy is working, how your website is performing, and, most importantly, how you can translate these results into actual improvements for your site.