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Search Engine Optimisation has evolved beyond recognition over the last decade with a crackdown on spam by the popular search engines and a shift in the way people are finding information through search. The outdated goals of counting backlinks and a focus on rankings are much less relevant metrics than before for SEO campaigns. So what’s new? What other metrics should you be using? That depends on your goal.
To work out your goals, you need to identify your position in the market including the type of industry you operate in and the way customers are acquired. Also using information about the size your business compared to your competitors and the resources and budget you have to implement the campaign.
Most businesses will want to directly increase revenue from a site, but it’s not necessarily the best objective for every website. Your website may be used as a more effective marketing tool to persuade and engage your target audience.
Search Engine Optimisation is most effective when it is implemented as part of a wider marketing strategy and can help increase the return on your offline and online marketing efforts by making your site more visible within the search engines.
We’ve taken a look at the key goals that websites want to achieve and included a description of the relevant metrics for each below. Take a look, use this as a guide for your own marketing efforts – and of course if you need more information we’re here to help.
Whether it’s directly or indirectly, websites use SEO to increase the revenue from their visitors. There is however a significant difference between a website looking to secure a quick sale compared to one that is looking to set up a long term business relationship.
For ecommerce websites looking to rapidly and directly increase revenue, it would make sense to target searches that would be used near the end of the buying cycle and ensuring individual product pages are easy to find and optimised for conversions. To track this goal type, setting up E-Commerce tracking is essential as it not only shows conversions, but the value of each conversion to your organisation.
Where a site is focused on gaining leads rather than direct purchases, the SEO approach should be different, aiming for the early stages of the buying cycle and focusing on pages that describe and explain your product, services and business.
In terms of tracking a successful lead generation project, your analysis should focus on case study downloads, whether the visitor has used an on-site tool and whether they have initiated a live chat conversation or if they have used a contact submission form to request more information.
Try to identify offline conversions that are directly attributable to the website that could benefit your business such as phone calls. The most effective way of tracking these is to use a call tracking solution that can link visitors to your site with a phone call to your business.
To maximise the return from your site visitors, look to put in place a Business-to-Business tracking service which turns IP addresses into useful company information. This identifies organisations that are browsing your website and presents you with a warm lead to follow up.
If your goal is to show the benefits of your product and service, improving the engagement rate of a site is a great goal to aim for, especially those in the entertainment and travel industries such as restaurants, resorts and local information websites.
Having engaged users provides a fantastic opportunity to persuade and educate prospective customers about your product, service or business.
Measuring engagement should use metrics including tracking article downloads, bounce rates on key pages and the average time each visitor spends on your site. This will show that your site is bringing in relevant visitors and that the content is providing information that is useful to them.
SEO can also be used as a supporting activity for wider brand awareness activities that occur both offline and online. After seeing an offline advert or video ad, an interested user is likely to use Organic search to find out more information and may perform a search for your brand or a related brand association.
Metrics to focus on here are based on identifying if your site is ranking well for branded search terms for your business and any products that are associated with your business. Also you should monitor the traffic levels that your site achieves through searches on these terms.
From a content perspective you’ll want to ensure content is published on sites that achieve specific volume of traffic. More information on Content Marketing goals can be found in John’s post titled, What’s Your Content Marketing Goal? Find Out Your Ideal Metric.
Another important goal of SEO can be to improve customer satisfaction through your website. This can be a major part of pre or post sales support as it is increasingly likely that users will enter any support queries through a search engine to find the answer. This can be achieved by focusing a campaign on improving the visibility of support pages and buyer guides. Also ensuring the internal structure of the site is clear and concise to ensure search engines pick up the right page first time as well as helping users navigate these pages once they are on site.
Customer satisfaction can be difficult to monitor through traditional analytics although by using data, you can check that support pages are ranking for relevant questions as well as being able to identify trends in the user journey to shows if users are having to search again once they’ve reached your website. To make this analysis more comprehensive, consider implementing a one click feedback question at the bottom of the page that asks if the answer was relevant and helpful.
A very simple goal to track and is often a useful sign that you are improving your visibility across search engines. This is straightforward in terms of monitoring traffic statistics month-on-month from Organic search sources and primarily used for websites that rely on advertising as a revenue source.
The reason that this goal is rarely the main objective of modern SEO campaigns is because the additional traffic can be less relevant and more traffic does not necessarily increased revenue from your website.
Lastly, SEO can be purely used to increase the rankings of a website. This is often desired for vanity reasons such as showing that a business is the market leader and is an authority in its particular industry. Using ranking monitoring tools, you can automatically track the position of certain keywords that you are targeting.
In recent years, the SEO industry have shifted focus away from this type of goal as it often doesn’t provide the most effective return on investment as it can be expensive to achieve and cannot be guaranteed. The metric can also be distorted through the growing prevalence of personalised and local search listings and therefore is not completely reliable.
If that’s whet your appetite, or made you ask more questions then why not speak to the professionals today? SEO is best explained when speaking to those in-the-know, so either check out our SEO page, or contact us for more information today.
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Samantha Noble is well known within in the search industry, she even won the UK Search Personality 2016 at the UK Search Awards in November. This year, she continues to make an impact on the industry by judging not only one, but three, prestigious industry awards.