Last Updated on October 24, 2020 by David Bryan
Perfecting your SEO and digital marketing strategy can be a lengthy process. It requires a great deal of care and attention. To this end, you should always measure your SEO results and make sure that your effort is paying off. You can measure the success of your SEO and digital marketing by assessing a range of different factors.
Learning how to measure your SEO results is a pivotal part of running a successful website and online marketing strategy – and, by extension, it’s integral to improving your Google ranking. By paying attention to your SEO, you will know which tactics are seeing the results and which require a re-think.
What is the difference between SEO and digital marketing?
Table of Contents
In this post we will explore the following topics:
- 1 What is the difference between SEO and digital marketing?
- 2 How to measure SEO results
- 3 How to judge the success of a digital marketing strategy
- 4 What happens once you have achieved the desired results?
- 5 Conclusion: Plan – Execute – Measure – Rewind – Repeat
- 6 References and further reading
SEO and digital marketing overlap in many ways and the two terms are often used interchangeably. In reality, however, SEO is an element of digital marketing but possibly one of the most important elements1.
Having a well-optimised and high ranking website will help attract eyes to your website and boost visitors organically. Whilst SEO is a critical part of any digital marketing strategy, many businesses will also adopt other techniques, including PPC (Pay per Click advertising), online media advertising, social media and email marketing. These all fall under the umbrella of digital marketing.
In summary, adopting SEO will help to attract visitors to your website through organic search positions, including SERP Features such as Local Pack and Featured Snippets. This means that it’s comparatively simple to measure the success of your SEO in the first instance, i.e.
- Rankings – As long as you have carried out your keyword research and know what terms you are optimising for, then you can monitor and track the position of these keywords in search engines like Google.
It’s important to note that this will only tell you whether your optimisation work is having an impact on rankings, it won’t tell you whether you have the right strategy or keywords. To measure this, you will need tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to measure other important data related to your SEO like click-throughs, user behaviour and conversions (more on this later). You may also find that you can check some statistics on the back end of your site.
How to measure SEO results
As mentioned, the easiest way to measure SEO results is by checking the ranking of your website. If you were on page 3 and you have shot to the top of page 1, you are clearly making some progress.
Remaining one step ahead of Google’s ever-changing algorithms can feel like a full-time job in itself and this means that there are an ever-changing set of factors to consider as well as your rankings2.
To successfully measure your SEO results, consider the following:
- Keywords – Are you using the right using the most relevant keywords in your text? Regularly research and update your use of keywords
- Traffic – Are you attracting organic traffic through search engines as a result of your keywords and rankings? If so, are visitors sticking around to read what you have to say? If you experience a high bounce rate, this is a sign that your SEO strategy isn’t quite right and it might be time to go back to basics and consider the search intent of your target audience. This is fatal to your website’s standing in Google’s RankBrain algorithm3
- Links to your site – Review your backlinks. Are the links pointing to your site relevant and do they drive good quality traffic? Are you seeing a return on any investment in link building?
- Audience – Have you identified your target audience correctly? For example, are people reading your content on mobile devices more than desktop computers? If so, it is time to reconsider the layout of your site and making sure that it is optimised for the perfect mobile user-experience. Data shows that modern users browse the web on mobile devices more than desktop computers4 and this does not go unnoticed by Google.
Here are just some of the useful features available from these tools:
- User data – their location, interests and device usage
- Traffic – sources of traffic, including organic, paid and referrals
- Content – which pages people are visiting most and how they engage with those pages (e.g. time on site, number of pages visited and bounce rate)
- Goals and conversions – whether your visitors are converting according to the goals you set up (e.g. contact us)
Google Search Console:
- Crawl errors – does your website have technical optimisation issues which may be preventing it from being found
- Search results – what queries you are being found for, how many clicks and your average position
- Core web vitals – whether your site is mobile-friendly, optimised for structured data and much more
- Links – the links you have built within your website but also those linking back to you
Why do you need to measure SEO?
Everything above explains the, “how”, but perhaps a more pertinent question is, “why” you should measure SEO.
The obvious answer is that successful SEO will bring more visitors to your website. The ability to measure your SEO will help you to understand what is working and what is not. This is why it’s essential to have a strategy, plan and refer back to your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) so that you can see whether you are achieving your goals.
This, in turn, allows you to refine your plan and adapt your strategy so that you can achieve even greater SEO success.
If you understand how to measure your SEO, this will give you all kinds of useful insight to make improvements. For example, you will have a clear idea of when to undertake a content refresh. After all, nothing lasts forever – especially in the online realm, where yesterday’s bright new idea is tomorrow’s outdated concept. It will also shed light on when you need to do more work on your Topical Authority for a subject area or carry out more inbound marketing.
How to judge the success of a digital marketing strategy
The way to measure the success of a digital marketing strategy is similar to measuring SEO.
Regardless of whether you are carrying out PPC, social media or any other form of online marketing or advertising, it’s essential to measure the user data, traffic quality and whether this is converting based on your goals. If you see that your digital marketing strategy isn’t performing as well as you would like, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are the CTAs (calls to action) on your website or digital platforms/channels generating the results you are expecting?
- Are you receiving high levels of engagement from your digital marketing activities?
- Are visitors returning to your website time and again, or visiting once never to return? If the latter, consider what needs to be improved
- Is the quality of your traffic and engagement good and beneficial to your business or organisation?
- Are you able to convert your visitors into leads?
Ultimately, the success of your digital marketing strategy will be measured in comparison to your KPIs or goals. If you are meeting – or, ideally, exceeding – your targets, the strategy is paying off. If you are falling short of the intentions laid out in your plan, something needs to change.
What happens once you have achieved the desired results?
Once you see the SEO results that you hoped to achieve, you can take a moment to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
OK, have you done that? Great, because now it’s time to get back to work.
When it comes to digital marketing, there is no time to stop and rest on your laurels. Your results will not remain static forever and goalposts continually change. Updates to Google algorithms, changes to visitor behaviour, advancements in web tech and improvements to the SEO and digital marketing strategies of your competitors will all potentially impact your performance over time.
You need to constantly measure your activities and ensure your SEO results remain on a steady upward curve. A high ranking on Google can take months or years to build but can be lost in the same amount of time if you become complacent. Keep referring back to your SEO plan and measure against your KPIs to ensure success.
Conclusion: Plan – Execute – Measure – Rewind – Repeat
A formula to achieve SEO success
The formula to SEO success doesn’t end with rank tracking. It’s a living, breathing and evolving process, so don’t forget to:
- Plan – plan your SEO activities, this includes market analysis, competitor research and ensuring you first have identified your KPIs and goals accordingly
- Execute – put your plan into practice, this may include activities such as keyword research, content creation, technical SEO or link building
- Measure – monitor and measure your results against your KPIs using the tools and metrics available
- Rewind – when your plan ends, rewind revisit the plan and create a new one if necessary
- Repeat – repeat the process all over again using the new plan
The key to understanding how to measure your SEO results and success at digital marketing is realising that it’s an ongoing process. Providing you keep to this formula and make good use of the tools mentioned within the guide, the results will speak for themselves and you can use this to remain ahead of your competitors.
If you need consultancy or a more hands-on approach to managing your SEO, get in touch with Opace. Our digital marketing experts hold many years of experience in all aspects of digital marketing and are here to help.
References and further reading