How to Measure and Report SEO Performance for Customers the Right Way
Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) is the practice of improving the visibility of a website on search engines and a result driven, qualified traffic to your online presence. In other words, SEO helps businesses get found online. This is important as a majority of customers’ buying journeys begin or include a search on Google.
Measuring and reporting SEO performance for businesses is key because it allows them to see whether their investment in SEO has paid off or not. Yet, because search engines are constantly evolving and tweaking their algorithms to serve better results, measuring SEO performance may not be that simple a task. So, in this post, we will deliberate how SEO practitioners and digital marketers can best do justice to this requirement.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” famously said by management guru Peter Drucker, aptly answers why we ought to measure SEO performance. Indeed, SEO is the sum of the many factors and moving parts that go towards making your website visible on search engine result pages (SERPs). Tracking results, tracing organic rankings, and so on helps us stay on course for the multi-faceted discipline of SEO.
From a business perspective, calculating ROI is imperative as doing SEO the right way is not cheap. It involves content creation, promotion, page optimization, technical factors, link building and many other related tasks. Furthermore, attributing conversions to SEO as a marketing channel is sometimes overlooked as it may contribute mainly to top-of-the-funnel traffic in the awareness stage. Hence measuring SEO performance is key to ensuring that efforts are being made in the right direction and that the worth of SEO is accounted for.
What to Measure?
Looking at your organic rankings is perhaps the most common way one tends to measure SEO performance. But is it truly representative of performance? SERPs are increasingly personalised and tend to be volatile so rankings are not always the right and sole metric to track. Rather one should measure the overall increase in organic traffic from SEO efforts. As marketers we should ideally be looking at the following metrics to holistically measure performance –
- Organic Traffic – Number of users coming to your website from your organic listing on SERPs
- Keyword Ranking – Position of your listing on the SERPs for the intended keywords
- Backlinks (Quantity & Quality) – Number and type of backlinks earned from SEO efforts
- Time Spent on Page – How long do users stick on your website. Are they the right traffic for your business?
- CTR – How effective is your listing appearance on SERP based on page title, meta description, etc that you have optimized. Do they attract enough clicks?
- Domain & Page Authority – What is the measure of your domain and page authority
- Business Leads – last but not least, does SEO help bring qualified leads and sales?
How to Measure?
Now that the Why and What is clear, let us talk about the How….
One does not need expensive tools to do SEO performance measurement. SEO tools such as Semrush and Ahrefs do have their advantages especially for doing competitor analysis, keyword research, and detailed backlink analysis; however, one can track and report SEO results using free-to-use Google tools with a great deal of clarity and depth. Two tools are a must-have in this regard….
Google Analytics – needs no introduction when it comes to website analytics. It is the de-facto and most widely used tool for measuring website performance including SEO metrics. Google Analytics can accurately report your organic search traffic numbers and user behaviour metrics like Time on Page. Setting it up is easy… all that is needed is to apply the tracking code provided by Google on your website pages.
Google Search Console – is a webmaster’s tool that helps in the indexation of the website, shows search performance analytics for your website, provides notifications on website errors, and so on. The search performance data reveals what keywords your web pages rank for, the number of impressions and clicks your website gets, the backlinks that your website has amassed, and much more. Setting it up requires a google account followed by registering your website and doing a domain verification process to prove site ownership. Thereafter, Google Search Console will open the treasure trove of your website data!
In a nutshell
Measuring performance in terms of the end results – leads, sales, etc should also be done to determine how SEO as a marketing channel contributes to the overall marketing goals. To do this you would require additional data sources such as call tracking and form submission data.
If you are looking to learn SEO in more detail, have a look at our Integrated Digital Marketing course too!
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Instructor: Azhar Katib
About the author
Azhar Katib is the founder-director of WebSell Solutions Ptd Ltd., a company specializing in online presence management for SMEs in Singapore and Malaysia.
He has a background IT and Digital Marketing for the past 25+ years. He is also a trainer for Singapore SkillsFuture Programs