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seo tracking

The Ultimate Guide to SEO Tracking

by | Nov 24, 2023 | Content Marketing | 0 comments

Theoretically, organic searches should account for 53% of visits to a business website. However, it’s impossible to tell if you’re achieving this percentage without proper monitoring.

Here’s the good news: SEO tracking provides all the data you need to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing. There are even free tools that can do the analysis for you.

Of course, to get the most out of this data, you need to understand the process — and get help from the experts. We’ve answered the most common questions about SEO monitoring so you can hit the ground running.

How Do I Know My SEO Is Working With SEO Tracking?

keyword performance SEO monitoring shows how well your optimization efforts work. Ideally, it’s an ongoing process. Algorithms update, and competitors implement their own campaigns, regularly shifting the search engine results page landscape. Ongoing tracking alerts you to these changes so you can respond swiftly.

Of course, that’s a lot of data to analyze, even for small enterprises. Which numbers matter the most? One of the most straightforward solutions is to calculate web traffic value.

The standard formula is organic search revenue + (average cost per click for paid advertising x organic search clicks) = SEO value. You can find online calculators to do the math, but you still need numbers to input. SEO tracking supplies these data points, allowing you to see how the value changes over time.

Some business owners do all these calculations themselves, but you can outsource this step. In fact, many SEO agencies include performance monitoring as part of their service packages. This approach takes the more complex tasks off your plate so you can focus on running your business.

Why Monitor My SEO Performance?

If it takes so much effort to evaluate SEO, is the process worth the benefits? Absolutely.

The first search result gets over half of user clicks, which means falling even one place in SERP rankings can drastically affect your web traffic. Even more importantly, SEO tracking can tell you why your ranking has changed.

Comparing keyword performance over time can guide future marketing campaigns. SEO generally takes a few months to reach its full effect, giving you plenty of time to note how keyword variations fare. You can also see how different content performs:

  • Blogs
  • Landing pages
  • Social media posts

If one aspect stands out, for better or worse, you can learn from that outlier.

SEO monitoring also reveals whether you’re reaching your intended audience. Yes, getting your link in front of as many eyes as possible has its advantages — but it may also be a waste of resources.

In most cases, it’s better to tailor your SEO to potential customers, not all internet users. Appealing to this smaller group with a greater interest in your services and products means a bigger return on investment.

How Do I Track SEO Performance?

Metrics are the best way to track SEO performance. Key performance indicators are quantitative and easy to record, allowing you to draw clear conclusions from SEO tracking.

Let’s look at an example. Search engine visibility is a highly valuable metric since it shows how many people see your link on SERPs. When you access this information, you’ll see several numbers:

  • Overall percentage
  • Total featured snippets
  • Increases and decreases in organic rankings

This data includes all of your digital marketing efforts. As a result, it’s a good measurement for the overall success of your campaign.

Other KPIs provide a narrower range of information, highlighting success and failure on a smaller scale. These metrics can actually be the most useful since they offer actionable ways to boost your overall visibility. Of course, there are dozens of KPIs in this category, and not all of them provide value to every business.

What Are the Best Metrics To Monitor My SEO?

how to track seo rankings

The metrics you should look at depend on your goals. If you want higher engagement, look at how much time visitors spend on your website. If you want greater visibility, you should see how many backlinks your content generates.

Once you establish short- and long-term goals, you can build a customized SEO tracking plan. It’s a good idea to enlist the help of an SEO marketing agency at this point, as these professionals can easily identify appropriate KPIs based on your objectives. Having a straightforward, comprehensive plan from day one boosts efficiency and ensures everyone is on the same page.

That said, you should still have a solid understanding of the most important KPIs, even if you have a third party managing SEO evaluation. While all metrics offer value, these four are some of the most commonly tracked.

Keyword Rankings

Keywords are foundational to SEO, as they’re one of the elements search engine algorithms note when crawling webpages. Once you incorporate these phrases into content and release them into the wild, keyword rankings tell you how well they’re doing.

It’s relatively easy to monitor keyword performance in Google, as the analytics show your current ranking and whether your site has moved up or down. SEO tracking will indicate whether the movement is an outlier or a concerning trend.

Obviously, the higher the rank, the better. Your business probably won’t rank number one for every keyword, but you should aim for the top spot for the most important ones. Keep in mind that broad keywords have more competition, so it can pay to target more specific, less-used phrases. Local SEO is a great way to capitalize on this.

Local SEO targets users in your immediate area. You can utilize it in several ways:

  • Incorporate locations into keywords
  • Add “near me” to phrases
  • Create location webpages

Of course, local SEO works best for businesses in a limited service area, such as restaurants or repair professionals. If you run an e-commerce company doing international business, you’ll be better served by choosing other specific keywords and using them well.

Users search different words depending on their place in the purchasing journey. You can target these users at multiple points with varied keywords and web content. Algorithms tend to reward consistency, so consider creating a monthly blog to help you rank for your chosen keywords. Many agencies offering SEO tracking also provide content creation services, which can benefit smaller enterprises.

Transparent SEO Services

Proper tracking is essential for refining an SEO strategy. We include SEO tracking as part of our plans so you can watch your site grow while we give you the best possible SEO content.

Organic Traffic

There are multiple types of web traffic, but organic tends to be the most important since it has the greatest potential. Paid traffic (clicks from paid advertisements), referrals (clicks from links on third-party sites) and direct traffic (visits from a direct URL) are all useful, but they don’t have the same power as organic traffic.

Traffic that’s “organic” comes from SERP clicks. These users found your business because they needed something, and Google recommended your website as the best place to look.

A major part of SEO tracking is monitoring organic traffic and finding ways to boost it. Fortunately, you can see how many people visit your website and where they come from. Your highest-performing searches reveal your best-performing pages, which you can use to optimize under-performing ones.

We do have to point out that keywords aren’t the be-all and end-all of SEO. While they are a powerful tool, they can’t carry subpar web content. Remember that Google’s top priority is to deliver the best answer to a query; algorithms look for high-quality content above all else.

To get the top SERP spot, you must host valuable landing pages and blogs. Instead of thinking of your content as a just vehicle for keywords, picture it as a storefront welcoming new customers. Visitors should find your webpages friendly, professional and knowledgeable — maybe even fun, if that’s part of your brand. Centering the customer in your content aligns your goals with Google’s, increasing your chance at a top ranking.

Content marketing is another area where your SEO tracking team can help. SEO professionals understand the importance of quality content and reaching a target audience, allowing them to create stellar posts that drive traffic to your site organically.

Backlinks

seo tracking

How do algorithms know if your content is high-quality? They’re just programs crawling text, not a consciousness that understands what it reads. Fortunately, they don’t have to. Instead, algorithms heavily rely on the opinions of human beings.

One way search engines measure webpage value is backlinks, which occur when a third party links back to your site. Ideally, unaffiliated organizations only link to content they find useful and worth sharing. It follows that the more organic backlinks you earn, the higher that page will rank.

Let’s address the elephant in the room real quick. Can’t you just pay a third party to link to your site instead of putting so much work into your content?

Technically, yes. However, just because you can doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

Search engines highly discourage paid links, as they actively undermine their objectives. As a result, search engines have systems in place to identify potentially bought links. From an SEO tracking standpoint, buying backlinks might boost your SERP performance — but it’s more likely to do nothing.

Organic backlink building is a better use of your money. These efforts focus on creating high-quality content that other people will naturally want to share. Blogs are an excellent place to start, as they allow you to speak more broadly and embody your brand voice.

Social media is another key piece of any backlink-building campaign. Platforms make sharing incredibly easy, lowering the barrier to entry for backlinks. As a bonus, shares also generate more SERP results, which can boost other KPIs, including organic traffic.

Social media platforms reward frequent, consistent posting, so it’s essential to create a content schedule. An SEO agency can help generate content, keep a posting schedule and measure engagement.

Conversion Rate

Getting people to your landing page is crucial, but it’s a preliminary step. What happens once they get there? Is your high CLR turning into boosted profits? The website side of SEO tracking can answer these questions.

Several KPIs can tell you how effective your SEO is:

  • Conversion rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Average session duration

The conversion rate tells you how often a site visit turns into a meaningful action. You get to define “meaningful action” based on your goals, but the following are common for commercial enterprises:

  • Making a purchase
  • Signing up for a newsletter or emails
  • Requesting an estimate or appointment

The bounce rate measures the opposite: how frequently visitors decline to take any action and simply click away. Finally, the average session duration shows how long users spend on your site.

If you see a lot of traffic on your webpages but these KPIs are low, there may be an issue with the target audience. Yes, you’re reaching people, but not those interested in your goods. SEO tracking can help you correct this mismatch with additional research.

What Tools Can I Use To Track My SEO?

evaluate seo

There are a wide variety of software packages that record and analyze SEO results. Some options require subscriptions, but there are plenty of free tools as well:

  • Screaming Frog
  • SEOquake
  • SERP Snippet Optimization Tool

Every tool has its pros and cons, so it may be worth mixing and matching services to cover all your bases.

Of course, there’s one major player we’ve left out. Google offers some of the most powerful monitoring tools, especially when you’re just learning how to track SEO rankings. In fact, many other tools pull their data from Google’s software.

Once you register your business with Google, you have free access to the following:

  • Google Ads keyword planner
  • Google Search Console
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Optimize

Whichever brands you choose, make sure your software covers website analytics, a mobile-friendliness tester, a keyword crawler and a backlink checker. When you work with an SEO marketing agency, those professionals will have their own tools of choice.

Who Can Help With SEO Tracking?

SEO tracking is a big job, which is why working with experts is such an asset. The professionals at BKA provide a range of SEO services with packages that include monitoring. Get started now to learn how our team can improve your SERP rankings.

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