Front view of creative designer desktop with SEO web page on computer screen. Startup concept

It can take some time before you start seeing results from the SEO campaign you are running, but there are certain ways to monitor your success even early on.

It’s important that you know about some of the telltale signs that your campaign is actually working. There are certain metrics that you can use to determine whether or not you need to make any changes to your approach. Those who find that their campaign is not working will need to start going in a different direction as soon as possible to get back on track.

Set Some Goals

The very first thing that you should do when launching an SEO campaign is to determine what your specific goals are. This will help you with putting the results you get from your campaign into perspective. You should think about whether your primary goal is to make more money or simply an increase in brand exposure. Sometimes SEO is only secondary to another venture, while for others it is a primary means of growing their business. Whatever your particular goals are, you will need to define them upfront.

Important Metrics to Consider

The following are some of the more important metrics that you should take a look at to measure the success of your SEO campaign. Some of these things are more significant than others, but all of them are worth paying attention to for one reason or another.

Organic Traffic

One of the biggest signs that your current SEO campaign is working is an increase in the number of people visiting your website. While you shouldn’t expect a huge increase in traffic within the first month of your campaign, you should start seeing at least a small uptick within 8 weeks.

Google Analytics Traffic Increase

If your SEO campaign is working, your Google Analytics should look something like this.

You should also see a decent number of visitors from different sources if your link building efforts are paying off. You should keep in mind that traffic varies from month-to-month, but you should notice a fairly steady increase of average number of visitors.

Organic traffic can increase in a number of ways, and you will need to know what they are. The first way involves improving rankings. The higher your keywords rank, the more people will visit your website naturally.

Solid meta descriptions and titles are another way in which people can see a marked improvement in organic traffic. These are the things that people see in search engine results, and they play an important role in whether or not many people choose to visit your site in the first place.  You can learn more about how to properly implement these meta tags by visiting our blog post about on-page SEO.

Generating more quality content can also lead to an increase in organic traffic going to your site. Quality content also provides you with a great opportunity to target certain keywords that are relevant to your business. Targeting the right keywords can increase your online visibility quite a bit.

Referral Traffic

Those who are building external links as part of their SEO campaign will need to take a close look at their referral traffic. While an increase in referral traffic is typically only a side effect of the campaign you are running, it is not without its benefits.

Referral traffic from link building is typically very targeted traffic because the clickthrough visits to your site are from people who are interested in your content. As a result, this traffic is more likely to hang out and digest your content (i.e. watch your videos, read your blog posts, etc.) which is great for your website’s performance.

Time Spent on Your Site

Another way that you can tell that your SEO campaign is fruitful is if you see an increase in the amount of time the average visitor is spending on your site. The longer visitors spend browsing your website, the better your chances will be of getting paying customers. If you are running a successful SEO campaign, you should be getting the right kind of visitors coming to your site.

Targeted SEO efforts will result in a specific demographic of people visiting your website on a regular basis, which should lead to higher conversion rates. If you have noticed people spending more time on your site, it means that you are targeting all the right keywords. It also means that the content on your site is probably solid as well. If you aren’t getting many people who spend a lot of time on your site, then you need to start targeting different keywords or improve your content to get results.

You will also want to look at the “bounce rate”, which is essentially the number of people who visit your website and quickly leave. Your goal is to get the bounce rate down as much as possible, because it doesn’t do your business any good if the people who are visiting your site aren’t sticking around. The bounce rate can actually provide you with some valuable information that will give you a better idea as to which kinds of changes need to be made to your campaign.

Conversion Rate

Those who are running an SEO campaign want to see a high conversion rate, but there are a few things to keep in mind. If you are running a small business, you are probably looking for a conversion rate that results in an increase in product sales. Someone who offers professional services will look for an increase in the number of web forms that are submitted or an increase in phone calls.

A conversion rate of 3.5% or more is generally considered to be very good. If you have achieved a conversion rate of 1% to 3%, you are doing fairly good but there is probably room for improvement. Conversion rates of 0% to 1% aren’t very impressive, and you might actually be losing potential business. While your conversion rate isn’t the only metric to pay attention to, it is definitely one of the more important things to focus on with an SEO campaign.

Keyword Rankings

When you are trying to figure out if your SEO campaign is yielding measurable results, you should take a look at your keyword rankings. While keyword rankings can be a good indication of progress, they won’t give you the full picture. There are a number of tools that you can use to monitor keyword rankings, including SpyFu. These tools can be extremely helpful in allowing you to see where you stand. You won’t be able to get a lot of specific data directly from Google, which is why it’s is necessary to invest in a third-party tool.

A quick look at an analytics report will tell you which keywords are providing you with visitors. You might notice that a lot of these keywords are branded, which is to be expected. When your SEO campaign is really solid, however, you will see a noticeable uptick in non-branded keywords. A majority of these non-branded keywords will be ones that you are focusing on with your website, though there should be variations that are driving traffic as well.

Inbound Links

It’s also a good idea to keep a close eye on your inbound links with a tool that is specifically designed for monitoring them. If your overall reputation is improving, you should see an increase in earned links. This is also an indication that your content is good, which is very useful information to say the least. Make sure that you take the time to find good software to monitor your links, as this is a very important metric to pay attention to.

SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)

If you want to see what kind of an online presence you have, search for your company’s name using Google or any other major search engine. The search engine result pages can provide you with a good idea as to where you stand when it comes to online visibility. If you have to go through six pages of search results before you find the link to your site, your SEO campaign could probably use some fine tuning.

Google SERP for ClickFirst Marketing

Here’s a snapshot of Google SERP for our agency name. Try performing a search for your business name to see what the results look like.

While you don’t necessarily need to have your website appear as the very first result in Google, it shouldn’t take that much effort at all to find it. You will also want to find out where your social media/networking site profiles fall in these search results. It shouldn’t take the average person very long to find these pages. The more search result pages a person has to click through to find your site, the lower your chances will be of getting visitors.

The longer your SEO campaign goes on (if it is any good), the better your brand presence will be in the search engine result pages. This is a crucial metric to focus on when you want to know if your campaign is succeeding.

What Should You Expect?

Anyone who is planning a Search Engine Optimization campaign should go in with realistic expectations. When you know what to expect in the first month and year of your campaign, it will be a lot easier to interpret your results properly.

First Month: The fact is that the first month of an SEO campaign most like won’t yield incredibly noticeable results. This might sound a bit discouraging, but it’s perfectly normal. It takes a while to start seeing measurable results from this type of campaign, regardless of how solid it is as a whole. You shouldn’t make any changes to your campaign just because you don’t observe any dramatic results within the first month.  In fact, you probably need to wait at least 3 months before you can truly determine if what you’re doing is working.

First Year: Once you have been carrying out your SEO campaign for a few months, you should be seeing some very noticeable results. Most people who run a solid campaign notice a major difference within 2-3 months. If you haven’t really seen any positive changes within this period of time, you should begin to rethink your approach. However, by the 6-12 month mark you should notice a significant difference.

Leveling Off: You will inevitably reach a point where your results will level off. This is perfectly fine, but you will need to strive to make ongoing improvements across the board. If you want to maintain the level of success that you have achieved, it will be necessary to keep working on various things regularly. Those who stop making an effort can lose their results by not at least maintaining a basic SEO effort.

Tips for an Effective SEO Campaign

There are several tips that can help you with running an effective SEO campaign to increase your chances of success.

Patience is a Virtue

One of the best things that you can do when starting out with a new SEO campaign is to be patient, because the results aren’t going to come right away. A lot of people constantly change their approach to SEO because they don’t see a huge increase in organic traffic within the first couple of weeks. When you are patient enough to wait and see what happens, you will know for sure whether or not you’re on the right track.

Do Your Research

Even those who decide to hire an outside company to handle their SEO should still take the time to learn about modern techniques that actually work. If you don’t have any knowledge about these matters, you won’t be in a very good position to make important decisions regarding your campaign. It’s always a good idea to educate yourself so you know whether or not your SEO campaign is really working.

Monitor the Results

If you hire others to run an SEO campaign on your behalf, you will need to keep a close eye on the analytics. Any reputable digital marketing company will provide you with detailed reports that you can go over at your leisure. This information will help you to decide whether or not your current campaign is putting you on the path to success.

Understand the Importance of SEO

In the digital age that we live in, SEO is incredibly important for all businesses. You should put a fairly big emphasis on creating a significant online presence. The easier it is for people to find you online, the easier it will be to start increasing sales and build your reputation. Those who don’t take SEO seriously do so at their peril. A solid SEO campaign can really make all the difference when it comes to growing and maintaining a business of any kind.