Thursday, 10 January 2008

How to measure the effectiveness of your SEO

There's lots of articles out there about good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) practice. Well once you've done everything how do you know if it's worked? What if you're getting lots of hits but they're all irrelevant people?

What are you NOT measuring?

  • You are NOT JUST measuring how high your home page appears on the Google search listings when the title of your web page is input.
  • You are often not just looking at the effectiveness of one page but that of a section of a site or the whole site as a whole.

What ARE you measuring?

  • You are measuring your site's effectiveness in search engines for DIFFERENT KEYWORDS.
  • You are measuring how many people visit your site from search engines.
  • You are measuring how relevant these people are to your site? Do they just arrive and leave (bounce rate)?
  • You are ensuring that your site is effective in search engines for all the relevant keywords.

Pagerank - Don't be obsessed with pagerank.

  • It tells you the rank of a specific page rather than the whole website
  • It won't tell you how effective a page is for appearing in search listings when a specific search query is typed. Adobe may have a page rank of 10/10 compared to your own site's 3/10 but if you're never going to appear in the same search as Adobe it doesn't matter.
  • Pagerank's effect on Google search listings is bizarre to say the least.

So how do i measure my SEO effectiveness?

  1. Look at a the quantity of backlinks to your site.
    • Type into Google to find out. Update: This is actually inaccurate, read how to get backlinks here.
    • The more relevant backlinks you have the higher Google will rank you. NB: This is only page relevant though.
  2. Unique visitor traffic from search engines.
    • You can make the assumption that the higher this is the better you are doing in the search rankings.
    • The useful thing about web stats are that they can give you figures about your whole site rather than just a page.
  3. Keywords typed into a search engine to reach your site.
    • You can see from this how effective you are for the different keywords.
    • You can also identify which keywords are missing and therefore assume you perform badly in search listings for these.

By using the 3 points above you'll be able to see changes on your site over time, measure what you're doing and help your website achieve it's true destiny (remember that all websites must achieve their true destiny to avoid visiting silicon hell).

Other links
Measuring SEO is not one simple statistic, this article provides 5 key metrics - rankings, traffic, revenue, ROI (Return On Investment) and exposure.
More on measuring SEO and ROI.
The importance of monitoring page views and not just hits.

Update: My colleague just informed me that PageRank is named such as it was developed by Larry Page. Interesting.


Lawrence Spring said...

The rankings and the quality of write-ups produced will always be of equal footing in the SEO industry. Rankings help you identify the quality of your blog entries, so it's good to somehow have it as a basis for improvement. Having low rankings, though should not displease a writer; it should serve as a motivation to improve.

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