Many SEO analysts will give different opinions as to what they feel is the best metric to gauge whether the SEO work is working. Three answers that you can sometimes expect can be:
You’re ranking higher up for Google Searches – Amateurish
You’re more prominent on Google – Slightly Less Amateurish
You’re receiving more website traffic. – Even less Amateurish
Although none of these answers are wrong, gauging SEO success on more website traffic and higher rankings doesn’t mean everything if you’re not converting. Therefore, the best way to gauge SEO success would be to focus on your conversions.
If you think about it, you can rank as high as you want if you choose a very uncompetitive search phrase. Infact if you google ‘sdfhskdfhsd’ there are only 3 websites that appear, meaning pretty much anyone with that exact order of letters would be able to take the ranking spot for this search phrase.
Needlessly to say, this is a drastic example, but the same principal applies for anyone using rankings for specific keywords as a way to gauge their SEO success. If it’s not targeted traffic, then it’s not good SEO, and rankings alone, don’t indicate what traffic is targeted, conversions do (we’ll touch on this later).
The slightly less amateurish SEO analyst would say ‘It’s not about ranking highly on Google, it’s about being seen more’ – and they’re only partly right. Ranking first doesn’t mean much if you have a position 0 above you, a bunch of Google Ads and a map listing. So, the reality is, prominence on the SERP’s is more valuable than 1st position.
An even less amateurish SEO analyst would look past the prominence on Google and measure the amount of traffic being brought in. If there are two equally competitive search phrases the more experience analyst would naturally target the search phrase with more traffic. This therefore brings in more traffic, which in turn brings in more conversions, right? Wrong.
An experienced SEO analyst would use conversions to dictate their success. If you choose to rank for keywords that don’t end up turning into enquiries, then you targeted the wrong keywords. You’re better bringing in 30 new users per month at a 10% conversion rate than 100 at 1%; and the chances are the lower traffic searches are easier to rank for (Just look at long tail-keywords). If you’re using an SEO analyst talking about how great they’re doing because you’re at the top of Google, or because you’re receiving much more traffic, then this would indicate two issues:
Either way, if you’re forking out for SEO each month, you want to make a return. If you’re not receiving enquiries, then your SEO isn’t working. Whether that’s down to your SEO analyst pushing you up Google for useless search terms, or because of a low converting website. Either way, one of them will need looking at!
Talking of high converting websites, if you’re finding you’re ranking highly for what should be high converting search phrases but are lacking on enquiries. Then maybe it’s time you website was redesigned with conversion in mind.