One of the challenges that I face as an SEO consultant is to communicate with the clients on how the SEO work that we have completed has translated into the improvements of the site performance. Understanding that some clients care more about an increase in traffic, while others care more about an increase in conversion, tracking various SEO performance is a must.
This is also true when it comes to managing my own sites. Some benefit more from having more impressions of ads while others benefit more from having the right customers entering the site and purchase the products/services.
The figure below illustrates the steps that visitors take when they found your site on a search engine. It also shows which steps that Onpage and Off-Page SEO influences. Off-Page SEO (A.K.A. Off-Site SEO such as backlink building, social media SEO) primarily influences impressions, whereas On-Page SEO (Meta tag optimization, Technical SEO etc) influences across all the Key Performance Indicators (KPI). This is why I recommend focusing on the On-Page SEO first and consider backlink building ONLY AFTER you run out of things to do with On-Page SEO.
Please note the impressions and CTR discussed here concerns what is happening on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) before users reach your site.
Let’s go through each of the steps to see how we can measure the performance of each step.
Impressions (on the SERP)
Impressions refer to how many times your site shows up on the search results. Ranking for more keywords and ranking for higher positions will increase impressions.
How to Monitor the Impression Performance?
Google Search Console (GSC) – You must make this tool your best friend. It shows what keywords your site is ranking for and allows you to filter based on pages and keywords. For example, the Keyword Research Guide page on DRM, it had 164 impressions in the last 3 months for the keyword “keyword research guide” (image below).
One thing to note about GSC is that the data it provides is based on a sample set of data, not the actual raw data. This means your site might actually be getting more impressions than what is reported.
Position Tracking Tool – The number of impressions your site gets is based on 1) how many keywords your site ranks for, 2) how high your site ranks for those keywords, 3) the search volume of the keywords. Therefore by tracking all three of these metrics, you can indirectly monitor your site’s performance for impressions.
CTR (Click Through Rate)
CTR is calculated by clicks/impressions and expressed in percentage.
For example, if there are 100 impressions and only 2 clicks that took place, it is 2% CTR.
In order to influence CTR, we need to optimize the meta description (red box in the figure below) by providing relevant yet enticing description of your page. One way to identify issues with meta description is to use Google Webmaster Tools.
Bounce rate is measured by how user respond to your site after landing on it.
If a visitor only views one page and leave, that will make the bounce rate 100%.
If a visitor views more than one page, that will make the bounce rate 0%.
By counting these two visitors, the average bounce rate is 50%.
One thing to note is that bounce rate tend to be high on Blogs but by applying the right site funnel system, you can decrease the bounce rate.
In order for us to talk about funnel, we need to first understand the buying funnel. When someone is looking to purchase something, he/she will likely be in one of the step indicated in the figure below.
By aligning and structure your site to this buying funnel, you can not only lower the bounce rate but also direct the visitor down the right path to the purchase page.
What is the Goal?
We can increase as much traffic as we want, directing them down the funnel and make them get to where we want them to go on our site. However, we need to understand what our goal is.
Are we trying to collect email addresses? Are we trying to sell something? Are we just want to increase brand awareness?
Depending on the goal, we need to not only change the message of the page (or section of the site) but also ensure the user experience is optimal for that goal.
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