Many website owners mistakenly believe that the main goal of SEO efforts is rankings. While it’s true that a high ranking on any search engine is good, it can often be a misleading way to measure your SEO success. For instance, being at the top of search results can lead many Internet surfers to click on your website, but you also need to work to keep your audience on your website. A high placement can also be temporary – as soon as Google changes their algorithm and SEO rules again, your website’s pagerank could fall.
Another better way to measure your SEO improvement, along with pagerank, is using analytics to track traffic and the behavior of your visitors. Tools like Google Analytics, along with analytics built into social media websites such as Facebook and Blogger, can help you learn more about your audience, where to make improvements on your website, and how you obtain your audience in the first place.
A few of the ways different analytics tools can help you measure your online success includes:
- Visitors – A high pagerank doesn’t actually tell you how many people have visited your site. Google Analytics can give you an exact number in any time period.
- Traffic Sources – Analytics will tell you where your visitors come from. Was it a link on Facebook? Was it your URL in your Twitter bio? Or was it Google? You may find that SMO (Social Media Optimization) will grow your readership more than SEO. This information can also reveal more about your demographics.
- Social Media Influence – Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Blogger all have their own built in analytics. For the social media platforms or sharing websites that do not provide their own analytics (such as Instagram and Vine), you can use third-party tools, such as Simply Measured. These types of analytics can really help improve how you share your website online. For instance, pictures tend to work better on Facebook, but they might not go over as well on Twitter.
- Page Interest – You can find out exactly how many visitors go to any page and how long they stay there. This is called “bounce rate,” and it can tell you how user friendly, attractive, and interesting your webpages are. You can also use it to determine your most viewed product or blog post, which can reveal what your customers really want. If visitors are only staying on one of your pages, you know now to try to make your other pages easier to get to so that they stay longer on your site.
- Technology – Again, this will teach you more about your user demographics, but it can also really help you determine where your website needs improvement. If most of your visitors are viewing your site from their mobile phone, then you need to make sure your website is compatible with that.
- Demographics – Analytics can tell you where your visitors live, how old they are, their gender, and more. This kind of information can help you better target your ads, saving you time and money.
Using analytics and making improvements to your website and social media accounts based on that information can give you a much stronger and longer lasting pagerank. Any Google rule or algorithm changes will be far less devastating.
Peters, Meghan. “HOW TO: Get Started With Google Analytics.” http://mashable.com/2011/05/23/how-to-use-google-analytics/. (24 Oct. 2013).