How Do I Know for Certain that My SEO Is Working?

For time-strapped business owners, SEO can be one too many things on their plate. After all, owners are having to don many hats on a day-to-day basis—and SEO specialist probably isn’t their go-to area of expertise, let alone interest. But SEO is still important, whether you’re an exclusively online retailer or just want to be found on Google. 
For perspective, 60 to 80% of your website traffic comes directly through Google search. That’s a reason to care about organic traffic! With those kinds of numbers, that should help clue you in to how important SEO is for your marketing strategy. But you still may want to know if it’s working and worth it. The question many owners or stakeholders have is this: how do I know for certain that my SEO is working? With the long game that is SEO, here’s our guide to knowing if SEO is working toward your end goals. 

Know Your Goals

To grow your goals, you have to know your goals. What we mean by this is this: You need to put in place a specific, primary end goal before undertaking SEO just for optimization’s sake. As with anything, putting the buggy before the horse doesn’t do you any favors—and can cause a mess of things in the future. 
What do we mean by end goal? We recommend setting in place S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) goals. If you just float out a goal that has no depth or dimension, it can backfire, become muddied, or flat-out not happen. A well-conceived goal that sticks to S.M.A.R.T. principles will not only help give you direction:  It will also provide a clear way to go about actually achieving it. We’re not saying having general goals are bad per se, but your SEO directives should be guided by a S.M.A.R.T. end goal.
What does this look like in practice? A S.M.A.R.T. SEO goal could be to increase traffic by a set percentage with a particular segment of your target audience by the end of next year. It’s specific (set % of audience), can be easily measured, is achievable, is relevant to your overall goal of increased traffic, and offers a doable, defined timeline. 

Utilize Tools to Glean Insights

No one wants to go about SEO blind. Luckily, you don’t have to thanks to free-to-use tools. Google Analytics (GA) offers a treasure trove of information at your fingertips for free. There you can track organic traffic, over-time traffic, page visits, specific campaign traffic, click-through rate, and more. Essentially, GA offers an in-depth look into need-to-know metrics, which allows you to keep a firmer finger on your SEO’s pulse. 
Furthermore, the great thing about GA is you can use it to your advantage. You can easily check up on key metrics that help inform, if not directly involve, your end goal. For instance, you can set up a conversion rate tracker, which lets you know how often a preferred action is performed by visitors to your page. You can also see and assess how much time visitors typically spend on the page, how far down they scroll, and the amount of traffic your page is receiving. Keeping a close read on your site’s Google Analytics can provide a better picture on if your SEO efforts are paying off, need adjustment, or are missing the mark. Google Search Console is another free-to-use tool you can use; it allows you to easily track indexing status and optimize your page visibility. 

Get Expert Support

As mentioned, business owners and key stakeholders rarely have the time available to devote to SEO strategy and implementation. However, SEO is far too important to overlook. Having on-call SEO support not only gives you first-hand expertise: It provides regular accountability and assurance that your SEO efforts are actually going somewhere—moving the needle toward your goals. Contact Uptick Marketing’s resident SEO experts to chat about how we can help your SEO live up to ROI. 

About Lance

For nearly a decade, Lance has worked with Uptick in search engine optimization in some capacity, initially building our SEO department from the ground up. His expertise in the world of optimization makes him the ideal person to keep Uptick on the cutting edge of the ever-evolving SEO sphere. A graduate of Samford University, Lance is a member of Samford University’s Entrepreneurship, Management, and Marketing Advisory Board, creating the university’s first digital marketing course. He has spoken at the Birmingham chapter of the American Marketing Association, co-hosted ‘Grow With Google’ small business events, and presented to the Birmingham and Huntsville chapters of the Public Relations Council of Alabama. Currently, he spearheads Uptick’s SEO sales, business development, and overall strategies.

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