SEO strategies can be different from niche to niche, so how do you know if your campaign is the right one? Read on to learn how to evaluate your SEO campaign.
What Is SEO?
Most business owners have heard of SEO and know it is important. But, fewer people understand exactly what it is, the ins and outs of it, and what exactly it does for a digital brand. Before you can evaluate your SEO campaign, you need to know what SEO is and what it’s supposed to do for you.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is about far more than just ranking keywords of Google’s front page or having a million backlinks. The point of SEO is not only for customers to be able to find you online. It is also for them to find exactly what they need right when they need it.
SEE ALSO: SEO Keyword Selection
What Should You Expect From Your SEO Campaign?
You need to think long term and have realistic expectations. Many business owners make the mistake of setting incredibly unrealistic expectations at the start of SEO campaigns. Don’t evaluate your SEO campaign as a failure because it didn’t land you a million leads in a day or a week.
Start with an SEO audit to figure out the competition level in your market. Create your budget and SEO strategy based on the information you get from it.
Be realistic. If a competitor is spending $10k a month to get certain results, you shouldn’t expect to get the same results with half or a quarter of that budget.
Here are some general guidelines and checkpoints to help you properly evaluate your SEO campaign.
The 1 Month Checkpoint
When you begin your campaign, make sure that all of the tracking analytics that will help you collect data on your customers’ behavior and interest are set up. This information will help you determine the success and progress when you evlauate your SEO campaign.
This will let you know what is working and what you might need to change to continue to grow your business. At the end of the first month, you should have your SEO plan complete, as well as technical on-site optimization.
Do not expect rankings yet when you evaluate your SEO campaign.
The 3 Month Checkpoint
This is the first checkpoint during which you should evaluate your SEO campaign strategy and look for progress. Once 3 months have passed, you should be able to see some improvements in both your organic traffic and your rankings.
Of course, you want to do a monthly report, but you also want a 3-month report alongside your usual monthly report so you can clearly see whether their has been progress or not.
If after 3 months, you evaluate your SEO strategy and see that there has been no improvement in your rankings and traffic, then it is time to reevaluate your SEO strategy.
The 6 Month Checkpoint
After 6 months of consistent implementation, you should be able to see these results when you evaluate your SEO
- Your website should be on the first page for most related search terms
- There should be an improvement in organic traffic
When you evaluate your SEO campaign, you can view your website’s traffic in Google Analytics. 6 months worth of information will definitely reveal whether you have taken the right approach to SEO or not.
If your rankings and traffic have not improved, it’s time to reevaluate. First, you will need to figure out if there are fluctuations because of algorithm updates that are outside of your control. If you see no improvement in 6 months, it is time to reevaluate everything from the beginning.
SEE ALSO: What Google’s “Mobile-First Indexing” Update Means for Your SEO Strategy
The 1 Year Checkpoint
At this point, you should have both your rankings and a consistent flow of organic visitors. With this information in hand, it is time to figure our your ROI, or Return on Investment.
The fact of the matter is, SEO is constantly changing and growing in response to updates in search engine algorithms. A great SEO strategy will be able to increase your rankings and visibility and increase the value of your digital brand regardless.
Occasionally, algorithm updates are made which have bad effects on many websites. This is why your strategy must look far ahead. With the right long-term SEO strategy you can gain traffic, but you will also have to be able to tweak it over time in response to new trends and algorithm updates.
For example, while this SEO checklist from Moz is a great place to start, you cannot expect every point of an SEO strategy list curated in the last days of 2017 looking ahead to 2018 to apply in full forever.
Is An SEO Campaign The Right Move For Your Digital Brand?
An SEO campaign requires time, money, strategy, and consistency in order to be effective. Ask yourself these questions before starting a campaign.
Do I Have The Time?
As illustrated above, effective SEO campaigns do not work magically over night. The require 6-12 months minimum of work. It will take months before you get significant new ROI from them.
How Much Can I Invest?
Again, look carefully at what your competitors are spending on SEO. Based on this, you will know what sort of budget achieves what sort of results. You will need to have expectations that match your budget when you evaluate your SEO campaign.
Are My Expectations Realistic?
Again, campaigns take time, money, monitoring, and tweaking to achieve results. If you are expecting to spend a third or less of what your competitors do and achieve instant results, you will likely be frustrated when you evaluate your
Am I Just Looking For Quick Leads?
There are benefits and pitfalls to every approach. If your only concern is getting leads this week or today, then SEO is not the way to do that. If you are looking for quick leads only, consider paid advertising (PPC). Or take a look at this list of faster lead generation tactics.
However, while these will get you those leads now, they will often not have the longterm growth benefits that a proper SEO strategy yields.
SEE ALSO: Top SEO Best Practices for Digital Branding
Most Importantly, Evaluate Your SEO Campaign Regularly
While it does take time to gather enough results to evaluate whether your SEO campaign is working or not, it is still important to do regular checkins. SEO is a great way to grow your business, increase awareness of your digital brand, and boost sales.
However, without careful planning, patience, and awareness, it will not do all the work for you that you want it to do.
As they say, all good things take time. Keep this in mind when you evaluate your SEO campaign.
What do find most confusing about SEO strategy? Comment below…