For a lot of people, launching an SEO campaign seems a bit like the working with the Wizard of Oz. There’s a mysterious man sitting behind a curtain with some fancy technology making the magic happen that the people in Oz come to see. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, SEO isn’t magic at all.
If you work with SEO, you know the hardest part can be presenting the results to your client in a way that they understand. Each client will have unique business goals and objectives, which will generate different successful KPIs (key performance indicators) that need to be reported.
So, how do you determine what SEO success looks like?
Every business is different. However, just like everything else in marketing, there always needs to be a solid foundation to build on. That starts with the health of your site. It’s imperative that you put the work in up front to make sure your site is structurally strong. This ensures you’re not spending time and effort on SEO when Google won’t recognize your website because the configuration doesn’t match their criteria, your user experience is undesirable, or your content is outdated.
The next step is to determine your business goals and objectives that are driving you to create and execute an SEO strategy. Are you trying to increase demos for a product? Build awareness? Be known for specific keywords? Increase email subscriptions? Knowing what your business is trying to achieve will help you to determine your KPIs.
If your primary focus is to simply build awareness, focus on KPIs such as unique new visitors, overall traffic, where they came from, and their user behavior once they got to your site. This will help to determine where the success is coming from and how you can leverage it further. If your end goal is drive engagement with a product or service on your site, focus on specific page views, how they got there, social shares, and the engagement rate for content, etc. If your initial target is to just drive more sales leads, then utilize your tracking analytics and study those leads.
Lastly, keep in mind that showing compiled data, even in visually appealing graphics, isn’t necessarily always the best strategy. Decision makers need to see numbers they understand. Sharing something like a bounce rate with executives may result in blank stares, as they don’t always realize what that means to their business and bottom line. They need clarity, not just statistics. Be sure to find a way to show these KPIs in a way that is well-defined, informative, and suits your audience best.