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Measuring SEO Successes

From a person who haven't done any SEO for another client, my question is, how do you measure the success of an SEO campaign? Do you just need to achieve a certain ranking, or the SEO service also includes conversion of visitors into potential clients?

Measuring SEO success is typically done by measuring different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which are dependent on the client's goals. (Or if it is your own site, then it is your goals.)

Some clients have a traffic goal, often article publishers have traffic goals since their income is dependent on advertisers and advertisers advertise on sites with more visibility, and more traffic shows that the site is more visible, so the KPI is traffic. But for SEO purposes, the KPI on traffic will specifically be traffic from organic search.

Some clients have a sales goal. If they are an ecommerce site, they typically want more sales of course and that is done by selling more products. And if we are looking at the success of SEO, the it is online sales of products from organic search traffic.

Typically these are the two important KPIs that measure SEO success. Traffic and conversions from organic search.

However different SEO clients have different needs and wants. And they hire you for different things. Some have ranking goals, some have number of link goals, etc. So whatever you are hired to do, your KPIs are often revolving around that.

Let's say a spammy type of SEO company hired you to build links, and wala syang pakialam ke spammy or not, he thinks Penguin will not affect him. He just wants 10,000 links by the end of the month, and you are paid for that. Then make it clear... once you reach the 10,000 links you met the goal, you are successful. And properly inform the client that your service is to render the links alone and not to guarantee any ranking or meet any traffic goal. So you KPI is simply backlink count. Is it SEO success? Not necessarily, but it is success for you to get paid.

So after saying all that mahabang kwento... ano ano pa ang pwedeng imeasure?

A site that is not crawled properly, cannot be indexed properly. So you can measure crawl rates, amount of 404s and other error pages.

Indexed Pages
A site that is not indexed properly cannot rank well. So you measure the amount of pages indexed. Via Site: operator, or in Google Search Console.

A site that is not ranking properly cannot be seen by people using search engines. Use rank monitoring tools to measure this like Authority Labs, AWRCloud, etc.

Keywords ranking that get no impressions means your keywords have low search volume. No impressions, no clicks. Organic search impressions are in Google Search Console.

Clicks & CTR
Keywords ranking with impressions but no clicks get no traffic. Baka walang kwenta ang title, meta descriptions and rich snippets. Organic clicks and clickthrough rates (CTR) are in Google Search Console.

Sales from organic search cannot happen if you do not have organic search traffic in the first place. Track this with web analytics, one of the most common versions Google Analytics but of course there is Adobe Marketing Suite aka Omniture. Also IBM's analytics aka CoreMetrics, Webtrends, etc.

A conversion is a sale, a lead, a download, a sign up, etc. An action you want to track that happens on the site. Track your conversions using analytics also, like Google Analytics.

Any combination of the above can be KPIs that help see if you meet a goal or not. And all of them can be used to measure SEO success. But in any SEO campaign, you may not need to monitor them all and report on them. It just depends on your clients needs.