December 3, 2007

"Determine whether or not your search engine optimization campaign is working."

Is your search engine campaign working, or is it time to hire somebody else to do your optimization?

Whether you're trying to bump your website to a higher ranking in search engines, or simply trying to gain more exposure from them, a successful search engine optimization campaign can lead to big rewards. However, if you're not a search engine marketing expert, it can be hard to determine how well your campaign is working for you.

Luckily for you non-search engine marketing experts, I've put together this post with ideas on how to discover the value of your search engine campaign results.

So if you're having trouble deciphering your campaign's results, here are a few great ways to determine whether or not your search engine optimization campaign is working.

Change in SERPs ranking.

Almost all search engine optimization campaigns are simply to gain a boost in ranking on a search engine. Translated to English, this means: a typical search engine optimization campaign is focused on having a specific website appear on a lower page for a specific keyword on a search engine - in the search engine results page (or SERP). Ideally, you want your website to rank as the number one search result for a keyword.

The easiest - and often best - way to determine how well your SEO campaign is doing is by tracking your website's ranking in a search engine.

It's best to start tracking your website's progression in the search engine results pages at the beginning of your SEO campaign, but if you've already started your campaign you can still track it's effectiveness by watching how it ranks in search engines.

Using a tool like SERPs Finder, track your website's ranking on a specific search engine for a specific keyword.

To get accurate results, track only a few keywords on one search engine for a set amount of time (a good time frame to monitor search engine fluctuation is about one month to four months).

You could also manually monitor your website's rank in search engines by going to the search engine and doing a search for your keyword, then browsing all of the results by hand to find your website.

If, over a period of time, your website appears on lower numbered pages, your campaign is working and you should continue on your current route; however, if your website seems to be placed in higher pages, or disappears completely, you could be in serious trouble and should stop with your SEO campaign briefly.

I say briefly because often search engines will fluctuate results when new pages begin ranking higher. If your website is fluctuating, wait until things calm down to continue your campaign. If your website is completely gone from the SERPs, you may have been banned from the search engine.

Greater amount of conversions.

A conversion is when someone comes to your website and, instead of leaving or simply reading, they buy something or subscribe to a product or service you provide.

Typically, the more successful your SEO campaign, the greater amount of conversions you will get.

But to determine if your conversions are coming from a SEO campaign, or something else, you first need to monitor where your website traffic is coming from. There are a lot of great tools to do this for you, I personally recommend setting up a free Crazy Egg account and monitoring your visitors that way.

The best thing about signing up with Crazy Egg for your SEO campaign is that it will not only tell you where visitors are coming from (search engines or other websites), it will also tell you where those specific visitors are clicking (or not clicking) and more.

If your website is seeing a larger - or faster - amount of conversions from visitors that find your website through search engines, your SEO campaign is working. At which point I would want you to e-mail me and tell me your secret (joking).

If, however, your website is seeing a drop in conversions, you should start to rethink your SEO campaign and begin to market it towards your potential buyers.

Increase in search engine visitors.

Another easy way to see how successful your SEO campaign is doing is to simply look for an increase in visitors to your website from search engines. Again, using a service like Crazy Egg (mentioned in the previous point), you can monitor how many of your website's visitors are coming from search engines.

If you begin your SEO campaign and then start to see more traffic through search engines like Google or Yahoo, your campaign seems to be working and you can continue to monitor your site's stats through the other methods mentioned above.

If, however, you see a decrease in traffic from search engines, you might want to start reconsidering your SEO strategies.

Of course, this method only works if your SEO campaign is focused on mainstream keywords. For example, there are a lot of people who search for the keyword "internet", which would be a great keyword to monitor the stats for Internet Hunger. However, hardly anyone is searching for "Matt Cutts action figure", so it would be hard to monitor search engine traffic from that keyword.

While these strategies may not be enough to really propel your SEO campaign, they are a great start for anyone who needs help in monitoring the success of their campaign. And, while there are many other ways to monitor a search engine campaign, these strategies are a perfect way to begin.

If you enjoyed this post, and if you might need more search engine optimization help or insight in the future, go ahead and subscribe to Internet Hunger through FeedBurner, or by e-mail on the right side of this page.