What are alternative SEO metrics (aside from rankings) you can use to determine if your SEO campaign is working? Quantifying the effects of your efforts is integral as you move up the rankings for intentional and unintentional keywords.
There are multiple ways to assess the impact of your SEO campaign aside from using rankings alone. As correlation does not imply causation, read further to determine alternative ways to measure SEO results!
Signals to Assess:
Keep in mind that as certain keywords are optimized, the in turn rank other pages in the site based on how those pages “connect” i.e. link to other pages and with what anchor text, navigation, image/alt attribute, etc. The moral of the story is, look for related keyword combinations that could be driving unseen conversions on your pages.
If you find an alternate key phrase is having an optimal impact and increasing sales and conversions, then you can retool your SEO efforts to embrace those keyword modifiers and variations.
For example, by adding the suffix “for sale” to keywords, and optimizing those combinations, we found that doubled conversions for multiple clients (since those are the keywords buyers use when they are ready to purchase). For more on modifiers, download our FREE EBook Called Organic Search, Top Modifiers Revealed Here!
Using Conversions as a Metric vs. Rankings:
While most think of SEO strictly as a result of the keywords people use to find a page, without implementing conversion or conversion optimization, it will not matter how many people reach your site with any keyword, if they leave without taking action.
I suggest you install Pmetrics and start to assess additional metrics such as (1) referrers (2) time spent on page (3) bounce rate for global and page level instances (4) the volume of actions taken per visit and (5) frequency of the visitor (are they a first time visitor, returning visitor, etc.) when calculating conversion rates for each page.
Without measuring the impact of (a) if traffic increased or (b) what impact those surges in traffic have, you cannot improve performance. There must be tangible benchmarks for gauging results and using some of the metrics above “in addition to keywords” are viable instances of track able SEO metrics you can implement to alter your long-term optimization strategy.
Increased Conversions from Tangential Keywords:
A prospect can reach your website with 100 different keywords with the same intent. Nomenclature, jargon, synonyms, acronyms and all manner of substitution suffice when a searcher is in need of a solution.
With this in mind, optimization should encompass entire clusters of keywords (not just one keyword or key phrase variation) unless you are optimizing makes, models or specific modifiers to drive traffic. Just as the devil is in the details, with SEO, you don’t want to shoot a search string short by only emphasizing one keyword variation when dozens could suffice.
To increase these types of conversions, increase the range of internal or deep links from other websites using “multiple keyword variations” to link to a page.
Allow me to divert into a brief tactic for Google’s newest algorithm shift and have seen devalued SERP position as a result of excessively using off page ranking factor for rankings.
We have had a lot of questions about the new “Google Farmer Update” designed to lower the volume of keywords other sites that share and populate duplicate content “such as article directories” can appear in the search results.
There are a number of ways to stave being swept under the bus by its filters, below is merely one we will share.
Alternating Your Optimization Tactics:
One tactic I have found useful to offset or insulate a website from being impacted from the most recent algorithm shift is to (a) vary the anchor text of the inbound links (but use overlapping shingles which embrace multiple keyword variations like using the keyword/anchor text “affordable checking accounts” to rank for checking accounts and affordable checking) and (b) focus more on passing ranking factor with deep links to specific internal pages.
Once that ring of links is created, then use the anchor text from those internal pages to pass along the most dynamic link juice “for ranking factor” to the ideal/preferred landing page. You can read more about how to do this by reading this informative how-to post from the past named “SEO Rankings and How to Create Them”.
More specifically, by creating a mashup of deep links to a Tier 2 or category page to feed a Tier 3 product level page with the appropriate “ranking/anchor text”.
If you don’t want to think in terms or tiers (like stacked champagne glasses with one at the top expanding at the base as a support system), then just use your sitemap as the hidden place to consolidate ranking factor via inbound links to push linked pages higher in the SERPs.
Since theme relevance is more important now than ever, if you are trying to pass ranking factor from an unrelated site, the chances of it being as effective are minimized (as Google has increased their relevancy thresholds based on observation).
The solution is – use your own pages (as they are most relevant to other pages in your site); it simply doesn’t get any more theme relevant than that. However, to get those pages “juiced” you need to build a plethora of links from other places to pass enough link-flow to that page to create hub status.
Once embued with link-flow, the links from that page are gargantuan in comparison and pass targeted ranking factor to the primary landing page. In other words, an old tactic called “link insurance” i.e. linking to your links or in this instance creating an excess of link flow to a page (that is not designed to rank, but rather pass it on) silently as a link in the chain transfers its function to the surrounding links (when required).
To take it a step further, noindex, follow the category page (to make sure it does not interfere with the rankings of the target pages) and then rinse and repeat this from multiple category or Tier 2 “supporting pages” that serve as places designed to catapult other pages into the spotlight.
More specifically, in terms of the outer vs. inner ring of sites, build up your outer ring / pages and use them to rank your inner ring “most important” landing pages with tiered layers as a proxy.