There is no easy way around it, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results take time. The problem though, is that while companies wait to see if their current SEO strategies pan out, marketing decisions and other resource allocation discussions need to occur. Below are a few metrics that can be looked at in the meantime to gain a better sense of how the implemented strategies are functioning.Among the many powerful tools hidden within Google Analytics, is the ability to see how comparable sites within your own industry are doing.1 This valuable tool can allow companies to see that their efforts are improving their own results against a realistic metric of what the rest of the industry is doing. Like all of the tools in the Analytics tool box, this one should be used with a long view in mind, but it is another method of measuring the success of an SEO program. Google does not provide a site to site comparison as the information they use is based on anonymous industry data. There are many competitors in the field that do offer site to site views so that companies can see how they are stacking up against their direct competitors. 2
In addition to comparing your company’s search results to those in your industry, in bound linking, people linking back to your page, continues to be an important metric to watch. This year Google re-designed their analytics report to make this data easier to measure and follow. 3 This tool is an indicator that the company’s efforts are paying off, even though it may not be generating an immediate or dramatic improvement in SEO results. Much like everything else related to this type work it takes time for these links to mature and for them to translate into better SEO results. If the number of inbound links are increasing, a company can rest assured that they will see an improvement in their SEO results.
Google is all about encouraging companies to share more, be more social and produce content that is of value to visitors. With this in mind, it is very important to keep track of “social signals.4” Social signals are the “likes” and “+1’s” of the digital social world. These are the indicators that your company is both active socially and that the content provides value. While it is difficult to do a one-to-one correlation because these social signals come from a wide variety of sites and companies, these numbers should be very carefully watched. Generally speaking, having people re-share your content on a social media platform is invaluable and it speaks well of your brand. Beyond that, Google is paying very close attention to how companies function on social media sites and this is especially true with their own social network Google+. Google has direct access to all of the trends and metrics coming out of + and are able to feed that information into providing more (socially) relevant search results. This combined with authorship6 shows Google is making a very strong statement about how they expect companies to behave and how those actions will impact search results.
Improving SEO results takes time and it is understandable that companies might wonder if this investment of time and money was worth it. While you are waiting to see if your SEO strategy is paying off: Take a look at how you are doing compared to your industry and see if those numbers have changed over the past few months. Check on how many inbound links you have, and take a look at the sites that have linked to you. It is worth taking a few moments to thank them for linking to your content. Perhaps start a dialogue about what it was about your content they found valuable or what else they would like see. This kind of personal outreach is just the kind of behavior Google is trying to engender in the web. Finally, get to work on your social media presence. We’ve said it before, but make this someone’s full time job. Social media is too big and too important to be left to the back burner of an executives “to do” list. These strategies are all about maximizing the resources that are available to you and providing a better experience for your customers or clients.
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