With Search Engine Optimization (SEO) the broad goal is to increase your business by coming up in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) for the products and services you sell.
Sounds simple enough, right?
But getting from point A (someone searching) to point B (getting found) is where the challenge is. We’ve written many posts on how to specifically improve your SEO so I wanted to write something about how to gauge if your SEO is working properly by talking more about the broad strokes, or actual BENEFITS of a solid SEO program. This is less about how to technically rank high on Google and more about the benefits you can expect from a sound SEO program.
1. SEARCH YOURSELF
Sounds obvious but the first step we perform for any SEO client is to see where they currently rank for major categories related to their business. Notice I said “category.” A useful SEO program has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS. If people know the name of your business they will find you and so will the search engines. SEO is all about being found for the products and services you sell when people do NOT know the name of your business. So for Joe’s Kitchen Remodeling in Hackensack, NJ, do a search for “Kitchen remodeling Hackensack” and see who comes up. The results may surprise you as you may already be coming up on page one or nowhere to be found. Also note which of your competitors are showing up where you would like to be. Find out.
Here’s a COOL TOOL to quickly see where you do or don’t rank for specific keyword phrases related to your business:
The more you come up for keyword phrases related to your business the more frequently you’ll connect with people searching for what you have to offer. As I’m fond of saying: “Be the answer to the question!”
2. IS THE PHONE RINGING?
Our greatest indication that our SEO is effective is by how many phone calls we get each week from someone searching for “website designer New Jersey” This is one of our bread and butter money phrases. Notice that while we can technically build a website for anyone on Earth, we’ve chosen to target New Jersey-based searches in order to increase our odds of dominating page 1 of Google. With SEO, it’s more practical to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a larger pond. And for our business, we understand that many of our customers prefer to work with a local web developer even though we may never meet in person.
Based on our strategic keyword phrases, we get 2 to 5 calls a month directly from search and close about 20% of those inquiries. While this is substantially less than our closing ratio for referral business (which is north of 50%) that’s still not too shabby. We have noticed that the caliber of SEO generated calls are often tire kickers whose primary consideration is price, but again, even one or two new websites a month driven by SEO, where our average sale is $2,500, is nothing to sneeze at.
3. MORE VISITORS TO YOUR RETAIL LOCATION
And for those with a physical brick and mortar location, the only thing better than the phone ringing is the cash register ringing. If you are already getting good search engine rankings, understand which of your pages are ranking for specific searches. Remember, it’s NOT necessarily about your home page coming up. It’s about the specific keyworded landing page that was optimized specifically to capture search traffic. Keep in mind that your internal pages are actually MORE important than your home page for attracting search engine traffic. That’s because if you’ve organized your site properly with one page per product or service as we outlined in detail HERE people will arrive at the relevant page directly from Google, bypassing the home page altogether. Leverage that by making sure you have a measurable call to action on these optimized pages so you can gauge their effectiveness. Offering a coupon for first time visitors that they can download and bring into the store is a simple way to track results. That, and always asking people at checkout how they heard about you.
3.5 BUILD MORE LEADS
OK, so this is really three and a half ways to measure your SEO success. Because sometimes, no matter how warm the lead, prospects are not yet ready to buy. In this case, SEO can still attract relevant searches that can lead a visitor to sign up for your newsletter or special offer as well as signing up to follow you on social media so you can sell to them later. This is where SEO can be a very effective mouth of the sales funnel.