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If you’re reading this blog post, my guess is you’ve realized that the Yellow Pages and other forms of traditional advertising no longer yield an acceptable return on investment. You’ve moved your advertising spend into online marketing and have hired an SEO company.
At this point, you’ve cut a couple of checks and you’re starting to wonder—what exactly am I paying these people to do? And for that matter, is it working? Is your phone ringing more than it was before? Maybe, but you’re not sure. Your website is getting more traffic, but is that traffic qualified?
If you’re like most business owners, you’re sick of spending money on advertising strategies without seeing tangible results. Few things are as frustrating as running an advertising campaign and not knowing exactly what you got from it.
The same is true of your SEO campaign. So in this blog post, I’ll answer the FAQ, “how can I tell if my SEO company is doing a good job?”
How to Measure SEO Success
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. You can’t win the game if you don’t know the score. *Insert other clichés here.* So what does SEO success look like? Is it something you can even measure? Should I gauge it by the number of keywords I rank for, the number of Facebook fans I have, the number of links pointing to my website? HALP.
First, if your SEO company tells you that SEO success can’t be tangibly measured, kindly show them the door. On the Web, everything can and should be tracked. The world’s best SEO companies always put tracking, data collection, and analysis before SEO tactics like adjusting website code and site structure, onsite content, and offsite factors. (And side note: you can’t accurately track SEO results with Google Analytics alone!)
If you’re like many business owners, you probably rely heavily on your organic search rankings to gauge and measure your SEO performance.
Organic rankings are important. But if you want to outperform your less sophisticated competitors, you should recognize that organic rankings are the least important measure of SEO success (i.e. pay no attention to those “we’ll get you #1 on Google” emails you receive from purported “SEO experts”).
There are several problems with relying on organic rankings to determine your SEO success. First, personalized search makes it difficult to determine your actual ranking. Just because you rank first on your computer doesn’t mean you rank first when someone else performs the same search.
Second, just because you rank first for a certain keyword doesn’t mean that will drive qualified visitors and leads to your site. A top organic ranking for the wrong keyword phrase might generate no traffic at all or it might generate traffic, but no business!
Finally, even if your rankings do drive qualified visitors to your website, what do those visitors do once they get there? If your SEO company has done a poor job of optimizing your content and basic site layout for conversions, your rankings aren’t doing you much good, are they?
Non-Branded Organic Traffic
If you’re interested in growing your business, you want to focus on driving traffic to your site from non-branded searches (i.e. people searching for your services and products but who didn’t previously know about your company).
Your SEO company should be able to track and report whether or not your non-branded organic traffic has increased since you invested in SEO services.
Leads from Non-Branded Organic Traffic
To quote my boss, the great Ben Landers, “traffic without leads SUCKS.” (He sure has a way with words, doesn’t he?) Your SEO company should be able to not only tell you how many non-branded visits you’re getting, but also how many leads you’re getting from those visits. And not just Web leads, but phone leads as well. We call this your visit-to-lead conversion rate.
So what’s a good website conversion rate? It depends on your industry, but here are some good general rules of thumb. Visit-to-lead conversion rates for necessary home services like HVAC and plumbing tend to exceed 15 percent. Visit-to-lead conversion rates for higher ticket or non-necessary home services (like bathroom or kitchen remodeling), tend to be in the neighborhood of 1-4.5 percent. B2B services companies, like fire protection companies, can expect visit-to-lead conversion rates between 5-8 percent.
Setting and Meeting Your SEO Expectations
Now that you know how you should measure your SEO success, it’s important that you relay these SEO expectations (“sexpectations” for short. Actually, no. Don’t shorten that.) to your SEO company early on in your relationship. Your SEO company needs to be able to prove it’s met or is working to meet these expectations. If your expectations aren’t feasible, your SEO company should let you know early on.
SEO Is a Long Term Investment
Ultimately, don’t forget that SEO is a long term investment and its results and rewards are not immediate. At Blue Corona, we recommend investing in SEO for at least 12 months to truly assess if it’s working for your business.
But if you’ve read this blog post think your SEO company isn’t doing a good job, let us show you the Blue Corona difference. Our goal is to be the best analytical, data-driven online marketing and SEO company on the planet! We do this by offering the following to all of our SEO clients:
- • A dedicated Account Manager, someone that understands business and SEO, to be your guide
- • Detailed monthly reports (you can actually understand) that connect SEO performance to your bottom line
- • A support team that includes an analyst, web designer/developer, and a dedicated professional copywriter
- • Access to our proprietary analytics software (better data drives better results)
Not sold yet? Check out our client testimonials or enter your website into the box below. We’ll evaluate what your current SEO company is doing well and what could be improved:
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About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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