If you’ve worked on SEO for your business website, you’re probably wondering if it’s working. Well, firstly, before starting on your SEO journey, you should ensure you have goals in mind, and that your site is equipped to measure the metrics that would indicate whether you have succeeded or failed in your goals.
There are a lot of ways to measure the effectiveness of an ongoing SEO campaign. You can look at total organic traffic to your site to see if that’s increasing. You can look at your keyword rankings to see if your website is ranking for more keywords or if your average ranking is increasing. Or you can look at specific keywords and see how you’re going there.
None of this matters though if all these increases aren’t leading to more business.
Sure, your site could be ranking number one for what you think is the best search term, but is it the best if it’s not sending you customers?
What To Look At To Tell If Organic Traffic Is The Right Traffic
So what is the “right” traffic for your site? Generally speaking that’s traffic that converts. Depending on your niche that conversion may be right away or it might be in the future. But the right traffic is the kind that brings you more business.
If your site is set up for optimal reporting, it’s time to take a look at some stats to see if your organic traffic is the right sort of traffic. All you need to do is compare how well your organic traffic is converting now compared to how well it was converting before your recent SEO campaign. Of course that only works if you’ve made some changes, but what if you just generally want to know?
In researching this article we saw a lot of different numbers for what a typical conversion rate for organic traffic was, but we weren’t happy with the sourcing. A lot of articles cited that a “good” conversion rate for search engine traffic is about 15-18% but none went into any explanation as to how they got this number. But let’s assume these numbers are correct. Is your site’s organic traffic getting this conversion rate? If it’s not, that may be an indication that you’re getting the wrong traffic from search, or that your site’s overall conversion rate isn’t great. Or you’re in a niche that just doesn’t get that kind of conversion rate. But how do you know?
The short answer is to simply compare your conversion rates to the conversion rates by channel for your site, but this data isn’t always available, especially if you’re a smaller business in an unusual niche.
So now what?
Try Investigating What Pages Organic Visitors Are Going To
The final option is to take a more granular approach. Look at the pages organic visitors are landing on and where they go from there.
You may see some typical behaviours such as:
- Organic visitors landing on a sales oriented page and bouncing. This may indicate that the types of searches sending people to this page aren’t searches with buying intent.
- Organic visitors clicking through a few pages then leaving. This is a little better. Maybe you’re getting visitors who aren’t quite ready to buy but they have an intention to in the future.
- Organic visitors land on your site and convert. Obviously this is optimal!
Obviously the above three scenarios are a relatively blunt explanation of a more granular approach and ultimately it takes a bit more of an examination, but these are the general trends you may see.
If users are bouncing, are they bouncing for a specific page or all pages? If they’re clicking through pages, does their journey typically end on a specific page? If they’re converting, is it usually on a specific page?
From there, look at patterns:
- When they bounce on a specific page but convert on others, what’s the difference in the search terms that bring users to these pages?
- If they leave on a specific page, what’s wrong with that page? This may not be a traffic problem, it may be a user experience problem.
As with a lot of things digital marketing, this is all common sense stuff, but this article aims to point you in the right direction.
What About Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are longer searches. Rather than searching for something like “Restaurant Mornington,” a long tail search that’s related may be “Best type of restaurant for a large birthday booking.” Long tail searches are typically less frequent but can be valuable. They’re also often difficult to plan for since they can be a little unexpected.
This is where a good blogging campaign comes in. Blogging is generally good for your site’s overall SEO for many reasons. However, it also opens your site up to some great long tail searches you wouldn’t know exist.
That being said, depending on the search, a long tail search may not have a lot of buying intent. However, it gets people to your site, expands brand awareness, and gives the possibility that the user will come back at a later date.
We mention this because if the majority of your organic traffic is landing on your blog and/or long tail searches, this is kind of a good and a bad thing.
Good because your blogging campaign is doing what it’s supposed to. Bad because it means the rest of your site may not be strong enough in terms of search engine optimisation. If this is the case your key landing pages may need some improvement.
There’s Never A Magic Bullet
As with everything there’s no magic bullet or one solution. There are a few indicators as to whether you’re getting the right traffic from search but ultimately it comes down to some investigation and some experience.
Stay curious and the rest will follow.