If you’re just starting out with a new SEO project (either internally or with your web vendor), you’ll want to measure its success. Luckily, SEO is one of the many tactics that can be tracked closely so you can make informed decisions about next steps and strategy going forward.
With so many tools and platforms available to measure results, though, the big question is: Where can you get the best insights?
Google Search Console
Your first stop should be Google’s own Search Console. Often overlooked, the Search Console gives you deep insight into how the search engine is viewing the health of your website. For example, you’ll find messages for manual penalties such as spam, malware and more. These are items you’ll definitely want to be aware of and get corrected if you should find them in your account.
Beyond those messages, you’ll find important information about keywords that are driving traffic to your website, crawl errors that Google has experienced while working through your site and insight into any other errors that might be hurting your search engine performance. Additionally, you can test your robots.txt and sitemap.xml files, making it easy to correct any errors.
The best part about Search Console (besides being free!) is the data is retroactive. You can set it up today and see historical data for your site even if this hasn’t been on your list in the past.
Search Console should be on your daily (or at least weekly) list of stops for website analytics.
Speaking of Google Analytics, the tried-and-true analytics platform is a great way to measure how your SEO efforts are paying off.
Some quick ideas for using Google Analytics to measure your SEO performance include:
Watching organic traffic trends. You can find this data under Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Channels. Don’t be afraid to dig a bit deeper to find meaningful trends.
Using specific goals to track conversions from your organic search audience.
Drilling down to see how specific audiences who originated from organic search are performing. For example, how are mobile users finding and interacting with your content? Could that inform the focus of your SEO efforts?
Building a dashboard that includes data telling your organic search story. This might include organic keywords, top landing pages for organic traffic and the source of your organic traffic, for example.
SEO Platforms and Rank Checkers
There are many great platforms available for tracking your overall SEO health. Some are all-in-one solutions while others specialize in one task. Here are some of my favorites:
AuthorityLabs – A simple, effective rank tracker that measures trends in your site’s rankings. Additionally, they can help track your results on a local basisThey have great export functionality for reporting, too.
SEMrush – More of a keyword analysis tool, but also helps with competitive information and overall performance of your own organic/paid efforts. This may be a tool that helps kick off your projects, too.
Moz – One of the all-in-one platforms that offers functionality such as keyword research, SEO project tracking and dashboards for much of your website data.
Putting It All Together
It might seem overwhelming to see all of the options available. However, setting up the right tools for your situation is key. You may be able to get all you need out of Google Analytics, or you might really enjoy Moz as an all-in-one solution.
You can also work with your web partner to help set all of this tracking up or turn over responsibility to them completely. A thorough partner will insist on showing you these reports and using the data to make decisions about next steps for your site’s SEO strategy.