Ed Note: Don’t miss today’s webinar with Phil Frost: “5 Rules for Winning in the New World of Search” where he’ll explain what you need to do (and what you need to avoid!) to get your website ranking high in Google!
Peter Drucker famously said, “What gets measured, gets improved.”
That’s true with everything, especially search engine optimization (SEO). There’s simply no way to improve your SEO results unless you’re using the right measurement tools.
What exactly do you need to measure? Just rankings right? Wrong! Rankings are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to monitoring your SEO efforts. That’s why I put together this list of 5 tools that every business needs to be successful with SEO.
As you’ll see, each tool provides an answer to a critical SEO question. That’s the key takeaway. Regardless of the exact tools you use, you must be able to answer the five questions below …
1. Are Your SEO Traffic and Conversions Trending Up or Down?
You’ll notice the first question is not about your search engine rankings. More important than rankings is the amount of traffic and conversions (leads and sales) you’re generating from SEO.
To measure your traffic and conversions from SEO, you’ll need to install Google Analytics, a powerful and completely free website analytics tool.
Once Google Analytics is installed properly on your website, then you’ll easily be able to report on and see if your search engine traffic is trending up or down. Plus, when you set up conversion tracking (aka Goals), then you’ll see how many conversions were generated directly from your SEO traffic.
2. Can Google Index Your Website Without Errors?
Before your website has a shot at ranking on the first page, Google must first crawl your website and store it in the search engine Index. During this process to index your website, Google could run into errors.
For example, Google may find broken links or pages that take too long to load. Some pages may be inadvertently telling Google to not index them by using what’s called a “noindex” tag. Lastly, it’s even possible for a website to completely block the Google bot from crawling the website, which means no pages would ever show up in the search results!
To identify errors like this, make sure you set up your Google Search Console account (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools). Once you set up your account, you’ll get alerts if Google finds errors on your website or if they issue your website a penalty that would hurt your rankings.
3. Are Your Rankings Improving?
First, it’s important to address a common misconception that all you need to do is check Google to find your rankings. I’ve talked to many business owners that check their rankings religiously by searching in Google.
Ever since Google started to personalize the search results, manually checking your rankings was no longer effective. In fact, it can be very misleading!