SEO Tracking 101: What to Track and How to Track It

SEO tracking is a critical component of search engine optimization which will allow you to see which Web pages are doing well and which need an SEO overhaul.

TM0810_searchglobe copyAs you probably already know, tracking is a critical component of search engine optimization (SEO). After all, you cannot possibly know what is working well and what still needs to be tweaked unless you track your results. Watching your trends over time will let you know how your website is performing overall, as well as which Web pages are doing well and which need an SEO overhaul.

Yet, with so much available data out there, it can be tough to know where to focus your tracking. Here are the essential elements that every business owner should track, and how to go about tracking them.

Keyword Rankings
The most obvious way to check your keyword rankings is to simply type your keyword phrases into Google and see what pops up. Unfortunately, your results will be heavily skewed. This is because Google personalizes search results based on previous browsing history. Since you are likely a frequent visitor of your own site, Google will artificially inflate your site’s rankings when you search for your keyword phrases from your own computer.

To get around this, you can use Google Analytics to learn your true, unbiased keyword rankings. Make sure you have an account at www.google.com/analytics and that the relevant code has been added to every page of your website. Also ensure that you have a Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools) account at www.google.com/webmastertools and that the two accounts are linked.

Under Google Analytics’ Acquisition tab, click on Search Engine Optimization and then Queries. This will show you the keywords for which you are currently ranked, along with additional information for each keyword like the number of searches, your average Google ranking for that keyword, and your average click through rate. These numbers are unbiased, so they will not change based on your browsing history.

Search Engine Traffic
Your search engine traffic is all of the organic (non-paid) traffic that visits your website from search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Under the Acquisition tab in Google Analytics, click on All Traffic, then Channels, then Organic Search to view your search engine traffic trends.

The precise numbers here are not what’s most important. Instead, look for general trends over the past 6 to 12 months. Do you see a general climb? If so, then you are doing well. If you see a general decline, then your SEO needs attention. Also note any major spikes, whether upward or downward, and see if you can determine the reason for them.

Author: Phil Frost

Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on Forbes.com, Inc.com, MSN.com, and many other major business media outlets.

Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.

Want more SEO tips? Get your free copy of Phil’s Ultimate SEO Checklist. Want more AdWords tips? Get your free copy of Phil’s Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist.

3 thoughts on “SEO Tracking 101: What to Track and How to Track It”

  1. Contrary to what some people, even some SEOs, believe, there is no sure-fire SEO strategy that will get results for each keyword or site. It’s a long trial and error process that requires a lot of patience. You have to be willing and able to start from scratch if your approach is not quite working. This just goes to show why one should never trust SEOs you promise extraordinary results within ridiculously tight timeframes.

  2. I like how the article gives good explanation both on how-to and mindset when it comes to tracking data. It’s not that hard if you do it step by step and slowly anyone can monetize their data to an extend. Obviously, after a certain point expertise comes into play and an SEO expert is vital to going the extra step. Also, like mentioned above, it’s a marathon so there is no need to rush as it will give no better data or results.

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