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.

Sales Cycle
While it is important to understand how your keywords are ranking and whether your overall traffic is increasing or decreasing, these numbers are not what determine your ROI (return on investment). What you actually need to know is how many conversions you have, or what percentage of your website visitors convert to sales. To monitor this, and decide how your SEO is actually performing, you need to track each step of your sales cycle.

  • Webforms: If you use any signup forms, such as Free Report, Make an Appointment, or Contact Us, you need to understand where those sign-ups actually come from. Are they responding to an ad or an email? Did they come from Google Search? Perhaps they clicked through from one of your social media channels.
    In Google Analytics, set up a Goal for each webform on your site. This allows you to gather data on every single webform signup. You can then run reports that will show you exactly how many webform leads were generated from each of your marketing channels. SEO is one of your marketing channels, so you will know exactly how well your SEO campaign is performing in generating signups.
  • E-Commerce: If you actually sell products on your website, then e-commerce tracking is absolutely essential. Some shopping cart providers already have tracking installed, so you simply need to find out from your provider how to turn it on. If it is not already part of your shopping cart, talk to your web developer, as you will need a bit of custom coding. Once it is set up and running, you will be able to run a Google Analytics report that includes all of your transactions and revenue data, and see exactly how much revenue comes from SEO.
  • Phone Calls: If you set up appointments and/or make sales over the telephone, then phone call tracking is a crucial element. This uses DNI, or dynamic number insertion, to display different phone numbers to different website visitors, depending on how they got there. For example, you can set up one phone number for Google AdWords, another number for Facebook, and yet another number for those who click on your site in Search (AKA, SEO prospects). To see how your SEO is doing, simply track the number of phone calls that come in from the dedicated SEO phone number.
  • CRM: CRM, or customer relationship management, keeps track of your leads from initial contact through closing the sale. This is especially useful for businesses with a long sales cycle or several steps that occur before the final sale. Now that you know where your webform or phone leads come from, you can continue to track each lead to find out what percentage of SEO leads actually result in sales. You can use dedicated CRM software, such as Salesforce, or simply track each lead manually on a spreadsheet.

Tracking the results of your SEO campaign can seem difficult and even overwhelming. Like any other task, though, it is simply a matter of breaking it down into a sequence of achievable steps. Once you start tracking, identify a few key areas to tweak, and then give it several weeks. Tracking is a marathon, not a sprint, and it takes time for the effects of each change to become clear. With a bit of practice, you will be able to track and tweak your SEO with ease.

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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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