If you want to lose weight, then what do you need to measure over time to gauge  your progress?  Don’t worry, this is not a trick question.  The answer is obviously to measure your weight.

How about how often?  Should you weigh yourself daily or monthly?

If you weigh yourself daily, then you’ll likely to see a lot of fluctuation.  From day to day you’ll naturally see your weight go up and down like a yoyo so it doesn’t really give you a clear picture of your progress.

For example, gaining a few pounds between yesterday and today doesn’t mean you should panic.  That could easily be water weight from drinking more water than usual.  On the flip side, losing a few pounds because you forgot lunch the other day should not be a reason to celebrate.

That’s why monthly or twice monthly measurements are more useful to see trends in a weight loss program.

Now let’s take a look at measuring your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.  If you want to improve your SEO, then what do you need to measure over time to gauge your progress?

How to Measure SEO Success (or Failure)


What Should You Measure To Gauge SEO Success?

The most likely answer to the question above is search engine rankings.  Is that what you were thinking?

Since SEO is all about ranking your website high in Google’s results, then logically we should be able to measure SEO success or failure by keeping a close eye on rankings.  But is that what SEO is really all about?  As a business owner or marketer, do you really care about rankings?

Or, do you really care about all those sales generated from ranking high in Google’s results?

I hope you care more about sales than about rankings. :)

Again, when the goal is to lose weight, we measure our weight over time.  When the goal is to drive sales, then guess what we need to measure?  That’s right, sales!

Sales from search engine traffic is the real measure of SEO success or failure.  If you’re tracking rankings alone, then you’re not getting the big picture.


How Do You Measure Sales From SEO?

For e-commerce websites, I recommend you set up Google Analytics e-commerce tracking. Once everything is configured properly, you’ll start to see sales and revenue data in your Google Analytics reports.  Simply run the Organic Search traffic report to see how many sales were generated from SEO.

For everyone else, there is unfortunately no quick and easy tool to install.  To track phone calls, I recommend you set up dynamic phone number insertion (DNI) so that your prospects call a different number based on where they came from.  For example, you could have phone number A for your print ads and phone number B for search engine traffic.

To track webform leads, I recommend a simple tracking code that is submitted automatically by the webform to your customer relationship management (CRM) system.  That will allow you to track your leads and sales from all your different marketing campaigns, including SEO.

Again, there is no push button solution for tracking off-line sales from SEO.  But it’s well worth the effort to set this up.  Otherwise, you’ll never be able to measure real success or failure.  It would be like trying to lose weight without ever being able to weigh yourself!