Many web development firms claim to offer SEO services as part of their web development packages, but few have the expertise to do so effectively.
There is no special sauce for number one search engine rankings. It requires hard work writing content, fixing code, building links, and actively participating in online communities over many months or years. The vast majority of SEO work will not be obvious to the layman.
So how can you measure the efficacy of your SEO company?
The Layman’s SEO Timeline:
Months 1 and 2: Number of Indexed Pages
Indexed pages are website pages which have been crawled and stored by a search engine. A page must be indexed in order to show up when a user searches for a term. To determine how many pages are indexed, enter ‘site:yourdomain.com’ in Google’s search bar. You should see the number of indexed pages increasing within the first two months of SEO work.
The image above shows that this website, mdseo.net, currently has 19 pages indexed in Google. The website has just three posts and is only three months old. I am fairly happy with this result. Check the number of pages your website has indexed on a monthly basis. If your SEO company is creating content like it should be, then you should see this number increase.
Months 3-6: Visitors To Your Website
All firms offering SEO services should offer visitor tracking services of some sort. Google analytics is by far the most popular visitor tracking software. It provides detailed information about those who visit your website including: geographic location, referring website, and browser information.
You should see an increase in the number of visitors to your website after several months of SEO work.
Months 6+: Search Engine Position
Search engine position can be difficult to track, but if you are paying an SEO firm, the only true measure of success is where you rank for important keywords.
Which search terms are important?
Try entering some keywords related to your industry in the Google Keyword Tool. Couple these terms with locations in your target market that you think people might search for. For example, the keyword phrases “md seo” and “maryland seo” are listed as having roughly 4,000 local searches per month. If I were a plumber I might check the phrases “rockville plumber” and “maryland plumber.
Where do I rank?
Sign out of your google account and enter your keyword phrases into Google. This should give you an approximation of where you rank. I say approximation because Google may remember you, and if you click on your own website each time you search for it then its position in your searches may be different than for the average user.
There are services that automate this task. We are developing one that will likely be open to the public by the time this post has many readers. Please contact us to request a trial of our software. Who knows? We may let you into our beta tests.
Months 6+: Aggregate Leads
Counting the number of leads is likely the most obvious way of measuring the efficacy of your SEO company, but it often takes many months before your company’s efforts will pay off. It is likely you will have spent a considerable sum with an SEO firm before results are this obvious.
Automatic Monthly Reports:
We are furiously working to release our SEO tracking software to the public. Contact us if you would like to help beta test our SEO tracking software or if you would like a free SEO audit.