So how to you know if your optimization efforts are paying off? Sure, you can look at rankings, but that only tells you if you’re ranked. You can assume from that you’re getting traffic (which can be a dangerous assumption), but still, that doesn’t tell you much about the value of the optimization efforts.
Unless you look at analyics, (beyond traffic data), you’ll never know if optimization is providing true value. I’m not discounting the traffic data by any means. In fact a good pre- and post-optimization snapshot of your traffic can provide immense value. But beyond there, you want to see how the page actually performs with your visitors.
Proper optimization means doing more than optimizing for rankings. It means optimizing for visitors as well. And if implemented correctly, after optimization, analytics should show improvements in bounce rate, engagement and whether or not that page provides valuable assistance in moving visitors through the conversion funnel.
If that’s what your data shows you, then your optimization is successful. But over time, those trends may not hold. When that happens, you need to go back and make changes designed to improve where the page is failing.
The goal of web marketing, obviously, is to create a positive impact on your bottom line. Not every SEO change is a winner, but overall, the trends need to show steady growth and improvement. While time can work in your favor, it can also work against you. Over time, strategies lose impact, algorithm signals change and content can become outdated.
What you did two years ago may have been effective at one time, but you can’t coast on that. You have to review keywords to make sure they are still relevant, update your content and make sure that you’re addressing visitor’s needs today, not their needs of yesterday.
But if you are not assessing your analyics data, you won’t really see the impact old optimization has on your site. You may feel the decline in business, but you likely won’t know why. Without that understanding, you’re likely to come to false conclusions and make bad decisions about how to correct the situation.
Analytics provides a goldmine of data, but you have to dig to find those valuable nuggets. Everything else is just taking a shot in the dark. You might hit upon something valuable, or you might not. Analytics gives you the best opportunity for keeping your web marketing campaign fresh.