SEO is an inevitable part of our digital world. In 2021, there was a 69% increase in budget allocations for search engine optimization processes, and that number is not looking to stop. But what goes into a strong SEO strategy? Where to start? How to keep up with rank tracking? We'll cover the search engine rankings questions and how to make a simple checklist on SEO rank tracking.
Let's get some basic things out of the way. When we talk about SEO ranking, we discuss the website's position for specific keywords on the search engine results page. Many factors influence website rankings, including organic search traffic, SEO optimization, backlinks, subject matter authority, user experience, content quality, site speed and others.
The higher your page ranks to the top of the search results page - the more credible it is. This will result in clicks and organic traffic to your site. So the purpose of high SEO rankings is to build trust in the eyes of the reader and Google search engine. And trust brings results.
Ranking top 5 on any given keyword will bring you around 67% more clicks. Given this, you should aim for at least the fifth position on every keyword relevant to your business.
Secondly, consider search intent. If you're already ranking No. 1 or 2 on the search, but still aren't getting results - you're probably ranking on keywords that are not relevant to your content.
You can also be ranking on keywords that are not searched enough, or your content is irrelevant compared to search intent.
To determine if a particular page or several landing pages are doing well, you must first assess their current SEO rankings.
The most popular platform to use in checking SEO rankings is Google Search Console. Here’s how it goes:
If you’re using third-party tools like Ahrefs, this is how you can check your keyword rank:
Several SEO tools can help you do that. They're generally called webmaster tools. Google Search Console and Ahrefs are great for this. Alternatively, you can find a whole list of free tracking tools over at SEO review tools. Keep in mind that every free tool is free for a reason, and you should check with several of them before continuing with your SEO efforts.
Tracking SEO progress takes SEO metrics. To determine the most important SEO metrics, you will need to be aware of your SEO goals. We'll talk more in-depth about setting up the goals in the following paragraph, but for now, let's focus on the key metrics most SEO specialists use:
Each one of these metrics needs to have a benchmark. Some of these benchmarks are measured by the time they need to be reached.
5. Bounce rate - good bounce rate is highly dependent on your industry. For B2B websites, the bounce rate ranges between 25-55%. Setting your benchmark in the middle of that can be a good start.
6. Site speed - the maximum site load speed should be no more than 3 seconds. Solve technical issues like image sizes or server load to increase the speed;
7. Backlinks - set a minimum amount of backlinks. Each backlink from others sites should also have the minimum ranking requirement (also aim for backlinks that rank top 5 or higher).
Example: Here you can see all metrics listed above in a single Whatagraph dashboard. This way, you can track all metrics every day. The information here comes from three different sources: Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Ahrefs.
That's quite the SEO metrics list. The example above includes some of the metrics that help determine your SEO performance. But with Whatagraph, you can build your own dashboard like this that includes metrics relevant to your websites.
Once you have your benchmarks, it's time to set goals.
Benchmark your goals first, then compare them against your desired goals. Now you will have a clear plan of action on which pages need fixing to rank higher. Here's what to keep in mind when setting goals:
Example: This is a working template that compares the benchmark against the goal. You can use it while setting up goals manually. So far, this keyword ranks alright but can be improved.
Every SEO campaign has one ultimate goal: conversions. Now conversions can be sales, but in the B2B world, conversions usually mean leads. So how do you keep track of your SEO leads?
First, you have to determine the actions that website visitors make to become a lead.
This can be a registration form, a Live Chat initiation, a subscription - anything that you find will help you sell.
Several tools can help track lead conversion:
Leads are the ultimate SEO goal. But there are others that benefit your SEO rankings and enhance your SEO strategy.
Quality content is the number one ranking factor that will help you get to the top of search results. You can optimize content for SEO, get lots of backlinks, and improve all technical aspects of your website. But if your content is not engaging, your website visitors won't engage with it and search engines won’t see you as an authority. Don’t skip out on content quality. It will help you rank higher.