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Measuring Success For Your Local SEO Program In 5 Easy Steps
First quarter is over, which means that businesses should be reviewing their SEO progress thus far. Columnist Rachel Lindteigen shares her process for conducting a quarterly business review to evaluate local SEO performance.
April marks the beginning of Q2 — which means you should be reviewing your local SEO program’s performance over the last quarter to see how you’ve done. Did you achieve the goals you had for Q1? If you’re not sure, then it’s time to walk through a quarterly business review (QBR) so you can find out whether your strategy is working or whether it should be adjusted now for the next quarter.
What should you review during your QBR? You’ll want to look at all the goals you laid out initially and your program’s overall SEO performance. You can track it any way you want, though I like to lay the data out in Excel spreadsheets and look at both year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter performance to get a clear picture of what’s happening.
Note: When making quarterly comparisons, be sure to keep seasonality in mind.
1. Review Overall Traffic Numbers
Log in to your analytics platform and review the traffic from January 1, 2015 to March 31, 2015. How does it compare to the same timeframe last year? How does it compare to last quarter? It’s good to know what your year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter percent change is for key performance metrics like overall traffic.
If you’re using Google Analytics, here’s how to find this information: In the left column, scroll down and select Acquisition, then choose All Traffic and Channels.
This will update the screen to the right and show you daily traffic information by channel. You can compare to the Previous Year or Previous Period (quarter) by clicking on and adjusting the date range in the top right.
2. Review Conversions & Profit
If your site has an e-commerce portion, review your order and revenue information year-over-year as well. What does the trend show? Determine your conversion rate (traffic/orders) and compare it to last year.
3. Look At Your Mobile Traffic
With Google’s new mobile algorithm rolling out on April 21, it’s critical to know what percentage of your traffic is from mobile so you know if you need to adjust your mobile strategy.
To find your mobile data in Google Analytics, navigate to Audience > Mobile > Overview on the left side. This will update your center screen again and show your mobile, tablet and desktop traffic.
Take note of your mobile percentage this year/quarter versus last year/quarter. If a majority of your traffic is from mobile — or if mobile traffic is increasing significantly — you need to make sure your site is mobile-friendly. (You can do that here.)
4. Compare New Vs. Returning Visitors
You’ll also want to know the number of new vs returning visitors coming to your site. Go to the Audience section on the left side and choose Overview — this will update basic information about your site’s visitors.
Note your new vs. returning visitors this year and last year.
5. Review Your Referral Traffic
Look at your referral traffic, paying special attention to sites like Yelp and Google Maps. How are you performing year-over-year? How are you performing quarter-over-quarter?
Are you receiving more or less referral traffic than before? Are you happy with the percentages? Is the growth what you expected? If not, you may need to focus on optimizing for these local sites during the upcoming quarter.
Did You Hit Your Goals?
Now that you have all of your data compiled, you’ll want to review the metrics. How did your site perform? Are you up or down for your most important metrics? If you’re up in all metrics, that’s great — but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to stop working and expect your progress to continue.
It’s time to review your Q1 goals and see how you performed. What were your goals? Were you looking to drive new traffic to the site? If so, what was your year-over-year (or quarter-over-quarter) new traffic percentage? Did you reach your goal? If not, what can you do differently for Q2 to try to support this goal?
If your goal was to increase overall year-over-year traffic by 20%, for example, then look at that. How much growth (or deficit) did you experience? Is 20% a realistic, attainable goal for your site? If it is and you didn’t hit it, what can you do differently? If it’s too aggressive a goal, consider if it should be adjusted for Q2 or if you should you change your tactics to have a better chance of success.
Finally, review your overall marketing plan to see what you’re doing to support your goals. What strategies and tactics have you laid out for the quarter? How successful were you in deploying them? What needs to be changed? You have a better chance of being successful and achieving your goals when you review your site’s performance on a quarterly basis.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.