One Year In, Is Your SEO Effort Paying Off?

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analyzing seo

It takes a long time to really see SEO results, and if you’re a company owner managing an entire company then it takes even longer to really notice the affects. It’s important you not only have a system in place to evaluate your SEO services throughout the week, but you should also have a way to gauge SEO efforts as a whole.

If you’re a newer company or you’ve just started with SEO recently this is even more important, and there are some key questions you should be asking yourself after one year to analyze SEO performance.

Have you seen a jump in keyword position, traffic, or conversions?

In general, these are the three major metrics you should be looking at to analyze SEO performance if you’re doing a quick analysis of your team after one year as a company owner. If you’re part of the SEO team, you’ll likely be looking at many more metrics to improve the overall numbers of the following three metrics:

  • Your first metric to analyze is keyword position. This is a huge part of SEO and will help your website get in front of the eyes of a targeted audience. If your SEO efforts are working, primarily your content strategy, you should see some of your top keywords do better and better in the SERPs.
  • The next metric to look at is traffic. If you’re doing well on the keyword front, more people should be clicking on your website; thus bringing you more traffic. Of course bounce rate is also important, but in general your traffic metrics should be increasing steadily if your SEO is being completely successfully.
  • Finally, look at your conversions. Your ultimate goal for completing SEO in the first place is to get people to your website and then get them to convert. The content and design of your landing pages is sometimes under the SEO team’s control, but in general looking at your conversion rates also has to do with sales and other departments. It’s a team effort definitely, but remember that SEO is a huge piece to the conversion puzzle.

Again, it’s very important to remember that which metrics to look at is a huge topic and deals with setting up goals (ex: how many people downloaded an eBook, filled out a content form, subscribed to your website, etc.), all of which can help you form conclusions about your SEO success. For a more detailed look, check out this article.

Has our social engagement improved?

Social engagement may not be considered a ranking factor for Google (yet), but it’s a great way to see if people are finding your content engaging and finding your company in general. You can find these metrics on Google Analytics as well as social media tools such as SocialBro or Buffer. After one year you should see a substantial improvement in your social engagement since it’s your first year—you should have started at zero so things should be looking up!

It’s worth noting that you can also “SEO” your social accounts, meaning you can optimize them so they show up in a social search, and this is usually also a good analysis of your SEO.

Have we gotten any penalties over the last year?

You should always reflect on the Google penalties you receive after on year. Even if you fixed the problem, go back and discuss what went wrong and talk about what plans you have in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This won’t take long, but it’s important to reflect back.

Has there been an algorithm update over the past year? If so, how did we do?

Google algorithm changes and updates can have a major affect on your website. Chances are even if you’re the company owner and not working directly with the SEO department, you noticed if something changed drastically (for the good or for the bad). But sometimes you see small changes that may go unnoticed by you. In fact, unless you’re knee-deep in the SEO world you may not have realized there was even an update.

After one year, take a look back at the updates that occurred here and try and view your Analytics during that time period. Did you see a change even slightly? If so, did you improve by the time the next update hit? You should also be talking with your team about which updates worked well for you and which didn’t. For example, Penguin updates indicate a spam issue whereas Panda updates discuss content.

Have we earned any backlinks from authoritative sources?

Backlinks can come in all shapes and sizes, and again this goes back to making sure that your company is noticed and mentioned online. Oftentimes it’s up to guest blogging. But there are a few other things to keep in mind when it comes to a link building strategy that will help gauge your success over this past year and help analyze SEO performance:

  • Have we been included in any resource posts or major publications? Take some time to see if you’ve been included in any resource posts. This will help let you know you’re on the right track, and if you didn’t make it happen in year one then make this a priority for the upcoming year.
  • Do we now have the connections with websites we hoped to earn through SEO yet? Another huge part of SEO is forming relationships, which you can learn more about here. It can be incredibly tough to form relationships with some of the top publications, but you should be able to earn guest articles or start connecting on social media with some of the more major industry-specific publications. Relationship building is an ongoing process and in some cases it could take over one year, but for the most part you should have a few relationships to show for your hard work.

Once again, guest posting is a great way to improve your backlink profile, but you have to make sure that you’re doing it right. Check out this article to learn guest blogging tips that will help improve your SEO while also helping readers.

Has anything changed on my website?

Part of a successful SEO strategy is making website changes to improve navigation and user experience. The first year is a great time to start testing changing and making improvements, so if you haven’t seen any changes come through you may be in trouble. Things like breadcrumbs, more videos, better categories, internal links, and social sharing buttons may all be things you see as a way to improve user experience and SEO.

Are you still creating content with readers in mind?

This is one question you can find the answer to by simply doing a little bit of reading on your website. As a company owner this is probably something you should be doing regardless, but sometimes it’s easy to get pulled in different directions. It’s important that when you visit your blog and read a few of your guest articles, they are on topics that are relevant to your audience and they sound natural.

Too many company owners focus on the SEO numbers they see in Google Analytics (keywords, traffic, etc.), but it’s the actual content that really matters. In other words, you can improve these numbers by writing for Google bots and not for readers, but this isn’t a route you want to take.

Google is slowly starting to put more and more things in place to penalize sites that are writing for the bots and not for readers, so you don’t want to fall into this category. It’s up to the SEO team to focus on quality content for users, so this is a great question to ask after one year.

Do you have a system in place to analyze SEO performance and gauge SEO success for the upcoming year?

The sooner you can make sure you have a strategy in place so you can have an SEO audit every 6 months, the better. If you are not keeping track of your numbers and the changes you’re making throughout the year, it’s going to be tough to see where you want to improve. Learn more about completing an SEO audit and what it takes to stay organized here.

Are there any questions we should add to the list?

Examining SEO Results photo via Shutterstock


HigherVisibility HigherVisibility is part of the Small Business Trends Publisher Channel, offering a full range of professional interactive marketing services. The mission of HigherVisibility is to provide clients “Valuable Solutions with Visible Results.” HigherVisibility works with companies of all sizes, offering advice on topics ranging from keyword research to algorithm updates.

2 Reactions
  1. With the amount of customization happening to search engine results based on your search history, whether you’re logged into a Google account or not, etc. how would someone go about measuring where they rank on certain keywords?

  2. Great post, thanks. Two main SEO Elements in 2015 is Content + Authoritative Backlinks. The saying is correct: Content is King but Engagement is Queen. Have to keep on producing and publishing kick content and drive relevant and quality links in order to build your brand and traffic online.