Hopefully, by reading parts one and two of this blog series, you guys are feeling more and more comfortable with the idea of SEO. In this final post, we want to make to make this SEO overview a little more actionable for you. We will go over some of the many tools that SEOs use and how to measure and evaluate your efforts.
The great thing about this whole process is that you aren’t completely on your own. There are several different elements offered that will help you along the process. Because search engines want to be able to easily access websites’ content, they encourage SEO and provide a variety of tools to do so. They also encourage certain practices that website creators can use to make SEO easier, as stated below.
Sitemaps. Sitemaps are files that you can create that give search engines directions on how to navigate through your website as well as to find areas on your site that they would probably miss on their own. In order to learn more about sitemaps you can go towww.sitemaps.org, and you can create one of your own at www.XML-Sitemaps.com.
Robots.txt. This is a file that you can find on a website’s root directory that instructs search engines how to navigate your site. Site owners can use the robot to indicate which parts of their website they would not like automated web crawlers (search engines) to travel to and where to go to find the sitemap. Interested in knowing more? Moz can help you out.
In addition to these and other such robots, both Google and Bing offer webmaster tools to assist with search-friendly pages. Here are the links:
Finally, Moz has a website that can also provide similar assistance for your website. It’s called the Open Site Explorer.
Measuring and Evaluation
The key to successful SEO is being able to track and measure certain aspects and evaluate what is going well and where you need to improve. When evaluating SEO, there are specific things that you will want to measure:
The Traffic Sources to Your Site. At the end of a certain time period (it’s best to evaluate at the end of each month), you will want to take note of all of the different traffic sources to your site, whether they be from referral traffic, direct traffic or search traffic. If you know where all your traffic comes from, you will be able to determine where you need to improve. In addition, you will be able to track this traffic over a long period of time. If traffic temporarily spikes but doesn’t remain high in the long-run, this didn’t do much for you.
Both Visits and Conversion Rate By Specific Keywords. It is obviously very important to determine which practices are actually getting you the results that you desire. Not only will this tell you what is working, but it can also help you further improve these rankingsfor conversions, as well as help you to determine the best possible landing page for these hot key words.
The Amount of Your Site’s Pages that Receive Search Engine Traffic. By knowing which of your site’s pages are drawing in traffic from search engines, it will give you an idea of how many of your pages are included in the search engine’s index. The more pages you have included, the far more successful you will be (especially if you have a large website).
These are just some of the many things you can look at and measure. For a more complete list, you can visit this blog post: Choosing Web Analytics Key Performance Indicators. Wondering where exactly you will find these analytics? The truth is, there are many services online that offer great analytics, but we are particularly partial to Google Analytics.
Finally, we’re done with our three-part blog series on SEO! Remember, search engine optimization is complicated, and we are not claiming to have covered everything, so outside research/ advice from an expert is always recommended, but after reading these you should have a much better idea of how to get your website better search rankings. Feel free to leave any additional pieces of advice in the comments!