Module 11 - Monitoring Your Progress (Video)

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Video Transcript

SEO Basics Course. Module 11

Monitoring your Progress

OK lets recap!

In Module 1 we looked at SEO Scams and Cons so you can avoid the companies that could cause your website considerable harm.

Module 2 covered personalized search so you don't make the very common mistake made by many website owners and think you have good rankings when you don't!

In Module 3 we saw how Search Engines go about deciding who should be in their Search Results Pages and in what order they should rank.

Module 4 was all about how you can decide what you want to rank for in the SERPs so you don't waste your time trying to compete with much larger players or ranking for phrases no one searches!

Module 5 outlined how we can help search engines understand the basic structure of our website.

In Module 6 we went through how to check if the key elements of a web page are optimized.

In Module 7 we got to grips with how to audit and optimize our code without needing to know anything about programming to ensure it is correctly marked up for search engine bots to read and understand clearly.

Module 8 was all about structuring the pages of a website so search engines can understand the topic areas in which the site excels.

Module 9 covered key areas search engines look for in terms of security, page loading speed and content presentation and how you can shine in all of them.

In Module 10 we saw how you can get your website authority to boost it up the rankings by getting links from other respectable websites.

That's a lot of knowledge but now its vital that you monitor your website's progress to see what benefits you get from the SEO work you do. You should be asking questions like:

For which search terms are my rankings improving?

Which pages of my website work best?

How many of my visitors do what I hoped? Like buy a product, click or tap on an advert or sign up for a newsletter or service?

Top rankings take time and changes won't always be obvious in the search results themselves (remember Personalized Search?) but there are plenty of tools which will let you know if you are heading in the right direction.

The three that everyone should have are Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. There are links in the module text or below this video to tutorials which will help you set these up.

Lets take a very brief overview of these tools.

Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools will tell you, among other things, for different search terms:

how often you are appearing in searches

how often people are clicking through to your site

where you rank

your CTR, which is your click through rate. This is what percentage of people who see your website in the search results click through and visit. Its actually just your total clicks divided by total impressions and then times by one hundred but rather than having to fiddle with a calculator the consoles do this for you.

and there are handy graphs so you can see if any of these metrics are improving over time

Google Analytics will tell you about:

Your audience: How many visitors your website is getting, who they are, what devices they are using and a whole lot more.

Acquisition: How your visitors discover your website, which of those sources deliver the best visitors, how effective your advertising is if you pay for clicks.

Behavior: Which pages on your site are most popular, and which aren't doing so well, what routes do visitors follow through your website.

Conversions: How often are visitors carrying out the action you want - like buying a product, clicking on an advert or signing up for a service or newsletter

Google Webmaster Console and Bing Webmaster Tools are pretty easy to get around. Google Analytics, on the other hand, is very comprehensive but don't worry. Google has an excellent free course for Analytics which you'll find at their Google Analytics Academy . It'll help you learn the key features within hours. There's a link to this below the video and in the module text.

But, and here is the big but, knowing your stats is not the true key to unlocking the potential of these tools.

Its very common for webmasters to see the data, think they know what changes need to be made and then ... be completely baffled when their rankings crash.

So lets make sure that doesn't happen to you by learning two simple questions you should ask yourself all the time

Question One: Do I have enough data?

Let's go back to our carpentry website and imagine our page about Types of Wood got 12 visitors. Now lets say all 12 visitors who came to our page clicked the back button. In Google Analytics this would be reported as a 100% bounce rate

Should we make changes to the page. No!

Before you make any decision to change your website or content be sure you have at least 30 bits of data. In this example we need to wait until the page has had 30 visitors.

This is what statisticians refer to as the minimum sample size. Its why opinion poll companies can't make predictions about elections by asking 10 people. The amount of data is just to small to produce accurate results.

So always remember ... have at least 30 bits of data before taking action.

This is also a great way to spot dud SEO agencies or contractors fast. If they suggest making changes on very small sample sizes you know they're not competent and need to be dropped.

Question Two: What are your benchmarks?

Let's consider bounce rate again, the percentage of visitors who click the back button after arriving at your website instead of clicking a link or carrying out an action. What is a good bounce rate?

95%? 50%? 25%?

You would think the lower the bounce rate the better, right? The answer is however: all three could be good ... or bad. Some top ranking websites on the internet have bounce rates of 95% and yet they are incredibly successful and retain their position at the top of the search engines.

At the same time there are websites out there with 25% bounce rates that rank very badly. So what's going on here?

The information Google Analytics gives you is only relevant when you measure it against your competitors - these are your real benchmarks. If your competitors have a 98% bounce rate and you have a 90% bounce rate your website is performing much better than theirs in this area. Move on to improve other metrics.

But how can you tell what your competitors metrics are?

There are plenty of services out there which will provide you with that data such as SEM Rush or SEO PowerSuite. Links to these are below this video or in the module text.

Webmasters often get obsessed with one part of Google Analytics, wasting days trying to improve a measurement like Bounce even though it won't make any difference to their rankings.

Don't let yourself get distracted this way. Its the ultimate route to loosing focus and loosing your rankings because you could have been doing something better.

So now you know where you can monitor your SEO progress and how to use that data accurately to further improve your rankings. Its time to take a step back and understand SEO within the world of Online Marketing. That's in the next module.

Has this video highlighted issues with your SEO work or with a website you are working on but you don't know how to resolve them?

There are simply too many ways a website can be built for us to offer a comprehensive how to part to these tutorials however we would recommend the following steps.

Google it! If you know what platform your website is built on (say XCart or Wordpress) just try googling what you need. For example "How to make WordPress urls SEO friendly" to find out how you can make changes to the urls of your WordPress based site.

You'll be surprised how often issues have already been resolved by others and sometimes they have even created plugins so you can make the changes you need to without needing any technical skills.

If this doesn't resolve your issue you probably will need the help of a programmer. In this case see the 'Need Help' link below this video or in the module text for options.

That was module eleven, monitoring your progress. Next up Module twelve, SEO in online marketing, and, as they always say at the end of these videos, if you like what you saw, remember to subscribe.