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Semalt Expert: How To Evaluate SEO Performance

How To Evaluate SEO Performance

How to evaluate SEO performance

Most e-commerce managers are obsessed with rankings. They are always searching on Google for something to indicate that their rankings are getting better. When they notice changes in the search engine results, they assume that their search engine optimization (SEO) program’s performance is flawless. Unfortunately, this is not always true.

Frank Abagnale, the Customer Success Manager of Semalt Digital Services, explains the real factors that influence your website’s ranking and performance.

Competition: What else is ranking?

Nowadays competition has outgrown the conventional organic search tactics used by competitors. Every e-commerce company owner wants the site to outrank their business rivals in order to improve visibility, get clicks and make a sale. However, most search queries set off elements in the search results that draw away attention from conventional organic results and push listings down the page.

Personalization: Who is ranking?

Today, rankings are highly customized to an extent that there are no longer impersonalized rankings for most searches. Basically, the rankings a consumer sees on his iPhone will be different from the rankings you see on your tablet or computer. As a result, no one can ever say with certainty “We rank first in Google!”

Normally, rankings are customized based on:

  • Location. This is the most common factor that influences personalization of rankings. When search engines determine the location of the user using a cell signal or device’s IP address, they deliver customized search results.
  • Device usage. Rankings that appear on smartphones are not the same as those appearing on a desktop or tablet. Mobile devices usually get links into apps. As a result, sites with mobile-friendly experiences will rank higher. If a consumer is searching for something on the iPhone, the results will be very different from what appears on your desktop results.
  • Search history. Every time you log into the search engine’s account, the search engine gets access to all your search history. A perfect example is when you log into your Gmail account on your computer, the search engine logs into your Google account and Google search. This information is used to customize the search results appearing on your device.
  • Social behavior. Using platforms such as Twitter and Google+, Google gets full access to your social behavior. This explains why some content from brands or friends is displayed in your search results, but is not displayed when other people initiate search queries.
  • Demographics. Search engines place every user into a demographic group using their past behavior to deliver highly targeted ads.

Based on the factors stipulated above, you now understand how search engine results are customized. These factors give a preview of why ranking report tools are likely to return impersonalized data for a consumer even when your ranking tools indicate that you are ranking first for your most valuable keyword.

A prospect may not see the same results from their end which means that they not likely to buy from you. This means that if a rank reporting tool cannot give accurate data to help your business generate income, then it is not a reliable tool to indicate performance.

Representation: What keywords to choose?

Tracking rankings means you choose a set of phrases and keywords that you would like to rank for and plot the performance of your site in ranking for those words. The phrases you choose have the potential to change the appearance of your performance.

Most of the time, companies find it easy to use phrases and keywords they are already ranking for including their brand or words with low competition. This usually makes it appear as if their SEO performance is flawless even when it is not.

On the other hand, individual pages can rank for thousands of phrases with very little demand. This is based on the concept of many keywords that represent 1,5,15 or 60 searches monthly which all add up to drive traffic compared to high-value keywords that you track in your ranking report. Tracking keywords you consider as high value leaves you blind to the hidden potential of long tail searches.

Temporality: When did it rank?

Rankings are quite fluid and temperamental. As a result, you may search your favorite keywords and realize that it does not rank first anymore. However, you might get a pleasant surprise to see it ranking first next time you search.