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How we determine the success of an SEO campaign has evolved over the last decade. It used to be all about the rankings, but experience has taught us website owners and users that true success encompasses so much more than just where your site shows up in the SERPs after your search term is typed into Google, Bing, or Yahoo.

Now, the criteria we use to determine success in a campaign is much more informed and it’s critical for those of us in SEO to communicate this criteria accurately to our clients. As opposed to PPC, which is easier to track for ROI, SEO can be much more convoluted, and so much more subject to the suspicion of the masses.

What Should Your Clients Know?

As a search engine optimizer, it’s your responsibility to help your clients understand the following:

  1. That the end goal of SEO isn’t rankings; it’s winning quality leads.
  2. That you should always opt for quality over quantity.
  3. That knowing what to measure will better inform how successful you are.

The End Goal Isn’t Rankings

When you embark on your SEO journey with that #1 spot in mind, you become blinded to everything else that matters as well. You should also be asking these important questions:

  1. What will your traffic find once they click on your link?
  2. Have they been properly prepared for what they will see on your site?
  3. What will your site prompt your traffic to do once they’ve clicked on your site?
  4. How effective is your web content in persuading them to take the desired action?
  5. How competitive are the search terms you’re vying for and are they appropriately targeted to attract quality leads?

Why Opt for Quality Over Quantity?

In a word: longevity? Like a whirlwind romance, quantity-driven SEO techniques may produce flash-fire results that look like the real thing, but they lack the necessary substance to deliver results that persist into the future. Quality-driven SEO has long-term, sustainable success in mind, not short-term boosts in traffic that fail to produce quality leads and conversions. With this in mind, beware of SEO companies that promise a quantifiable list of content pieces, like a certain number of white papers, press releases, and infographics. They are confusing “value” with quantity, instead of the quality of comprehensive service, which would include tailored analysis and personalized strategies over cookie-cut amounts.

Measure the Right Things

Knowing how and what to measure when analyzing the success of your SEO strategies is vital to making accurate judgments on what you need to change in your methods. You need to be looking at:

  • Bounce rates
  • Dwell times
  • Click paths
  • Traffic sources

These criteria will provide insight into what’s working on your site and where you may need to make improvements in order to make your pages stickier and your CTAs more persuasive.

Source Jackson, Mark. “Understanding Value From SEO Efforts.” http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/opinion/2383255/understanding-value-from-seo-efforts?utm_term=&utm_content=Understanding%20Value%20From%20SEO%20Efforts&utm_campaign=SEW.Daily.EU.A.U&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=SEW.DCM.Editors_Updates#. (December 5, 2014.)