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Measuring Success

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

How to use metrics to measure performance

How can you measure success? Specifically, how can you use metrics to measure performance>

Keyword rankings

The first metrics that we can look at is keyword rankings. What we need to know is a definitive list of keywords that we want to target. Let's imagine that you've got a small site and there are 10 pages that you want to optimize.

If we optimize, on average, 6 keywords per page, that's 60 keywords that we probably want to keep an eye on a regular basis. And that's for quite a small site, a site with 10 pages. I would say typically for a more medium-size business, it could be anywhere from 100 to 200 keywords that we want to target on a regular basis.


When it comes to traffic, we've looked at Google Analytics and how you can monitor organic traffic. Typically, you might monitor this on a month-by-month basis, so it be the current month compared to the previous month or it might be the current month compared to the previous year if there's a lot of seasonality in your business.


When it comes to conversions, we're not only looking at traffic, but we're looking at things that lead to sales. So this could be email inquiries, this could be PDF downloads, and this is something that we can set up in Google Analytics and quite often, we do this through Google Analytics Goals.

So, if you're not familiar with Google Analytics Goals, that might be something that you want to check out and research.


Finally, we looked at links. And the reason that links has its own KPI is because off-page optimization is actually probably the most important part of SEO. So we want to have a look at what other total number of links that your site currently has, what the total number of root domains that your site currently has and, over time, you'll want to increase that.

What to do when SEO falters

Hopefully, this doesn't happen, but it certainly can happen. I've had it happen to myself for my own website, and for clients' websites that I've worked on.


Have you got the technical site right? So, when you look in Google Search Console, are there any messages that Google's telling you about your site not working correctly?

Maybe you've got URL errors, so that's something that you might want to check out. The other thing that you might want to do is if you are monitoring, let's say, 60 keywords for 60 pages, are all those pages indexed? Now you know that you can used the cache command to check whether a page is indexed on Google. Are they indexed? If they're not, you'll want to try and work out why those pages aren't indexed.

And you can actually use Google Search Console with the Fetch as Google to actually resubmit those URLs to Google to hopefully get them indexed a bit quicker.

On page

When it comes to on-page optimization, we've talked about best practice. Look at how you work keywords into title tags, into headings, into the main copy.

Does the main copy actually satisfy what the user is looking for? Is the user experience good? And finally, you want to avoid keyword stuffing. So, if you mention a keyword, for example, over 10 times for a relatively short piece of content, the chances are that's going to have a really bad experience for the user.

It's going to frustrate them when they're reading it, and search engines know that. So they might be penalizing the page for keyword stuffing.

Off page

When it comes to off-page optimization, how are you stacking up compared to your competitors? Do you have a similar domain authority to other websites that are ranking for keywords that you want to rank for?

For your key landing pages, what's the page authority? Does your site lack back links? If you're a very new site and you're trying to target really competitive keywords, then it's probably that your off-page optimization just isn't ready yet. Maybe you've done a technical on-page right and that's great, but remember the off-page does take a little bit of time.

So what you could do in the short term is target keywords which are slightly less competitive, and then as you build up your reputation, you can target the more competitive phrases. You should always be looking for progress, and with the best practice that we talked about today, there are lots of things you can be doing to do that.

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Please note that the module slides are designed to work in collaboration with the module transcript document. It is recommended that you use both resources simultaneously.

Digital Marketing Resources:

Joe Williams

Managing Director and SEO Trainer at Zen Optimise

  • Founder and SEO Trainer at Zen Optimise with 10 years’ experience in Search Engine Optimization
  • Zen Optimise is a London-based digital marketing training company
  • SEO consultant and trainer for hundreds of small, medium, and blue chip companies including Qantas Airlines, Sky, Eurostar, EasyCruise, and Anti-Slavery

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful. While relevant to this module, you will not be assessed on this content.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library


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