Establishing a Baseline Measurement for Your SEO Project

by | Sep 27, 2016 | Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

“Half the money I spend on [marketing] is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

~ John Wanamaker

Marketing efforts require resources – money or time, or both – so it’s important to measure the results of your campaign to ensure that your marketing investment is a good one.

While there are many effective measurement tools and programs available, Google Analytics offers a simple, and free, way to measure the impact of an SEO campaign.

SEO discussions with advisors and other business owners often centers around ranking for a specific keyword, however ranking can be a challenging indicator to measure – search engine results are personalized based on each person’s history and location – and it actually doesn’t accurately reflect the full impact of a successful SEO campaign.

A better measurement is “organic traffic”. Organic traffic represents visits to your website after the visitor searched a term and clicked on your listing on the search engine results pages. It represents not only traffic from your “keyword”, but secondary traffic from other search terms you rank for (i.e. Keyword = financial planner, Secondary Keyword = fee only financial planner near me).

Measuring Organic Traffic with Google Analytics

To find Organic Traffic in Google Analytics:

Google Analytics

  • Sign into Google Analytics
  • Scroll down to Acquisition on the left-hand sidebar
  • Click All Traffic
  • Click Channels

I like to establish baseline measurements for the each month of the past year if data is available. This gives a better overall view of traffic and recent trends, plus allows for a month-to-month comparison, thus accounting for any seasonal changes in search volume.

The Date Range can be found in the upper right-hand corner of the Google Analytics page.

Google Analytics Date Range

The date can be directly input into the box, or use the calendar to find the month you want, click on the first day, then on the last day of the month, and click “apply”. I track the data on an excel spreadsheet.

Tracking GA in Excel

Continue tracking future months to measure the impact of your SEO efforts – it may take a couple of months to see any real changes.

Tracking Google Analytics in Excel

You can also display results in a graph. On your Excel page, click “Insert” on the main menu bar, then click on the type of graph you’d like to use.

Google Analytics Graph

Organic Traffic

Note: While this graph does represent real results of one of our SEO campaigns, results do vary and most, unfortunately, are not this dramatic 🙂

Establish an “Organic Traffic” baseline prior to your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work and track your results over time. Know which marketing efforts are helping you grow your business.

Thanks for reading. As always, your questions, comments, and shares are welcome and appreciated.

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Brent Carnduff is the founder/owner of Advisor Web Marketing and a search engine optimization (SEO) expert. He works with Financial Advisors across the country to help them develop a stronger online presence and increase their organic web traffic. In addition to this blog, he is a a V.I.P Contributor to Search Engine Journal, and is syndicated through Social Media Today, SteamFeed, and B2C.