In business, whatever your project is, there comes a time when a review is needed to evaluate the performance of your efforts, and whether your goals are being met. This also applies to your business’ SEO campaign. The difficulty with assessing SEO effectiveness is the fact that SEO is a long-term project which doesn’t deliver ‘overnight’ fixes. Further, results are often based in statistics and mathematics, which can often be difficult to interpret or subject to fluctuations and anomalies.

Generally, once your SEO campaign has been running for 2-3 months, you should start to see that things are improving and heading in the right direction. Note that dependent on sector and competitiveness of the market you are trying to penetrate, it can sometimes take up to 12 months+ to achieve solid results.

There are many factors that Google looks for when they are deciding where you rank for your keywords. This list of factors has grown and developed over the years to be focused mainly on user experience and mobile friendliness, however, Google has also given webmasters as insight into factors they don’t look at and do not impact your search rankings.

Creating a solid SEO strategy can be complex if you don’t have a good understanding of what Google are looking for. There are a lot of myths and misinformation online which can be detrimental to your SEO success, so we have compiled a list of all the factors Google have said aren’t ranking signals.

Google doesn’t take into account:

  • Author bios of content
  • Bounce rates (low or high)
  • CTR from Google Search or Google Ads
  • How factually correct your content is
  • How frequently you update your website/blog
  • The age of your domain
  • How long users dwell on a web page
  • Any actions such as downloads or sign ups
  • Google Ads and associated metrics
  • Google Analytics and associated metrics
  • Outbound links from your website
  • Users bouncing during checkout
  • Social media followers, likes or activity
  • Reviews, ratings, stars or likes
  • Traffic from any source
  • Accreditation’s, logos, awards or certification
  • How short or long your URLs are
  • How users behave on your website
  • Word count

So, what is taken into account by Google when ranking your website? By analysing the key points below, you should be able to determine whether or not your SEO campaign is seeing success from your efforts.

Keyword Data 

Your keyword rankings offer one of the simplest ways to assess the strength of your SEO campaign. Some argue that less weight should be placed on this nowadays, as Google ranks based on the ‘intent’ of the searcher. However, keyword ranking positions still have a prominent place in any SEO campaign, because month-to-month trends and general improvements across the whole keyphrase list are easy to follow and monitor.

If your keywords are constantly falling, then this indicates a problem. A good idea is to have a list of ‘priority’ terms (ones which you determine to be crucial for your business.)  If these terms slide as well, then questions need to be asked!

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is the driving force of ay SEO campaign. It is what being found through a search engine is all about; extra visits by potential customers.  By having a web traffic account, such as Google’s analytics and setting this up to track conversions (sales, enquiries etc), it allows you to follow where your traffic has come from and which mediums have delivered results.

When you conduct a weekly or monthly check to see what your organic traffic numbers are, if they are falling sharply or continuously then this highlights an issue. Bear in mind though that falls can be normal at times, occurring as a result of seasonal changes.

No overall growth

 If it seems that your business isn’t moving anywhere despite your SEO efforts, some answers are needed. Google analytics allows for the tracking of goals & conversions, and e-commerce data if this is set up. By setting specific goals or conversions you will be able to keep track of certain things (e.g. how many users add to baskets, basket drop-out rate, how many complete transactions etc.) This will allow you to see whether your business is actually moving forward, or if you have website issues that need addressing. Equally with e-commerce data, you can track if your business is progressing in real monetary terms. These are all good parameters and measurable factors to keep in mind.

So, if you have identified that your SEO campaign is yielding little to no results, what could be the cause of this?

Unclear Goals 

Like with every element of your marketing strategy, if you don’t know what you SEO goals are then measuring success is impossible. Defining your SEO goals and KPIs during the set-up stage of your campaign is critical to managing expectations and focusing resources/budget in the right areas.

As a business, you will have figures and expectations in mind that you want to achieve via your SEO campaign. Whether you want to increase sales by 10% each month via organic search or boost traffic to specific high value pages, these are important goals to define at the very start of set-up.

Minimal Resources

With a lack of effective resources, your SEO performance will suffer and stall. It is crucial that you have at your disposal:

  • People/a dedicated person to focus on your campaigns (you don’t have enough time yourself to give SEO the attention it needs)
  • A sufficient budget
  • SEO tools for in-depth analysis
  • Data collected from your correctly set-up tracking to influence your next steps

Misleading Meta Titles & Descriptions 

If your title tags and meta descriptions are misleading you may be attracting the wrong audience to your pages. You are looking to target those in the buying stage of the sales funnel, so the keyword and marketing language you use in your content should reflect that. Analyse the keywords you are targeting and weed out any that don’t make sense for you to rank for as a seller rather than an informative resource.

 Lack of Patience

If you are focused on quick, short-term results then SEO isn’t for you. SEO is a long-term investment that takes time to achieve but is long-lasting and far less costly than other advertising methods. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into SEO results, many of which are out of your hands as you wait for the search engines to discover your changes. After making major SEO changes to your website, it can take up to 3 months for you to see results.

Of course, these are not the only reasons why an SEO campaign may be faltering. For example, if your site is not engaging, accessible, and built with the user in mind, then these are all issues that could result in a lack of growth and SEO success.

Ultimately remember not to make any rash decisions if you are starting to question your current SEO operation. Changes can take several months to be seen and take effect and many times patience is key and generally the best approach.