Have you ever sat on a call with an SEO company and felt like they were talking gibberish to you? In most cases, it’s not that their trade is so complex that you need a PhD in Geekiness to get it. It’s that they’re trying to confuse you with complicated talking points so you don’t look at the real metrics that determine if your SEO is working or not.
It’s pretty simple. Are your rankings improving? Is traffic improving? Are leads and sales improving? It’s a little more complicated than that, but not much. There are market factors that can be taken into account, especially when looking at year-over-year numbers. That’s pretty much the only outside factor that you need to consider. Algorithm changes, different microformatting techniques, the latest decree from Matt Cutts – these are all just measures to distract you from the fact that a good SEO company can overcome what’s happening in all of these things and everything else to help you rank better than your competitors organically.
Here are the things you need to do to make sure your SEO company is doing its job:
- Pre-Agreed Upon Keywords – You should know which keywords they’re targeting and which ones you want. This list of keywords shouldn’t be too big, but don’t let them talk you into monitoring 5 or 6 keywords, either. Pick the important ones based upon your own understanding of how you search, what the market data tells you, and what they say should be important. By having a nice list up front, it’s a lot easier to understand if the SEO is working or not.
- Year-Over-Year Trends Trump Everything Else – It’s easy to get more traffic than you got last month. It’s also easy to get less traffic. The market changes. Buyers come and go. The best way to see if you’re really making an impact with your SEO is to look at the numbers compared to the same time last year and see if they’re rising. Keep in mind that there are outside factors to consider, but for the most part you shouldn’t be stagnant for an extended period of time.
- Focus on Organic – It’s easy for companies to promote their SEO prowess through overall increases in traffic, but you have to look at organic only. This is a quick filtering process in Google Analytics.
- Watch Leads and Sales – All of this is pointless if you’re not selling more cars. That should be your primary indicator.
See, there was nothing there that required a trip to Oxford for 4 years. You can watch your SEO company without knowing what Schema.org does for you.