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January 1, 2011

The Entrepreneur’s Advisor | SEO Analytics and Measuring Success

As we near the end of the series The Ultimate Checklist for Entrepreneurs, Innovators and Micro-enterprises you should be well on your way to establishing your web presence. But, how do you know if the things you are doing are going to pay off and if you have made the right decisions for your marketing strategy?

Throughout this series, we have continually hammered home that establishing a web presence takes time, perhaps 9 – 24 months. Fortunately, entrepreneurs, innovators, professional practices and new venture owners do not have to wait 2 years before they see the signs of success. There are a number of tools available (free and paid) that will track your progress.

SEO Internet Marketing Analytical Tools

Website analytics are designed to let you know how your content and SEO efforts are performing. The right tools can track:

Top 10 Measurements You Should Be Tracking With Website Analytical Tools

  1. Changes in your Internet traffic. Within 6 months a pattern should have developed to tell you what days and times your site is most frequently visited, if traffic is increasing or stagnant and which pages or blog posts are the most popular.
  2. The number of unique visitors to your website. This number will tell if you are reaching new visitors on a regular basis.
  3. Know what your bounce rate is. Are they just visiting your home page and leaving? Do you have something of interest on your site that people are interested in learning more about?
  4. Traffic sources. How are potential clients or investors finding you? Are they referred to you through a search engine, social media or from another website?
  5. Competitive analysis. How is your traffic compared to your competitors? What keywords are driving traffic to them?
  6. Number of qualified leads. These are people who have shown an interest in learning more about your company, products or services through the use of newsletters, contact forms, landing pages email and telephone. Some analytical tools offer lead nurturing and marketing campaign tracking.
  7. Keyword ranking for you and your competitors. Where do you show up on search engine queries?
  8. Which keywords are being used to find you. These may not be the same keywords you are tracking.
  9. How many other websites link to you. These are the results of your SEO Linking strategy.
  10. How many sales, new clients, investors have been made as result of your Internet marketing.

For most new ventures and professional practices, measurements 1-9 are easily reviewed either through your host company statistics (AWSTATS) and/or Google Analytics. If your Internet marketing strategy includes email campaigns, PPC, Adwords, multiple landing pages, social media advertising or greater link research you may need additional (usually paid) tools to help you track the success of each variable or campaign.

The best free website analytical tool without question is Google Analytics. Google Analytics can be used for any site from WordPress to a custom Content Management System (CMS) website.

It is the paid help that you need to be most careful of. Many companies offering SEO services are doing little if anything beyond Google Analytics summary reporting. On the other hand, some of the paid tools such as Raven Tools or HubSpot offer great keyword, link analysis, lead nurturing as well as website/blog management.

Working the SEO Metrics Intelligently for Entrepreneurs

All of the above measurements are good to know, however, only number 10 (new sales, clients, investors) is a true measure of success. The ultimate goal of any new venture or professional practice is obtain clients or find new venture funding and develop into fruition. All the Internet traffic in the world, SEO and social marketing doesn’t mean a thing if you haven’t made a sale or have attracted a new client/investor.

The point is to use the measurements wisely. Website analytics are tools that can tell you if you going the right direction. They can also tell you the relative success of any particular keyword, marketing campaign or link building exercise. If something does not appear to be working then it is time to try something different.

The best way for Entrepreneurs, Inventors and Micro-enterprises to use website analytics is dependent on how much time you have to review and tweak your marketing strategy. Keeping in mind that every hour spent reviewing your web analytics is one hour less of marketing or selling that you are doing.

For a well funded or staffed venture, inbound marketing may be assigned as a full time responsibility or outsourced. On the other hand, a micro-enterprise will not have that luxury and must balance
their time in order to focus on sales.

Successful entrepreneurs are busy SELLING. Are you?

Our next post will be a special review how to use blogs for marketing.

The final post in this series will be a listing of the top resources for Entrepreneurs, Professional Practices, Inventors covering websites, blogs and people. If you feel you, your blog or your company would make a quality resource for Entrepreneurs then leave a comment on this post including, your name, website and area of expertise so that we may research your qualifications.

Articles in The Ultimate Checklist for Entrepreneurs, Innovators and Micro-enterprises so far are:

  1. The Ultimate Checklist For Entrepreneurs, Innovators and Micro-enterprises
  2. Choosing Your New Venture Legal Entity
  3. Choosing Names for New Ventures, Domains and Social Media
  4. How Entrepreneurs Can Determine Their Web Presence Needs
  5. The Entrepreneur’s Advisor | Choosing What To Do With Your Website
  6. The Entrepreneur’s Advisor | Learning the Basics of SEO
  7. The Entrepreneur’s Advisor | SEO Basics of Marketing Your Website
  8. The Entrepreneur’s Advisor | SEO Basics of Marketing With Social Media