How To Prove SEO

In the summer of 2009 I spent $5,000 on a number of SEO contractors for a website I was running. 3 months later, I had a giant spreadsheet that was out of date and my bank account was 5 Gs lighter. I had no idea if the money I spent was actually worth it. Welcome to ‘SEO Mistakes 101’where I teach you how to prove SEO results to you and your website!

I resolved to never again spend money on SEO without having clear metrics to accurately and easily measure results.

Here’s how I do it today:

1. Define the baseline metrics

Getting a baseline to measure against is key. I keep it fairly simple and just measure 4 metrics. I know if these 4 metrics move in the right direction, conversions and revenue follow them.

  • Organic Traffic to the target URL
  • Organic Traffic to the main keyword (if there is a keyword target)
  • Google Ranking of main keyword
  • Bing Ranking of main keyword

2. Check in on the SEO metrics over time

Sometime a specific SEO event (a link from NASA!) will impact my metrics right away, but often the results take weeks, not days. So it’s very important to check in and record the metrics at different times. Something that may work in the short term, but not in the long term, is an important correlation to measure.

Likewise, often tactics take time to show results and it’s important to measure the long-term success of any SEO tactic.

I like to check in on my metrics after:

  • 1 Week
  • 4 Weeks
  • 8 Weeks
  • Since the campaign started

That way I can get a sense of if the campaign or tactic is working on the short term, long term, or both.

3. Use the Correlation results wisely

When you setup these 4 metrics be careful about noting other changes that may influence your metrics. If Google makes a large update during your test, there’s a good chance it may not have been your campaign at all. So take correlation results like this with a gain of salt. This type of SEO measurement can be very revealing to show which tactics are working for your site.

Prove SEO to win more budget, clients & revenue

With a model like this you can prove your SEO results to clients, your boss, or just yourself. I integrated this SEO testing model into the rank tracking system at and it’s saved me thousands of dollars since 2009.  Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

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