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The Art of SEO by Jessie Stricchiola, Rand Fishkin, Stephan Spencer, Eric Enge

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Why Measuring Success Is Essential to the SEO Process

Although quantifying deliverables and measuring progress are important for external reporting purposes, it is just as important for SEO practitioners to measure the efficacy of their own efforts to make timely adjustments as necessary. As you will see in this chapter, numerous tools are available to aid in this process.

At the beginning of any SEO project it is wise to establish baseline data points for the website. This includes the following:

  • Quantifying organic search traffic by search engine and keyword

  • Quantifying a baseline of the major keywords that are driving traffic by search engine

  • Quantifying a breakout of what sections are getting the current organic search traffic by search engine and keyword

  • Quantifying data on conversions broken down by search engine and keyword

  • Identifying poorly performing pages

  • Tracking search engine crawler activity on the site

  • Determining the number of indexed pages

  • Identifying 404 error pages and external sites linking to these pages, if any

Remember: you cannot methodically improve what you cannot measure.

Defining and mapping the path toward concrete goals are crucial aspects of the SEO process—and over time, some goals may change. Therefore, it is also important to make sure the data you capture helps you understand your progress against these goals.

In the world of web analytics, this is referred to as picking Actionable Key Performance Indicators (or Actionable KPIs). The best data measurements ...

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