Semalt: Evaluation Of The Effectiveness Of SEO Promotion In The Statistics Systems



It is not always enough to order an audit of a site to understand how the company is optimizing the sites professionally and conscientiously. SEO-promotion with a guaranteed result is a work of more than one month, and this requires certain skills not only from the contractor, but also from the customer. 

After all, it is important for the customer that the site works for him, so the assessment of the results of the seo-promotion is something that is worth learning so as to not lose the money.

Traffic and its structure for evaluating promotion results

To understand how effective the contractor manipulates the site, you can use the elementary tricks in analytics tools - Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrica.

This is the most common and accessible method to be aware of what is happening with the site and whether there is any effectiveness in the SEO promotion.

Let's start with the domestic development of Yandex - Metrics.

Yandex.Metrica : Sources summary report

The Sources Summary report can be used for both superficial data analysis and more serious research. It has everything that can be useful for checking the dynamics of the site growth.
All the traffic sources are displayed on the chart by default. To make the graph more readable and show the information on the traffic from a specific channel, you need to remove unnecessary channels and indicate the period for which you want to evaluate the results of the SEO promotion.
Also, do not forget to change the traffic details from days to months - it is easier to work in this form.

Starting this year, Metrica can add labels to any charts. It is a very simple and convenient tool for marking the important stages of work on a website.

In our case, the day was marked when the site began to be worked on - conditionally, SEO efficiency was monitored from this date. The work began from the very first day, but the growth in the traffic from the search engines can be recorded only after three months.

And this is the fundamental specificity of the SEO works: it gives the results after a certain amount of time, not immediately. Therefore, this assessment of the SEO efficiency, using a single graph, does not work in the short-term cooperation.

It is still hard to tell from the schedule, if the mountain of traffic in the summer is due to the SEO contractor or the seasonality?

Be sure to set the accuracy to 100%

If the schedule for the selected period last year is flat and there was no traffic growth, then the current growth is most likely the merit of the optimizers. But this is not accurate, it is necessary to check further.
The next step for determining efficiency is segmentation.

Segmentation

Even if the ultimate goal is traffic, it is advisable to discuss with the contractor what keywords will be an indicator for tracking the results of the website promotion. To do this, select the most significant queries from the semantic core and create a segment based on it.

Thanks to such a simple analysis, you can estimate the amount of the incoming targeted traffic to the site and understand if there are any results at all from the work of an SEO contractor.

It should also be borne in mind that an increase in traffic can also be caused by the offline events.

Another important point: make sure that the amount of traffic from Google and Yandex correlates with each other.

If there is a drawdown on one of the search engines, then most likely there are problems with indexing. Perhaps there are SERP pessimization filters that the SEO specialists could not find and eliminate.

The search engines should either be on part or have small and short-term drawdowns. If the difference is big, there are obviously some problems with your site that need to be fixed as soon as possible.

Search queries report

Another important report to look at when you are working with an SEO contractor.

To see all the keywords collected by Metrica, you first need to group the data.

After that, you can proceed to the analysis.

Note separately: the most complete information about the keys on the site will be according to the Yandex source, since it displays almost all the keys by which the users got to the site. According to the other sources, it happens that the required request is simply not displayed in the interface due to the data encryption. This is more about Google.

In order to understand whether there is any dynamics for the targeted keywords that the SEO contractor reports on, you first need to discuss the list of these keywords.

We take the queries we are interested in from the negotiated list, and then add a segment in Metric with these phrases.

We get a graph, where in the left column there are indicators for the old period, in the right for the new one.

Thanks to such an assessment of the results in Yandex.Metrica, it is easy to track the effectiveness of SEO work for those key queries that were selected to track the dynamics. There are positive tendencies - excellent; if not, or if everything went negative, then this is a reason to conduct a deeper analysis of the semantics and the site and identify what the problem is.

Conversions in Yandex. Metrica

Conversions are a very large layer in which you can simply "bury yourself". We recommend that, you can get help from the specialized services.
List all the interactive elements on the site:
  • feedback forms;
  • buy buttons;
  • constructors and the like.
Then evaluate which of all of this can lead to a user conversion. As a rule, these are the most obvious elements: the same feedback form, order buttons, a clickable phone number. There is no need to add goals to all the interactive elements: it makes no sense to track, for example, video views that do not have a motivating call to action.

Each goal can be scaled and set a certain time frame, you can carry out all the manipulations with comparisons "before and after".

When you are analyzing the conversions, do not forget that for the assessment you need to choose the channel with which the contractor works. In an amicable way, in order to not get confused in the data, you need to create separate goals for the users who come from the paid search and from the organic.

Based on the analysis of the conversions, conclusions can be drawn on the dynamics of the site growth. For example, it may turn out that the conversions have decreased since the beginning of the work with an SEO contractor. To find out why this happened, you need to delve into the analytics of a particular site. However, do not forget that there is seasonality on the web and it may differ from the offline seasonality.

Google Analytics

Now let's discuss a competitor of metrics - Google Analytics. This giant is different not only on the intelligence and the ingenuity or the functionality and the flexibility of the settings; but also the data collection methods. Therefore, there will always be the differences in the values between Metrica and Analytics data.

There are many useful reports in Analytics, but you can use the Channels report for a standard analysis of an SEO contractor performance.

We are interested in the Organic search channel - it contains a list with part of the key queries that the users got from the organic search results to our site.

The table displays part of the queries, because from 40% to 60% (in our experience) of the key query the data is encrypted by the Google analytics services.

This happens due to the protection of user data, https protocols and the reluctance of the Google search engines to provide complete information about the user's visits. The Dobra Corporation explains this by the fact that unscrupulous SEOs can use this information to further influence the organic search results.

There is also a line called not set, which contains the requests that Google could not place in any particular channel. These can be the user's clicks from the exotic search engines, as well as the requests from contextual advertising that are not tagged with the UTM tags.

If in Yandex.Metrica we took the keys and looked at its effectiveness, then the assessment of the results in Google Analytics is formed differently due to the specifics of the interface and the very structure of the service. To continue analyzing the data, you need to learn two other GA features: regular expressions and the Search Console link.

"Regular Expressions - Keys"

To highlight those key queries for which you can evaluate the effectiveness of using SEO, Google Analytics will need to use "Regular Expressions":

In fact, these are operators that are used in conjunction with the various symbols, including keywords. They are needed to sort data using the filters:

... - any character;

* - the condition that the preceding character may / may not be / repeat;

| - "or".

Depending on the purpose of the analysis, you can exclude or add data from the regular expression. If you want to display only certain keywords on the contrary, you need to change "Exclude" to "Include".

The simplest use is to alternate a key request through a pipe, that is, a forward slash. Thus, you can select the keywords for which the contractor works, and then compare with the previous one or with any other period.

"Regular Expressions - Pages"

Regular expressions can be used not only with the key queries, but also with the pages.

If, in addition to the key queries, the landing pages were designated for measuring the results, by which the effectiveness will be measured, then in this case the "Site Pages" report may come in handy.

If we look at the pages, then we indicate not the keyword, but part of the URL - everything except the domain name itself.

As with the key phrases, the operators can also be combined, removed and added here. By the way, the pipe, which serves as the conjunction "or" in the previous example, also works here: you can use it to sort several pages for analysis.

Link to Google Search Console

By linking Google Analytics and Search Console, you can analyze data from the Google webmaster in the Analytics interface.

By summarizing the regular expressions and the Search Console link in the Queries report, you can check the dynamics of the promoted queries in Google.

To do this, write out all the keywords through the pipe into any text editor, copy all this and paste it into the filtering of the query report. We establish a comparison with a certain time period and compare.

It rarely happens that the queries grow on its own. Therefore, if you see growth in the charts for  keywords in all the indicators: clicks, impressions, CTR and average position, then you can praise your SEO contractor for a good job and continue further cooperation with him.

Goals of Google Analytics

Just like Metrica, you can customize goals in GA.
  • GA has a number of the limitations on data collection; here you also need to prepare for it: the number of goals cannot exceed 20. If you need more, you will have to create a new view.
  • Pay close attention to which goals you add to GA, as you cannot delete it. You can reconfigure, you can disable it, but the added target cannot be removed from the service.
We usually check the fulfillment of the goals after setting up and do this several times during one visit. But you should not be afraid that this may somehow spoil the overall statistics, since GA counts only one goal fulfillment per visit.

Site indexing quality

There are a couple more powerful tools for analysis: the already mentioned Search Console service and Yandex.Webmaster. This is where the data on CTR and snippet clicks in the SERP is collected. The more clicks and the better the dynamics, the more correctly the resource promotion strategy is chosen.

The redesigned Search Console has a Performance section:

Google Search Console

In principle, it is also in the old version, but the name there was different - "Analysis of the search queries". In this report, you can also watch the dynamics of requests without going into the Analytics tools. You can compare it with the selected period and see the effectiveness of the organic promotion.

Yandex Webmaster has the same section called "Query Statistics".

Yandex.Webmaster

Its features are that you can create your own groups of queries, for which you can separately watch the dynamics. This is useful for measuring the results when there is a pool of queries for which an SEO contractor works.

External analytical services

There are also third-party services that indirectly collect information about resources (in order from more accurate to less accurate):
  • https://www.semrush.com ;
  • https://ahrefs.com ;
  • https://serpstat.com ;
  • https://www.similarweb.com/ (browser extension);
  • https://www.alexa.com .
There is a lot of it, but it has one big drawback: the services do not have a direct traffic data. Most of these services use an algorithm in which, based on the semantics and its frequency, it predicts the approximate amount of the traffic entering the site.

Individual services, such as Similarweb, buy data, and in the end, the approximate traffic volumes are formed from such a mess. 

Roughness and approximation of the data is generally the main drawback of this approach to the analysis of SEO results. All these services receive the statistics from the external resources, while Analytics and Metrics directly record every user action on the site. You shouldn't take the data obtained from these resources seriously; the error can range from 20% to 50% (that's a lot).

And the plus of these services is that you can get the approximate dynamics of the traffic without delving into all these counter and segmentation settings. Enter the domain of the site and look at the charts. 

In addition, all these services literally instantly provide data, since the loading is carried out from the data cache. And in the same Metric or Analytics, with the large volumes of the site, you will have to wait for some time until the statistics are loaded.

Often, these services are paid, and the free version has a reduced set of functions.

In general, such services provide statistics only on traffic volumes, but there are exceptions. The same Similarweb shows the average time spent on the site, the number of pages per session and the bounce rate, but it ranks 4th in terms of data reliability.

As a conclusion, we summarize the SEO performance indicators, according to which the most unscrupulous SEOs can be identified already at the first stage of verification: speed, links, snippets, indexing. Keep these "red flags" in mind when ordering a comprehensive website promotion and focus on a reliable contractor rating so that the SEO does not hurt you, your budget and your website. Save your time and check out our Semalt website.