If you are only looking at one of these two groups you can be missing the real impact of SEO!
SEO activities focus on improving search engine rankings by optimizing content and building links, but most miss the mark by only focusing on the first step to business impact, rankings. Some goals go a little farther by actually looking at the number of visitors the ranking improvements generate. This is one of the greatest reasons that many don’t consider SEO a marketing channel.
I am not saying rankings are not important, rather they are just the first step in the process and measuring the traffic only gets you half way there. True, a website will have to rank for important keywords that drive traffic, but this measuring the conversions of that traffic and the subsequent revenue and profits are the reason for being in business in the first place.
A few months ago, I presented my approach to addressing SEO concerns called FIRM, this is a method to approach different tactics that you are using to improve or correct SEO impact on a website. Measurement was the final step in the method and one of the most critical, because if you don’t measure the impact, how do you know if it was worth the effort? Now, you know what you should be measuring and the appropriate order.
You can get the cart before the horse and just measure increases in conversions and revenue or profit, but this too is missing the important leading indicators that will get you what you came for. These are not the only indications of success, but all of the other tactics should feed into these as this is what you can use to find out if the work you are doing is paying off. One additional thing, if you aren’t measuring the rankings and traffic as closely as you are conversions and profit, you may not realize that your work is beginning to pay off.