When you publish anything online, whether it’s a blog post or a product page, keep search engine optimization (SEO) in mind.
SEO is a set of practices that help get web pages to rank high on any given search engine’s results page. Google uses over 200 factors when its algorithm decides where to place a website in search engine results for any given page. While you can pay Google to be featured on page one, ideally, your website will end up there for free.
Imagine you live in Chicago and are trying to find a magician to perform at a birthday party. You’d probably type something like “magician party Chicago” into Google’s search engine. Now imagine you are a Chicago-based magician. You’d want your website to appear on page one of the search results. One way to ensure you do this is to make sure your website is as SEO-friendly as it can be. In this post, we will discuss some of the main ways to measure the SEO performance of your website.
Analytics Tools You Can Use to Get SEO Reports
If you want to know how well or poorly your site is optimized, you need to measure your analytics. You can pay for an analytics tool or use a free tool provided by Google called Google Analytics 4 (GA4). You may know it by another name – Universal Google Analytics or GA3. Unfortunately, as of July 1, 2023, the earlier versions will no longer collect data about your customers.
Right now, over 73 million websites use Google Analytics to better understand their customers.
And if you really want to maintain or grow your business, you must understand how people find your site, and what they do once there.
Google Analytics reports will tell you:
- How visitors find your site (traffic from Google, email newsletters, other websites, social media, etc.)
- What words they typed into Google to find your site
- How many people visited your site
- The exact days and times of visits
- What they did on your site
- What made them leave the site
Over four million websites use Google Analytics. One reason is that it’s free and powerful. But some people find it complicated, so they use other tools, including the following.
Used by Pinterest, Netflix, CNN, and Thumbtack, Mixpanel is very similar to Google Analytics but the dashboard is a bit more user-friendly. The system helps you understand where users leave your website, what they click on, and a certain number of “events,” or things users do.
The free plan allows you to monitor up to 20 events. For $20 per month, you can monitor up to 100 events. Finally, for $833 per month, you can monitor up to one million events. With each price increase, you get more support from the Mixpanel team, and more advanced analytics reports.
Used by Microsoft and Carvana, Kissmetrics allows you to easily see where a person is moving their touchpad on a screen.
The beginning price plan is $299 per month. The next level is $499 per month. You can also customize a unique plan for your business. Each increase allows you to track more URLs, which is great for companies that have multiple websites.
Used by Apple, Adobe Analytics promises to do more than tell you what words people used to find your site, and more than just tell you what they do when they’re on your site. They promise to tell you why people come to your site.
They will customize your package and the way you like to look at data reports. This customization is why you must contact them for pricing.
Keywords are the words people type into a search engine and they are a vital part of your website’s SEO performance. You want to make sure your website contains a lot of keywords related to your business. You can probably think of some of these keywords on your own, but you might be surprised by some of the other keywords people use when thinking about topics related to your business.
One tool you can use to find common phrases people use to find your website is Google’s Keyword Planner tool. Then you can create an action plan to get more of those words onto your website.
When a user types a phrase into Google’s search engine, Google processes the request extremely fast. It then produces a search engine results page, also known as a SERP.
The results usually include some or all of the following:
- Ads that companies pay for (the images and websites under “sponsored”)
- Websites that Google considers high-quality sources (Google finds these sites on their own, based on how well a website is optimized)
- Businesses related to the search that are close to where the searcher is
- Frequently asked questions related to the search and websites that contain the answers
- Featured snippets from websites related to the search
At SEO Design Chicago, we can show you tricks to make sure you end up high on SERPs. These tricks include starting and maintaining a Google Business Profile and adding FAQs to certain pages on your website.
Internal and External Linking
In order to rank high on SERPs, you need to link to other websites, link to pages within your website, and have high-quality websites link to yours. Managing links, and getting people to link to your site, are all part of a strategy called link-building.
As part of a successful link-building strategy, you need to make sure all of the URLs on your own website are working. The URL is based on your site’s domain and has a specific name for the page at the end of it. An example URL of this type is: “https://mywebsite.com/services.” If you update a page and change the end of that URL, the old URL will no longer work. For example, if you change the above URL to “https://mywebsite.com/services2”, your site visitors will see a 404 error message page if they use the old URL.
Why would you change a URL? In the above example, this could easily happen if you had two design versions of your services page and tested them with users. One could be live, i.e. published to the world, and end with “services” while you tested out the other option, “services2.” If you found in testing that more people preferred “services2,” you may hit “publish” on that page and unpublish “services.” But if users ever found their way to “services,” and they would, they’d get a 404 error. You want to redirect them, without them knowing, to “services2.”
This can be fixed by making sure the pages that were there previously redirect to the new page. You want to make sure you’re creating a 301 redirect from your original URL to your new one.
Website Page Speed
Load times for your website are a big part of how Google ranks your website on SERPs. To make the best impression, your website should load in under two seconds. If it doesn’t load in that time, Google kicks your website toward the bottom of SERP.
The speed at which your website loads is determined by a number of factors, including:
- Who you chose as a web hosting company
- The resolution of any images and videos on your site
- Software users must have to view the site
You don’t need to guess how fast or slow your website loads. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to find out exactly how long it takes for your site to load.
If you don’t like the result of any of the above factors, reach out to SEO Design Chicago. We will work with you on improving your results, so that you can improve your overall SEO performance. Check out all of our available services today!