That’s right folks, you heard it right. Gone is the day where all that mattered was if you’re web page listing was on the first page in position one of the search engine result pages (SERPS). The era of being number one in Google has left.
The age of Conversion rates, qualified traffic, and site wide analytics has descended upon you. It is now time for you to make a very important choice, will you embrace this new way of life or will you fall deep into darkness, left in the past with all things that are no longer relevant.
When personalized search was announced it meant big things. Trying to make the user experience as useful and relevant has always and should continue to be the search engines focus and with Google’s announcement to Introduce personalized search was their next step in doing so. There was an article written by Sep Kamvar, Engineering Lead for Personalization, and Marissa Mayer, VP Search & User Experience back in February of 2007 entitled Personally Speaking, which discusses how personalized search is going to aid in providing relevant results to the end user.
Without going into too much detail on the mechanics of how this new change works I can tell you it utilizes the fact that you’re signed into your Google account as the way it tracks the types of searches your conducting. Once it has a decent idea of what you have been search for it can then find results that it feels would be relevant to your current search. For example,
If I conduct a search for Mustangs it would go fetch results that are relevant for that search term. Once I conducted related searches in would understand I am interested in ford mustangs. Then let’s say I conducted a search on cobras. One could assume that information related to king cobras would appear but also results pertaining to Ford Mustang Cobra’s would showcase above snakes due to the fact that I was just searching for Ford Mustangs.
The point of this is very simple. Since personalized search has been active end users are not seeing the same ten results on the SERPS. They are viewing personalize results which are unique to them. Some would argue that not a high percentage of users are using personalized search but ask yourself this question, Have you at one time or another conduct a search via Google and then realized you were still signed in to your Google account? If you answered no I would ask that you take a step back and rethink that answer.
So the question remains, if I can no longer track the success of search engine optimization campaign but the positions I obtain, then how do I measure success? A great way to start to tackle that question is being able to answer the following:
What type of traffic is coming to your website?
Being able to identify and track where your traffic sources are is a crucial way of measuring the success of your search marketing campaign. Don’t be fooled though, just because you may see an increased amount of traffic to your website doesn’t mean your campaign is successful. In the end it’s all about conversions. If the traffic you’re receiving isn’t converting you might conclude that you’re spending time in areas where you should show less focus.
What goals do you have for your website?
If you don’t have a clear understanding of the goals and objectives your website has, no marketing strategy you would deploy could be successful. For example,
Let’s say you’re running a blog, you may have goals which you could track on a month to month basis, such as:
- How many new subscribers do I have from March to February?
- How many new visitors do I have versus recurring?
- Is the average visitor’s time on site increasing or decreasing?
Understanding these goals will allow you to start asking the right questions as it pertains to ways of measuring success. Without defining these goals you’re left in the dark.
Do I have any conversion tracking in place?
Having analytic tracking on your website will give you a great deal of data which can be handy when trying to find answers to the goals and objectives you have set. Some of the types of data you find valuable include but are not limited to:
- Amount of traffic
- Viewing traffic sources
- Visitor behavior and bounce rates
- Conversion rates
What do my conversion rates look like?
This is a question most business owners will want to know in order to measure the campaigns successfulness. For example,
- If I as a business owner make the decision to allocate a budget to a search engine optimization marketing strategy I want to understand and see real return on my investment, not just a report which shows me how many number one positions I currently have in the engines.
There are many ideal ways to measure the success of a search engine optimization marketing campaign. You are no longer bound to quantifying your success based on the number of first positions the pages on your website currently has. Identify your goals and gather the information needed to showcase success for those goals.