Today I’m going to talk about my two favorite vanity metrics; rankings and traffic.
If SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is all about getting rankings and traffic, regardless of what you are ranking for and getting traffic from, then SEO would be pretty easy.
In my opinion, far too many agencies have ruined SEO by making the story about the symptoms (rankings and traffic), not the outcomes (qualified leads, marketing-sourced pipeline, sales, revenue, etc).
“We’ll get you to the top of page 1.”
“We’ll get you more traffic from Google.”
Those things are fine.
But you can get those things and they might not amount to JACK SQUAT!
The point of ranking high in Google and getting traffic from Google is to influence top-line revenue (that way you don’t end up living in a van down by the river).
It takes a significant amount of time, but your SEO work should be telling a story that starts with the investment and ends with the returns.
Closing the SEO ROI Loop
This is hard to do. I’ll be honest. REAL HARD. But isn’t anything in life worth doing kind of hard? (Yes, except maybe ordering a pizza. It’s cheap. Easy. And pizza is pure joy. This is what happens when I write hungry.)
The main two roadblocks to getting the story of SEO ROI:
You’re working with a lot of technology and data and it can take a while to get it all buttoned up. You’ve got your CMS (content management system like WordPress), analytics and tag management tools like Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, your CRM (customer relation management), and then reporting tools like Google Data Studio. All of those (and often more) need to work together to tell the story and tell it factually.
People All the technology I just mentioned requires an expert. It’s extremely hard to find someone who knows all those tools well enough to close the loop to determine SEO ROI. So you need multiple people and they need to play nice together. Also, people tend to be apathetic and lazy. They stop once they feel like their reporting is “good enough” when they may be missing true clarity.
Define your metrics and define what metrics, when isolated, are vanity metrics.
Traffic and rankings aren’t necessarily vanity metrics if they can be combined with a business outcome like leads and sales.