Tag Archive for: seo content

using google search console to measure impressions

How Do You Evaluate the Efficacy of Your SEO Efforts?

using google search console to measure impressions

As a growth marketing agency, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to increase traffic volume to a website, product, or app for our clients. Because acquisition is 50% of the growth model, right? So, we ask ourselves on the daily: how do you get the right message to the right audience at the right time? The golden ticket to growth is to nail this and then convince that traffic to take it a step further and complete an action on your website. Acquisition + conversion = 🚀. 

With that in mind, if you jump into Google Analytics right now and take a peek at the data of any of our 30 clients, you’re going to see traffic coming from these five core traffic sources: 

  • Paid 
  • Organic 
  • Direct 
  • Email 
  • Referral 

While they all play a critical role in acquisition, organic traffic is often the second largest (if not largest) traffic driver for companies in established industries. It also happens to be my personal favorite. Organic traffic is the hardest to grow, but it’s typically the highest quality. 

Take a step back and it all makes sense. If someone has a problem or need, they’ll oftentimes take their query to Google. If they naturally find your website and you give them valuable information, they’ll trust you. Here’s an example from the Tuff blog—this is a lead that came through our form fill earlier this month after finding this blog post about the differences between performance and growth marketing

question about SEO performance

At Tuff, to help drive organic traffic and results, we’ve broken down the core components of what it takes to make a SEO strategy and built a team around them. Including: 

  • SEO Growth Strategist
  • Technical SEO Expert 
  • Content SEO Specialist
  • SEO Writers 

In short, this high-level combination is truly the only way to get serious results when it comes to your search ranking. But it’s not just about the components and the people tasked with executing it. We also get extremely specific and clear as a team when measuring the success and impact of the SEO strategy we implement. Here’s how we measure success: 

  1. Traffic 
  2. Traffic Quality 
  3. Keyword Movement
  4. Revenue 

In this post, I’m going to take a closer look at the four organic growth metrics we use to answer: “How do you evaluate the efficacy of your SEO efforts?” 

Traffic 

The first metric is easy. Is your organic traffic increasing or decreasing? 

If you’re a newer startup or company, finding initial traction with organic traffic is going to take some time. For our clients, we typically start seeing results after about 3 to 6 months of consistently posting SEO content. It’s super important to monitor organic traffic growth because it helps you understand the role that organic traffic is playing in your overall traffic mix. 

To measure organic traffic growth, we use both Google Search Console and Google Analytics

Google Search Console helps us understand impressions and the search terms our clients are showing up for. And if it’s increasing: 

google search console results

We can also look at Google Analytics to see how this is trending MoM or YoY: 

Organic Traffic results in Google Analytics

If we are putting time and resources into SEO, we want this number to go up. 

Traffic Quality 

If organic traffic is increasing, you need to ask: Is it high quality? 

It’s one thing to increase organic traffic but if the new visitors to your site aren’t sticking around or taking a desired action, it’s just traffic for traffic’s sake. 

So, we like to look at three core quality traffic metrics using Google Analytics: 

  • Time on Site: Average time on site is how long a user spent on your site in total. It’s the total time of all sessions divided by your number of sessions. According to Klipfolio, the Average Time on Page across industries is 52 seconds, with B2B leading with 82 seconds, based on 20 billion user sessions.
  • Bounce Rate: A ‘bounce’ (often called a single-page session) happens when a user lands on a website page and exits without triggering another request to the Google Analytics server. This article has industry benchmarks as well as bounce rate benchmarks by source for 2021. 
  • Pages Per Session: The average number of website pages visited during a session. Seeing a greater number of pages per session typically means that users are more engaged with your website and the traffic quality is high. 

Organic Traffic Quality

In Google Analytics, we’ll filter the view to only show organic traffic (60-second video here on how to do this) and compare these quality metrics to the rest of the site. 

If the traffic is high quality, great, go get more of it. If the quality is low, dig into the pages your organic traffic is coming from and how they found your site. More often than not, when this happens, it means you are ranking for search terms that aren’t super related to your business. 

For example, if our website ‘Tuff’ ranked highly for ‘Tuff Shed’ we might be getting a bunch of traffic from people looking for sheds. We might see that organic traffic is increasing MoM but that the bounce rate is 95% and the time on site is less than 3 seconds. We don’t want this type of traffic to our website because it’s useless to us. 

Keyword Movement 

So far, the traffic increase and traffic quality are metrics we track for all sources. Keyword movement though, is specific to our SEO efforts. 

When working on an SEO Content Strategy, here’s how we tackle it: 

  1. Research the audience 
  2. Do a search competitor analysis 
  3. Identify a list of 10-15 focus keywords 
  4. Select the type of SEO content — blog posts, landing pages, long-form, etc 
  5. Write SEO outlines 
  6. Assign deadlines and build a calendar 
  7. Write content 
  8. Publish with all the right SEO components and links 

With step 3, we hone in and identify the list of target keywords we want to see traffic from. Here’s an example of a list for one of the Tuff clients: 

focus keyword list in spreadsheet

You might already be ranking for some of the keywords in your list (always a pleasant surprise!) and you are just trying to improve positions. For others, you might not be ranking at all and you’re slowly trying to make it to page one. 

For us, it’s incredibly important to track keyword movement (did it go up or down in rankings) for our keyword list because it helps us understand if we’re making any progress. The SEO content we produce will focus almost exclusively on ranking for those search terms so tracking movement on those terms is an easy way of knowing if what you set out to do is actually working. 

For this, we use SEMRush and set up a dashboard like the one below for each client that includes our focus keyword list. 

keyword list in SEMRush

Revenue 

Last but not least, is it having an impact on revenue? Whether your business plays in the B2B, Tech, SaaS, DTC, or eCommerce spaces, you want to know if the hours of work you are putting into technical SEO and SEO content is having real, measurable business impact. 

For eCommerce, it’s easy to pull organic revenue directly from Google Analytics: 

eCommerce revenue organic

For other industries, and for more granular information, you’ll need to rely more on your CRM or Customer Analytics platforms. In a perfect world, the software and attribution all work together nicely. In reality, that almost never happens. More often than not, we’re pulling spreadsheets from Google Analytics and a CRM and merging the data manually to get a clear idea on return. While this is sometimes the trickiest organic metric to track, it’s ultimately the most important! 

Tools & Tracking Resources 

The tools we use to track these metrics include Google Analytics, Google Search Console, SEMRush, and various Customer Analytics platforms (Amplitude, Mixpanel, Hubspot, Salesforce). 

  • Traffic = Google Search Console
  • Traffic Quality = Google Analytics
  • Keyword Movement = SEMRush
  • Revenue = Customer Analytics / CRM 

The thing about organic traffic though (we’ve said it once and we’ll say it again and again) is that it’s going to take some time to see traction. When you do, though, the results will be compounding and rewarding, but you’ve got to work your way there. It takes time. It’s worth it, but you’re in it for the long haul. 

One way to help stay motivated? Know exactly how to track the effectiveness of your efforts by using traffic, traffic quality, keyword movement, and revenue as your core success metrics.

google search console

Checking Out The Competition: How To Do An SEO Competitor Analysis

google search console

So you took a great, original idea and turned it into an incredible product. Your startup or scaleup is starting to gain traction and attract customers – but you’re noticing there’s more competition out there than you thought. 

Maybe there’s a big conglomerate with a branch that sells a related product. Or you were at the forefront of a trend, but similar businesses are now popping up everywhere. Sounds like it’s time for you to do a competitor analysis. Here’s how.

What is a competitor analysis?

A competitor analysis is a process that involves looking at your competition’s marketing strategies, products, and services. It goes beyond a quick browse of your competitors’ websites and is a critical, thorough process that takes an in-depth look at every facet of their business.

Competitor analysis should be done quarterly, or more frequently if you’re new to the market. But this is just one tool in your toolbox. Always monitor your market and industry in general, and if you see a shift, it’s time to dive into a full competitor analysis. Make sure you’re gathering customer feedback as well – just because a competitor is doing something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right strategy. 

Why is a competitor analysis critical?

You probably already know you should be doing competitor analysis. But you may not realize the massive benefits it can bring your business.

  • Differentiate your product. You know you’re unique – but does your messaging and brand identity capture that? If your product looks the same and your marketing sounds the same, why will customers choose you? Competitor analysis allows you to refine your value proposition.
  • Stay relevant. Competitor analysis allows you to evaluate trends in your industry and determine how you can leverage them to grow your business and stay ahead of opportunities. You’ll also uncover your competitors’ strengths so you can learn how to replicate them.
  • Grow your website’s traffic. SEO analysis is a vital part of the puzzle. See what’s working for both the paid and organic strategies of your competitors, then do it better. 
  • Gain a competitive edge. Understanding your competitors’ tactics – and weaknesses – allows you to improve on them. You’ll also identify gaps in their marketing strategies and target audiences that will allow you to use new and different methods and get better results.

What tools do I need to perform a competitor analysis?

You could just jump on the computer, type in your competitors’ websites, and use your analytical eye to see what they’re doing. But you’ll get a lot more useful information when use some of these competitor analysis tools:

  • SEMrush uses comprehensive data to help you explore market and audience trends, do keyword gap analysis, and uncover competitors’ link-building strategies.
  • Ahrefs has similar tools to SEMrush to help you do SEO competitive analysis.
  • SimilarWeb provides accurate and thorough website analytics around traffic, demographics, engagement and more.
  • SpyOnWeb lets you see if a website is operated by a competitor. 
  • GoogleAlerts gives you updates on certain search terms and preferences you set, helping you track your competitor and industry.
  • Buzzsumo is a great tool for competitive content analysis. See what’s working, who’s sharing, and what’s trending for content. 

You don’t necessarily need paid tools to do a competitor analysis, but it really helps. Of course, you’ll also need the expertise to use them. That’s where a growth marketing agency like Tuff can really help.

How to do a competitor analysis

Before you can do a competitor analysis, you need to know who your competitors are. Check out our article on competitor research to learn how to identify your market competitors. Once you have that list, use the tools we talked about above – and your own critical thinking – to look at the following areas and ask yourself, “How can I do this better than them?”

Website Traffic

Analyzing the traffic going to your competitors’ pages tells you a lot about what’s working and what isn’t. Take a deeper dive into:

  • Traffic by channel: Are their visitors coming from display, paid search, organic search, social, or something else?
  • Traffic by device: Do they get the most traffic from desktop, phone, or tablet?
  • Traffic by geography: Does your competitor appeal to an audience from a specific part of the country or world?

Engagement

If your audience gets to the page and then bounces, were they ever really there? Traffic is important, but audience engagement tells you whether a competitor’s marketing strategy is actually working. Look at:

  • Bounce rate: This is the number of visitors that leave the site after only viewing one page. A low bounce rate indicates content marketing that’s doing its job well.  
  • Conversion rate: How many visitors complete a desired action, like making a purchase, downloading a piece of content, or submitting a form? Conversion is the ultimate goal of growth marketing.
  • Demographics: Who is your competitors’ most engaged audience? What is their age, gender, and income? What are they doing right to engage this audience?

Ad Strategy

The laser-focused targeting abilities and relatively low cost of PPC advertising mean that your competitors are likely using this channel. Ask yourself: 

  • Are they running ads? What are they bidding on? 
  • What CTAs are they using to push people to purchase?
  • What searches do they show up for?

User Experience

Analyzing user experience requires your own critical thinking skills more than the other categories. Browse your competitors’ websites, clicking on crosslinks, menus, CTAs and more. Check out:

  • Website layout: Does it move you easily through the discovery and purchasing phases? Was information easy to find? What are their CTAs? 
  • Aesthetics: What color scheme are they using? Is text easy to read and organized? What images do they use (lifestyle, product, stock images, etc.)?
  • Mobile optimization: Use the “Inspect” feature on Chrome to see if the website is mobile optimized. Right-click anywhere on the page and go to “Inspect.” In the top left of the sidebar, click the icon of the phone and computer screen to toggle on the mobile view. How does it look?

For each of the above categories, ask yourself: How can I make this better on my website? After all, competitor analysis is all about knowing what your competition is doing so you can do it better.

Your competition is giving you a lot of information. You just have to take time to understand it. Performing a competitor analysis will give you a solid foundation for your business growth and a way to plan future strategies. Yes, it’s that important – but you don’t have to do it alone. Contact Tuff to discover all the ways we can help you get ahead.

man looking at magnifier

How to Do a Keyword Gap Analysis

man looking at magnifier

There are no ties in SEO.

In order for one company to be number one, there also have to be losers. How can you make sure you’re on the right side of this equation? It’s all about strategy.

If you’ve identified your competition, you may be wondering:

  • What’s the next step?
  • Why are my competitors continually outranking me?

It’s likely time for you to do a keyword gap analysis.

What is a keyword gap analysis?

A keyword gap analysis is a method for choosing the best keywords for your organic SEO strategy. In a keyword gap analysis, you’ll compare yourself to your competitors to determine where they are outperforming you, and how you can catch up. Your keyword “gaps” are areas in which you have a realistic ability to overtake your competitors and outrank them. In short, it’s a way to reveal keyword opportunities you’re missing out on. 

A keyword gap analysis is an essential part of an SEO competitive analysis. You’ll identify keywords that your competitors rank for, but you don’t. You’ll also identify keywords that you have a low ranking for, for example positions 5 to 15. From there, you can create a strategy to “boost” low rankings and steal keywords from your competitors.

Why is keyword gap analysis important?

The ultimate goal of any holistic SEO content strategy is to drive traffic to your site. But you don’t want just any traffic. You want high-value, high-intent website visitors whose problems you can solve. That’s just what you get when you use a keyword gap analysis to reveal areas of opportunity where you either don’t have content or where you can improve existing content. 

Keyword gap analysis is vital to creating quality content that will capture the right audience at the right time. At Tuff, we use PPC and organic search together, building a strategy in which they complement each other, help drive growth on more competitive keywords, improve rankings and traffic, and increase share of voice. That translates into more traffic – and more revenue.

How to do a keyword gap analysis

You don’t need to be an SEO master to do a keyword gap analysis, but having a professional on your side is always helpful when it comes to interpreting results and creating a list of keywords. Here’s how we do it at Tuff.

Pick your tools

You’re going to need at least one SEO tool in order to perform a keyword gap analysis. The options here are similar to the tools you can use for on-page SEO analysis. We use Semrush, which does have a free version available with a limited amount of queries allowed. (That’s another benefit of hiring an agency – we have the tools and the expertise to use them!)

keyword gap analysis using SEMRush

Get your keyword list

Open up your tool and enter your website domain. Then enter your main competitors and click “Compare.” The tool will show you a list of keywords that your competitors rank for, as well as where you appear in the SERPs for those same words. You can sort by organic, paid, or PLA, and Semrush will also show you keyword volume, difficulty, competitive density, and CPC among other metrics. For in-depth analysis, download the file as a CSV report so you can sort and search more easily.

Interpret your results

Now you need to determine where you can get the most value from your keywords. Your keyword tool will do some of the work for you. Semrush, for example, has a section showing “Top Opportunities” for keywords that your site is missing as well as weak keywords—where you have a ranking but it is lower than all of your competitors’ rankings. To discover opportunities yourself, look for keywords that are:

  • Highly relevant to your business and your website
  • Regularly searched for by your target audience
  • Not overly competitive, but still high-value
  • Easily filled using existing content or easy to create new content for

We export each keyword gap analysis into a spreadsheet to better sort, analyze, and filter the data. It looks something like this with four core tabs: Shared, Missing, Weak, and Strong.

keyword gap analysis spreadsheet

Try a page-level analysis

You already know a few different areas where you and a competitor have similar articles. You want to determine what they’re doing right and replicate it. Doing a keyword gap analysis at the page level instead of the domain level is helpful here. You can enter the exact URL of your competitor and compare it to your own page to see what you may be missing. Then add those keywords to your page – or create an entirely new page – and start stealing competitors’ traffic.

Put it into action

How do you know whether to refresh an existing page or create a new one? What types of content will most effectively attract customers from your competitors? This is where SEO becomes not on a science, but an art. To determine your plan of action, analyze the top content that is already ranking for that keyword and look for things like:

  • Content type (video, blog, gallery, etc.)
  • Content length and organization
  • Headers and keywords used

Do you have content that already fulfills these criteria? You can update it to use the new keywords. If you don’t, you’ll want to create something new. 

Organic growth is crucial to the overall growth of your business, but it isn’t always straightforward. Tuff can help you with every step of the process, from performing a keyword gap analysis and determining the best course of action to creating content that outranks the competition. Contact us today to get started.

How To Do an on-Page SEO Analysis

a man sitting at a clean white desk researching on-page seo

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Content is king.” Bill Gates said it in a 1996 essay, and it’s been true ever since. So it’s likely that you’ve got content. Lots of content! But is anyone seeing it? Is it helping to drive growth for your business?

An effective growth marketing strategy means more than throwing together a blog where you write about topics that you’re familiar with or that you find interesting. To create content that truly connects with your audience – and that drives conversions – you need to think about on-page SEO analysis.

What is on-page SEO?

SEO is commonly split up into three types: on-page, technical, and off-page. On-page SEO is anything that your visitors see when they come to your website: product pages, location pages, resources, blog articles, and so on. Technical SEO is what happens behind the scenes of your website: HTML markup, site architecture, site speed, and so on. Off-page SEO includes things like link building, guest blogs, and social media

Here we’ll only be talking about on-page SEO: your website’s content. Thorough and knowledgeable on-page content is an essential piece of the SEO puzzle because it signals to search engines that your content answers searchers’ questions – a key to ranking highly. 

Ranking factors for on-page content include:

  • Keyword optimization
  • Content quality, length, and organization
  • Internal and external hyperlinking
  • Meta information (URL, title tag, and meta description)
  • Images and image alt text

These are all the elements you’ll need to analyze and optimize in order to improve your position in the SERPs (search engine results pages). Seem like a lot? There are tools that can help. 

On-page SEO analysis tools

On-page SEO analysis is much more than sitting around guessing what Google wants. Done right, it will show you the gaps in your on-page strategy so you can optimize your content – and help drive organic traffic and revenue. But you’ll need the right tools. Here are three of our favorites. 

Google Analytics

You’d probably expect that Google has some of the best data on the web, and you’d be right. Get real-time reporting on visitors, traffic sources, conversion rate, and more across devices so you can analyze what’s working and what isn’t. You can also use Google Search Console to drill down into organic search traffic to see what keywords your pages are ranking for.

a chart from google analytics showing site traffic

Semrush

Semrush is an excellent SEO tool for building a keyword strategy. Use Keyword Overview to get a quick summary of metrics, dive deeper with Keyword Magic to build your list, and use the Keyword Difficulty metric to find low-competition keywords that will give you an edge. You can also use it to perform competitive analysis and do topic research. 

metrics from semrush showcasing keyword overview

Yoast

Yoast is an SEO analysis plug-in for WordPress, making it a convenient option for the many businesses whose websites or blogs are built on that platform. Yoast will rate your pages’ SEO optimization and the Page Analysis feature will give specific feedback on where you can improve. It indicates areas for improvement with red dots – once optimized the dots turn green. Yoast’s user-friendliness makes it incredibly popular.

Remember that you don’t just need the tools, but also the expertise to use them. You’ll want to know what your competitors are doing so you can differentiate yourself – or go after them directly. These are all areas that an expert agency like Tuff can help.

How to do an on-page SEO analysis

You’ve got the tools and you’re ready to perform your on-page analysis! Here’s how we do it at Tuff.

Perform keyword research

On-page content that will crush it in the SERPs always starts with finding the right keywords. Use your SEO tool of choice to perform keyword research around the topic you want to write about. Ask yourself:

  • Are the keywords relevant to your topic? 
  • Are these terms regularly searched by your target audience?
  • Can you realistically rank for these keywords?

Decide on your primary keyword

Keyword research will likely give you a list of hundreds, if not thousands, of keywords. Your SEO tool may prioritize them for you, but it will still be up to you to choose your primary keyword. So which keyword will be able to rule them all? Your primary keyword should:

  • Be highly relevant and laser-focused on your topic
  • Have low competition or relate to an area where your business is very strong
  • Not already be used as a keyword in another piece of content (this is called cannibalization, and it confuses the search engines)

Choose related keywords

To create a piece of content that will catch the attention of the search engines, you need to round out your primary keyword with related keywords and topics. Related keywords will help you capture more search intent and can be used to target your PPC campaigns, too. Choose three to five related keywords that are:

  • Based on your target keyword and semantically related searches
  • Related to the intent of your searchers and their stage in the buyer journey
  • Long-tail (three or more words) or other variations on standard keywords

Look for audience questions

The ultimate goal of content marketing is always to answer the questions that your audience is asking. Audience questions, or PAAs (for “people also ask”), help you do that. PAAs are related questions that appear on Google SERPs. Being featured in the answer box is a big deal in SEO, but using these questions can also help you:

  • Rank for the question or long-tail keyword
  • Create FAQ sections within your content
  • Guide your content to ensure it’s useful to your audience

Create a content plan

Now that you have your primary keyword, related keywords, and FAQs or PAAs, you’re ready to create a content plan that will help you conquer the SERPs and drive conversions. But the content you’ll create depends on several factors:

  • What stage of the buyer journey is your searcher in when they search for that keyword?
  • Will they be looking for an informational blog, a conversion-focused landing page, a branded product page, or something else?
  • Can you use it to create content that fills in gaps in your content strategy?
  • Can you create content around this keyword that outranks your competitors?

Best practices for on-page content

You’re almost there. But before you hit “publish,” make sure your content follows best practices. (Yes, Google will know if it does!)

  • Always create high-quality, original content to avoid plagiarism and duplicate content penalties.
  • Structure your content in a way that is informative but easy to read (bulleted list, no large blocks of text). Put the most useful information front and center, then expand upon it.
  • Use your primary keyword in the title, title tag, meta description, at least one of the subheadings, first and last paragraph, and about two to three times per 500 words – but not more. “Keyword stuffing” will be penalized.
  • Use related keywords at least one within the copy and be sure they sound natural.
  • Answer audience questions either directly with an FAQ section or H2, or naturally within your content.
  • Use at least one image and ensure it is SEO optimized with an image alt tag, title, and file name that uses the primary keyword. 
  • Include your primary keyword in the URL structure. 
  • Track your keyword performance and re-analyze and optimize as needed.

 

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to on-page SEO analysis. At Tuff, we have the tools and expertise you need to create and execute a holistic content strategy that drives traffic and grows your business.