TD;LR: Nowadays, ensuring your SEO efforts are successful requires a combination of best practices and addressing ongoing issues. We explore if it’s still worth the effort and outline ways to stay on top of ongoing SEO performance. 

It’s no secret that it takes a great deal of time and effort to develop a SEO strategy that gets results. From creating the technical groundwork to the auditing to optimizing every piece of content that is published on your website, there are many moving parts to contend with. 

But once you’ve implemented your plan, you’re finally free to sit back and relax, right? 

Unfortunately, no. Since it’s an ever-evolving sales platform, your website is in a state of constant change and every content tweak or change can affect your ranking on search engines like Google. 

woman exerting effort to push an oversized tire in a gym

Is SEO worth all the effort?

As a small business owner, your time is valuable and you may be forgiven for wondering if SEO is really worth all the hassle. 

While SEO is more difficult to set up than other approaches to raising awareness, once you rank for even one post within your niche, the long-term benefit is greater than any other form of marketing. 

In fact, 61% of marketers claim that SEO and organic traffic gain more leads than any other marketing initiative. This is because of how your customers behave. A reported 68% of all online experiences begin with search engines and having a number one organic position on Google can mean a click through rate (CTR) of 34.2%.

Let’s compare this last statistic with other marketing approaches. Email marketing is still considered one of the most effective ways to convert leads. So, what kind of CTR can you expect for an email campaign—20%? 10%? 

There are many factors at play, such as how warm your leads are and the quality of your messaging. Even so, a very successful email campaign can expect a CTR of 3%.

This illustrates the power of having just one post at number one on Google and why monitoring ongoing SEO performance is vital.

Why the little details matter

Developing and implementing your SEO initiative remains one of the best investments you can make in your business’s long-term success. But how you carry that out has changed. 

The tried-and-tested methods that used to work no longer do. Yes, you still need to find relevant keywords, optimize your posts, and all the other best practices. 

However, in such a competitive space, this isn’t enough to guarantee a place at the top of Google. To put it bluntly, everybody else is doing exactly the same thing. 

Now, SEO success hinges on the small issues and tiny tweaks. 

It’s not all bad news, though. Assuming you’re staying on top of your everyday SEO best practices, there will be a minimal number of issues that you’ll need to address. It can take as little as three minutes to take care of if carried out on a monthly basis. 

The problem is more when you ignore these small tasks. It’s much like the old proverb, a stitch in time saves nine. If you take care of it right away, there’s no problem.

Optometrist carrying out an eye test.

What to look out for in your monthly audit

Since every aspect of your website influences your SEO, it’s not surprising that your audit should take multiple factors into consideration. 

On-page SEO

The first area you should look at is your on-page SEO health to keep an eye on aspects such as incoming search traffic, your keyword ranking performance, and how many backlinks you have, to name a few. 

Website health

Next, you’ll need to look at your overall website health to search for any critical errors, such as slow loading speeds, missing or duplicate meta descriptions, low word count, sitemap issues, or other similar problems. 

Page speed

Given its importance—not just with SEO but also with bounce rate and other key factors—you should take special care to ensure that your pages are loading properly. Have a look at our post on auditing your website for performance for more information.

How do I keep track of it all?

The areas above are just general outlines and each represents a huge number of potential issues that could alter your SEO performance. Going through it all manually would take significant time and effort, which business owners simply can’t afford. 

There are plenty of tools you can use to see how you’re doing and make any adjustments. 

Monitoring on-page SEO and website health

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is an exceptionally powerful tool for monitoring your website’s health by providing wide-ranging reports and insights into how you acquire users, their behavior, how often they convert, and more. 

When it comes to improving your SEO, Google Analytics allows you to: 

While there’s a lot that can be done with Google Analytics, it isn’t specifically designed for SEO and you will need a high level of expertise to be able to leverage it properly. That said, it isn’t the only tool that Google offers website owners.

Keyboard with a key saying "search engine optimization"

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is better geared towards your SEO and can also be integrated with Google Analytics. It’s a great tool for carrying out your initial SEO analysis or updating your strategy. Other benefits include: 

  • Insights into keywords you’re currently ranking for.
  • Any crawl errors that are present on your website. 
  • How well your website responds to mobile.
  • Clicks, impressions, click-through-rates and other key metrics.

You should sign up for both Google Analytics and Search Console as a default. They will undoubtedly serve you in your ongoing SEO actions. That said, they are fairly professional tools and the skill of the user very much determines how well you’re able to benefit from them. 

SEO Report Card

If you’d like a free complimentary report, fill in the below form and we’ll send you some useful information such as: 

  • Your website ranking.
  • The number of websites that link to yours. 
  • How you’ve been able to incorporate your main target keyword into on-site content. 
  • Information about your site’s load time, digital accessibility, indexing, and trust. 

While this SEO Report Card is limited, it does provide an easy overview of how you’re doing and some easy to digest details on how to improve.

Bing Webmaster 

Many of us forget that Google isn’t the only search engine out there. It’s true that the others don’t have the same number of users, but there are still millions of people out there who could easily fall into your target audience. 

The equivalent of Google Analytics is Microsoft Bing Webmaster, which gives you similar insights into reporting, diagnostic, and other SEO-related metrics. It also provides information on: 

  • Backlinks to gain insight into referring pages, domains and anchor links.
  • Keyword research to see what your audience is searching for.
  • Crawling to identify technical SEO errors.
  • SEO reports to review any errors that are present on your website. 

Tools for speed

It’s not just about specific tools for SEO. The speed of your website plays an enormous role in your ranking and overall usability. When it comes to monitoring your website’s speed, there are three free tools that we recommend. 

  1. The first is PageSpeed Insights, which is Google’s own tool and provides insights into both desktop and mobile. 
  2. Next, we recommend another free tool called Pingdom. As with PageSpeed Insights, it will provide recommendations and insights across geographies. 
  3. Finally, GTMetrix is a great tool that provides some straightforward details, how to fix issues, as well as a PDF export option to save your report.

In our post on decreasing your website’s loading speeds, we go into much more detail about how you can audit and fix slow-loading pages.

How Watchdog Studio can help 

There’s no doubt that keeping on top of your ongoing SEO performance is a daunting task. Tools offered by Google or Microsoft are useful and should definitely be incorporated into your monitoring routine. However, for business owners with a lot on their plate, you could benefit from something more clear, actionable, and tailored to you.

With as little as 4 hours a month and without hiring an SEO expert, we offer a DIY SEO management platform that puts you in control of every aspect of your SEO strategy. By signing up, you gain access to our full suite of SEO tools and training to maximize your chances of climbing Google’s rankings—including the ability to keep tabs on any changes without additional third-party tools.

For business owners who prefer to get an expert involved or are strapped for time, we also offer an expert-led done-for-you service that boosts your visibility without you lifting a finger.

Reach out now to have a chat about how we can help you with your ongoing SEO performance!

About The Author
Justin Korn

Justin is the founder of Watchdog Studio, and former Director of IT at both Wells Fargo Securities and AirTreks. A prodigy of the dotcom era, he now provides businesses in Oakland, California and the surrounding Bay Area with honest, expert website services to drive growth.