7 Steps to Effectively and Efficiently Evaluate the SEO Value of Your Content
When I talk to people about SEO, there’s one sentence that comes up repeatedly:
“I’m measuring my search engine rankings, isn’t that enough?”
Search engine rankings are just the peak of the SEO iceberg. Beneath the surface lies a whole foundation of metrics, strategies, and best practices for creating content that converts.
Today, I’ll be sharing my seven steps to effectively (and efficiently) evaluate the SEO value of your content so that you can start making SEO your most competitive asset.
Why is measuring SEO important?
There’s so much that goes into content creation, from intellectual property management, brand tone of voice, and last but not least, SEO. Creating quality content that ranks is essential for improving the visibility of your brand online.
However, the markers of ‘quality’ aren’t always as obvious as you might think. There are so many factors against which we can measure up our content: everything from search rankings to engagement – so it’s essential that we regularly evaluate the SEO value of our content.
Measuring SEO effectiveness is important for many reasons:
- It will help your business stay competitive: you’ll be able to see which methods perform best/worst and adapt your content creation accordingly.
- It will improve your business’s bottom line: show stakeholders and decision-makers that your SEO strategy generates impressive performance data and a healthy ROI.
- SEO needs maintenance: SEO isn’t a one-time fix. It requires regular updates and SEO maintenance to compete with other websites and comply with Google’s algorithms.
By measuring SEO, we do more than rise up the SERPs (although that’s part of it). We also ensure that we are providing helpful, relevant, and authoritative content to our readers. In other words, SEO is a marker of user experience. Every SEO strategy should include an evaluative component to ensure content measures up for the reader and the SERPs.
I'm measuring search engine rankings, isn’t that enough?
Measuring search engine rankings is an essential part of any SEO evaluation – but it’s not the only part. Far too many businesses (albeit with good intent) focus too heavily on search engine rankings at the expense of quality content.
The result? Content that appeals to algorithms but not to readers.
The solution? Factoring a wider range of performance metrics into our SEO evaluations to cover more touch points along the customer journey.
Next up, I’ll be sharing seven steps that will help you effectively and efficiently evaluate the SEO value of your content. These seven steps will help you dive deeper, beneath the tip of the SEO iceberg, to assess the fundamental foundations of your content strategy and its effectiveness.
7 ways to assess your content’s SEO value
Evaluating the SEO value of your content requires a 360-degree approach looking at everything from technical SEO performance and attribution models to the tools you’re using to help you garner those insights. These seven steps are designed to help you cover all bases and give your SEO content strategy that all-important competitive edge. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
1. Technical SEO Metrics
When we think of SEO, the first thing that comes to mind is technical SEO metrics, which includes things such as search visibility, organic rank, and traffic. Tracking these metrics is absolutely essential for keeping on top of page performance, so, which metrics should we be monitoring? Let’s unpack.
- Keyword rankings: this indicates how your content is performing on the SERPs by showing the specific spot your landing page shows up on the search results page for a particular search query. As a general rule, the higher your keyword ranking, the higher up the search results page you’ll appear (therefore improving visibility for searchers and increasing the likelihood that they’ll click through to your page).
- Organic search traffic: search volume tells you how much traffic is being channeled through to your page from search engines like Google so it’s important to measure traffic as part of your SEO performance evaluation. Organic traffic can be influenced by a range of factors, including seasonality, changes to search engine algorithms, and the specific keywords your page ranks for. For example, traffic to a page on AI in customer service is likely to be consistent year-round, whereas traffic to a page on the best Christmas dinner ideas, is not.
- Click-through rate (CTR): this tells you the percentage of people that clicked through to your page from a search result. CTR is an important measure of SEO effectiveness as it reflects the performance of your page in the SERPs.
- Backlinks: this indicates the number of inbound links from other websites that link through to your web pages. Backlinks are a bit like mini referrals and are super valuable for SEO because they reinforce your brand’s reputation in the industry.
- Affiliate links: affiliate links promote brand exposure by getting trusted people from within your industry to link to your product/ service pages. Finding the best affiliate networks for merchants will be an asset to any SEO program.
2. Attribution models
Another way brands and publishers can assess SEO value is to use something called an attribution model. Attribution models are based on a set of rules to figure out how sales correspond to particular conversion touchpoints.
Using this method, brands can work out things like which blog post is most likely to result in readers signing up for a trial or upgrading to a paid subscription. For example, if your objective is to get businesses to switch from traditional landlines to a VoIP phone number, writing a blog post that answers the question “What’s a VoIP phone number?” is a great way to engage prospective customers.
In other words, attribution models help us determine which pieces of content make the most impact.
Brands can then isolate the factors that seem to lead readers to make desirable decisions (e.g., signing up for that paid subscription), and capitalize on that. Instead of measuring digital marketing efforts solely on technical metrics like organic rankings, attribution helps marketing teams measure their campaigns based on specific goals.
Common attribution models include:
- Last-click attribution: credits last customer touchpoint before conversion.
- First-click attribution: credits first customer action leading to conversion.
- Linear attribution: credits all customer touchpoints prior to conversion.
- Time-decay attribution: credits touchpoints closer to the time of conversion.
- U-shaped attribution: credits first and last user action taken prior to conversion.
3. Monitoring the effectiveness of diverse types of content
Content is not a monolith. It comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from blog posts to social media posts, to videos. What works best for one business might not work best for another and so it’s important that we assess which types of content have the biggest impact on conversions.
Distinct types of content work better for various stages along the customer journey. For example, marketers trying to build engagement during the awareness stage might want to focus on creating high-quality, informative video content to educate users.
On the other hand, marketers trying to build engagement during the interest stage might want to start a blog and produce high-ranking, topical blog content. Marketers trying to build engagement at the decision-making stage might find that social-media posts and offers generate best results.
When it comes to the content itself, to generate qualified leads you’ll want to make sure you’re consistently evaluating the following core components:
- Keywords and search intent: Make sure you’re driving the right kind of traffic to your webpage by evaluating the search intent behind your primary keyword. Search intent refers to the purpose of a user’s search. Make sure your content uses a primary keyword that aligns with your ideal customer’s search intent. For example, if you’re trying to drive engagement to a page about electronic signature systems, then choose a keyword that people interested in electronic signature systems are likely to search for.
- Body copy: Your content should include keywords without being too “obvious.” Avoid keyword stuffing as this comes across as salesy and inauthentic. Focus on incorporating keywords naturally into the text.
- Readability: Did you know that readability affects how your content is ranked? Keeping content easily digestible for a diverse audience will improve rankings and overall brand credibility.
- Your ‘Slug’: Your URL (otherwise known in the SEO world as your ‘slug’) is what helps search engines figure out what your content is about so it’s really important that your URL is relevant and free of unnecessary or distracting information.
- Metadata: Make sure that your keyword appears in your SERP snippet, meta description, title tag, and headline as naturally as possible. This will encourage readers to click through and read your content.
- Visual optimization: As well as optimizing your content, it’s important to make sure that your page is visually appealing. Break up longer bodies of text with relevant headings, images, screenshots, and examples, and accompany images with corresponding alt text and captions. Remember that smaller images will speed up page load times (which is super important for SEO) and why not try incorporating a video snippet featuring your target keyword for an extra competitive advantage?
- Shareability: Sharing content on social media networks is a fantastic way to boost engagement. It will help improve search visibility, build a conversation around your brand, and can even help you grow a backlink portfolio.
- Internal linking: A link from your content to another page on your website. This helps your page rank and helps search engines understand your content structure.
4. Website engagement metrics
As well as technical SEO metrics, it’s important to introduce website engagement metrics into the melting pot too. Website engagement metrics bridge the gap between search optimization and user engagement.
What’s the use of a top tier ranking if nobody wants to read your content? Engagement metrics give us a way to measure how readers experience and interact with our content.
Common website engagement metrics include:
- Conversion rates: The number of visitors that convert as a percentage of your total visitors. Conversion rates are useful for SEO because they help us identify where our conversions are coming from. If most of your conversions are coming directly from your webpage or from referrals but not from organic search, then it’s an indication that your SEO strategy needs some work. You may be targeting the wrong audience with your keywords or failing to optimize your content for search engine algorithms.
- Page-level metrics: These metrics tell us how and how many people are engaging with a particular webpage. Page-level metrics include new visitors to a content page, interactions on a content page, bounce rate (the percentage of visitors that leave a webpage without taking action), and conversion rates.
- Social media metrics: Social media metrics show us how people are reacting to and engaging with a particular piece of content. As well as measuring social conversions, they allow us to measure engagement via social signals like shares and hashtags which gives a clearer indication of content reach.
- Customer satisfaction scores: This measures overall customer satisfaction within a business or in relation to a particular interaction.
5. Branding awareness metrics
Branding and awareness metrics are all too often left out of SEO evaluations, but they can be a huge asset and help us better understand content performance. Impressions, share of voice, and comparative search traffic metrics are super useful for improving SEO strategies.
- Impressions indicates how many times your content is displayed. Measuring impressions helps when deciding whether your chosen keyword will perform well.
- Share of voice indicates how content is performing compared to the competition and will help you find out which websites are ranking best for your chosen keywords.
6. Revenue metrics
Every SEO audit should be rounded off with an assessment of revenue metrics. Metrics like page value and, of course, ROI are essential. After all, our marketing campaigns are designed to fortify our bottom lines, right? In many ways, these are the most crucial metrics as they communicate the link between content and revenue.
In simple terms, the ROI of your SEO strategy is the difference between gains made from SEO investment and the cost of SEO investment as a factor of the overall cost of investment.
7. Using the right SEO tool
Last, but certainly not least, there’s a lot to say for using the right tools. Evaluating the SEO value of your content isn’t something you can do manually, so it’s important to pick the best tools for the job. This will be integral to the effectiveness of your evaluations.
There are lots of tools to choose from, including the likes of Google Analytics, TruPresence, and WooRank which will help you evaluate your SEO, identify high-performing keywords, determine how people are arriving at your site, measure your ROI, and create SEO reports. Alternatively, once you know how to install PySpark, you’ll be able to create your very own content optimizer.
Conclusion: Make SEO Your Competitive Asset
Evaluating the SEO value of your content is about much more than search rankings alone. Quality leads are just as important as volume. SEO performance is dictated by a wide range of highly changeable factors, so it’s important that marketing teams conduct regular SEO evaluations to keep user engagement up and maintain a competitive advantage online.