by John Eberhard
I have recently written about Google Analytics and how it is important to get that set up on your website and to track your statistics. That is important, but there are also other vital things you should be tracking to gauge the success of your website marketing.
Inbound Links: You should at least once a month track the inbound links to your website or websites coming from other sites. Google has stated that the number of links to your site coming from other sites is the most important criteria in determining how well your site will rank in the search engine results for any given keyword.
The way to check your inbound links is: go to Google. Then type in your website URL, without the http or the www, then a space, a dash, the word “site,” a colon, then your URL again. For instance, if you were checking the inbound links for Yahoo.com, it would be:
If your website URL is made up of multiple words, you should put quote marks around the initial URL:
Otherwise Google will give you the number of sites that have those individual words and you’ll get an inflated figure.
Tracking this month to month, if you are doing link building actions, you should see that number going up. Occasionally Google will dump a bunch of your links so you can sometimes see that number dip. Don’t worry, just continue your link building actions and the number will come back up.
People will often ask me how many links they should have. This varies from industry to industry but a good way to know this is to search for the top keywords you want to be ranking for, and see what sites come up at the top. Then do the above action for those sites and see how many links they have. That gives you an idea of how many you will need to be competitive with them.
Keyword Ranking: Early on in your website marketing actions, you need to do research on keywords such as how many people are searching them monthly, and how much competition there is for each keyword. From this research you should choose the keywords you want to work on (that have as high a number of search as possible but with low competition) and that you will work towards ranking well for. See my earlier articles or my book for how to do keyword research.
Once you have your chosen group of keywords, and you start using those on your site in your search engine optimization actions, in your articles, on your blog, in your press releases and so on, you should then check to see how well you are ranking on the three main search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN) for those keywords. You should check on this once a month.
You can of course go to each search engine and search for each of your top keywords, and see where your site comes up. This is pretty time consuming. I use a software package called Internet Business Promoter which does this automatically. I set it so it checks all the way to the #100 position to see if the site is ranking for that keyword somewhere in the top 100 positions.
From this you can then see how many keywords you are ranking for in the number 1 position, somewhere in the top ten positions, or somewhere in the top one hundred positions. Then month to month you know if you’re getting more keywords ranking in the top 100, top 10 and #1.
Google Analytics: This useful and free tool and will not only tell you how many visitors you’re getting to your site and how many overall page views, but it will also tell you which pages they are going to the most, what sites are referring traffic to you (i.e. which ones have links to your site that people are click on and arriving at your site), and what keywords people are typing in on search engines and arriving at your site. See my earlier article on this.
You should check Google Analytics minimally once a month, better once a week.
I am doing this type of monthly report, with all the above actions, for my clients that are doing a full website marketing program with me. I consider this an excellent way to track the success of website marketing, link building, and social media marketing actions.