Success. It is a relatively simple word, but the definition can be different for everyone. People have different ways of defining success. What one person sees as a success may not be the same for another person. Bottomline, it varies.

It’s actually interesting to see and hear what success is to different people. It’s also the same for SEO professionals. We have listed below how they define success at work. What’s your definition of success also?

Most SEOs make the mistake of just basing off success by the number of visitors a website gets. This is too old-school. We’d take one visit that stays on the site for 5 minutes over 1,000 that stays there for 3 seconds.

Google has metrics for site usability (Hummingbird says “HI!”) and I believe it’s a key factor whenever they release Panda and Penguin updates too. So we measure success by the engagement ratio, which covers X (raw # of visits), Y (avg site duration + pages per session), Z (conversion = sign-ups, purchase, etc).

Case study: When Google started generating their own titles in SERPs, we went through 5 rounds of revisions before we get the optimal number. Our optimal CTR isn’t exactly giving us the highest number of traffic. But it is giving us the best number of sign-ups.

Translation: the current titles, while pulling less people, are pulling in people that care for what the website is and have genuine interest in “digging deeper”. 6 mos later, the engagement has helped boost our raw traffic and sign-ups are nearly double than what we have before. – Jec Gonzales

Conversions and Profit. I’ve mentioned that on my Slideshare upload re: How to Set Straight your Online (SEO) Campaign with Killer KPIs. See answer on #4 question. – Gary Viray

There isn’t one size fits all for this answer, it really depends on the client and their objectives. That said we intend to re-educate our clients to focus on conversion and traffic is also another key area to focus on but not in isolation. The ultimate success for an SEO campaign is increased authority within the niche.  Being seen as an authority gets you attention, engagements and trust. – David Jenyns

SEO campaigns have different KPIs, different objectives and different business models so there’s no one metric that gauges the success of all types of campaigns. To get started with KPI and SEO measuring, you can check out this awesome slide deck by Gary Viray on how to set straight your online campaigns with killer KPIs.  – Venchito Tampon Jr.

We use two metrics. The first is impression share within our keyword set and the second is year over year improvement in organic traffic and revenue. These are good metrics to use because they eliminate seasonal variance in search demand. – Sam Nam

You base it on total search traffic and total revenue coming from search. If it continually increases, you are doing a good job. – Neil Patel

Call me old school, but I still give a lot of emphasis on rankings, especially in these (not provided) times. That said, setting good ol’ Google Analytics to show Organic Traffic only is also an obvious indicator of progress. Oh and I always make sure to ask clients to ask new customers/clients how they found them – if lots of them say “we found you on Google” then that makes me happy. – Steve Morgan

It’s really all about ROI. Ranking #1 for a big keyword may not be as good as ranking #1 for a number of long term keywords. For example, for my husband’s real estate site ranking well for people searching for “[city] real estate agent” can bring us in a lot of tire kickers.

But, this particular page on the best neighbourhoods in our city, Ottawa actually brings us more really valid leads. I see businesses allocating huge budgets to ranking well for terms that really aren’t going to bring them qualified leads. – Marie Haynes

I don’t start working for a project without determining its objective and goals. I always ask my clients ‘Why do you want to implement SEO? What are your expectations?’

This helps us determine if we’re on the same page. Usually, clients tell me they want online exposure or they want to be seen on Google, etc. Few clients give me specific goals and metrics (e.g. 20% increase on website visitors in three months).

Whether they give me specific goals or not, I include on my presentation the goals I set that I think are feasible and achievable. I do this by relying on their data history. The same goes for social media marketing. – Ester Del Fierro

Success is dependent on the goals the client business wants to achieve. Some profits, then we have to think about what products are more profitable than others, look at best sellers.

Some want revenue sales and we also consider conversion rate optimization to be included in the service. Some just want increase organic search traffic. We measure success looking at these metrics mainly.

There will be clients that are concentrated on ranking but I am highly against it for many reasons. (1) Ranking is not equal to sales even if it should eventually lead to more sales. (2) Ranking is different on different browsers, locations, influenced also by personal search habits and Google+ circles, etc.

Although we can approximately say that ranking changes proportionally everywhere in anybody’s view even if the exact ranking number is different, we still do not use it as a primary success measure. We use it more for analysis on what actions to take for further optimization. – Benj Arriola

With the “not provided” debacle in Google Analytics and the variance of SERPs depending on personalization and geography, it’s really hard (and foolish) to measure success by keyword rankings alone. The two main ones we look at right now are organic search traffic and the conversions we generate off of that traffic.

We reference the figures that the client’s site experiences while we’re running their campaigns against what the numbers were before they hired us. It gives us the best perspective on how our services are impacting their business. – Glen Dimaandal

Besides from ranking the target keywords, you need also to consider the time and money you spent. And of course how much you made from that campaign. – Ed Pudol

Build a KPI scorecard.

For example, one of your main KPI is traffic generation. Based on the current traffic or from the trend of your previous month, forecast a monthly target value.

At the end of the month, measure the actual traffic versus the target. From this you may have a metric you can measure the percentage to goal.

Putting into actual numbers:

  • Target: 10,000 visits
  • Actual visits: 9,254
  • Percent to goal = 1 – ((Target – Actual) / Target)
  • Percent to goal = 1 – ((10,000 – 9254) / 10,000)
  • Percent to goal = 92.54%

A scorecard is best for KPIs that are numerically measureable. – Louie Sison

Page 1 rankings and clients receiving phone calls and enquiries leading to an upturn in business for them. – Adrian Wright

Rankings, traffic, leads, conversions and client feedback. – Sean Si

I see two stages in SEO success:

1.)    Ranking – first stage is the acquisition of organic traffic.

2.)    Leads and Sales – second stage is the conversion.

It’s pretty straightforward. The main purpose of why webmasters acquire SEO services is to have more online sales. SEO helps drive organic traffic to websites but everything doesn’t stop on ranking the targeted keywords. These two things I mentioned can be analyzed through Google Analytics (GA). – Fervil Von Tripoli

Google analytics’ KPI. I take note of baseline data before I begin with any optimisation. I set a target number on those KPI and make sure that the goals tracking is set so I know when I generate leads to the client’s website. – Jose Duque

For my clients is down to sales, conversions, and leads.It’s all very well getting more traffic and better Google rankings with SEO – but if that traffic doesn’t convert it doesn’t really mean anything. As part of the SEO process I work with my clients to make sure that their website is best positioned to get results so look very closely at how the pages perform. – Marc Heighway