This is What Organic Success Looks Like Over Time

Written by Brick Marketing

When it comes to determining organic success it’s very easy to pigeon-hole yourself. Too often site owners and marketing managers only look to one or two main keywords to measure organic success. For instance, if Brick Marketing only tracked (via Webmaster Tools) how many visitors came to our site after searching for “SEO” or “SEO services” we’d probably be pretty disappointed. After all, those are two very competitive keywords with dozens, if not hundreds, of SEO firms (big and small) and SEO consultants vying for top positioning. Of the thousands of visitors who come to our site and blog every day maybe only 100 actually find us after searching exactly for “SEO.” Does this mean our own SEO campaign is a failure? That we aren’t succeeding organically? No! Hundreds of other related keywords drove targeted visitors to the site and when you take a step back and look at the big picture you realize your organic success is actually made up of a bunch of smaller wins.

Take a look at the graph below. This shows the long-term growth of organic traffic to one of our client’s sites.

This is What Organic Success Looks Like Over Time

As you can see things really started to take off around December 2012. We’d been working with them for a few months, focusing on link building and blogging, and with a few months of SEO work under our belt the organic success started coming. While there were a few months where they lost some organic traffic, overall the trend is nothing but up! When we look at their Webmaster Tools reports we can also see that more and more search phrases were driving traffic, and that our client’s site was climbing higher and higher in the SERPs for those keywords.

It’s important to note that we’ve been running their SEO campaign for almost two years. In that time organic traffic has tripled (looking at December 2012 to December 2013) but that organic success would be lost on our client if we didn’t look at year-over-year reports like that. If we just looked at the month-to-month data the organic growth would appear to be much smaller, maybe only a few percentage change each month. And if we just looked at the day-to-day perhaps we wouldn’t see any evidence of organic success. But in reality their traffic is going nowhere but up over time!

When it comes to measuring organic success the worst thing you can do is limit yourself to one or two key metrics. Maybe traffic from Google hasn’t grown as much as you’d like, but referral traffic from other sites is growing month over month. This is a good sign that you’re building the right kind of links on the right kind of sites. Or perhaps your social traffic has grown in leaps and bounds, indicating your content promotion and other social activities are resonating with your audience. And if you notice a sudden dip in overall traffic? Well once you’ve established it’s not a manual action or algorithmic penalty take a look at all individual sources of traffic. For instance, your PPC campaign might be sending 1,000 visitors to the site each month. If you slash your PPC budget in half you have to expect your PPC traffic to drop significantly as well. While that might make your overall traffic look like it’s taking a nosedive, your organic presence might be chugging along just fine.

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