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The Art of SEO by Jessie Stricchiola, Rand Fishkin, Stephan Spencer, Eric Enge

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Chapter 9. Tracking Results and Measuring Success

Since the nature of what SEO practitioners do is not clear to many people, the expert practitioner knows how important it is to establish quantifiable goals and demonstrate results. Expectation management is key, and effective communication of timetables for deliverables and improvements is crucial to the success of any SEO project.

Web analytics and other data-mining tools can provide a rich array of data that is invaluable to the SEO process. This includes tools for discovering new links, finding long tail search terms, determining the best links your competitors’ sites have, and more. All in all, a strong understanding of these tools will make you a better SEO practitioner.

However, thousands of tools are available, and it can be difficult to figure out which ones you need to use, which ones are merely nice to have, and which ones are not worth the time. It is a good idea to start simple and focus on what you need to establish a baseline measurement of where you are before you begin your SEO efforts and how to measure the results.

In other words, you need to measure whether you have been successful, and then get a sense as to how successful. The first thing you need to do is define why the site exists. Here are some possibilities:

  • Generate sales

  • Obtain leads

  • Generate ad dollars

  • Get people to read specific articles

  • Obtain donations

These are all valid objectives that relate directly to the business. Missing from this list are things such ...

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