22 thoughts on “Measuring Results Questions

  1. Well, I notice Dan is waiting for questions in the measuring and refining categories…so maybe this will get the ball rolling.

    I have been thinking about this aspect of SEO for a little while now..
    Dan’s book is the first really useful outline of measurement I have come across, so many other web sites on SEO just talk about the keyword strategy and the optimisation process… thumbs up Dan !!

    I was thinking it made sense to get a snapshot of your site at the start of SEO so you have something to compare to. And I also was thinking it would be nice to pull all the figures into a report on a regular basis – maybe once a month?

    I haven’t quite worked out a simple way to do it yet, because I have data from Google Analytics, data from Google Webmaster Tools, and data from Advanced Web Ranking reports. I am trying to work out a simple format that shows the client the current status, plus highlight improvements.

    Does any one have any advice, suggestions on this?


  2. Sandy,

    From the client’s perspective, I think your top SEO metrics are going to be something like:
    – # of visits from organic search (over time)
    – # of referrals for specific targeted search terms (over time)
    – rankings on specific targeted search terms (over time)
    – # of search terms referring visitors (over time
    – revenue / leads generated by organic search (over time)

    All of these numbers will rise and fall over time, you hope they trend positive of course, but it’s good to have another data point that lets you show the seasonal and day-to-day fluctuations in search volume too.

    For example, if you’re running an Adwords campaign at full throttle, you can show the # of searches (impressions) over time. That way, if search volume falls by 20% one week, your client doesn’t panic because their traffic numbers fell.

  3. Dan, I started adding Google Analytics to pages on my featured site. Also, I use SEO Elite to track my keywords and various tools for links. Do you think that should be sufficient for starters?


  4. If you’re doing e-commerce, adding the revenue tracking to your checkout pages for Google Analytics can make a huge difference in what you can see. Every time a student implements that level of tracking, the new data always changes their strategy a little.

  5. Thanks, Thanos!

    I like Clicktale, there are quite a few nice tools to track that kind of stuff, they all work a little differently so it’s worth investigating them all:


    llen Stern has done reviews of several tools, including ClickTale:

    I’d love to hear feedback from anyone who is using Clicky (http://www.getclicky.com) as I am thinking about running it on the portal here.

  6. On a different note, is there a good way to watch how GoogleBot travels through your site? I’m sure we can look through the raw log files, but is there a better way? I have Webstat installed as my stats program.

    Any ideas?


  7. Paul, they don’t really “travel through” your site. The spider fetches a page and it’s gone. Another spider will come and fetch a page. Etc. Log file analysis will show you which pages are retrieved, the alternative is to run some kind of server side script whenever a page is fetched.

  8. Hi,

    Has anybody successfully used http://www.digitalpoint.com as mentioned in Book to get rankings. As when I tried getting key for SOAP APIs, google says “As of December 5, 2006, we are no longer issuing new API keys for the SOAP Search API. Developers with existing SOAP Search API keys will not be affected.”

    thanks for help

  9. Maninder, that’s really the story right there. Google isn’t giving out any more keys. A lot of people have keys and Google’s sticking with the story that they will continue to work.

    It’s kind of a puzzling decision, because it means that a lot of people will use ‘screen scraping’ tools instead.

  10. Hi,
    Thanks so much for all of the information you offer here particularly answering our questions. I have noticed BIG changes in keyword ranks. (We use Digitalpoint keyword rank checker.) These large swings are 9823, 9965, and similar numbers all affecting listings where we either had a reasonable rank and then nothing or in some cases no rank and then we come up in the top 100. They can go either way plus or minus and sometimes go back and forth. What causes such a major change when I have made no changes? Is this a sign of a problem with the page in terms of a penalty or something? I can understand that when I optimize a page we might see these swings but these are for pages where I haven’t changed anything that of which I am aware.
    Thanks for the assistance.

  11. Hi

    I’m just getting into SEO. I discovered your brilliant site after reading the equally-fantastic ‘Search Engine Marketing Kit’ from Sitepoint.

    My question is this: Do you recommend caution when using screen-scrape software for SEO research. I’m thinking of tools like Rank Tracker and SEO Spyglass from Link Assistant. Do the search engines disapprove of using tools like these? And if they do, what are the risks and implications? They seem to be great time-savers but I’d hate to make any silly errors using them.



  12. Yikes! That doesn’t sound good. What are the alternatives for checking the effectiveness of SEO activity? Manual searches seems like an incredibly very time-consuming task.

  13. Hi There

    I have just checked out DigitalPoint’s Keywords tracking tool, and can’t get it to work due to the Google API issue.

    I am now comparing Web CEO and WebPosition Gold for keeping track of SEO efforts on a portfolio of sites.

    Does anyone have recommendations on the best keyword tracking tool?

    Thanks in advance.

  14. Hi There

    Still on the topic of keyword tracking tools. I’ve been reading that certain tools that submit automated queries to Google in order to check keyword rank risk facing an IP ban.

    Is this a real risk?


  15. I have a quick question.

    What does the order of pages listed when I do a site:www.mysite.com tell me?

    Do I assume that Google is listing the pages in order of importance (PR?) based on their indexing?

    Does this tell me the most relevant pages within my [main indexed] site?

    If this is true then wouldn’t I want to use these first list of pages to help get my supp pages indexed properly?

    I’ve had some pages that I’ve been working on move up higher on that list. So it’s making me wonder.


  16. An interesting observation based on my last question about SERPS:

    I had a single page that spiked and received 500+ visitors in one day (specifically from search engines) and now when I do a site:domain.com/* it’s like the 4th page listed, when originally it was probably 50+.

    So that makes me think that Google can “see” what pages are getting high traffic and does SOMETHING in their SERPS based on that info.

    Pretty interesting to me.


  17. In the book he mention user feedback. Google have a lot of toolbar installed. To known what pages are high traffic and stay on site.

  18. What are some good ways to tell if a site has been penalized by Google? I have a site that I just redesigned and it shows a white bar in the toolbar PR.

    I haven’t done anything illegal, that I know of. I’ve redirected 2 older domains to point to this one, but that’s about it.

    Any ideas or tips?


  19. First of all, I want to give a warm salute to Dan Thies. I’ve been an avid “stalker” of his activities and enjoy his advices on SEO.

    Second of all, since this Q&A is centered on the ways one measures the results of the link building efforts, I have a little favor to ask from you, Dan.

    I’ve recently done a search on google.com
    for the word:
    men’s fitness magazine
    [thus the ser was: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=men%27s+fitness+magazine&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=&aqi=

    In the first position I encounter this site:

    but what’s wierd about the first serp is the fact that two small indents appear. They don’t look like the random sitelinks attributed by Google, nor like the double indent.

    It’s actually a triple indent…

    Dan, what’s up with that? Did you find anything similar? If so, can you please explain or at least denominate the feature?

    I’m puzzled but in the same time wondering if this is a new Google experimental feature or not.

    Best of luck and Godspeed.

    = Romeo from Romania =

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