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When Measuring SEO Results, the Waiting Is the Hardest Part

My regular process of measuring SEO results left me feeling dejected the other morning.

A big part of my job at York IE is growing the audience for our content. And I’m kind of obsessed about tracking progress against this goal. What’s our Alexa rank? How are our social media posts performing? Who’s reading our blog? Every morning I take some time to get the answers to these and other questions.

Yesterday morning, I logged in to our search engine optimization (SEO) tool as part of this process. Our team has created some strong content aligned with some great SEO opportunities lately, and I hoped at least some of those would’ve started to show up high in search results.

But they hadn’t. Sure, it’s not uncommon for articles to take weeks or even months to climb the Google rankings, but the waiting game is hard — especially when so many other success metrics are available instantly.

Imagine if you had to wait a month to see how many people liked and commented on your latest LinkedIn post? That’s what measuring SEO results is like.

I put the bad news — and it wasn’t even really bad news, it was more like a lack of any news — behind me and went about my day. And to be honest, by the time the afternoon rolled around, I forgot about it.

Until I was putting together our monthly content analytics report. Guess what our blog’s top traffic source was?

Google!

Look at SEO Results Differently

At York IE, we don’t yet have a ton of content that ranks high in search results. But we do have a ton of content, thanks to our drumbeat marketing philosophy. And it ranks high enough that, cumulatively, it moves the traffic needle.

I learned a few lessons about measuring SEO results that can hopefully help your startup’s content journey, too:

Patience is a virtue. As our CEO Kyle York likes to say, “play the long game.” The work you’re doing now will set you up for future success, even if you don’t see immediate returns.

Take a new perspective. What may look like a failure according to one metric may be a smashing success according to another. What data points truly matter to your business?

Beat that drum! You might not see it at the individual article level, but consistently creating content aligned with your messaging really does pay off at scale.

This post originally appeared in the Fuel Newsletter. Sign up for Fuel to subscribe for free.

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