The SEO world has been up in arms this morning since Matt Cutts posted a survey asking, “What’s a small website that you think should be ranking higher in Google?”. Just to clarify, this is what Google has to say about this informal survey: “Google would like to hear feedback about small but high-quality websites that could do better in our search results. To be clear, we’re just collecting feedback at this point; for example, don’t expect this survey to affect any site’s ranking.” This has sparked all sorts of discussions including what Google considers to be a “small” website and a “high-quality” website. What do you think?
Rankings – Search engine rankings and high positions obviously have A LOT to do with having a quality website. But we’ve also seen spammy sits rank well, even if it is in the short run. And of course, a website can’t be successful if it’s ranking well and not delivering what is promised. There’s also the issue of ranking well for terms that have very low search volume and/or competition. Ranking well doesn’t exactly mean that your website is a success but it’s pretty close!
Quantity – Some people have the belief that a large website is a better website. The theory is that more content equals a larger net to cast on all the terms you want to rank for. In past years, this isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, as Google is cracking down on thin content. The lesson here is to focus on quality content. Although it can be deceiving to believe that a big site is more successful. Just because the time and resources doesn’t mean that you should keep building. Rather, take the time to review existing pages to make them even better.
Traffic – More traffic means your quality site is bringing in more potential customers, right? Although this is usually the case, there are different scenarios you have to think about. Your traffic could grow or remain at a steady rate, but what kind of visitors are you bringing in? If your site’s content is too vague and broad, it’s likely to bring in more people who are leaving because they’re not finding what they’re looking for. After you take the time to re-optimize and cut down on thin content and pages, you might find a decline in traffic. Although this can be scary, it can also be a good sign that you’re narrowing in on the types of quality visitors that you’re been after all along!
Conversions – The most transparent way to track website success is in conversions. For e-commerce stores, this is easily seen by profit and number of sales. For service industries, it might be harder to track phone calls from websites and contact forms, emails, newsletter signups downloads etc. Conversions can be the most difficult factor to track even though it’s one of the most important ones in helping you understand and determine your website’s quality.
Other Metrics – Bounce rate, social shares, time on site and more. Take your pick! There are many other viable factors you can track to measure your website’s quality and success. It’s just the matter of choosing which metrics and for what reason. It’s also crucial to be consistent and track them on a regular schedule. What other metrics are you looking for when determining the quality of a website?
Measuring website success and quality can be a difficult game to play. You must understand how your site is performing in tangible terms. But focusing on these metrics and over analyzing can also cause you to lose track of your brand vision and long term goals. It’s all about consistency in tracking and reviewing metrics.