Seven data points to help monitor search traffic health.
A programmer friend recently contacted me about a site with search traffic that had nosedived. He works on the backend, and has little impact on SEO (define). But his boss was feeling the pain, creating a ripple effect through the company. I posed several questions, which he forwarded to his boss. The boss couldn't answer any of them quickly, which made me think about how important it is to have a good understanding of some basic organic search benchmarks, even during periods of high search traffic. In the unfortunate event that organic search traffic declines from its norm, a clear, multidimensional definition of normal is a critical component when diagnosing and fixing the problem.
Following are the topics I inquired about, along with some additional explanation:
Even if you haven't been watching these numbers on a monthly basis, many of these metrics are available with a decent Web analytics program. Others aren't, however, such as index counts, sample rankings, and inbound link counts. Start monitoring these now. Don't obsess, but do jot down the numbers for future reference.
Next, I'll revisit these metrics and offer some guidance about what might be going on when specific numbers are dropping.
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Erik Dafforn is the executive vice president of Intrapromote LLC, an SEO firm headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. Erik manages SEO campaigns for clients ranging from tiny to enormous and edits Intrapromote's blog, SEO Speedwagon. Prior to joining Intrapromote in 1999, Erik worked as a freelance writer and editor. He also worked in-house as a development editor for Macmillan and IDG Books. Erik has a Bachelor's degree in English from Wabash College. Follow Erik and Intrapromote on Twitter.
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