Understanding the benefits of digital marketing is the first step. The second is figuring out how to maintain and continually optimize your online presence. The third, and possibly the most challenging step, is how to know if all your hard work is paying off. How do you measure which of your efforts are successful and which need to be tweaked?
Fortunately, there are many tools out there to help you measure the results of your digital endeavors. At Energy Circle, we use dozens of these tools, platforms, and software to monitor and manage our clients’ performance.
Here are a few of our top picks.
The granddaddy of website metrics and analysis, Google Analytics is an excellent starting point to understand the performance of your website. Google Analytics helps you see how users find you and get to your website. It helps you dig in and track interactions on all your site pages, and see how they’re performing across multiple devices, operating systems, and screen sizes.
The vast amount of data that Google Analytics displays can seem daunting. Fortunately, Google Academy offers training at basic and more advanced levels for those eager to take a peek under the hood of their website performance.
It’s not surprising that worldwide web powerhouse Google would make our list twice. Google’s proprietary, pay-per-click advertising platform is useful for running PPC campaigns as well as competitive benchmarking. Auction Insights within the platform allow you to see how your competitors are bidding and performing. (Note that this feature is only available when you’re running and targeting ads with the same keywords as your competition.)
Within the Google Ad platform, you can research keywords, refine your bid strategy, and more. As with Google Analytics, Google has prepared a ready-made training program for Google Ads so that you can become a user in no time at all. That said, building a successful pay-per-click or Google Ads campaign still requires a quality strategy—you can’t just start pulling levers—but Google’s tools do provide a great starting point.
SEMRush’s website professes “complete workflow for any SEO professional,” and we have found this SEO tool to be very helpful. While the platform may be a bit complicated (and expensive) for the casual user, SEMRush does provide a valuable resource for those in pursuit of an elevated SEO strategy. Tools such as domain and keyword analytics, backlink tracking, position tracking, and organic traffic insights offer a valuable perspective on SEO performance and areas of opportunity.
Another SEO tool, ScreamingFrog is slightly easier to navigate than SEMRush. When paired with basic SEO knowledge and strategy, it offers an excellent, top-line benchmark for SEO improvements. ScreamingFrog’s “spider tool” allows you to crawl your own website and identify opportunities for improved SEO, such as updating web pages with appropriate headers, image alt tags, metadata, and more.
While ScreamingFrog doesn’t offer metrics per se, it remains a great resource for benchmarking your on-site SEO and identifying low-hanging fruit for easy improvement.
TextOptimizer offers a top-down view of your content. Based on your site’s text, TextOptimizer can “read” what your site is most likely about and suggestions for optimization and content strategy. It shows you how it’s interpreting your content and scores your text formating based on its grammatical structure. If upping your content game is at the top of your digital marketing to-do list, TextOptimizer is an easy next step.
Moz Pro and Moz Local
The final tools on our list are more SEO-specific resources for tracking on and off-site SEO. (Do you see a trend here? Local SEO is especially important to service area businesses such as solar installers or solar contractors!)
Moz Pro inspects your website’s keywords and the Link Explorer tool evaluates the quality and credibility of 3rd-party sites that contain links to your website. These “backlinks” are an essential factor to another metric tracked and reported by Moz—your Domain Authority. Domain Authority is a score that “predicts a root domain’s ranking potential relative to the domains in [the Moz] index. [You can] use this score to compare your likelihood to rank above that of your competitors.”
So Moz Local focuses on… you guessed it: local SEO! Its tools give an overview of your business across online directories to ensure your Name, Address, and Phone Number (or “NAP” in local SEO-speak) are consistent, up-to-date, and all the places that customers can find you are accurate. At Energy Circle, we use the Moz suite of tools to benchmark our clients’ local presence, and effectiveness of their local SEO strategy, over time.
A Moz Pro protip: when you first start using Moz’s tools, screenshot your domain authority and other metrics. Then, once you have made these improvements, take another screenshot at a later date. You should be able to see improvements in your scores as your SEO strategy ramps up and your online presence becomes more optimized!