How do you know if your search engine optimization agency is doing a good job? Instead of waiting months for results, you can get a glimpse of whether the work they are doing will be effective early. Here are three relatively simple things you can check. Think of it as the SEO version of "trust but verify".
Top three things to measure SEO agency effectiveness
Check your site speed
The speed of your site is extremely important. But how fast is fast enough? The answer is "two seconds or less". That means that ideally, each page of your site, especially your home page, should load in two seconds or less. This is because of Google's "mobile first" initiative which means they measure the quality of your site based on how it performs on slower mobile networks and phones rather than high-speed desktop connections.
How do you measure the page speed of a website?
Use Lighthouse to measure page speed and quality
Lighthouse is Googles' own measurement of speed and quality. You get your information right from the source. You'll need the Google Chrome browser and a browser extension called Lighthouse.
How to use Lighthouse to measure the success of an SEO campaign
- Open a web page in your browser.
- Click on the blue Lighthouse extension icon at the top of your browser window.
- Click Generate Report.
What should your lighthouse report say?
Here is an example of a very good Google Lighthouse result. You want your result to look as close to this as possible:
Numbers to look for in a Lighthouse report
What numbers are you looking for in a Lighthouse report? You want the scores to be as close to "100" across the board. You want nothing "red", all green is best.
Measure inbound link quality
Most SEO practitioners build links. Some are good and some are bad. But how do you know the links are good? Here is how you know:
Ask your SEO agency to provide a list of the links they have built. Ask them specifically to provide the following information for each link.
- Full URL. The full exact URL of the link. It looks like this: www.xyz.com/example
- The Domain Authority of the site.Domain Rating (DR) shows the strength of a target website’s backlink profile on a 100-point scale (higher = stronger). Backlinks from high-DR sites carry more weight than those from low-DR sites. You want a number that is as close to 100 as you can get - certainly 30 or more for each link.
- The Topic of the site. For example, if your site is about a restaurant, you want links from sites about restaurants, food, travel, etc. Not about plumbing, language services, or other non-relevant sites.
- The Anchor Text of the link. For example, if your site is a restaurant in San Francisco, you want the text that links to your site to be about the food, quality, etc. Not words like "here" or "this link" (although a few of these are OK). Another thing to avoid having too many of are the name of your company. While it's OK a few times, you want more descriptive Anchor Text if possible.
- Whether the links are "Follow" or "NoFollow". Follow are good. NoFollow are essentially (but not completely) useless.
You can use a tool like AHEFS.com that provides the information in a format like this:
In the above screenshot you'll see the page on which the link has been placed (Uber), the Domain Rating (90), The Anchor Text (www.originaljoessf.com.), if the links were NoFollow they would have a line through them. It doesn't show the topic of the site, so to know that just click on the link. You can see this report with an Ahrefs.com subscription or just try the free 7-day trial.
While there are many other measurements for a good link, these are just the basics.
Numbers to look for in a Link Building report
- You want the DR (Domain Rating) for each link to be at least 30, but 50 or greater is best.
- The topic of the site should be about what your site is about.
- The Anchor Text should be descriptive, about the things on your site, and positive.
- Few to no "NoFollow" links (a few are fine).
The site is mobile friendly
Check to make sure the SEO has made sure your site is mobile friendly. You can do that with the Google Mobile Friendliness tool which can be found here. When you run the tool it will tell you whether your site is friendly to mobile devices or not. If it's not, the problem should be corrected immediately. This is what you want your test result to look like:
Numbers to look for in a Mobile Friendliness report
There are no numbers to look for in this report. But you want to see a big green message that says "Page is mobile friendly".