Traffic increases to the company website can be caused by a multitude of things, including:
- Increased brand awareness
- Increased product/service demand
- Sales promotions/non-SEO marketing campaigns
- Competitive changes (e.g., a competitor going out of business)
- SEO campaigns
A well-executed SEO campaign should increase the increase of traffic from any of the aforementioned causes. This is why it is a mistake to think of SEO as a standalone marketing activity — SEO is also a marketing magnifier, enabling your website to cash in big on any positive market development.
Seasonality: Know Your Numbers
In order to gauge SEO’s impact on seasonal traffic increases, you’ll need to consider historical trends in your business, year over year. Typical trends to monitor include:
- Unique visits
- Unit sales
- Validated sales leads
For example, if website traffic spiked 5-7 percent in December over a three-year period, and this year increased 15 percent, the question becomes: What accounts for the change?
A process of elimination methodology is one way to approach the question. If the additional traffic cannot be accounted for as a result of increased brand awareness, increased demand, sales promotions or competitive changes, then SEO is likely to have caused or greatly contributed to the increase in the increase.
The better you are able to track your marketing efforts, the better you can judge the impact of SEO on seasonal traffic variances:
- Do you have a way to track brand awareness?
- Do you have a way to track or monitor demand?
- Do you have granular tracking in place for all sales promotions and marketing campaigns?
The more accurate data you have on these questions, the less your website traffic analysis will rely on anecdotal information and “feel.”
There’s nothing wrong with anecdotal information and feel, per se, but they can lead to erroneous conclusions when evaluating marketing campaign performance.
For example, a “blowout” December sale could have received enormous attention internally and resulted in a few gigantic anecdotal successes. But if the company had no way of measuring website traffic attributable to the sale, it can be sure only of a correlation between the two events, not whether the sale caused the traffic increase.
Enthusiasm for sales and marketing activities is healthy — just be careful not to let it cloud your interpretation of results.