If you have just spent $500 to $1000 on SEO services, there are several things that may be bothering you. Probably, one of these is about how soon the positive results will be seen. There are search engine optimization service companies that include reporting of results on their offered packages. However, nothing restricts a website owner from monitoring or tracking results in his own way.
One of the first things to do is to search, select and get familiar with an analysis/analytics tool. There are free and paid options when it comes to this matter. The best examples of paid tools include Coremetrics, Mint, Moz Analytics, and Fireclick. Free tools include Google Analytics, AWStats, and Yahoo Web Analytics. One tool will suffice, but if the most accurate interpretations are desired, two tools will do the job perfectly.
It would be good to acquire these tools before availing of an optimization service. The main reason for this is that it is crucial to determine baseline figures. By using one of the selected tools as mentioned above, stats pertaining to SEO metrics will be gathered. This is the second step of the tracking process.
After carrying out the optimization procedures, there is a certain waiting period that needs to pass. This will depend on the kind of indicator (SERP, traffic, bounce rate, conversion, etc.) that will be measured. Some experts recommend waiting for at least 5 days before using analytics tools. Some companies also claim that they can produce results overnight. While such claims may be valid, it is highly unlikely for specific indicators to improve within that time period.
The next step is to run the analytics tool and gather all pertinent data. There are many sets of data that these tools can derive, but it is good to focus on a specific few most especially if the website has business goals. These should include page indexing, keyword ranking, back links, traffic, and conversion rates.
The last and most important step is to compare data before and after carrying out the optimization activities. Latest data should reflect an improving trend versus the old data. However, one must not expect big differences in these sets of data. For traffic rate, as an example, a 2% improvement is already marked by experts as desirable.
There is no need to worry if your SEO efforts are working or not. The tools and steps mentioned above should give you the ability to figure this on your own.