The following is a guest post by Andrew Wetzler, President of MoreVisibility. It most recently appeared alongside articles from dozens of thought leaders in DMA’s 2018 Statistical Fact Book.

Figuring out whether your search engine optimization/marketing efforts are paying dividends is not always easy to discern. There are basic metrics to consider, such as whether your revenue increased or qualified leads grew, or whether your efforts produced a profit. It’s important to dig a bit deeper and examine some of the strengths and weaknesses of your current web presence.

Here are a few areas to take a closer look at (in no particular order):

Are you impressed by your site as a standalone entity and also in comparison with your most important competitors? If your website hasn’t gone through a refresh/redesign in the last year or two, it may be time. Make sure that when visitors arrive, they can efficiently locate what they are looking for and that the site is visually appealing. If that’s not the case and your bounce rate is high, you are losing people before they have a chance to explore your offerings. Additionally, if you are keeping folks on the page for a sufficient amount of time and they aren’t “converting,” then that concern should be analyzed in depth as well.

Besides looking at the profitability of your paid campaigns in terms of dollars spent versus revenue achieved, run an additional calculation that accounts for the long-term value of a newly acquired customer. That data may shed an entirely new perspective on the effectiveness of your campaigns and may change the dynamic of what you’re willing to invest up front to drive new customers. An effort that appears too costly at first glance may, in fact, be profitable in light of overall lifetime value of customers acquired and one that you can “double down” on.

Site speed is an old topic but an increasingly important one in terms of rankings (both organic and paid). If Google considers your site too slow to load, then there’s a strong likelihood that your average positions in the search results will diminish and your acquisition cost will be higher than it needs to be. Furthermore, if your site lags while loading, then your bounce rate is apt to be out of line as well.

Do you own your branded search? These keywords should be your “low-hanging fruit” conversions. Make sure that you aren’t being outbid or out-positioned on your branded key terms. There’s no excuse for your competitors to be able to steal away these conversions, often at a very low cost (per click). Additionally, make certain that you’re showing up at the top in the organic results as well. Continually monitor this over time.

Mystery shop yourself. Solicit a friend or hire a company to kick the tires of your entire sales process to find weak links, dropped balls, etc. We find that companies are often not prepared for “old school” inquiries that come in via the telephone. Make sure the folks on your team are trained in how to handle an incoming telephone lead. Inbound calls are a precious commodity. Oftentimes, an easy improvement to your efforts is right there — if you are willing to look for it.

Is your blog up to date with frequent posts? We all know that creating fresh content is a sore spot for most companies. That doesn’t diminish its importance or the benefits that are gained from a search engine optimization perspective by consistently posting relevant information that your target audience will appreciate. Rule of thumb: If your audience is informed by your blog content, then your organic presence should rise over time.

To make sure this is a great year for you digital marketing, firm up the fundamentals to ensure a highly successful outcome for your business.