SEO Metrics

The SEO Metrics that Actually Matter

SEO metrics are an essential element for evaluating the success and health of your site. After all, if you’re going to invest in an SEO plan, you likely want it to produce palpable results. However, if you never attempted to measure your results, you’re likely wondering, “what are SEO metrics?” The short answer is this, SEO metrics are how you measure SEO performance. Sound redundant? If so, don’t fret, we’ll take a deeper dive in just a bit.

One of the beauties of digital marketing, in general, is that you can measure virtually every aspect of your strategy. Tools such as Google Analytics provide a trove of data on how your site is performing. This means that you’ll never be left wondering whether your SEO efforts are paying off. While this may sound silly, the issue for most site owners isn’t accessing enough data, it’s weeding out the data and SEO metrics that actually matter.

It would be darn near impossible to comprehend each of the reports as made available in real-time by Google Analytics. So it’s safe to say that analyzing and digesting every bit of data provided by any analytics tools out there is impossible. Wow – I’m getting a headache just thinking about how much data is readily available for marketers to consume and manipulate these days!

Anyways, in this post, we’re going to explore eight of the core SEO metrics you should seriously consider using to measure your results. We’ll also look into the tools you can use to collect this data.

What is SEO Tracking?

SEO Metrics SEO Tracking

If you’re the new kid on the block when it comes to monitoring and reporting your SEO results, you likely have a few questions about what the process involves.

Thankfully, SEO tracking is way more straightforward than it sounds. It involves determining which metrics are most important to your business and then monitoring those metrics on a regular basis to track your progress.

However, the trick to gaining meaningful insight from SEO metrics lies in selecting the right metrics. After all, there are literally thousands of metrics you could potentially track. If you don’t prune your list of metrics down to exactly what you want to review, a complete report would take hours to read and would likely leave the reader in a state of confusion.

When you select a handful of metrics, you can create reports that are easier to digest and overall more helpful. This is especially true if you use a reporting tool like Google’s Data Studio to compile and share your findings.

These beautified reports make it easier to gauge how your strategy is performing and can provide an at-a-glance look at your success for anyone within your company who wishes to see results.

SEO Metrics Defined

By now you’ve encountered the term “metric” at least a dozen times. So, before we advance, it’s important that we’re all on the same page about what it means in the context of SEO.

metric is a quantifiable measure of one specific piece of data. It’s granular, straightforward, and leaves next to no room for confusion.

When you construct your reports on metrics, you focus on tangible indicators of success that can be measured with great accuracy. While it can be difficult to figure out which tactics are responsible for your results if your SEO strategy is complex, the results are entirely based on simple-to-measure data points.

These are the SEO Metrics that Really Matter

Webmasters today have access to an absurd amount of data pertaining to their online performance. To be clear, almost all of these data points can yield valuable insight. If you’re ever looking to answer a question about how a tactic is performing, or whether a landing page is thriving, that information is almost always available. You just need to know where to look.

For the purpose of tracking your overall performance on a regular basis, the initial data pool is way too broad and inclusive. Furthermore, it can be a challenge to narrow down the initial pool of metrics to a meaningful number of metrics to fuel your reports.

If you’re struggling to identify your core SEO metrics, here are eight of the most important metrics when it comes to measuring your results.

1.) Organic Traffic

Your organic traffic is without question one of the most important metrics when measuring SEO results. Why? Well, this metric represents all of the visitors who found your site via organic search. General traffic figures are great, but focusing on organic traffic helps gauge the direct impact of your SEO strategy. After all, a primary goal of any SEO strategy is to improve your visibility for specific keywords. Furthermore, it should stand to reason that your inbound organic traffic should steadily improve if you’re doing your job properly.

2.) Click Through Rate (CTR)

Your CTR indicates the percentage of visitors who visit your site after seeing one of your pages in the search results.

For example, if one hundred different users saw one of your pages ranking in Google’s SERPs for a specific keyword, but only ten of them clicked through and visited your site, your CTR would be 10%. This metric is one of the top indicators of your content’s effectiveness at grabbing users’ attention in the SERPs. It’s also a strong indicator of the quality of your site’s title tags and meta descriptions.

SEO Metrics Meta Data

When one of your pages shows up in the SERPs, these are the elements that appear. These brief snippets of text are what searchers use to determine if they want to click through to your website.

That being said, if your click-through rates are low, this could be an indicator that your title tags or meta descriptions need some attention.

It’s also important to recognize the role that rankings play in CTR. After all, pages ranking at the top spot get on average 38.13% of the desktop clicks, and the second result earns a mere 11.55% of the total clicks.

SEO Metrics Organic CTR

So, if you didn’t catch that…the lower your site ranks in search, the lower your should expect your CTR to be. However, keeping an eye on this metric is a great way to monitor your performance over time. If your CTR doesn’t increase over time, you know that you have some work to take care of to jumpstart your CTR and get it moving in the right direction.

3.) Bounce Rate

When a visitor lands on your site, then leaves without continuing to another page, this is called a “bounce.” The percentage of visitors who do this is known as your “bounce rate.”

Your bounce rate is a great indicator of whether your site’s content aligns with what visitors expect when they select your content from the SERPs.

If a large percentage of your visitors decide to leave your site and venture off to a different site from the SERPs, this tells you that the page they landed on doesn’t contain the information they wanted or needed.

However, if your bounce rate remains low – say under 40% – you can be confident that your content ranking in the SERPs effectively provides visitors with what they want. More importantly, those pieces of content are helping you achieve your SEO goals.

4.) Keyword Rankings

This metric is about as straightforward as they get.

As you work towards improving your site’s rankings for keywords that are important to your business, it makes sense that you want to keep tabs on how your ranking for those keywords changes over time.

You can opt to do this manually for some of the more important keywords. All you need to do is perform a Google search for those keywords and keep track of where you rank.

If you’re hungry for more, you can take a deeper dive using a tool such as SEMrush. Their Organic Search Positions report provides an overview of all of the keywords your site ranks for and the positions in which it ranks.

SEO Metrics SEMrush Organic Search Positions Report

Reviewing this report on a regular basis is a great way to monitor ranking changes over time and measure how your search visibility as a whole is improving. I’m also a big fan of Wincher, which is designed to track keyword positions on Google and help you increase your qualitative traffic from organic search.

5.) Domain Authority

One of the most vital goals for any successful SEO strategy is to improve the site’s authority in Google’s eyes. It’s next to impossible to gauge this impact based on links earned, but tools like SEO Review Tools Website Authority Checker make it simple. All you need to do is enter your domain name and the tool calculates your site’s authority based on its backlink profile.

Keeping an eye on this number is an easy way to measure the impact of your link-building strategy. It can also help you gauge how your site’s level of credibility improves over time.

6.) New Backlinks and Referring Domains

In addition to tracking your site’s domain authority, it doesn’t hurt to keep tabs on your site’s number of inbound links and referring domains. If you’re not sure about the difference between inbound links and referring domains, fear not, because you’re not alone.

The number of inbound links includes all of the links that point to your website. On the other hand, the number of referring domains represents the number of unique domains that point to your site. The difference is similar to that of page views and unique visitors. While these metrics are similar, it’s wise to keep close tabs on both.

Every backlink you earn has the potential to improve your authority. However, links from new domains will typically have a larger impact than repeat domains.

7.) Page Speed

SEO Metrics Page Speed

User experience is a major factor when it comes to your site’s ability to rank high and convert visitors into customers. One of the more influential elements of user experience is page speed. So while you optimize your site, make sure you keep an eye on whether the changes you make impact your load times. This is an extremely easy metric to monitor thanks to Google’s Page Speed Insights tool.

The exact metrics you decide to include from this report are totally up to you. If you favor a technical approach, you can include your page load times in First Contentful Paint (FCP) and DOM content loaded (DCL). However, if you’re not familiar with these metrics, you can also just use Google’s optimization score.

Regardless, monitoring these metrics will help you better understand this critical part of the user experience that your site provides. Doing so can also help you identify any issues before they harm your rankings on the SERPs.

8.) Conversions

Just because this metric is last on our list doesn’t mean that it’s the least important.

In reality, this metric is one of the most important ones since it measures your SEO strategy’s impact on your company’s most important goals, such as leads and sales.

The most effective way to measure this metric is to set up custom goals in Google Analytics.

You can set goals for online purchases, form submissions, newsletter signups, and just about any other task that represents a meaningful action for your business.

Once you create your goals, you can monitor the percentage of visitors that complete each action.

SEO Metrics Tools

There are a ton of tools out there that you can use to measure your site’s performance. However, you really only need the following four of them to generate meaningful SEO reports.

 1.) Google Analytics

This one shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing how it’s created by Google itself. Google Analytics offers more insights than any other tool on the market. The best part is that it’s 100% free!

Most consider Google Analytics a standard tool for site owners and marketers, so if you’re not already using it on a regular basis, you’ll most definitely want to consider doing so.

2.) Google Search Console

Google Search Console is another Google tool you can use to monitor your site’s performance.

Unlike Google Analytics, where the primary purpose is to measure on-site actions, Search Console is designed to help businesses monitor how their site appears in search.

You can use Google Search Console to which pages appear in the search results and the CTR of each page.

3.) SEMrush

SEMrush is a well-known competitor research tool. It also provides a vast wealth of information that can help you measure your site’s degree of success.

I’m a huge fan of the Organic Search Positions report. It provides a quick summary of your site’s rankings for your core keywords. The real kicker is that it also includes keywords that you’re likely not targeting.

This report makes it simple to monitor your site’s search visibility and track your overall performance.

4.) Ahrefs

Ahrefs is arguably the best tool on the market for backlink analysis.

While most site owners use Ahrefs to identify fresh opportunities for backlink building, the Backlink Analysis tool is also a great way to monitor new links that develop over time.

How to Use Testing Tools to Improve Your SEO

The metrics we just covered are some of the most direct ways to measure the impact of your SEO strategy.

While these metrics are relatively simple to understand and analyze, it’s important that you don’t ignore the less obvious elements of your site’s performance – primarily, user experience.

Yea, metrics like page speed can give you a general idea of what users will experience. However, when it comes down to it, the only way to truly understand how visitors engage with your site is to conduct user testing.

If you’re less than familiar with user testing, it is the process of tracking how users interact with individual pages on your website. This process can help you identify any usability issues and learn more about why your visitors behave the way that they do.

For example, heat maps are a great way to track where users click throughout your website. If you notice that a large number of clicks are going to non-essential areas and elements on your site, this could mean that the page isn’t designed in a way that guides visitors to convert.

While gaining insights from these reports requires more analysis than simply checking a few numbers, they can provide a more valuable understanding of your visitors. When you consider that the ultimate goal of attracting visitors to your site is to convert them into customers, this understanding is essential for seeing the results you desire.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, measuring your results is an essential element of the SEO process. It’s how you gauge whether your strategy is working as planned, what kinds of results you’re achieving, and how/where you can improve.

If you’re not tracking SEO metrics such as organic traffic, CTR, bounce rate, keyword ranking, domain authority, backlinks, and conversions, I would highly recommend that you start doing so yesterday.

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