Almost 50% of top level executives and marketing directors report that SEO is one of the most effective strategies their companies use so creating a powerful SEO strategy requires constant update and testing. As time passes, some metrics or key performance indicators can help discover which areas are working within your own strategy and which need changing. It is not the easiest task to work out which of the SEO metrics matter the most so it is important to understand which ones you should be paying the most attention to. Regardless of which of the metrics you decide to track to keep tabs on your SEO strategy, it is important to start tracking as soon as you possibly can. Once you start to collect your data, and analyze the same, the better informed you will be and the more able to make corrective adjustments based on the results.
If you don’t measure it, then you can’t manage it!
One of the most useful and applicable SEO metrics is search visibility. Possibly the only non-conversion metric which can be closely linked to the growth of your business, it measures how visible your website and, indeed, brand are in the market overall. Organic Visibility is measured against a search engine results page (SERP) of links and is both dynamic and complex. The bottom line is that the greater your organic visibility, the higher the number of potential customers your website will reach. Visibility can be tracked via several analytic and rank-tracking tools and is a great way to view continued growth in visibility.
Conversions from Organic Traffic
Measuring and tracking conversions from organic traffic is a very straightforward way to demonstrate how much success you are getting from your SEO strategies. Focusing on those metrics which convert directly into revenue is an important metric to understand. It could be easier to start with the revenue and work backwards to find out where the user came from and whether it took them a long time to become a customer. If someone lands upon your website and either shows interest or buys your product, that is a successful conversion. Focusing on those metrics that tie into revenue can have a huge impact on where you, as the website owner, spends your resources. Some posts might not bring the most traffic but they might bring in the most revenue through conversions. Conversion tracking can also be set up in Google Analytics which displays robust metric reporting.
Customer Lifetime Value
Customer Lifetime Value is a great measure of how much profit can be expected from a single customer over a period of time. It helps to determine how to allocate your SEO investment and is a very important metric because it can predict and demonstrate the long-term value of your individual customers or visitors which convert into customers. It is possible to segregate your customers into different tiers such as those who buy cheaper products or those who revisit before buying more expensive products. Tracking such Customer Lifetime Value helps you as the website owner to make better and more informed decisions to push your visitors towards the relevant products.This metric will fluctuate over time so it is important to optimize your SEO strategies accordingly.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Return on Investment refers to the money received back from the money invested and can give a guide to the business value of all of the SEO activity on your site in relation to their cost. It is most definitely worth tracking as an SEO metric but can be a little difficult to measure accurately. It can take time for the results to be achieved and it can never be reported with 100% confidence that one activity brought another result. It can also take months or years to see such returns. A positive return on investment is the ultimate dream and goal for all SEO strategies, validating the amount of time and resource spent on getting the SEO working in your favour.
Number and Quality of Backlinks
Backlinks, one of Google’s top ranking factors, can be one of the more important SEO ranking metrics. The number and quality of new backlinks which point in the general direction of your site can be a direct reflection of your SEO and marketing efforts so it is very much worth paying close attention to. If you are actively building links and are keeping track of your success via outreach then it is a highly suitable SEO metric. Standing alone, the metrics might not mean as much but if comparing your own website profile to that of your competitors then the metric can have far more in depth meaning.
Keyword rankings can be tracked as an SEO metric as they provide insights into which keywords are pushing your traffic and why they are doing so. As far as reliable metrics go, it can be better to make use of search visibility metrics. However, if you are not quite on track to use search visibility metrics it could still be a valuable metric to keep an eye on until you are able to. Entering keywords into a Rank Tracker such as one provided by Ahrefs, you can get regular alerts about the progress of your tracked keywords. It is important to know which keywords are doing well for you and which ones which are not as this will aid your understanding of what you are succeeding on with your content and what you should be making changes to.
Organic Traffic from Search Engines
As more traffic doesn’t always mean more revenue, it might not make sense to track organic traffic as an SEO metric because organic traffic represents all clocks which are non-paid that come from search engines. To get an accurate view of the organic traffic to your site over a period of time it is worth checking out the Google Search Console’s performance tab.
The number of Indexed Pages
This metric will tell you the number of your pages a search engine can see in its index. The number of indexed pages will increase as new content is published but it is only really worth using the figures as an SEO metric if there are likely to be problems with getting the content indexed which may only apply to larger and more complex websites. The easiest way to keep a track of the indexed pages on your site is to check the ‘Pages’ report in your Google Search Console.
Health Score of your site
The Health Score of your website shows the number of URLs on the site which don’t contain any technician SEO errors.It is a good metric for the overall state of your SEO because you don’t want visitors to your site to be presented with 404 errors. Such errors can send visitors flying off to other similar sites. Most SEO crawlers provide a Health Score option. Crawl errors can be discovered when a search engine tries to reach a site page but is unable to – because the page is blocked, deleted or not indexed. A very important situation to stay on top of.
Showing the relative strength of a website’s backlink profile, Domain Rating (DR) does need deeper analysis in order to assess it properly but it is still a useful proxy metric which SEOs like to work with. Calculated on several factors, sites with resultant higher scores are expected to rank more highly than those with lower scores. Although it is not an official ranking factor it is an important metric to use to give you an idea of your possible ranking.
Rate of Click-Through (Click-through rate – CTR)
It is important to look at more than just organic traffic – but also how it correlates with the click-through rate. The connection between the two is important – the ratio of views to clicks which is measured as a percentage. It is important to realize that there are some Google searches which result in a concise and informative snippet which provides them with all the information they need without clicking through to any other website. It is therefore important that creation of content which requires the user to click on the link allowing them the full benefits is optimal for your SEO strategy.
This metric gives you an idea of how much content your website’s visitors are accessing when they visit your site. Such metrics can include bounce rate, time on page or average session duration and many SEO marketers are quite obsessed with these metrics. However, it is important to evaluate and analyze the potential metrics only in the context of your own business as some might not be relevant. Sometimes, very small changes can make bigger improvements but you would need to be tracking regularly in order to see where the changes would be needed. Most of the reports in Google Analytics will display such metrics by default and analyzing them can be done by filtering the report to show different sources.