The digital marketing landscape is continuously evolving, and one key driver of this growth is search engine optimization (SEO). Effective SEO strategies not only generate organic traffic but also contribute to the overall success of online businesses. To stay ahead in this competitive environment, measuring and understanding your SEO metrics is essential for your business.
In this guide, we’ll discuss various types of SEO metrics, how to track your website’s SEO metrics, and how to analyze and understand the data to develop and improve your content and marketing campaigns. Let’s get started!
What are SEO Metrics?
SEO metrics are measurements used to evaluate the effectiveness of a website’s search engine optimization efforts. These data provide insights into how well your website is performing in terms of its search engine rankings, traffic, user engagement, and other key performance indicators.
By tracking SEO metrics, website owners and digital marketers can identify areas for improvement in their SEO strategies, measure the success of their campaigns, and make data-driven decisions to optimize their website’s visibility and performance in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Types of SEO Metrics
When evaluating your website’s performance in SERPs, there are many key SEO metrics to measure. While the most important metrics for your specific business will vary based on industry, location, and other factors, monitoring the following metrics is essential for most, if not all, businesses to succeed with online marketing.
1. Organic Traffic
Organic traffic refers to the visitors who land on your website through search engine results without paid advertising. This metric indicates the effectiveness of your SEO efforts in bringing relevant users to your website. Gaining organic traffic can boost your website’s visibility and ultimately increase sales.
2. Keyword Rankings
Keyword rankings are your website’s positions in search results for a particular keyword or phrase. For example, if your website is the third listing that appears when someone searches for “Italian restaurant Chicago,” you have the #3 ranking for that keyword.
Generally speaking, websites must be in the top 10 results for a keyword to get significant organic traffic or appear in one of the special sections on a results page, such as People Also Ask. However, since Google added continuous scroll, sites with slightly lower rankings for a frequently searched keyword can still receive some traffic if they have an engaging title and helpful content.
By monitoring keyword rankings, website owners can identify which keywords are effective in driving relevant traffic and adjust their content accordingly. Improved keyword rankings result in increased visibility and organic traffic.
3. Authority Metrics
Authority metrics are proprietary measurements developed by various SEO monitoring tools to estimate a website’s credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of Google. Domain Authority (DA) by Moz and Domain Rating (DR) by Ahrefs are the two most commonly used authority metrics. These metrics are calculated by analyzing factors such as backlinks (links to your site) and referring domains (the number and quality of websites that link to your site).
4. Organic Landing Page Metrics
These metrics relate to the performance of organic landing pages. Landing page metrics include:
- Pageviews: The number of people who visit your landing page.
- Average Engagement Time: The length of time users spend on your website.
- Bounce Rate: The percentage of visitors who leave after only viewing one page. A high bounce rate may indicate a lack of useful content or poor user experience.
- Conversion Rate: The number of people who take a desired action on your site. This can be signing up for an email list, registering for a webinar, purchasing a product, or anything else you want to track.
5. Page Speed
Page speed affects the user experience and is a recently added Google ranking factor. People are busy and if your site takes a long time to load, they’ll bounce back to search results or open another tab while waiting and forget about your site. Improving page speed and mobile viewability can result in higher search engine rankings, better user experience, and increased conversions.
6. Backlinks and Referring Domains
Backlinks and referring domains are important SEO performance metrics. A backlink is created when one website links to another, while a referring domain is a website hosting the backlink. The more high-quality backlinks and referring domains you have, the more likely you’ll rank well in the search. You can use various SEO metrics tools to find out how many backlinks and referring domains you have, evaluate their quality, and identify sites that link to your competitors so you can try to get backlinks from them, too.
7. SEO Visibility
SEO visibility is a measurement of a website’s presence in organic search results. It can be calculated on a per-keyword or overall website basis. For example, if your website has the #3 ranking in search for “dog groomer Indianapolis,” you might get 20% of clicks from searchers. A sitewide SEO visibility calculation is based on the percentage of clicks you get for all of your keyword rankings.
You can track search visibility using SEO metrics tools such as SEMrush and Moz Pro.
Tools for Tracking SEO Metrics
Now, we’ve introduced you to some important search engine metrics – but how do you actually track them? In this section, we’ll discuss some essential and popular tools for monitoring SEO metrics.
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free, widely used web analytics service for tracking and analyzing website traffic. This powerful tool provides valuable insights into user behavior and performance metrics. Some key SEO metrics you can track with Google Analytics include:
- Users: The number of users who visited your website
- New Users: The number of users who have not visited your website before
- Traffic and User Acquisition: How users are finding your website (organic search, social media, etc.)
- Views by Page Title: The most-visited pages on your website
- Conversions: Users who take an action you specify, such as clicking something, filling out a form, or making a purchase
- …and many more
2. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google to monitor your website’s performance in search results. This tool is essential for tracking the technical aspects of SEO, such as crawling and indexing issues, as well as understanding search queries driving traffic to your website. Some essential SEO metrics available in Google Search Console include:
- Impressions: The number of times your website appears in search results.
- Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of impressions that result in a click on your website.
- Queries: Keywords people use to find your website. This section also tracks impressions and CTR for each keyword.
- Indexing: Pages that are listed and not listed in Google’s search results.
- Core Web Vitals: This key section of GSC measures the performance of a website, including factors such as loading speed and viewability on mobile devices.
SEMrush is a comprehensive SEO tool that provides a range of features to measure your website’s performance. SEMrush helps you track various SEO metrics, such as:
- Keyword Rankings: SEMrush can notify you when your site goes up or down in rankings for the keywords you specify.
- Backlinks: SEMrush tracks new backlinks to your website and analyzes the quality of backlinks using proprietary algorithms.
- Competitor Analysis: View competitors’ keyword rankings and backlinks to identify growth opportunities for your site.
- SEO Visibility: The percentage of clicks your website gets from one or all your ranking keyword searches.
Ahrefs is another popular SEO tool that offers extensive capabilities for tracking SEO metrics and conducting competitor analysis. Ahrefs provides similar data and monitoring capabilities to SEMrush. They also have their own authority metric, Domain Rating, which measures a website’s overall likelihood of ranking well in SERPs.
Which is better, SEMrush or Ahrefs? It depends on who you ask. They are both excellent tools; you may want to test them both to see which one you prefer.
How to Track SEO Metrics Effectively
To track your SEO metrics effectively, you’ll want to use some of the tools we just described above.
The best place to start is by installing Google Analytics if you haven’t already. You’ll need it to see most of your metrics, and even third-party tools will use it to evaluate your site’s performance. To install Google Analytics on your website, go to this page on Google and follow the instructions.
Next, set up your Google Search Console here. You’ll need to verify that you are the owner of your website to have access to Analytics and Search Console, but the instructions will walk you through it.
Once you have Google’s tools installed, you may need to wait a few days for useful data to be recorded. Traffic and engagement can fluctuate based on time of day, weekdays and weekends, holidays, and other factors, so look at your statistics over time before drawing any conclusions.
If you already have all your Google metrics set up, but you’re finding you need additional information to develop and refine your SEO strategy, it may be time to look into additional tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush.
Analyzing Your SEO Metrics
After you have measurement tools set up, how do you understand what they’re telling you? You could spend hours trying to analyze every tiny element of your site, but let’s stick with the basics and the big stuff in this guide. If you examine the following factors and correct any issues, you’ll be well on your way to an optimized website that will rank well in search.
Google Search Console Issues: If you receive an email from Google Search Console about a detected issue, correcting it should always be your first priority. Pages that Google thinks have problems either won’t rank well in search or won’t stay in a good search position for long.
Although these alerts provide information about the problem, solving it isn’t always straightforward, especially when it’s related to an indexing or page-loading issue. Often, simply doing a search for the specific error can give you suggestions on how to correct it.
Keyword Rankings: Where is your website in search for important keywords? Google Search Console can show you how often your site is appearing in searches for a particular keyword and how many users click on it. However, tracking your site’s exact position over time is much easier to do using a tool like Ahrefs. It can also show you upward or downward trends so you can tell if your marketing efforts are effective.
Organic Traffic: Note which pages are getting the most traffic and whether traffic is trending upward or downward. Look at your pages that are doing well and figure out why. Are they ranking for popular keywords? Are they getting lots of shares on social media? Do they provide useful information? You can use this data to develop a strategy for future content.
Click-Through Rate: How often are people who see your website listed in search clicking on it? Higher CTRs often indicate well-optimized and engaging content.
Common Challenges in Tracking SEO Metrics – and How to Solve Them
You’ve probably figured this out by now, but SEO can be complicated! There’s a lot of jargon to learn and a ton of data to analyze. Here are some common questions and challenges you may face when tracking SEO metrics.
Which metrics matter for my website?
One of the main challenges in tracking SEO metrics is identifying the most relevant metrics for a specific website or campaign. With the abundance of data available, it can be overwhelming to determine which metrics truly matter.
To choose which SEO performance metrics to focus on, consider factors such as your website goals, industry, and target audience. For example, if you have an e-commerce site with products for sale, you’ll want to track the relationship between someone searching for a keyword and purchasing a product. If you offer services, you could track which keywords bring in the most leads from visitors filling out a contact form. For either type of site, tracking email signups could yield useful data.
Are the backlinks I’m building helpful?
Another challenge is measuring the effectiveness of link-building efforts. Various factors like domain authority, anchor text, and the relevance of linking pages can impact the strength of a backlink.
To assess the success of your link-building campaign, start by monitoring your keyword rankings using a tool such as Ahrefs. It can take a week to a month or more for new links to have an effect, so be patient.
If you see improvements, great! If not, evaluate the links you’ve built. Are they from websites that are relevant to your topic, industry, or local area? Are they from sites with high domain authority and quality content?
How do I make sense of all these SEO metrics?
It’s a lot, we know — but you’re in the right place. We have created lots of guides to get you started with SEO; you can check out a list of them all here. If you learn best by watching and listening, YouTube is filled with tutorials for Google Analytics and other metrics tools.
At a certain point, you’ll probably find that you either really enjoy learning about SEO and Internet marketing, or it’s not your thing. Either way, if you need to stay focused on managing your business, you can outsource your SEO services and metrics tracking to a marketing agency.
How An SEO Marketing Agency Can Help With SEO Metrics
If you’re struggling with how to track and understand your SEO metrics, you’re not alone. It’s a lot of information to take in and interpret, especially on top of managing your business. To make the process less overwhelming, consider using an SEO marketing agency.
An SEO marketing agency is an expert in SEO metrics just like you are an expert in the products or services you offer. They can track your metrics and organize your data, then present it all in one place using a custom reporting dashboard so you don’t have to consult lots of different online tools.
Even more importantly, an SEO marketing agency can help you identify the most relevant SEO metrics for your business and set up tracking tools to capture that data. Then, they can turn the data into clear action items, things they can do for you to boost your rankings. In other words, agencies do all the heavy lifting for you, and your business enjoys the benefits.
Ready to see what InSync Media can do for your brand’s SEO? Book a free discovery call today so we can see if a partnership between your business and InSync is the best fit for you.