Digital marketing offers a compelling alternative to traditional offline marketing by providing the ability to measure nearly every aspect of your campaign. With Google Analytics, businesses can access comprehensive data on their website’s performance, enabling them to stay well-informed about their SEO efforts. However, the wealth of data available can be overwhelming for many businesses, as the real challenge lies in identifying which SEO metrics to prioritize.
This post will walk you through the process.
- Nine of the most important SEO metrics
- Two metrics you should ignore (or view from a new angle)
- How to find and improve them
By tracking the appropriate metrics, you can obtain an accurate assessment of your performance, refine your strategy, and enhance your rankings and ROI over time.
Tracking 9 Important SEO Metrics
When evaluating the success of your strategy or conducting an SEO audit, there are numerous metrics you can track. Below are nine of the most crucial SEO metrics and the methods to track them.
1. Organic Traffic
Let’s begin with the most obvious. Organic Traffic refers to traffic that you receive from search engine results pages without having to pay for advertising. The traffic to your site can come from many different sources, including search engines, social media, direct searches, and other websites. Focusing on organic will show you how visible your website is in the search results for keywords relevant to your business or niche. If your SEO strategy is successful, you should see a steady increase in the number of search engine visitors.
To track organic traffic in Google Analytics, log in and click “Add Segment” under the Audience Overview.
After selecting “Organic Traffic”, click “Apply” to see the organic traffic as a percentage of total traffic.
2. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Your organic Click-through Rate (CTR) is the percentage of visitors who click on your website from search engine results pages (SERPs). For instance, if 1,000 people see your listing in the SERPs and 100 clicks through to visit your website, then your organic click-through rate is 10%.
The Organic CTR measures how well you can attract your audience to your listing, including the title, URL, meta description, and any other information that is included.
If your CTR is low, it may be due to your title, meta description, or content not being relevant to the user’s search. Fortunately, there are several ways to improve your organic CTR. For example, you can use Google Search Console to view CTR data.
The “Performance” tab in Google Search Console allows you to view CTR per page, query, or device. Monitoring CTR by page is particularly useful for identifying which content is not generating enough clicks through SERPs.
To learn more about Google Search Console and its SEO benefits, explore their website.
3. Exit Rate
Exit pages, as the name implies, are the final pages that your visitors will see before they leave your website.
These are the pages that can cause people to lose interest in your site and leave. It’s vital to monitor your top exit pages because these are the areas where your visitors leave your site. If you notice that your visitors are leaving a particular page after visiting it, this may indicate that the content or page needs improvement.
If you want to track the percentage of pages that are being exited, go to “Behavior”, “Site Content”, and “All Pages”.
You can reduce the number of visitors leaving your site by:
- Make sure your content and page structure are easy to understand.
- Include internal links that are clearly marked and call to action to direct visitors to relevant pages and content.
- Include images and videos in your content to engage visitors.
4. Pages Per Session
Pages per session is an important metric for measuring user engagement on your website. It indicates the average number of pages that your users view before leaving your site. This metric is better if it’s higher because it indicates that people are staying on your site longer and visiting more pages.
Google Analytics allows you to view the number of pages per session by channel.
If the metric is low, it could mean that your site isn’t engaging enough or relevant for visitors to visit other pages. It could also mean that your website navigation isn’t user-friendly. These tips are also applicable to top exit pages.
5. Page Load Time
Your site’s speed is an important SEO ranking factor for both desktop and mobile devices, and it can either boost or harm your rankings. The average load time measures the time it takes to display all the content on a web page. This metric can be found under “Behavior”, then “Site Speed”. You can view the average page load time or analyze individual pages.
6. Core Web Vitals
Google has shifted its focus to rewarding websites that provide a great user experience (UX) with higher rankings. The core of UX is how well and quickly your pages load.
Conventional performance metrics, such as load time and DOMContentLoaded, are easy to measure, but they do not necessarily reflect what users care about. If you only focus on improving your page load times, you may end up with a site that has a poor user experience.
In 2020, Google took the speed metric a step further with Core Web Vitals. These metrics are centered around the user and provide a granular way to measure page load times.
The blog describes the three Core Web Vitals in a short description.
- First Input Delay (FID) measures responsiveness by quantifying the user’s experience when they first try to interact with a page.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures the visual stability of the page and quantifies any unexpected layout shift.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures perceived loading speed and marks the time in the timeline of the page when the main content is likely to have loaded.
Google Search Console’s “Enhancements” section shows how your pages perform according to Core Web Vitals. You can also access these metrics using Google PageSpeed Insights and receive recommendations on how to improve your site’s performance.
7. Backlinks and Referring Domains
Backlinks are one of the most important ranking signals for Google. A study that analyzed over 11 million Google results found a correlation between rankings and the number of referring domains. Referring domains are the unique domains that link to your website.
Quantity is not as important as quality when it comes to backlinks. The value of ten links from authoritative and high-quality domains is greater than 100 links from low-quality or average domains. Although every backlink you create can benefit your SEO efforts, links that come from new domains tend to be more powerful than links coming from domains that have already linked to you.
Ahrefs allows you to track your backlinks, referring domains, and SEO performance. You can view the list of sites linking to you, including the pages they link to and their domain rating.
8. Top Keywords Ranked
It’s important to track your website’s ranking for targeted keywords as you optimize your website. Knowing which keywords are ranking gives you an idea of your current search visibility, and you can decide whether to focus on optimizing those keywords further or shift your attention to other keywords that you would like to rank for.
You can use a position tracking tool, such as SEMrush, to monitor the ranking of your keywords. The Organic Search Positions Report in SEMrush allows you to track changes in ranking over time and measure how your search visibility is improving.
9. Page Crawled Each Day
Google’s crawlers can index your website quickly and easily if you have a fast crawl rate, which increases your chances of ranking higher on the SERPs.
You can check how many pages Googlebot has crawled every day in Google Search Console by clicking on Settings > Crawl Stats.
However, it’s possible that your crawling budget is not working properly. Googlebot won’t crawl your entire website if doing so consumes too many system resources.
While an increased crawl rate may not necessarily lead to better rankings in search engines, it is a technical metric that is worth tracking and optimizing.
2 SEO Metrics You Should Ignore
Modern analytics tools provide so much information that it’s tempting to use everything as KPIs to gain a more complete picture. However, misused data can be misleading. Here are some metrics that you can ignore or view differently.
It’s debatable, but relying solely on the number of conversions in a certain timeframe to measure your site’s performance may be a mistake. Conversions do not tell the whole story. For example, if 10 people visited your site yesterday but only 4 did so today, it doesn’t necessarily mean your website is doing badly today. The number of conversions is not always accurate.
Furthermore, a conversion can mean different things on different websites, from completing a newsletter form to registering for webinars. Not all of them translate into income for your company. A high conversion rate does not necessarily mean you will make money.
In SEO, conversions can take many forms and do not have to be a purchase. If conversion does not lead to revenue, it should not be a top SEO metric to track.
2. Bounce Rate
Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors who leave a site after viewing only one page, without clicking any internal links to see other pages. However, using the average site bounce rate for SEO is not a good idea. A high bounce rate could have various meanings and does not necessarily provide concrete insight.
While a high bounce rate may indicate irrelevant content, poor navigation, or design issues, it could also indicate that your content immediately and completely answered your user’s question. For example, a visitor landing organically on your blog, reading it from top to bottom, and leaving with useful takeaways is still considered a bounce. In reality, your post was read and found useful by the visitor.
It’s okay to look at bounce rate as a page metric, but relying on the average bounce rate for your entire site can be misleading. Bounce rate is highly variable, making it difficult to determine whether an increase or decrease in the average bounce rate is good or bad.
Track Your SEO Metrics Today
In a world where algorithm updates are constant and SEO trends change frequently, it is crucial to understand your SEO metrics. Tracking these top nine metrics is important, and with affordable and free tools like Google Analytics, Search Console, and Ahrefs, you can easily do so.
Whether you’re a small business owner or a marketing professional, optimizing your website for search engines is essential for increasing your online visibility and driving organic traffic.
At LuxDigital Marketing, we understand the importance of staying on top of the latest SEO trends and metrics to help our clients achieve their business goals. Our team of experts is dedicated to delivering customized SEO solutions that fit your unique needs and budget.
If you’re looking to improve your website’s search engine rankings and attract more qualified leads, get in touch with us today for a free site audit!
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- Search Engine Optimization
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