Core SEO metrics to measure
Whether you’re tackling your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts in-house or hiring an agency to handle it, you must know how to measure the performance of your SEO program.
Without the ability to measure your SEO effectiveness, you won’t be able to review tactics and adjust as necessary to earn the most SEO ROI.
Of course, the first thing you need to do is define your goals before the campaign even starts. This way, you have benchmarks for what constitutes a successful campaign and what equates to failure. Once you have those goals set, you can start measuring performance using the data meant for the job.
One of the top purposes of investing in SEO for your business is to boost and enhance visitors to your website. By helping your business improve Google search ranking results and become more visible, it’s far easier for potential customers to find your brand organically. Measuring that organic traffic is an excellent way to see quickly and easily whether a campaign or your current SEO strategy is effective.
Organic Sessions are available within Google Analytics, offering clear feedback on whether organic visitors have increased over time, week-to-week, month-to-month, or even year-to-year. Organic traffic is a vital part of SEO metrics and KPIs, so they certainly shouldn’t be forgotten about.
Track your organic search traffic on a monthly basis to confirm it is increasing. Of course, you may see drops occasionally due to things such as seasonality or algorithm updates, but in general, you should see an upward trend. This is just one of many ways to determine your SEO effectiveness.
Keyword positioning improvements will boost SEO traffic to your website because your results will be more toward the top of the search engine results, where people are more likely to click. Take a look at your organic search versus your overall site traffic to get a better idea of how organic search is impacting your website traffic.
If you are working with eCommerce and have correctly implemented eCommerce tracking, you will have access to revenue strictly coming from organic website visits. Here, look for revenue increases month-to-month and year-to-year. Some understandable drops are to be expected, but dips you can’t explain call for a deeper dive into this data.
Returning vs. new users
The amount of people returning to your website helps you see how engaging your website is. Even if you are converting all of your users, when none of them return, you’re losing out on a significant source of revenue.
Ideally, your visitors don’t come just to make a sale—they’ll share what they bought online with others and return to buy again.
You want to see increases in new and returning users each month. Pay attention to the new-to-returning-users ratio to get an idea of how good your organic website growth really is.
The purpose of your digital presence in the case of most businesses is to collect leads, enhance sales and drive awareness. By measuring the number of qualified leads or conversions that your business achieves, it’s possible to get a clear picture of how successful your company has been over a set amount of time.
Google Analytics supports all kinds of lead and sales-based SEO metrics to track for businesses, from their effective eCommerce solutions through to traffic acquisition. With these measures, it’s possible to get a full picture of exactly how well your business is doing, without the need to do all the work yourself.
Other SEO metrics to measure
For brands new to digital marketing, or those looking to maximize their online potential, measuring and tracking SEO metrics and KPIs is the ideal way to quantify success and identify areas for improvement.
If you’re planning on expanding your SEO program, or you want to know that what you’ve put in place works, these facts and figures are the ideal way to show value, prove success and understand what is – and isn’t – working.
Any business that’s familiar with SEO KPIs will understand the importance of tracking keywords when it comes to measuring the success of your website and business.
Utilizing Performance within Google Search Console can provide a clear and effective way to measure the most substantial keyword rankings for your website. This allows you to pinpoint better and strategize what’s working for your business, as well as see what isn’t working as well as it could be for your website.
With that insight and a more qualitative KPI, making improvements and enforcing change is far more accessible. See our blog post on SEO keyword strategy to learn more.
Alongside the creation of high-quality and valuable content, the use of backlinks is one of the most vital SEO metrics and KPIs that digital marketers should consider when it comes to SEO.
Tracking the backlinks that are connected to your website is essential, as the proper use of them can drastically affect the ranking and visibility of your business.
Keeping an eye on backlinks, as well as domains referring to your business, can provide an excellent way to see the diversity, quality and effectiveness of your current link building strategy. Learn more about off-page SEO techniques to help boost your link building program.
Average page load time
Another metric that many marketers forget about is the average page load time of their website. But when it comes to rankings, and hitting those SEO KPIs, a functional and speedy webpage should be a top priority.
Within Google Analytics, you can find specific measures for load times on each page. This provides immediate insight into the level of user experience you’re offering to your customers, as well as how slower speeds and extended loading times could directly impact your SEO.
If you can achieve under ten seconds for every page, you’re hitting those targets. Under three, and you’ll be in the top percentage when it comes to Google’s SEO checks.
The percentage of people who leave your website after viewing just a page is your bounce rate. An often-overlooked metric that can be far more useful than many businesses think, bounce rate offers a clear insight into how relevant your business is for the audience Google is showing it to.
For a typical website, a bounce rate of 40 percent is the average. But the lower it is, the better. As search engines want to provide results that answer the questions and solve the queries of their users, the bounce rate can represent the relevance of your business to the keywords you’re using.
This allows for tweaking, reworking, and even amending the SEO practices of your business, to achieve better bounce rates and access a more relevant audience overall.
A high bounce rate isn’t automatically a bad thing if it stems from visitors finding what they are looking for right away. However, more often, a high bounce rate signifies visitors are not seeing what they wanted when they clicked on your website, and this is a big problem. Taking a look at your website’s bounce rate overall can give you insight into the usability and readability of your website.
Analyze your bounce rate from the visitor-type, category and page perspectives to get a clearer idea as to why your visitors leave so quickly. Another metric to examine is how long visitors spend on your pages, particularly the organic landing pages, which your organic visitors may see first. This will help you understand your visitors’ search intentions. If you see landing page users quickly moving to another website section, for example, you might want to make it easier for them to find what they are seeking.
The top tools to measure your SEO metrics
Google Analytics provides comprehensive website traffic data, user behavior insights, and conversion tracking.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console offers data on search queries, click-through rates, keyword rankings, and indexing issues.
Moz Pro is a suite of SEO tools including keyword research, rank tracking, site auditing, and link analysis.
SEMrush is an SEO software that provides keyword research, competitor analysis, backlink tracking, and site-wide auditing.
Ahrefs is another great SEO solution that offers competitive analysis, keyword research, backlink analysis, and rank tracking.
SpyFu enables competitive analysis, keyword research, PPC research, and backlink analysis, helping uncover competitor strategies and optimize both SEO and PPC campaigns.
Become more data-driven
SEO is both a science and an art. As such, it should evolve and will require tweaks over time. To ensure you are using the right tactics for your brand and audience, it’s vital you measure how effective your SEO is in practice and prepare to make any necessary changes. For any business, taking a deeper dive into the mechanics and figures involved in SEO metrics can make a considerable difference.
Whether you’re starting out brand-new or you’re attempting to change the direction and marketing of an existing platform, meeting KPIs and achieving your goals means tracking those metrics accurately and effectively.
Alongside more traditional KPIs, such as profit, customers and SEO ROI, these specific SEO-based measures can help your business to rise in the rankings and achieve long-term goals – as well as provide a better user experience for your target audience. Never underestimate the metrics because they could mean the difference between success or failure for your digital brand.