Search Engine Optimisation is a continuous process that requires regular measurement and improvement for success. SEOs need to track data about links referrals, rankings, and other metrics to help in strategy building and creation of roadmaps for the future.
Although each website comes unique with its own set of metrics to measure success with, there’re several metrics that are universal to all. In this post, we shall be covering some of the more important metrics critical to SEO.
- Keyword ranking. Checking how the different keywords that you are optimising for are ranking is a good way of estimating your search engine authority. Rankings for your keywords should go up over time; if they don’t, then you might need to readjust your SEO strategy. This could also indicate wrong keyword targeting or that you are not focusing enough attention on building backlinks and/or your brand’s reputation.
It’s also important to check the number of keywords that are driving traffic to your site – the more, the better. You can check keyword ranking using tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, Google Rank Checker among others.
- Backlink authority. Backlinks are still a strong signal for search engine rankings. Google’s assumption is that if you have a high ranking website pointing to one of your pages, then there must be something worthwhile in it. The engine, however, does not put as much weight on backlinks from poor quality sites.
Tools such as Majestic SEO, Moz Open Site Explorer, and SEMrush can be used to track the number of backlinks your site has as well as their quality. Tracking your backlinks will help you determine things such as the effectiveness of your backlink earning tactics and the cost per link. With this information, you can also identify businesses with high-quality websites linking to your site to build partnerships and relationships with.
- Organic search traffic. This is the amount of free search traffic coming from the search engines. This information can be viewed from Google Analytics’ audience overview section. Check for growth by focusing on year-over-year or month-over-month comparisons. Also, check the percentage of the total traffic that is coming from organic search. Be careful of valleys and peaks caused by key marketing tactics such as email marketing blasts which would lower the percentage of organic search traffic.
Although Google is the dominant force when it comes to search, it is also important to track progress with Bing/Yahoo, and other engines that could be important to your business or location.
- Pages visited per session. A lot of effort is put on getting quality traffic to your website, so you want your visitors to stay for as long as possible when they get there. You can check the average number of pages visited by each visitor through Google Analytics. This will help you measure the success of your internal linking strategy so that you can tweak it to make it better.
- Bounce rate. This is the rate at which visitors exit your website without engaging with the content on the landing page or viewing any additional pages. A high bounce rate can indicate a number of issues such as:
- A slow loading site which could be causing visitors to leave out of frustration
- Visitors can’t find what they’re looking for, which means you haven’t targeted your keywords well.
- Your site does not work well on mobile causing mobile visitors to leave.
- Conversion rate. This metric measures the percentage of visitors that perform the desired task. These tasks will vary from one site to another. Some of these tasks include subscribing, downloading, buying, signing up among others. A low conversion rate may indicate lack of a clear call-to-action or poor product descriptions. Conversions can be tracked using Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager.
While there are several more analytics to keep an eye on, these six are the most important and should be tracked consistently for continued SEO improvement and success.