When talking about SEO, we can’t overlook one of the most important aspects of it – metrics. Without metrics, we cannot fully realize the full potential of our strategy, not implement changes necessary to evolve it further.
The reason behind this is simple – without being able to track and analyze SEO metrics, we can’t know for certain if our current best SEO practices are performing well or not. We cannot know for certain if all our efforts are paying off, and we can only speculate on the numbers our SEO strategy is raking in.
That said, however, which metrics should you be tracking? There are a lot of them, and, while most of the contemporary tools for tracking such metrics are capable of keeping up, we should still be aware of a few that are the most important in order to not feel overwhelmed with data.
By far the best indicator your SEO strategy is working is organic traffic. After all, this is what SEO is all about – bringing in as much natural traffic to your website as possible.
This is why the first and foremost metric any website tracks is exactly organic traffic. Month-over-month increases in the number of visitors is an excellent indicator that your practices are doing their job and that your website is picking up speed.
More and more people visiting your website is also a good indicator that you’re raining high in SERPs, and that your rank is still improving, as well as of the fact that people are able to find you more easily.
Of course, the ultimate goal of SEO is to enable you to convert your visitors, and have them become your customers, sign up for your newsletters, submit forms, etc.
That said, the next most important metric you should be tracking is organic conversions. These are the conversions you’ve attained naturally without putting any extra effort toward coaxing your visitors to become your customers/sign up, etc.
The main reason we’re tracking this metric is that it she’s very well that you’re not only ranking highly in SERPs, but that your content is also the most relevant for the particular search queries.
If you’re ranking highly and getting a lot of traffic, that’s good, but if you’re getting a lot of traffic without your content being relevant to he search, all that traffic will mean nothing, as you’ll have massive bounce rates as people turn away from your website, not having found what they’re looking for.
The basics of SEO begin with keywords. In order to get that coveted rank 1 to 5 in SERPs, you need to rank high for keywords relevant to both your content and search queries of your potential clients.
Of course, this is easier said than done, and you will likely spend a lot of time researching, selecting and tweaking keywords, until you find those that are both the most fitting for your website, and not highly contested in an already saturated market.
With that said, tracking how those keywords do is going to be one of your main concerns. By tracking keywords, you’ll get a good idea if your chosen keywords are right for your website, but you’ll also get a good idea of the shifting trends in keywords and search queries, making it easier for you to adjust your keyword strategy, and keep up with the competition.
New Backlinks and Referring Domains
While trying to rank for keyword is a strong and widely-used strategy, it doesn’t mean that it’s also the one that will bring you that coveted rank 1 in Google.
For a while now, Google has stepped away from ranking websites only by keyword relevancy, and leaned more toward backlinks in order to determine which website has the most authority.
This shift came as an answer to the practice of keyword stuffing that gave rise to many low quality, spammy websites that had little to offer in terms of content, but we’re stuffed with the most high ranking keywords, thus tricking the old Google algorithm to rank them higher than they should be.
Nowadays, Google relies on backlinks – links from other websites leading to yours – to determine whether a website has useful content fit for people’s consumption.
This, measuring the number and the quality of backlinks is a most useful metric of which to keep track.
The more backlinks you have means that your content is good enough to be featured on other websites as “further reading” material, or as a good point to procure whatever products/services the website was talking about, but, also, being featured on high-quality authoritative domains means that your content is of exceptional quality, and deserves a higher rank in SERPs.
Local SEO Visibility
If you’re an owner of a small business or you’ve got a brick-and-mortar store, then you are probably trying to promote your business on a local scale first.
This means that the vast majority of customers you’re expecting should be from your local town, city, or even state. This also means that you’ll be far more interested in local SEO rather than SEO overall.
That said, if you’re optimizing for local SEO, your focus should then be on tracking local SEO visibility, in addition to the metrics we spoke off previously.
Within this metric, you should really pay attention to Google Business Profile Insights, as they will tell you how often your website comes up in local searches, and how many times people call your number or otherwise contact you.
Also, keep an eye on your Google Maps metrics. Showing up often on Google Maps, and being checked for a route by people means that they’re interested in engaging with your business.
What also helps with establishing a strong local SEO presence is keeping track of session locations, as they’ll tell you exactly where the searches are coming from, allowing you to focus on those areas.
Organic Landing Page Metrics
Keeping track of landing pages is just as important as keeping track of keywords or backlinks.
The reason behind this is very simple – if you have pages people are landing on frequently, then that means that page is doing really well. It means that the content on that page is highly relevant for people and their search queries, and that the content itself is helpful and of considerable quality.
This is why you should keep tabs on all of your pages in addition to your website as a whole, because that’s how you’ll know which pages to work on, which ones bring you in viewers, and which ones need to be improved and brought up to snuff.
You can have the best on-site and off-site SEO in the world, but if your technical SEO is lacking, you won’t get any visitors (or lose quickly the ones you do have).
This is why keeping track of your page loading speeds is of vital importance.
The thing is, people are impatient, and if they can’t get content in a timely fashion, they’ll bounce and go to your competitors. Just a few seconds’ delay on your page loading speed, and your new visitor is already clicking on the “back” button and going to another website.
With that said, by keeping a close eye on how fast your pages are, you’ll be able to see which ones are performing as expected, and which ones need a bit of tuning and updating, so that they, too, are up to snuff.
Mobile Traffic and Rankings
Anyone who’s been in the SEO business of who’s owned a website long enough finds it not the least bit slightest surprising that mobile devices are taking over as the de facto source of organic traffic on the Internet.
Indeed, mobile phones and tablets are slowly, but surely, taking over the undisputed crown of traffic king from the PC. Anywhere and everywhere, you’ll see people on their phones, reading the news, looking things up, ordering food or other things, watching YouTube and just doing general surfing.
With all that said, a prudent website owner would be hard-pressed to ignore their mobile traffic and mobile rankings metrics. Keeping a close eye on these can be a massive indicator of the success or failure of your SEO strategy, especially with how much traffic mobile brings in, as well with the fact that Google is becoming more mobile-friendly by the year.
Engagement Metrics – TOS, BR, PPV
One of the most important things to keep track of as a website owner are engagement metrics.
To be more precise, what you want to keep an eye on are time on site, bounce rates and pages per visit. These key engagement metrics will give you a good indicator of how engaging is your content, how useful it is to the visitor, and how much time are your visitors willing to spend with it.
All of these metrics are extremely important, as they give you a deeper insight into how well your website is performing. If you’re getting. Harkening back to what we said about organic traffic and the quality of your content, high bounce rates, short visit times and low pages viewed count are all indicators that, while you are ranking high for keywords, your content is either irrelevant, and you need to change the target keyword, or that your content simply isn’t good enough (or that your website has technical issues; that’s a possibility as well).
Check Out Some of the Best of the Best
Follow the link below, and check out some of the best SEO agencies that will help you with metric tracking.
And, with that, it’s time we brought this article to a close. To reiterate what we said in the beginning, keeping track of your metrics is of extreme importance for any website. You may spend hours upon hours researching and implementing the best SEO practices, but without keeping track of how they perform, you won’t ever be privy to their true power.