It’s a fact. You can’t succeed online without SEO, and even as digital trends change, marketers still believe SEO is more relevant than ever.
Here’s a stat to back that up:
According to the State of Content Marketing report, 100 percent of marketers say SEO is more important now than last year.
It doesn’t stop with SEO, though.
Tracking your SEO metrics is an essential part of any content strategy.
However, that doesn’t mean all SEO website metrics are equal. Some are just vanity metrics, and, as you’ll find out later, there are some SEO metrics you can safely ignore.
In this post, I’ll explain the SEO success metrics that truly matter so you can focus on what’s important.
Ready? Then read on.
How Can You Use SEO Metrics?
Before I go any further, let’s start with how you can use SEO metrics to help with your digital and content marketing.
First, measuring your most important SEO metrics informs your strategy. If you’ve got pages ranking well for specific keywords, your organic click-throughs are increasing, and you’re attracting organic traffic, then it’s safe to say you’re doing something right.
On the contrary, if you’re struggling to rank in the SERPs for your chosen keywords, you’re not securing enough conversions, or you’re not picking up quality backlinks, that should tell you something is up.
By tracking your SEO metrics, you can see if you’re on course to reach your marketing goals and change strategy if it’s not working.
The right metrics enable you to optimize what does work and ditch the tactics that don’t.
SEO Metrics to Track
OK, now I’ve covered the basics, let’s get down to the best SEO metrics to track.
When you’re measuring the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts, monitoring SEO KPI metrics is crucial. Below are the most important SEO metrics to track.
Organic traffic refers to searchers who discover your site through unpaid methods. For instance, they might find you through a regular search, a social media link, or even an online forum.
It’s a crucial SEO metric that reflects how well your site ranks in search engines. The more organic traffic you have, the better your SEO efforts are performing.
Your organic traffic also has a better chance of converting as these visitors actively search your niche.
Additionally, this SEO metric increases brand awareness, improves custom retention, and is cost-effective.
You can track your organic traffic with free analytic tools such as GA4. Here’s a breakdown of organic traffic marked as a percentage in blue.
You’ll find this information in GA4 under the “Acquisition” tab from the main dashboard for your selected website property.
Targeting keywords is the most basic part of any SEO strategy. Keyword rankings show you where your page is in the SERPs for these target keywords. For example, in Ubersuggest’s Top Pages by Traffic report, you can see which keywords and positions are driving traffic to pages on your site.
The better your position is, the more organic traffic you get. According to Ahrefs, 75.1 percent of clicks go to the top three organic results, while 31.73 percent go to the top-ranked page.
By measuring this SEO metric, you can see which keywords bring you traffic and those that aren’t pulling their weight.
To measure keyword rankings, you can use Ubersuggest or Google Search Console.
Ever wondered what the ROI is of your SEO strategy? Then look no further than your traffic values.
This SEO metric measures the monthly monetary value of your organic traffic created by ranking keywords on your website and how much it would have cost you if you’d used paid advertising.
- calculating the monthly organic traffic each keyword generates
- factoring in its respective ranking position
- multiplying it by the cost-per-click.
Alternatively, try this traffic value calculator.
Core Web Vitals
These days, Google puts an emphasis on user experience. That includes Core Web Vitals metrics that assess page load times, interactivity, and visual stability:
- Large Contentful Paint (LCP) measures the loading times of your webpage, specifically the largest element. The better your website loading time, the better the UX.
- First Input Delay (FID) is all about interactivity and responsiveness. It measures the time between when a user first interacts with your page and how long the browser takes to respond.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures individual shift scores or the visual stability and whether any elements of the layout shift.
- Interaction to Next Paint (INP) assesses the page’s general responsiveness in response to user interactions.
Optimizing your Core Web Vitals can enhance your SEO rankings, ensure your site is mobile-friendly, and give you a competitive advantage.
Page Load Times
Speed matters. Here’s some proof.
There’s another reason you want to track this SEO metric.
Research shows that 26 percent of visitors will only wait one to three seconds for a site to load.
You know what that means? Slow sites lose you leads.
It may also result in lower rankings and a high bounce rate.
Slow-loading pages can kill your conversions, too.
If you feel web speed is letting you down, here’s what you can do:
Test your current load time at Pingdom.
Ideally, you’re looking for a maximum load time of 1-2.5 seconds.
If you find there’s room for improvement, compress and optimize your images, limit redirects, and use caches.
Organic visibility helps you break down how well your organic rankings perform in search engines.
It’s an essential part of your SEO strategy because it allows you to attract targeted leads, brand awareness, and higher click-through rates.
Working out your organic visibility score is complex; to simplify it, Dragon Metrics suggests you decide your ideal click-through rate and use the same figure for your organic visibility score.
You can increase organic visibility by:
- Optimizing your site for on-site SEO, technical SEO, local SEO, and search intent
- Building authoritative backlinks
- Working on mobile optimization
- Doing more content marketing
- Finding content gaps and new keywords to target.
Domain authority measures how many relevant and reputable backlinks your website has. It’s a metric Moz developed, which helps predict how likely a page is to rank in the SERPs.
Moz scores sites from 1-100.
Naturally, the higher the score, the more likely your site is to rank.
You can check your domain authority on Moz, and if you want to try and improve it, you can by:
- Understanding everything that contributes to your DA. Moz lists multiple factors, such as the number and quality of links, quality of content, SEO performance, and average website traffic.
- Writing quality content. Ensure it’s comprehensive, valuable, actionable, and aimed at your target audience.
- Doing a site audit and a backlink audit. Use Ubersuggest to see backlinks, DA scores, and referring domains.
- Build authoritative backlinks. Focus on quality; don’t buy backlinks, as they can be poor quality.
- Writing guest posts. This can help you gain authoritative backlinks for your site.
Last but not least, measure your page authority (predictive ranking of a page).
Organic Click-Through Rate
Tracking this SEO metric lets you see the percentage of searchers who click on your website link from the search results.
As the following chart shows, click-through rates can influence your ranking position.
The higher your click-through rate, the more likely your content will resonate with your target audience and search intent, making your CTR one of your most valuable SEO metrics.
Use your click-through rates to understand if your online marketing (ads, keywords, etc.) is working or if you need to revisit your plan.
You can calculate your organic click-through rate by dividing your clicks by impressions.
Digital marketers often think of backlinks as one of the most vital SEO metrics and with good reason.
Backlinks refer to the number of sites linking to yours. Having high-quality, relevant links adds to your site’s authority and trustworthiness.
When other authoritative sites are linking to you, this gives you credibility in the “eyes” of the search engines.
This is great news for you because this confidence vote from other sites means better visibility and search rankings.
I’ve got a backlink tool to help you find out where you stand.
Driving traffic to your website is great, but it means nothing if it doesn’t convert somehow. For instance, if your visitor signs up for a newsletter or goes straight ahead and makes a purchase.
Your conversion rate, a key e-commerce KPI, tells you how successful your online marketing is, and if it’s on the low side, it’s time to adapt your strategy.
The average conversion rate varies between 2-5 percent. This average depends on your sector, average sales cycle, product or service price, and marketing channels.
You can improve your conversion rate by adding more reviews, performing an SEO audit, and localizing or personalizing content.
SEO Metrics That Are Less Useful Than You Think
While the above SEO metrics are essential, some may not be as informative as they seem. Here are some less important SEO metrics to keep a casual eye on.
There’s a lot of confusion about bounce rate, so let’s go straight to the top.
Google’s John Mueller says:
“I think there’s a bit of misconception here that we’re looking at things like the analytics bounce rate when it comes to ranking websites, and that’s definitely not the case.”
In other words, too many website owners spend their time optimizing their websites for a lower bounce rate, and their rankings don’t improve.
Don’t be that person.
Despite what some people think, bounce rate doesn’t measure how long a user stays on your site. Rather, it’s the percentage of people who visit a single page and leave without interacting with it.
Although your bounce rate could suggest a problem with user experience, it’s hard to interpret and doesn’t indicate why users leave your site so quickly.
The exit rate assesses the percentage of visitors or customers who leave your website after visiting a specific page.
You can calculate the exit rate by dividing the number of exits from a page by the number of visits or interactions.
How important is it, though?
Shorter session durations can indicate a problem with your website. However, it’s not always a definitive sign something is wrong. Some users may find what they need quickly and leave, which is a positive outcome.
Like your bounce rate, your exit rate doesn’t tell you much, so it’s not among the most important SEO metrics.
Average Session Duration (ASD)
This SEO metric measures the time users spend on a specific page. It gives you an idea of user engagement.
However, like the above bounce rate and exit rate SEO metrics, it doesn’t help you understand user behavior or give you a clear idea of why they’ve left.
Similar to bounce and exit rates, it may indicate that users find what they want quickly and leave.
Choosing the Right SEO Metrics For Your Needs
If all these SEO metrics feel like overload, step back for a moment. You only need to focus on the ones that meet your needs. Here’s how to do that:
Set your goals: What are your main SEO aims? Perhaps you’re working on organic traffic and growing your brand. Then, you’d focus on keyword rankings, organic traffic numbers, and organic visibility.
Tailor your SEO metrics to your sector: If you’re serving an e-commerce audience, you’d look at click-throughs and conversions. In contrast, a regular blog owner may focus on engagement, backlinks, and domain authority instead.
By measuring SEO performance metrics, you gain actionable insights into how effective your SEO strategy is and find areas of improvement.
The type of SEO metrics you’d measure can vary depending on your sector. For instance, a SaaS business would focus on SaaS metrics like customer lifetime value, average revenue per customer, and monthly recurring revenue.
SEO metrics measure various aspects of your website’s performance in search engines. They help you assess the effectiveness of your SEO efforts and make informed decisions to improve your online visibility.
By tracking the right SEO metrics and analyzing them, you can give your website a significant boost in the SERPs.
However, before you can do this effectively, draw up a strategy so you’re clear on what you want to achieve. You can then analyze content marketing metrics like organic traffic or click-through rates to ensure you’re getting more visibility.
Whatever you want to achieve online, remember to keep a keen eye on the most important SEO metrics that align with your goals.
That’s how you stay ahead of your SEO game and outperform your competitors.
Which SEO metrics do you track? Tell us below.
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