What are SEO Metrics?
SEO metrics are data points or indicators used to track, measure, and report on search engine optimization performance over time.
These metrics provide important data insights into what's working and help guide the direction of SEO strategy and optimization efforts.
Common SEO metrics
Commonly tracked SEO metrics are shared in more detail below, which include keyword rankings, organic search traffic, clickthrough rate, pages per session, bounce rate, page speed, conversions, backlinks & referring domains.
What are KPIs?
KPIs, short for key performance indicators, are high-priority metrics used by marketing teams and SEOs that provide targets toward an intended result or goal.
What are SEO KPIs?
Search engine optimization (SEO) KPIs are usually a combination of prioritized SEO metrics, such as looking at the trend of specific keyword ranking positions, organic traffic numbers, and lead or sales conversions.
Important SEO Metrics
Let's take a look at 8 of the most important SEO metrics used in SEO reporting:
1. Keyword Rankings
In SEO, keyword rankings are the specific positions in the search engine results pages (SERPs) that your website pages show up for when someone searches a keyword (also known as a keyword phrase, search term, or search query).
Why are keyword rankings important?
The purpose of SEO is to increase the quality and quantity of search traffic to your website by ranking higher for relevant keywords in Google. Better ranking positions can be achieved by consistently optimizing and creating quality website content and links.
How do you track keyword rankings?
Since tracking keywords manually is extremely time-consuming and unreliable when tracking ranking progress for multiple search locations, rank tracking software is often used by SEOs and marketing teams.
Rank tracker tools make it easy to track hundreds of keywords at a time, group and filter keywords, see changes in keyword rankings and gain additional insights like estimated keyword searches and traffic potential.
2. Organic Traffic
Organic traffic is traffic or visits that come to your site by clicking one of your website page listings that are ranking in the organic or natural (non-paid) search results.
Why is organic traffic important?
According to SEO company Brightedge, 53% of traffic is from organic search, resulting in organic traffic maintaining its position as the dominant source of trackable web traffic. Ranking on the 1st page of Google's SERPs for in-demand keywords can generate a lot of valuable organic traffic to a website, leading to more conversions like leads and sales.
How do you track organic traffic?
You can use a website analytics tool like Google Analytics (GA) to track organic traffic to your website. In GA, you can segment site traffic based on sources like organic search, referring sites, and direct traffic. You can also drill down into additional data about your site's organic traffic, such as location data (country, state, region, city), browser and device used, and page interaction metrics.
3. Clickthrough Rate
In terms of organic traffic, clickthrough rate (CTR) is the number of clicks a site page receives from its ranked listing in search results divided by the number of times the page listing is shown.
Why is CTR important?
Organic CTR is an important metric for understanding high and low-performing pages that are ranking in search results. CTR can help you understand how relevant your ranking page titles and descriptions are to searchers in relation to the keywords they're searching.
How do you track CTR?
The best way to track CTR from Google traffic is by using Google Search Console (GSC). Along with click data, you'll be able to check out page impressions (number of times your page appeared in search results for a keyword), average keyword ranking positions, and additional insights to manage and optimize your website presence in Google Search.
You can also track CTR data for Bing traffic by using Bing Webmaster Tools.
4. Pages Per Session
The pages per session metric is the average number of pages visited during a visitor's session on your site, with sessions being the series of actions a visitor takes on your site within a given period.
Why are pages per session important?
The pages per session metric provides insight into the website pages users are exploring, which pages are popular or engaging, as well as which pages include content or links that lead visitors to other pages.
You can use pages per session data to determine which pages could use content enhancements such as buttons, images, links, or calls-to-action, in order to keep users engaged and interested in your content and staying on your site longer.
How do you track pages per session?
Google Analytics includes the pages per session metric, as well as a useful behavior flow report that makes it easy to visualize the path users travel from one page or event to the next. When in GA under your website property, you can find this report by navigating to Behavior -> Behavior Flow in the left sidebar.
5. Bounce Rate
The bounce rate is calculated by taking single-page sessions divided by all sessions on your site in a given period of time.
Why is bounce rate important?
A lower bounce rate percentage indicates that more users are interacting with 2 or more pages in their session.
While bounce rate isn't considered a direct ranking factor, focusing on lowering bounce rate can help you understand what type of content your visitors enjoy and potentially boost conversion actions like leads and sales.
How do you track bounce rates?
In Google Analytics, you can track bounce rates within a variety of traffic reports. For example, you can drill down to looking at bounce rates based on specific traffic segments such as organic search traffic bounce rates, as well as bounce rates for a specific page or set of pages, to name a few.
6. Page Speed
Page speed helps you understand how quickly your pages load for visitors.
Why is page speed important?
Page speed is important for ensuring a good user experience when people visit website pages on mobile and desktop devices. Page speed is also a direct factor in improving page rankings on Google Search.
In addition, the first 5 seconds of page load time have the largest impact on conversion rates. Consider this page speed conversion statistic discovered by digital marketing agency Portent – website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time (between seconds 0 to 5).
How do you check page speed?
You can check the speed of your website pages with Google's PageSpeed Insights. Additional website speed testing tools include GTmetrix and Pingdom. It can be helpful to quickly check page speed with all these tools for more insight into potential issues and optimization suggestions.
A conversion is defined as one or a set of actions taken by a user that equals a desired outcome or goal. Example conversion actions include filling out a form, calling a number, signing up for a free trial, subscribing to an email list, or downloading a piece of content.
Why are conversions important?
Conversions provide a way to determine what types of SEO efforts lead to your desired outcome/s. A data-driven SEO strategy of monitoring SEO metrics and conversions over time can help you maximize organic website conversions from search engine traffic.
How do you track conversions?
How to track conversions depends on the type of action being considered a conversion. You can often use and integrate Google Analytics with action sources like your website and page forms, call tracking software, and email marketing tools.
Backlinks, also known as inbound links or external incoming links, are links that point to a page on your website from another website.
Why are backlinks important?
Backlinks are an important ranking factor alongside other major ranking factors related to site content, internal links, and site speed.
How do you track backlinks?
You can track backlinks and referring domains (the websites providing the backlinks) using SEO software that provides backlink data like Semrush or SE Ranking.
Tracking SEO metrics is critical to making more efficient and sound strategic decisions as you gain insight from these metrics over time.
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