Understanding and Leveraging SEO Metrics for Business Growth
If you have a website, you may have invested in search engine optimization (SEO). Although the process can take a few months to show results, it has a successful track record of generating increased web traffic and attracting inbound leads. It also holds an edge over other growth tactics due to its affordability.
A 2022 Statista survey found that 59% of respondents reported an increased ROI on SEO in 2022. Fittingly, Hubspot’s ‘The State of Marketing’ survey reports that 88% of marketers who utilize SEO plan to maintain or increase their investment in 2023.
The question is: How do you know your SEO tactics are paying off? And what must you do to further optimize them?
That’s where SEO metrics come in. Tracking the most important SEO metrics can get you the best out of your marketing efforts. In this blog, we dive into the world of SEO metrics and explore how to leverage them to boost business growth.
Understanding the Basics of SEO Metrics
Before we get into harnessing the power of tracking and analyzing SEO performance metrics effectively, let’s first define the term.
What are SEO Metrics?
When potential customers search for keywords related to your business, search engine results pages (SERPs) display the most relevant results. SEO is the process of improving the visibility and ranking of your website in SERPs. Websites that are higher up on SERPs attract more web traffic, leads, and, ultimately, sales.
Common SEO strategies include using relevant keywords throughout your website, building backlinks, and improving your website’s performance.
Measuring the effectiveness of SEO strategies involves looking at quantifiable data points that relate to your website’s rankings, traffic, and overall online visibility. SEO metrics include organic search traffic data, click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, bounce rate, and keyword rankings, among many others.
Take ‘average session duration,’ for instance. It shows the average time visitors spend on your website, platform, or app during a single session. Longer sessions would mean users are finding your content valuable and engaging, while shorter sessions might indicate the need to improve content quality, website navigability, or design aesthetics.
Paying close attention to SEO metrics allows you to make informed decisions about your website and its content. Not doing so can lead to lost opportunities and compromise the impact of your marketing efforts.
The Necessity of Tracking SEO Metrics
SEO metrics are a direct reflection of a website’s performance and discoverability. Metrics such as organic traffic and keyword rankings directly tell you how well a website is positioned in search engine results. A well-optimized website will perform better and attract a larger and more engaged audience.
Paying close attention to the right SEO metrics helps you spot serious issues such as improper indexing and robot.txt file misconfigurations.
Improper indexing occurs when search engines cannot crawl and index a website’s pages correctly. This can happen due to errors in the robots.txt file, the improper use of no-index tags on individual pages, or other technical issues.
Robot.txt files tell search engine bots which pages on a website they should and shouldn’t crawl. If a robot.txt file is misconfigured, it can block search engine bots from accessing important pages on your website.
You can help spot these issues by monitoring:
- Sudden drops in organic search traffic.
- Indexed page data, which shows how many of your website’s pages are indexed by search engines.
- Index coverage error data, which shows you any errors that search engines are encountering when trying to crawl and index your website
Addressing these issues promptly and effectively lets you optimize traffic to your website traffic.
A common SEO mistake website owners often make is focusing on vanity metrics that may look impressive at first glance but do little to boost organic traffic or conversions. A sudden and inexplicable increase in website traffic, for instance, shouldn’t be enough to satisfy you. You must find out why this increase has happened and whether it is leading to more conversions.
Keyword rankings, similarly, are extremely useful, but only as long as you’re paying equal attention to keyword relevance. Having a great average keyword rank doesn’t mean much if the keywords aren’t relevant to your industry, products, or services.
The Most Important SEO Metrics for Online Success
With the preceding in mind, let’s now delve into the most important SEO performance metrics you should be actively looking at. Along with each metric, we’ll also give you in-depth explanations and tips on how to leverage them effectively.
Traffic Source-Related Metrics
Let’s start by understanding the sources of your website traffic. You’ll often come across four main categories: direct, organic, referral, and social traffic.
Organic traffic is considered the cornerstone of SEO metrics. It represents the total number of visitors who find your website through search engines: these users discover your website by entering search queries and clicking on organic search results. These users are actively seeking the type of content your website offers.
It’s not easy to make it to the front page of search results, which is why organic search metrics are very significant. Keep in mind that only 0.63% of searchers click on results beyond the top 10 on Google. High organic traffic is an indication search engines find your website to be a credible authority.
Optimizing your website for organic search can have a significant impact on your business. An experienced agency like Globe Runner can help you create impactful websites that are optimized for SEO and attract organic traffic.
Other types of traffic include direct traffic, which comes from visitors who directly type in your website’s URL because they are already familiar with your brand.
Referral traffic originates from other online sources that link to your site, while social traffic refers to traffic from users clicking links to your website from social media platforms.
Understanding these sources of online traffic will help you use resources more effectively, optimize your marketing campaigns, and target the right audience on the most relevant platforms.
Use these tips when analyzing and interpreting website traffic data:
- Use tools like Google Analytics to track the number of visitors, traffic sources, and other important SEO metrics like average time on page and conversion rates.
- When you look at traffic trends over time, you should be able to identify spikes or drops in traffic and correlate them with specific changes made to your website or brand. Examples include the unveiling of a new website, adding new products, updating content, or implementing a new marketing campaign.
- Armed with this data, analyze it to glean demographic information, insights into user behavior, and other information that can be used to shape future website changes, content additions, and marketing strategies.
Keyword Ranking Metrics
Keyword ranking metrics identify your website’s position on the SERP for specific keywords or queries. The higher your website ranks, the more likely it is to be seen and to generate organic traffic.
Maintaining and improving SEO ranking metrics like keyword ranking is critical for a robust online presence.
Here are three reasons why:
- Visibility: As we’ve mentioned, good rankings on the SERPs for your important keywords makes your website visible to relevant audiences. The trick is to rank well consistently. Just a single top ranking won’t achieve the results you want over time.
- Competitive Advantage: Everyone is fighting for a piece of the limited market in every sector. Ranking highly for common, relevant keywords gives you a huge edge over competitors as you start to become perceived as a more noted brand.
- Customer Trust: When consumers search for a product or service online, they are more likely to trust the businesses that appear at the top of search results. By increasing your keyword ranking, you can build credibility and attract more customers to your business.
User Engagement Metrics
SEO metrics that fall under the bracket of user engagement reflect how visitors are engaging with your website.
The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who land on a webpage and leave without interacting further or visiting other pages. If your bounce rate is high, it generally means users were interested enough to visit your website but didn’t find the content engaging or relevant enough to stick around.
Average session duration is the average time a user spends on your website during a single session, while the pages-per-session metric refers to the average number of pages a user views during a single session. Analyzing these two metrics can help you find the pages and content on your website that are most relevant to your audience.
Perhaps the most important SEO performance metric related to user engagement is the organic click-through rate. CTR measures the percentage of users who click on your website’s link in search engine results. It is a direct reflection of how compelling your website looks on the search results page compared to others.
An analysis of 4 million Google search results found that, while a CTR above 3% is considered good, being at the very top of the SERP is where you really want to be. This analysis shows that the top three places on the SERP generate CTRs of 39.8%, 18.7%, and 10.2% respectively.
Here are some tips to optimize your website’s organic click-through rate.
- Write powerful, compelling titles and meta descriptions that accurately represent your content and appeal to users’ search intent. Also, include relevant keywords and calls to action.
- Use A/B testing to compare the effectiveness of different title tags and meta descriptions and identify those that produce a higher CTR.
- Implement structured data markup (standardized formatting that classifies content into types for search engines) to enhance your listings with additional information like ratings, reviews, or product availability.
Don’t have time to do user engagement optimization on your own? Globe Runner can help boost your SEO efforts using a range of effective strategies.
A conversion is a specific action you want users to take on your website. Common types of conversions include making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, filling out a contact form, downloading a resource, or requesting a quote.
Landing pages are a mighty ally in your journey to increase conversions. The first impression users have when they arrive from search engine results, landing pages are where your conversions will take place and should therefore be designed to captivate and engage.
Landing pages must also closely align with what a user has searched for. If your landing page isn’t relevant to the visitor’s search, they will go elsewhere. Landing pages should also feature a compelling call to action (CTA) that guides users toward the desired action. Effective landing pages are designed to minimize distractions, show only the most relevant information, and achieve conversions!
Landing Page Optimization
There are several techniques you can use to optimize a landing page to achieve better SEO performance metrics. These include incorporating relevant keywords across the landing page, optimizing page load speeds, ensuring landing pages are mobile responsive, A/B testing variations of different elements, and providing better quality content.
Landing page conversion metrics track the effectiveness of your landing page and help you figure out your cost-per-lead.
Tools like Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics can help you analyze data regarding the number of conversions and their sources to identify bottlenecks in customer journeys. Correctly identifying the source of conversions can be difficult sometimes because there may be multiple touchpoints with a consumer before a sale.
Most analytics tracking tools use a last-touch attribution model that gives the final touchpoint in the process the ‘credit’ for the conversion. A multi-touch attribution model aims to identify each of the different interactions a customer makes on their journey to a conversion.
Ensuring Optimal Performance with Strategic SEO Metrics Analysis
As you can see, there are dozens of SEO metrics to keep track of and analyze in your efforts to achieve online success. Here’s what you need to focus on to ensure optimal performance in that effort.
Routine Analysis and Adaptation
Analyzing SEO metrics regularly is the equivalent of doing health checkups on your website. Keep your eyes on the data to make sure everything is alive and thriving.
Undertaking regular SEO metric analysis also keeps you updated with changes or updates to search engine algorithms. User behavior, similarly, tends to change frequently and regular analysis is an absolute must to keep your content fresh and competitive.
Start by setting up specific and measurable goals. For example, increasing organic traffic by 20% or improving the CTR for a particular keyword by 10%. Next, use tools to track and monitor your metrics. With the data this process generates, you can analyze trends to identify areas of improvement.
You must also audit your website regularly for technical issues, something that comes under the scope of technical SEO.
SEO Tools and Platforms
We’ve already mentioned a few tools and platforms you can use to monitor SEO metrics. Let’s now dig a little deeper to see what they are and why they’re such a valuable part of your digital toolkit.
Here are some handy tools you can use for SEO analysis:
1. Google Analytics: Use it to track user behavior, traffic sources, conversion rates, and more.
2. Ahrefs: Known for its robust backlink analysis, Ahrefs also offers keyword research, competitor analysis, and rank-tracking features.
3. SEMrush: SEMrush provides insights into organic and paid search, backlink analysis, keyword research, and competitive analysis.
4. Moz: With a suite of SEO tools that include Moz Pro, this software provides keyword research, site audits, rank tracking, and link analysis.
5. Screaming Frog SEO Spider: This is a website crawling tool that provides in-depth technical SEO analysis. It identifies issues like broken links, duplicate content, and page speed problems.
6. Google Search Console: This free tool offers insights into how Google views your website. It provides data on indexing, keyword performance, and technical issues.
Making SEO Metrics Work for Your Business
Understanding, tracking, and analyzing the most important SEO metrics makes the difference between a website languishing in obscurity and one that’s thriving in the limelight.
Make sure your SEO strategy is informed by as much data and analysis as you can! If you’ve taken on the help of a marketing agency, a bonus of paying close attention to your SEO metrics is that they serve as proof of results. It’s essentially a comprehensive measure of your agency’s efforts and effectiveness.
By harnessing the power of SEO metrics, you can shape effective SEO strategies, improve your website’s performance, and ensure accountability in your marketing efforts. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to elevate your online presence and drive business growth through SEO metrics.
Globe Runner is here to simplify and optimize your marketing efforts. We provide a full suite of services from SEO and website development to paid media and content marketing. We’re a tried and tested solution with proven results.
Contact Globe Runner today for a no-obligation quote on our full suite of SEO services.