9 Metrics to Evaluate and Measure SEO Success
How do site owners measure SEO success? These 9 metrics are key to tracking and benchmarking your SEO efforts.
Any business owner investing in SEO wants to improve their website’s chances of appearing at the top of the search engine result pages. But how do you measure SEO success?
Because SEO is not as immediate as other digital marketing channels like PPC or social media advertising, it can sometimes feel difficult to measure its impact. But it is incredibly important for site owners to understand how to evaluate and measure their SEO results in order to see what optimizations are working, what they need to improve upon, or what tactics they should retire. Also, understanding whether your SEO is effective is essential to quantifying the ROI of your digital marketing spend.
Measuring the impact of your SEO optimizations is actually very simple if you have the right tools. You can also start measuring the impact of your optimizations within 1-2 weeks. Here’s how to accurately evaluate and measure your website’s SEO performance as a whole.
Why Site Owners Need to Measure their SEO Results
If your business advertises a service but then fails to deliver on your promises, you will likely lose clients. Everyone wants to see results, because results prove the value of your efforts. This is just one reason for site owners to be closely monitoring the impact of their website optimizations, but there are several more.
Organic Search is Often the Largest Source of Traffic
Google owns about 75% of the Internet’s search market. Additionally, Google averages over 400,000 web searches every second, which equates to a whopping 1.2 trillion searches every single year. All of these statistics just go to show that your potential customers most likely will go to the Internet to find you first, making it incredibly important to ensure your website follows as many search engine optimization best practices that you can.
Because Google will most likely be your primary source of website traffic, taking the time to understand the details of how each page of your website is performing will give you the data you need to refine your SEO strategy and make improvements. The more refined your strategy gets, the more organic traffic that Google will drive to your website.
Good SEO Results in a Positive User Experience
Sure, you want to make sure your website shows up in search engines. But that is the first half of the battle. Once potential consumers land on your website, you’ll want to do everything in your power to keep them there and ultimately convert them. Tracking your SEO performance not only helps you understand how Google sees your content, but it gives you a lot of information about whether users are finding your content valuable.
It is important to understand how Google works when deciding what to implement in your website. Google’s overall goal is to provide consumers with the best experience possible, so they have an army of website crawler robots that index every single website out in the World Wide Web. Those web crawlers then figure out what the website is about, and match up the content of the website to match search engine inquiries in order to provide the most relevant websites for the user.
With this in mind, it is important for a website to have relevant, informative content for its users, not only for Google to find and index, but for your users to learn about you! With the right SEO metrics, site owners can understand which pages of their website that users are finding the most valuable, and then use those pages as models for other pages on their site.
SEO Changes as Google Changes
SEO best practices don’t really tend to change drastically, but Google updates its ranking algorithm several times a year. Having a more granular understanding of your landing pages’ performance will help you ride those waves of Core Updates without drastic changes to your keyword rankings. If you are consistent in evaluating your SEO strategy, you will be able to more easily find those components that need to be changed or tweaked as Google improves on its algorithm from year to year.
How to Measure SEO Success: The 9 Definitive Factors
Keep the following factors in mind when you create a plan for measuring SEO success. You can access all of the below SEO metrics for your website in Google Search Console or Google Analytics.
Keyword rankings are the basis of any SEO strategy, simply because they are what users type into the search engines to find your website! So it is safe to say that a website’s keyword rankings offer a great snapshot into how your website is performing within the search engine result pages.
Usually, the first thing any website owner does when creating their website is to complete keyword research. Well, the same goes for measuring if your digital marketing is working or not– keywords say it all.
Keyword rankings are as followed:
- Ranking from 1-10 means that page is showing up on page 1.
- Ranking from 11-20 means that page is showing up on page 2.
- Ranking from 21-30 means that page is showing up on page 3.
- And so on and so forth.
Under the “Search Performance” tab in Google Search Console, you are able to see the queries users made that allowed your website to show up in the results. It is a good practice to take a look at these every month, and make sure that you use this extra information to your advantage.
Maybe there are keywords you didn’t expect your landing page to rank for — that can be a good or a bad thing! If the search intent is related to your content, that’s great, But if not, you may need to rework the on-page content or HTML tags to communicate more clearly to Googlebots what the content is about.
When looking at keyword performance, it is important to look at growth over time. SEO is a long game, and it takes, on average, about three months to six months to really see significant fluctuations after making a change. You can monitor the progress of certain keywords and phrases, and these insights will be able to tell you what content is working and showing up in the SERPs, and which content may need a little extra TLC.
Having the most relevant content for what your users are looking for is essential to seeing all of your SEO metrics improve. There is a lot that goes into using Google Search Console to track keyword rankings, so take the time to familiarize yourself with the “Search Performance,” section of this tool.
Organic traffic is the traffic that comes to your website solely from search engines. It is a powerful metric that can tell you if your website is not only performing well, but if it is worthwhile traffic that has a higher potential to convert.
Consistency is key when it comes to SEO, so it is common to expect a consistent source of traffic, no matter your digital marketing efforts. However, if you notice a huge change, such as an influx of traffic, chances are Google may have discovered a few new pages and is starting to rank them within the SERPs. On the other hand, if you notice a big decrease in traffic, your website could have been penalized due to an algorithm change.
Ideally, the more keyword rankings that your content earns the more organic traffic will continue to grow. However, if you are seeing your organic traffic stay the same despite additional keyword rankings, your landing pages may just not be ranking high enough, or maybe your page titles or meta descriptions are not enticing users to click. Paying close attention to which pages are not only ranking, but also getting clicks, will help you hone in on those on-page elements that seem to be satisfying both Google and users.
Economic Value of Traffic
Not all traffic is created equally, and some traffic channels are more expensive than others. If you’ve ever run a PPC campaign on Google Ads, you know it can be expensive to generate clicks. Economic value of traffic helps you understand how much you would pay for those organic clicks if you had targeted them in a Google Ads campaign.
CPC often correlates to conversion potential. If advertisers are willing to pay a high price to target that keyword in a PPC campaign, it’s likely because the users who click have high search intent and are likely to convert. If you secure organic rankings for keywords with high CPCs, you are getting those same high-quality clicks, but at a much cheaper cost.
As you evaluate the economic value of your traffic, It is important to crunch the numbers and ask yourself the following questions.
- Which keywords are driving the most valuable traffic to your site? Can you work on improving the rankings for the landing pages that are ranking for those keywords?
- Once users land on your page, are they converting? If not, you may need to improve that page with CTAs or lead capture forms. You can use your Google Analytics account to understand whether or not those organic clicks are actually converting on your website.
Yes, SEO requires a lot of work upfront and regular maintenance, but it is ultimately much cheaper than PPC and longer-lasting. You can incorporate these costs into into your metrics and get a better grasp on the true value that organic traffic brings.
A website’s ultimate goal is to make sure the traffic you’re getting is traffic that actually converts. You need to view your conversions in the lens of quality vs. quantity, while it is always great to have a bunch of new users on your site, if you only have one person convert out of 100, then there is a bigger problem to solve here.
If this is the case, take a step back and look at your website from the lens of a consumer. What is getting in the way of them converting? Could it be lack of information, a slow website, problems checking out, or your contact information being hard to find? Just determining the cause of the problem can be the difference between a handful of conversions a quarter and hundreds of conversions a month.
Other Key Metrics to Measure your SEO Efforts
While the above factors are very important when you measure SEO success, the following metrics should also be taken into consideration as well.
Domain Authority (DA)
Domain Authority (DA) is a metric developed by large SEO company Moz that predicts how likely a website is to rank on the search engine result pages. A DA is ranked on a 0-100 algorithmic score, and while they are not a metric used officially by Google, keeping tabs on your own website’s ranking can show you how you stand compared to other websites in your industry.
There are a lot of separate factors that go into compiling a DA score, including the number of linking root domains, the total number of backlinks, and the overall strength of a website’s backlink profile. Domain Authority is a great benchmarking tool and a good overall metric for your website’s ranking potential. You can check your domain authority score with our free tool.
A website’s click-through-rate measures the percent of people that clicked onto your page from the search results. A high click-through rate provides insights on if your page title and meta description are properly optimized and are enticing to potential customers. The higher the click-through-rate, the better chances are that you are getting engaged, ready to convert customers landing on your page.
Bounce rate is the percentage of users who visited your website and left without interacting anywhere on the page. A high bounce rate indicates that users visited your website but then didn’t find the information they were looking for, so they left. This can be due to a variety of different reasons, from having a poorly mapped site structure, to not including informational content that answers user’s questions before they get a chance to ask them.
To prevent a high bounce rate, do what you can to create content that grabs potential customers the minute they land on your page. Use multimedia and graphics to add some extra visual appeal.
A scroll depth is exactly what it sounds like, it measures how far down visitors scroll on each webpage. You can monitor each page’s scroll depth to see if users are actually getting to the most important content, and if they are reading what you have to say.
A way to encourage long scroll depth is to add pictures, graphics, larger headlines, and omit blocks of text. The more pizazz you can add to the page, the better!
Google views a link as a measure of authority leading to your website. This means that every time another website links to your website, Google sees it as a measure of trust, and that your website should show up in search results.
A healthy backlink profile includes backlinks from a variety of websites, with a variety of differing DA scores, as this shows versatility and your links were acquired naturally and organically. It is a SEO best practice to gain links from other websites, and a diverse backlink profile shows that multiple websites see you as an authority in their space.
How to Evaluate SEO Progress Over Time
Again, the most important part SEO measurement is what the data is telling you about what you are doing right. If you don’t take the time to measure SEO efforts with as much detail as possible, you will never have an accurate picture or understanding of the value of your SEO efforts.
It is normal for your SEO strategy and goals to change as your business ebbs and flows. But as long as you stay consistent in your SEO efforts, your website will become a reflection of your business online, and you will be able to build a strong presence in the digital world.
You do not have to do your entire SEO strategy by yourself. Our SEO experts here at LinkGraph are here to understand your business needs and goals, and our team is here to see your business thrive online. Give us a call and we’ll get started creating a comprehensive SEO strategy to bring your business to new heights.