If you are an SEO specialist, web marketer, product manager, or owner, you know that if you cannot measure something, you cannot improve it. It is a good thing that SEO is all about graphs and numbers. But what are the best metrics for measuring your SEO success?
Why Is It Important to Track SEO Metrics?
SEO metrics make it possible to track website performance in terms of search engine optimization and compare results to what has been achieved before.
Keeping a close eye on key metrics guarantees the website is healthy, optimized, and generates value for the business.
Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and professional SEO tools offer a wide array of measurements. But measuring every single parameter may be difficult. Depending on your business needs, you first need to set your SEO goals and determine which metrics measure your progress. Using the correct metrics, you can ensure that time, money, and efforts invested in SEO pay off.
So let’s take a closer look at the main SEO metrics.
Top 10 Metrics for Monitoring SEO Performance
- Organic Traffic
- Keyword Rankings
- Average CTR
- New Referring Domains
- Indexed Pages
- Bounce Rate
- Average session duration
- Conversion rate
- Core Web Vitals
Organic traffic is traffic generated by a website through organic search. It shows how many visitors landed on a website from search results on Google, Bing, Yahoo!, or other search engines.
Organic traffic is probably the most important SEO metric, as it indicates a website’s overall ability to attract visitors. In other words, the better a website is optimized for search engines, the higher the number of visitors from organic search results should be. Organic traffic is great for monitoring the flow of visitors on target websites or pages and getting additional information about users: their geography, devices they use, or other trends.
In addition, it helps detect sudden drops in traffic and determine the reasons that may have caused them: a technical issue on the website, a new Google update, or if a competitor’s website started outranking yours.
Oftentimes organic traffic alone is not enough and marketers use it alongside other metrics to analyze the quality of traffic and overall performance of the website. For example, correlating traffic with keyword rankings allows for assessing the performance of specific pages and their potential. Meanwhile, matching traffic with the number of clicks on the page lets you see how well the traffic is converting.
The easiest way to track organic traffic is by using Google Analytics or Google Search Console.
Keyword ranking shows where the website is ranked in search for a specific keyword.
As long as you keep track of keywords that are relevant to your business by monitoring keyword rankings in connection with your focus pages, you can evaluate the effectiveness of the current SEO strategy. If other metrics improve, but you do not see any progression in target keyword rankings, it might mean that the website has poor keyword selection and you should select less competitive keywords. However, there can be many other reasons.
You can use Google Search Console to monitor keyword rankings.
Impressions is a number that shows how many times a page appeared in the search engine results page (SERP).
An Impressions metric may not be as important as clicks, as it does not drive traffic or conversions. Nevertheless, it shows your website’s potential to drive organic traffic. The better the page is ranked and the more keywords it is shown for, the more impressions it gets. Also, the number of impressions can be used as a reference point in the early stages of the SEO campaign — if the page does not get any impressions, it might mean that it is not accessible to the search bot, but it could be because of something else.
You can track impressions through Google Search Console.
Average CTR indicates the percentage of impressions that have been converted into action.
In other words, it shows how many users visited the page after seeing it in search results. To calculate this metric, divide the number of clicks by the number of impressions, and multiply the result by 100:
CTR = Clicks ÷ Impressions * 100.
For example, if 10 users have seen the page in the search results and 2 persons clicked through, the CTR would be 20%.
Average CTR is an important metric, as it indicates how relevant your webpage is in the SERP for users. For instance, if the page ranks high in the SERP but the CTR is low, you should test other title and description tags, or examine whether the page is at all relevant for the main search queries.
New Referring Domains
New referring domains is a number of new and unique domains that have added links to the target website. Tracking this metric allows you to ensure that link-building and SEO efforts are aligned.
Backlinks are crucial for SEO because they are one of the most important ranking factors for search engines. To ensure the sustainable growth of your organic traffic, the number of referring domains should constantly increase. Backlinks from trustworthy domains are more likely to improve your website’s ranking position, while “toxic” backlinks can be harmful and should be added to the disavow list.
Since Google Search Console or Google Analytics do not have such a feature, use a third-party tool like SE Ranking’s Website Backlink Checker to get a comprehensive review of your backlink portfolio: a full list of referring domains and backlinks, domain trust ranks, the ratio between dofollow/nofollow backlinks, most common anchor texts, etc.
The number of Indexed pages shows how many pages of your website have been indexed by Google.
To display a page in the search results, Google first needs to crawl and index it. Google will not present pages in its search results that it did not index. Thus, it will not generate any organic traffic. Also, if Google finds a huge number of duplicated, outdated, or irrelevant pages on your website, it may decrease your overall site authority. An audit of indexed pages can help you identify such pages and then adapt your content strategy accordingly.
Use Google Search Console data to ensure that all relevant pages are indexed.
Bounce rate is the percentage of users who viewed only one website page and then left the site. Monitoring the website’s bounce rates allows reviewing and updating the content strategy to better meet SEO goals.
This metric is an important indicator for complex websites with a multi-step sales funnel. It shows how well users interact with pages and go further through the funnel. A high bounce rate means that the page contains irrelevant information and does not motivate users to continue using the website, which results in a poor conversion rate. And if the bounce rate remains low, it means that the page meets visitors’ needs and helps you convert traffic.
However, if you use simple landing pages with a straightforward call-to-action or an informational page that provides detailed information on a specific topic without any additional actions, then a high bounce rate does not necessarily indicate any issues. If a single page is enough for conversion, then a high bounce rate could be ignored.
Information about the bounce rate is available in Google Analytics.
Average Session Duration
The Average Session Duration shows the time during which the user interacted with the website. You can calculate it by dividing the total time on site for multiple visitors by their total number. The session ends if the user has been active for 30 minutes.
Like the bounce rate, this metric allows you to evaluate how engaging and appealing your content is, and whether it motivates users to interact with a landing page for a longer time or continue browsing other pages of your website.
To see the average session duration use Google Analytics.
Conversion rate shows how many website visitors have converted. To calculate the conversion rate, divide the total number of visitors by the total number of conversions.
Depending on the business, you should define conversion objectives and set the right conversion goals in Google Analytics, like an online purchase or phone call. The conversion rate lets you evaluate the quality of traffic, the efficiency of conversion, and the overall profitability of the website. With this information, you can adjust your SEO strategy accordingly.
Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals is a set of three metrics, introduced by Google in 2020 to measure the experience of a user interacting with a website. These metrics include:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) — page loading performance — the amount of time it takes to render the largest content element visible to the viewer.
- First Input Delay (FID) — page responsiveness — the amount of time it takes to respond to user interaction, for example, when they click on a link or tap on a button.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) — page visual stability — the proportion of the visible page layout that shifts.
Core Web Vitals have become an influential SEO metric as Google gets more and more concerned about user experience and considers it more thoroughly to determine rankings. This means you should work on improving Core Web Vitals scores and other technical SEO parameters to make sure users have the best experience on the website.
To see the metrics for your site, check the Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console.
The above-mentioned set of SEO metrics is perfect to regularly track the performance and traffic of your website. The metrics show how well the site is optimized, how engaging the content is, and what can be improved. Start using free Google Webmaster Tools or any professional Tag Manager tools to achieve your SEO goals and find new opportunities to grow your website.