It is important to measure your SEO efforts to ensure that you are moving in the right direction with your SEO strategy.
But, what exactly do you need to monitor to ensure your website is doing well in terms of performance?
The answer is, SEO metrics.
Here are the top 10 SEO metrics that you need to monitor and track:
1. Organic traffic
The first metric that’s important to monitor when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) is organic traffic. This means all the people who are searching for products or services through Google without any help from paid advertising. The more visitors you get, the better your chances of ranking high in the SERPs.
To determine how many organic searches your site gets per month, go to Google Search Console and enter your domain name in the “Domain” field. Then click on the “Organic Traffic” tab. You’ll see a graph showing monthly data.
If you’re getting too few organic visits, then you might want to try changing your URL structure or adding some kind of call-to-action button to your pages. If you don’t have enough organic traffic, then it might be time to reevaluate what type of content works best for your audience.
2. Keyword Ranking
It’s important to know what keywords are bringing traffic to your site, and the best way to find that out is by examining your keyword ranking. Most keyword research tools examine two types of rankings: “global” and “local.”
Let’s say you run a dating website. You’d want to track both global and local rankings because some people might search for “online dating,” while others might search for “Saskatchewan online dating.” If you specialize in the latter, then it would be a good idea to optimize your content and website for that phrase.
To track your global keyword rankings, go to Google Search Console and enter your domain name in the “Domain” field. Then click on the “Search Traffic” tab. You’ll see a list of keywords that bring visitors to your website (as seen in the image above).
If you want to narrow down your search, try switching to the “Search Analytics” tab. This will give you more specific data, such as the regions that are searching for your keywords and the average monthly searches for each.
3. Keyword Traffic Share
This third metric is another way of tracking how much traffic your website is getting. Instead of focusing on how many visitors you’re getting, you’re focusing on what keywords are driving those visitors to your site.
To track your keyword traffic share, go to Google Search Console and enter your domain name in the “Domain” field. Then click on the “Search Traffic” tab. You’ll see a list of keywords that bring visitors to your website (as seen in the image above).
Find the keyword that’s sending the most visitors to your site, and write it down. Then, go back to the “Search Analytics” or “Search Traffic” tab, and find that same keyword. You’ll be able to see its “traffic share,” which tells you how much of your traffic that particular keyword is responsible for.
If you have a lot of traffic coming from one keyword, then that keyword is worth keeping. But if it only sends a few visitors to your site, it might not be worth optimizing for.
4. Your CTR
CTR stands for “click-through rate,” and it’s a metric most advertisers look at to determine the quality of their ads.
Google Search Console offers a Search Analytics report that shows the average percentage of people who click on one of your links after seeing it in the search results. That percentage is called the click-through rate (CTR).
To track your company’s CTR, go to Google Search Console and enter your domain name in the “Domain” field. Then click on the “Search Analytics” tab. You’ll see a list of all the keywords that are driving traffic to your website (as seen in the image above).
Find a keyword with a high search volume and a high CTR. These are usually the keywords you want to target first with your content.
5. Your Bounce Rate
A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who enter your website and then immediately leave.
Even though this metric isn’t as directly tied to your sales as, say, your conversion rate is, it’s still important to monitor. A high bounce rate could indicate that your website is difficult to use, so it’s in your best interest to keep this number as low as possible.
To track your bounce rate, go to Google Analytics and sign in. Once you’re there, scroll down until you find the heading that says “Behavior.” Under that category, you’ll find the subcategory “Bounce Rate.”
To learn more about how to use the information in your Google Analytics account to improve your website, check out HubSpot’s free guide.
6. Your Conversion Rate
A conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who enter your website and then perform a specific action. This could be anything from filling out a contact form to buying a product.
Having a high conversion rate is important because it indicates that your website is performing well. You can use it to judge the success of your marketing campaigns, as well as the success of your SEO endeavors.
To track your conversion rate, go to Google Analytics and sign in. Once you’re there, scroll down until you find the heading that says “Conversions.” Click on the “+ Conversion” button and create a new conversion. Give it a name (this can be anything), choose “Destination” as the category, and “Page URL” as the trigger.
Choose the URL of the page you want to track conversions for, enter “=” in the field next to “Conversion value”, and click “Create conversion.” When you’re done, you’ll be able to see your conversion rate in your dashboard.
7. Your Pages Per Session
Your pages per session metric indicates how many pages each visitor views before leaving your website.
The average number of pages per session can vary significantly, depending on the type of website. According to Widerfunnel’s 2015 E-Commerce Benchmark Report, the average Amazon visitor views 8.58 pages per session. But Fashion retail site EloTalk has an average of 2.3.
A high pages per session indicates that your content is compelling enough to keep visitors on your website. This, in turn, can positively affect your bounce rate and your time on site. A low pages per session, on the other hand, can indicate that your content needs to be improved.
You can track your pages per session by going to Google Analytics and signing in. Once you’re there, scroll down until you find the heading that says “Audience.” Under that category, you’ll find the subcategory “Behavior.” Click on “Page / Session Duration” to see your pages per session.
8. Your Time on Site
Your time on site metric indicates the amount of time that visitors spend on your website.
You can track this by going to Google Analytics and signing in. Once you’re there, scroll down until you find the heading that says “Audience.” Under that category, you’ll find the subcategory “Behavior.” Click on “Page / Session Duration” to see your time on site.
9. Your New Website Traffic
Your new traffic category indicates the number of visits to your website from sources not on your website that are new, meaning they didn’t visit your website within the last 30 days.
Your ” returning visitor” metric is the opposite– it indicates the number of visits to your website from sources not on your website that are returning, meaning they visited your website within the last 30 days.
While it can’t hurt to have more new visitors, a higher returning visitor rate is better since it means your current customers like your content and are likely to revisit.
You can track your new traffic by going to Google Analytics and signing in. Once you’re there, scroll down until you find the heading that says “Traffic Sources.” Click on “Channels” and then choose “Referring Sites” from the subcategory drop-down menu.
10. Your Social Shares
Your social shares metric indicates the number of times your content has been shared on social media within a given period of time.
For a website like www.makeuseof.com that publishes articles, this could mean how many times the articles have been shared on Facebook, Twitter, or another social media platform. For an e-commerce site, this could mean how many times customers have shared products they bought on social media.
It is important to note that not all social media platforms are equal. According to a 2013 study by Shareaholic, Facebook accounted for 74.4% of all social media shares. That means you should focus most of your efforts on this platform.