If you’re trying to build and grow your online brand, SEO is the bread and butter. Though it’s complex with hundreds of moving parts, SEO is responsible for getting a healthy portion of traffic to your site month after month, year after year.
While a complete guide to SEO metrics is beyond the scope of this article, we’re going to discuss the most important ones you should be tracking to ensure you’re brand is on the right path for continued growth.
What Are SEO Metrics?
Simply put, SEO metrics are a collection of data points that allow you to measure specific aspects of your SEO strategy. They track things like organic traffic, bounce rate, conversion rates, and even site speed to name a few.
Serving as a live pulse, they give you unique insights into what’s working and what’s not. Any company with an intelligent SEO strategy will know their metrics inside and out so they can measure exactly how well they’re performing.
Why Are SEO Metrics Important?
In order to improve any aspect of your online business, you have to be able to track it. Without proper tracking, you have no way of knowing what’s working in your favor and what’s simply wasting time and money. SEO metrics give you an inside look at each piece of the puzzle so you can identify problem areas and work to rectify them.
Once you know the areas you need to improve upon, it’s easy to implement a plan either through your in-house team, or an SEO specialist that brings some fresh ideas to the table. At the end of the day, SEO metrics are going to allow you to maximize the amount of traffic you get to your site, which directly affects the number of paying customers you gain.
5 Important SEO Metrics To Measure
While these are by no means the only metrics you should be tracking, they do have the biggest impact on your overall SEO rankings. If you’re not getting the kind of results you want from your strategy, consider using these to uncover the underlying causes.
1. Keyword Rankings
While they don’t carry the same “all powerful” weight that they did years ago, keywords are still a crucial part of any SEO marketing plan. They tell you what words and phrases you should be targeting to funnel the highest amount of traffic to your website.
Not only that, but they also can help you identify new keywords, allowing you to gain the upper hand over your competition. In the fierce space of competitive keywords, you need to know when to back off the ones that are simply too costly and focus your efforts elsewhere.
Lastly, keyword rankings are going to help you determine whether or not you’re growing over time. As you become more of an authority in your space and get more backlinks, your keyword ranking should improve as well. If it’s not, that’s a sign that something is wrong.
2. Backlink Tracking
Look to backlinks as a “vote of confidence”that you receive from other sites. They help to establish you as an authority in your niche by saying that you have valuable, accurate information on your website that’s worth sharing and reading.
Search engines like Google, in particular,want to funnel internet users to websites that can are genuinely helpful. In the realm of SEO, the more backlinks you have (meaning you’ve gained a lot of trust), the better your rankings will be.
As your website gains more wisdom (internet age), you should naturally be building more and more backlinks. Because backlinks are otherwise difficult to track, a proper backlink metric gives you the ability to identify problems that arise.
3. Organic Search Traffic
As one of the most popular SEO metrics to track, organic search engine traffic will tell you exactly how many internet users are getting to your site through search inquiries.
Even though this metric serves to give you an overview of your SEO strategy as a whole, where it really shines is in showing you the kind of organic traffic you’re getting. Whether it’s direct navigation(they searched for you directly), referral traffic (backlinks), or a search query (page results from specific keywords or phrases), you’ll know everything.
The organic search traffic metric will show you if your traffic is steadily growing over time, or if it begins to stall out. When numbers begin to stall or drop, it’s time to evaluate your strategy.
4. Engagement Metrics
As search engines continue to change the SEO landscape, they’re leaning more and more toward on-page factors. Because these metrics can give you invaluable information about the way your website is performing once visitors land, you’re able to get a clear idea of what’s working and what’s not.
You’ll want to track bounce rate, which tells you the number of visitors that landed on your website and then left without clicking on any links, pages per visit, which tells you the average number of pages a visitor sees, and time on site to breakdown how much time your visitors are spending on your site on average.
5. Load Speed (Website Speed)
Google in recent years has shifted their focus to the user experience. As a result, when it comes to rankings, a slow website makes for a poor experience. By tracking this metric, you’re able to see how your site is measuring up and whether or not the load speed is holding you back from ranking better.
This is crucial for identifying bottlenecks in your website (areas that are slowing visitors down), and becomes especially helpful after you’ve made some changes or updates to your website. For example,if you added any new plugins or widgets that can have an effect on speed,you’ll know about it.
With the online business world becoming more and more competitive, SEO is going to continue serving as an invaluable tool that you have at your disposal. Between a well-planned SEO strategy and proper metric tracking, your brand will be on its way to a commanding share of search traffic in your niche.