By Fraser Black – Managing Director, NineFiftyNine.net
SEO can be a complex and technical form of digital marketing. But when you get it right it’s very powerful. Play by the rules and Google will reward you handsomely.
Here are 9 SEO metrics that are the main metrics to keep an eye on for SEO.
1) Selecting the right keywords
We can’t stress this enough… Before we look at the other main metrics, please make sure you are looking at the right keyword. Is it a non-brand name related keyword? Do you know of if it’s a “trophy” or “focus” keyword? When last was keyword research done on the keyword so you have an up-to-date view on its search traffic and how relevant that keyword is to the business? Don’t run away with metrics and ranking positions for your non-core keywords. They aren’t where the magic happens!
2) Ranking position
It goes without saying that ranking position is the most important SEO-related metric. Bear in mind that we consider positions 1 to 4 on page 1 as “dominant” rankings with positions 4 to 10 being in “the zone”. Positions 1 to 4 also have by far the best click through rates. We suggest that you look at what keyword rankings you have and then develop a strategy for moving them onto page 1 and into dominant ranking positions.
Conversions are super important. What is your conversion rate like? Does it measure up against similar conversion rates for your sector? What is the quality of the leads like? Low-quality traffic will produce low-quality leads whereas high-quality traffic with real purchase intent will convert quickly into leads and revenue. Please also bear in mind what we call the primary and secondary conversion. An e-commerce site concludes the transaction on the site itself (primary conversion) whereas a B2B inquiry will require the sales team to work efficiently on the reply or proposal thereby providing what we call the secondary conversion. Bear in mind that your SEO agency usually cannot influence the secondary conversion.
4) Organic Traffic
Right up there is organic traffic. What is the growth of your organic traffic expressed as a percentage of total traffic and how does that traffic behave on the site? Are organic visitors visiting more pages and spending more time on the site? It’s always good to do a month-on-month comparison and also a year-on-year comparison so that you can determine if there’s any trend or seasonality to consider.
5) Backlink profile and referring domains
Alongside unique and contextually relevant content, backlinks are a really important ranking factor. So, what are we looking out for? The total number of backlinks that your website has matters a lot.
The sheer number of backlinks is a factor but it’s more about quality over quantity. Just bear in mind that you probably won’t stand a chance against a competitor that has thousands and thousands of links if you have just a handful. Plus, the relevancy and quality of sites that link to you matters.
It’s important to remember that Google will penalise you for low-quality links and you will want to check your backlinks from time to time to disavow any spammy links.
Look at your links, a good link profile needs to show some diversity of the referring (linking) domains. Google will look at the total number of backlinks and also how many different relevant websites are linking to you. High-quality links are hard to build. Consider sponsored content where you are in fact paying for the links in the content itself. Check your competitor link profiles. How do they compare to yours? Where do they get their links from? What is their link strategy?
6) Domain Authority
Domain Authority (DA) is a reliable indicator of a website’s ability to rank in the SERPs. The DA scoring system was developed by Moz in consultation with Google and it measures 10 metrics in order to offer your website a score between 1 and 100. The higher the score to 100, the more likely a website will rank for keywords. DA is one of the first things we check here at 959. What is your website’s DA? Do you know?
7) Organic Clickthrough Rates (CTR)
Organic CTR is a reliable indicator of the quality of organic traffic that is flowing to your website and it influences your rankings. A low organic CTR implies low-grade traffic that are not clicking past the page to view additional content. Organic CTR is expressed as the percentage of clicks vs. impressions for your organic channel. It’s important to view the oganic channel only when determining organic CTR.
CTR is important as Google can see that more people are clicking on your website for a particular keyword than the other websites, so it only makes sense that they would eventually rank your website higher if it has a good CTR.
Here’s a look at the average click-through rates based on ranking for non-branded queries, according to 2020 data:
- Position 1 – 43.32%
- Position 2 – 37.36%
- Position 3 –29.90%
- Position 4 – 19.38%
- Position 5 –10.95%
- Position 6 – 10%
- Position 7 – 5.28%
- Position 8 – 4.13%
8) Bounce Rates
Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page sessions where the visitor left the site from the entrance page without looking at any further pages.
Bounce rate allows you to understand how visitors are engaging with the page and its content. A low bounce rate typically indicates that the visitor is interested in your content.
A high bounce rate on particular pages can sometimes be expected. i.e. for blog posts where they are merely reading the blog post and do not intend to explore further pages on the site.
If you’ve noticed that key pages on your site, such as the homepage, have a high bounce rate, it is a clue that you should do further digging into things like Page Speed, UX, and navigation.
9) Page experience scores
On the more technical side, page experience is a set of signals that measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its pure information value. It includes Core Web Vitals, which is a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the page. The top-line thing to remember here is that Google is rewarding websites that are fast to load on both mobile and desktop and they are penalising slow loading websites.
How can we help you with your SEO? Let’s Talk!
Good luck with your SEO metrics.