What Metrics Must You Track for SEO Success? [Part 2]

In case you missed it, last week I posted Part 1 of What Metrics Must You track for SEO Success? Since metrics are such an important part of your SEO strategy, I wanted to make sure I provided you will with the necessary information to successfully track SEO. Today, we’re going into Part 2 and discussing 7 more metrics for tracking SEO success.

1) Page Load Speed: How a slow page load equals a high bounce rate?

Last week, we discussed bounce rate, which primarily depends on good content and accessibility. Your page may be full of great content but if it’s too slow to load, chances are visitors will leave before ever having a chance to read the content. When your site is slow to load and visitors leave, it contributes to a high bounce rate and lowers your search rankings.

You want your site to load in 2 seconds or less. Ideally, the shorter the better. Several tools exist to measure the speed of your page.

It’s important to note that optimizing a page’s load speed can be difficult. It’s a very technical process and it takes a significant amount of time to understand. Consider hiring a professional to help if you’re unable to do it on your own.

2) Crawl Errors: Are you eliminating index problems?

Good content and backlinks only go so far if Google can’t read your page. In order for Google to rank your page, it has to be able to understand what your pages are about when crawling your site. Simply put, crawling your site means reading the pages and creating entries for search engine indexes.

You can check crawl errors using the “Webmaster Tools” within Google Analytics. On the “Webmaster” dashboard, select “Crawl” and then “Crawl Errors” and it will bring up a report.

Fixing your crawl errors can have a major impact on your search visibility. Google will identify the errors in the report, making them easier to fix. It’s important to monitor crawl errors frequently and fix them as the arise. Errors can unexpectedly come up and if you don’t catch it in time, pages can become de-indexed.

3) Mobile Traffic: How are people accessing your site?

Mobile traffic accounts for a significant potion of Internet users and the number of individuals using mobile devices to access information is on the rise. Since Google is focused on satisfying user needs, it recognizes the importance of mobile optimization. When your site isn’t set-up for mobile usage, it is difficult to read and leaves users less satisfied.

Earlier in 2015, Google released the “Mobilegeddon” update, which led sites that were not mobile-friendly to take a hit. While the release of this update wasn’t as large as some anticipated, it’s a good indicator of the direction Google is moving. It is likely Google will continue to place emphasis on mobile-friendly content, which will contribute to your SEO rankings.

You can check to see if the pages on your site are mobile-friendly by using Google’s Mobile Friendly checker. You simply enter the URL, click “Analyze” and it will tell you if your page is or is not mobile-friendly. If your page isn’t mobile friendly, this is something you’ll want to fix.

You can also get a general overview of your mobile performance in Google Analytics by going to “Audience”, then “Mobile” and “Overview”. When you’re reviewing this information, be sure to look at the other metrics we’ve discussed such as bounce rate and pages per session for each type of device.

Like the other metrics, record the date you viewed the information and the data. Address the concerns and recheck the information frequently.

4) Crawl Stats: How do you make Google like your page?

When Google likes your site, it will crawl it often. Ideally, you want your site crawled as much as possible, that way when you make a change or post a new article, Google will notice it quickly.

So what makes Google like you site? It’s a combination of good user metrics, such as average time on page and bounce rates, a lack of crawl errors and good page speed and size. To check your crawl stats, go to “Webmaster Tools” in Google Analytics, click “Crawl” and then “Crawl Stats”.

Several graphs will appear including information on pages crawled per day and time spent downloading a page. Your goal is to have the numbers for pages crawled per day be as high as possible and the time spent downloading to be as low as possible. Like the others reports we’ve discussed, check this information frequently. If you see major negative shifts in the numbers, fix the errors as soon as possible so they don’t negatively impact your SEO.

5) Index Status: How healthy is your site?

Your index status is a count of your indexed pages. Basically, how many of your pages has Google categorized and stored in their index of information. It’s important to have all your pages indexed so they show up in search results.

In the “Webmaster Tools” in Google Analytics, click the “Google Index” category. Then click on the “Advanced” tab. This tab will show you the pages on your site that are indexed as well as any errors that caused pages to be de-indexed. If a page has been de-indexed, you’ll be able to see why and you can correct the error as quickly as possible.

6) 404 Errors: How you lose your audience

When your site reaches a certain size, it’s inevitable that you’ll have 404 errors. A 404 error occurs when the webpage you were trying to search could not be found. Most of the time, these errors occur from other websites linking to the wrong address. In order not to lose your audience, consider creating a custom 404 page.

A custom 404 page let’s the visitor know you recognize the problem and allows you to redirect them to another page on your website. Before you design a custom error page, you need to find the broken links. You have three options when doing this.

The first is to go into Google Analytics, go to the “Behavior Overview” tab, click the “Full Report” at the bottom right and sort the pages by bounce rate or time on page. Click again to sort from “Worst to Best”. If a page doesn’t exist, it will most likely have a 100% bounce rate or zero seconds spent on the page. This is a quick and easy way to identify your error pages and correct them.

Another way is to go back to “Webmasters Tools”, then to “Crawl” and “Crawl Errors” and click the “Not Found pages” tab. A list of URL’s will populate and you can click each one to receive a detailed error report. This report shows where the “Not Found” URL’s are linked from allowing you to fix the link on those pages.

A third option allows you to find out when someone else has incorrectly linked to one of your pages. To do this, search for your site in Ahrefs. Under the “Inbound Links” menu, click “Broken Backlinks” and a list of sites incorrectly linking your page will appear. You can then contact an individual from this site to fix the link or use 301 redirect to send users to the correct URL.

7) Conversions: Are you making the most out of your traffic?

One of the most important components of your SEO plan is search traffic that converts. When you understand how your search traffic converts, you can invest in content and link building. Google Analytics allows you to track and monitor your goals in relation to SEO.

To create a specific goal in Google Analytics, go to “Conversions” then “Goals” and then “Overview”. Next, select a template for your goal. An example of a common goal is having visitors subscribe to your email newsletter. After you select the template, you select the type of goal, which is typically a specific URL destination. The final step is to put in the URL destination and assign a value to it.

Once you’ve set-up your goals, you can go to this tab in the future and monitor the completion of the goals. A graph will appear and you can click on the “Source/Medium” option to see how well your traffic is converting. You can also see which pages are converting particularly well by going back to the “Behavior” tab, clicking on the “Site Content” option and “Landing Pages”.

Metrics Galore: Now What?

As I said in the beginning, metrics can be an overwhelming topic. My advice to you would be to take each of these metrics one at a time. If you try to incorporate all of them at once, chances are you won’t be nearly as effective. Metrics aren’t necessarily exciting but they’re effective. If you don’t use metrics, you have no idea what is and isn’t working. You could be spending a great deal of your time, money and energy on work that isn’t yielding results.

Decide which of the 14 metrics are most important to you and your site’s SEO. Start by incorporating one new metric a week, while also maintaining a tracking schedule. For example, each Monday you can incorporate a new metric and every other Friday can be your tracking day. An organized schedule will help you manage the metrics, take actions when you need to improve and experience great success in SEO.

What metrics do you use and why? Is there a particular way you organize and manage measuring metrics? Tell me in the comments!

If you are ready to dominate page 1 of Google, schedule a meeting with me here:


What Metrics Must You Track for SEO Success? [Part 1]

The world of SEO is ever-evolving and always changing. When a new SEO metric arrives on the scene, it’s understandable to feel uneasy about using it. The last thing you want to do is spend weeks or months building content designed around specific metrics only to find you’ve achieved zero results and wasted your time. 

While new metrics can be scary, we can all agree you have to have a way to track your results. If not, there is no way to evaluate if what you’re doing is working. While you may feel comfortable using one metric, such as keyword ranking, over another, one single metric can not describe your results as a whole. 

If you want to be successful, you have to track multiple metrics. Metrics, also referred to as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), are hard numbers obtained from your website data. This data comes to you directly through analytics tools such as Google Analytics.

The topic of SEO metrics is very detailed. I want to make sure I give you all the insights necessary to be successful in SEO so this post is Part 1 of 2. Today, I’m going to discuss 7 of the 14 most important SEO metrics, how to use them and why they matter. Next week, I’ll discuss the other 7 to give you a complete guide to SEO success. It’ll then be your job to determine which, if not all, you choose to incorporate into your tracking.

One quick note before we begin, these are not exact measurements of your success. Metrics are simply indications used to evaluate your site’s health and growth.

1) Keyword Rankings: Where is your traffic coming from?

Keyword rankings are a great way to measure specific terms you’re trying to rank for. When you measure keyword rankings, you can determine if you’re using the right keywords to target your audience and how your site ranks among your competition.

While traffic from keywords only represents about 9% of your potential traffic, you can still learn a great deal from measuring keyword rankings. You can learn:

⦁    If you’re targeting the right keywords: If your blog posts aren’t ranking for their target keywords, you need to consider using other, less competitive keywords.
⦁    If you’re growing over time: As you become a more trusted site and gain backlinks, your keywords should improve in rank. This growth may be slow but you should see gradual improvement. If not, you need to reconsider your SEO plan.

When you’re ready to begin tracking keywords, select 1 to 5 keywords for each blog post or important page on your site. Select a tool such as Pro Rank Tracker (which is free) and follow the steps for adding and tracking keywords. You should continuously add new keywords to track and export your results to see how you’re doing.

2) Links: Who is linking to your site and why does it matter? 

Backlinks, which are basically any link received by a web page from a web page, are important factors in rankings and will continue to be in the future. One of the ways to grow your site is to acquire backlinks. You can measure your success with backlinks by measuring both the quantity and quality of the backlinks you acquire.

Two of the most popular backlink trackers are Ahrefs and MajesticSEO. Both start with free options but eventually require you to upgrade. Let’s look at an example from Ahrefs.

You start by putting your site URL into the search bar. Once you’ve clicked search, you’ll see a graph that shows the number of backlinks and linking root domains. The linking root domains should be more than the backlinks and the graph should trend upwards. Next, you can use the navigation menu to select “Inbound Links” and then “New”. This will show the new links to your domain. You can see who has linked to your site and visit those pages.

All link-tracking services are built on a system of scores. The higher the score, the better the quality of link. When you use one of the backlink trackers mentioned above, you will receive these results. Similar to the rest of the results, you should monitor and record these frequently.

Tracking backlinks is important. When you do this regularly, you’re able to evaluate the cost of links and your link-building strategies and tactics. You’re also able to see the success of your link-building tactics and find potential relationships. If someone links to your content frequently, it’s a great opportunity for you to send them an email and begin building a relationship.

3) Organic Search Traffic: How are people finding your site?

Organic search traffic is something we all strive for in SEO and it is another one of the metrics you should be tracking to measure your success. Like the other metrics we discussed, you should track it monthly and make sure it’s increasing. Seasonal changes can affect traffic so when you’re measuring this, consider searching over the course of a few months. 

In order to track organic search traffic, open Google Analytics for your site and go to “Audience Overview”. A graph will appear and show your traffic for the last 30 days (note: you can adjust it to make the time period longer). Next, click on the “Add Segment” button and add “Organic Traffic”. Once you do this, you’ll be able to see your organic traffic as well as your overall traffic. You can even break down your search traffic by specific search engines and the traffic by day.

4) Time Spent Per Page: How long do users spend on each page?

Another metric to consider is the time people spend on your page. When they land on your page do they stick around because they’re interested or immediately leave? Your goal should be to provide information that will make readers stay, which will help improve your page ranking.

You can uncover this information in Google Analytics. Simply go to “Behavior”, then “Overview” and in the bottom right hand corner, click “View Full Report”. This will show you a full report outlining traffic volume. The column you’ll want to look for is the “Avg. Time on Page” column. You have the option to export these results into a spreadsheet, which will allow you to further analyze them.

Like the other metrics, record your results and monitor them over time. When you improve your content, check your results again and see if there has been an increase in volume. 

5) Pages per Session: How much of your site do users explore?

When a visitor is on your site, you not only want them to read the content that led them there, you want them to stick around and visit other pages. You can track this using Google Analytics.

In the “Audience Overview” dashboard, it shows “Pages/Session”. If you just started your blog or site, it’s understandable to have a lower number. However, the goal is to get this number to increase over time. Record the initial number and the date you checked it, improve your content and recheck the data. 

6) Return Rate: Are users returning?

If you’re not trying to create engaging content, you’re doing something seriously wrong. Engaging content is the reason people return to your site. If you’re content is sub-par, people won’t return and you’ll have missed out on an opportunity to add them to your email subscription and form a relationship with them. You want visitors to return.

Again, using Google Analytics, on the main screen of the “Audience Overview” in the bottom right is a graph. The graph identifies the new to returning visitor ratio. When you hover your mouse over the graph, you can see the actual number of visitors. 

You should record these numbers at least once a month with your goal being to see an increase in both categories. Returning visitors are extremely valuable. If they’re returning, they know you, they trust you and they are more likely to buy from you.

7) Bounce Rate: Why do visitors leave so soon?

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who go to your website and them immediately leave after viewing only one page. Google wants users to be able to access the correct information when they search so if people click on your site and continuously don’t find the results they’re looking for; your ranking will drop.

It’s important to view the bounce rate for each page on your site. You can once again do this in Google Analytics, under “Behavior”, click” Overview”. At the bottom right hand corner, click “View Full Report”. The report will have a column specifically dedicated to bounce rates. It’s important to note that when looking at bounce rates, a big sample size is important. 

The bounce rate will also depend on the topic. If someone searched a straight-forward question such as, “how many inches are in a foot?” and you provided the short, simple answer, you’ll have a higher bounce rate. People will get the answer they need and move on. If it’s a more open-ended question or topic, you want your bounce rate to be below 50%. Like the other metrics, monitor your bounce rate monthly and record the changes. 

To Be Continued…

Finding the right metrics for SEO success is a comprehensive topic and I want to be sure to explain each metric in detail. Join me next week as I discuss 7 more of the most important metrics for SEO success.

In the mean time, try incorporating the metrics above into your SEO strategies. Leave me a comment and let me known what metrics work particularly well for you and why?

Link to part 2: https://wizardmedia.net/what-metrics-must-you-track-for-seo-success-part-2/