The Elemental Guide to measuring how successful your SEO is

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a method of increasing your site’s organic visibility in Search Engines. In other words, the main goal of any Digital Marketing Agency is to increase traffic to your site. The question you need to ask yourself is, how can the results be measured and how can I ensure the company I hire is following SEO best practices?

THE KEY METRICS OR INDICATORS TO WATCH IN SEO

In this section, we are going to break down the key metrics that you need to pay attention to and why they matter.

ORGANIC VISIBILITY

What is Organic Visibility?

Organic Visibility is a measurement to see if your site is seen in organic search. In other words, where your website ranks and how well it ranks in search engines like Google or Bing. The general goal of any Digital Marketing Agency is to ensure your website is ranked on the first page of a search engine such as Google or Bing, for keywords that are relevant to your business and business goals.

Why is it important?

Organic visibility or Organic Rankings are important because it allows you to track how well the SEO is doing. You are also able to determine whether or not the keywords that are ranking are the right keywords.

Monitoring this allows you to adjust the strategy or keep doing what is working. Knowing which terms are ranking well, say in the top 10 positions, gives you data to use these keywords in your content to ensure that you keep ranking high. It will also show you where you need to focus to improve keywords that aren’t ranking on the first page.

Organic Click-Through Rates

What is Organic Click-Through Rates?

Organic Click-Through Rates is a measurement of how many times a person clicks on your result in Search Engines. This metric goes hand in hand with Organic Visibility. It indicates if the terms that are ranking are actually going to bring traffic to your site.

It is measured by calculating how many people see your search result in the search and how many times they click on it. This will tell you what the click-through rate is.

Why is it important?

It tells you how useful ranking for a particular keyword is. If you had set your sights on ranking high for a particular keyword and you aren’t getting a high number of click-throughs to your website, then you may find that the particular term isn’t as valuable to your business as you might have thought.

This is one of the most important metrics to help you understand the effectiveness of your title tags (an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page) and descriptions but also the keywords that you are targeting. Monitoring this helps drive your SEO tactics in the right direction.

Organic Traffic

What is Organic Traffic?

Organic traffic is the opposite of paid traffic, which defines the visits generated by paid ads. Visitors who are considered organic find your website after using a search engine like Google or Bing, so they are not “referred” by any other website. This is also one of the main purposes of SEO. The goal is to get your site more organic traffic which in turn leads to more conversions.

Why is it important?

Tracking organic traffic is important to see how many people are visiting your site based on the SEO strategy and efforts. Monitoring SEO or organic traffic is the cornerstone to decide how successful the SEO efforts have been.

We generally advise our clients to look at organic traffic in two parts. The overall amount of organic traffic to the site and the number of visitors each page gets from organic traffic. This helps us understand which pages are doing well and which aren’t.

This becomes important to know where exactly we need to focus our efforts going forward. If we see that an important page isn’t getting the right amount of traffic, our strategy will be revised to target that page specifically.

Organic Bounce Rate

What is an Organic Bounce Rate?

Bounce Rate is measuring how quickly people leave your site once they open the page. It is the single-page sessions, in other words, how many people only view one page and leave again, divided by the number of sessions on your site. Of course, seeing a lot of traffic to your site is great, however, if that user lands on a page and goes back to the search results page within 30 seconds, that is considered a bounce.

The average bounce rate for a site or page is between 55% and 65%. This figure can be used to see how your site compares to organic traffic. In short, we would want to have a lower number when it comes to bounce rate.

Why is it important?

Measuring or monitoring the bounce rate is a very important indicator of the engagement on your site and the site content. A high bounce rate could be the cause of many aspects such as your website not being user-friendly, slow page speed (longer than 4 seconds), irrelevant content and/ or sending the wrong people to your landing page due to having the wrong target audience.

Understanding bounce rate becomes important when you are wanting to see more people use your site as well as convert into a customer. The bounce rate is also used as a ranking metric for search engines. Simply put, a bad bounce rate tells search engines like Google, that the page doesn’t answer the person’s question. Google will then stop showing your site on the first page.

Organic Conversions (Goals)

What are organic conversions?

These can vary depending on the nature of the site but, an organic conversion is a completion of the desired action. Essentially, it is a person filling out a contact form or buying a product from your site. These goals or conversions can be whatever you deem important to the success of your website or business.

Examples of conversions would be:

  • A person filling out a contact or quote request form
  • Someone buying a product from your site
  • The completion of a booking
  • A person calling you by clicking on your contact information on the site
  • Downloading a brochure or document from your site
  • Sharing a piece of content on your site
  • Newsletter sign up

 

Why is it important?

Tracking or monitoring organic conversions is the whole purpose of doing SEO or having a website. Just because your site is generating a lot of traffic doesn’t mean that you are automatically going to get the sale or lead. Tracking this helps you to understand whether or not the work implemented is a success or not.

The purpose of any strategy is to achieve a set of goals or conversions. Our goal is to make sure that we are reaching your goals as a business. Without measuring this, we cannot see if the SEO is working or not. It is a good measure to make sure the work that is being done is valuable and not a waste of your budget.

Organic Exit Pages

What are Exit Pages?

Exit pages are the last pages viewed by a visitor to your site. For example, the visitor enters your site via the home page and exits the site at the about page, this would be the exit page.

Why is it important?

Tracking the top exit pages help you identify the pages which cause visitors to lose interest and not complete a conversion and ultimately leave the site.

Having this knowledge or understanding allows you to fix or improve the pages that have higher exit rates. Once these pages have been improved, you will see improvements in Organic Visibility, Traffic and of course Organic Conversions.

Organic Traffic By Device

What is Organic Traffic by Device?

Organic Traffic by a device is seeing which device is used to browse your site. Do people browse your site on a desktop or do they browse it on a mobile phone or even a tablet?

Why is it important?

Monitoring what device is used to get to your site allows you to create content or refine the site to meet those needs. For example, if people are mainly using your site on their mobile phones and your site doesn’t work on those devices, you aren’t going to get conversions or traffic. It just isn’t going to be a positive User Experience (UX).

Understanding people and their usage patterns allow you to tailor the experience to meet their needs, which in turn boosts the performance of your site in organic search. It often leads to more traffic and better quality leads.

WHERE TO FIND THESE METRICS

Now that we know what metrics to track and why they are important, the next step is to know where to find this information. There are a variety of tools that are free to use that allow you to monitor the performance of your SEO efforts.

Webmaster Tools

What are Webmaster Tools?

Webmaster tools is a platform that allows you to monitor the health aspects of your site for various search engines. These tools tell you if there is anything wrong with your site, for example, broken pages (404s). These tools are purely used to see how your site is doing from a visibility perspective.

Google uses what they now call Search Console and Bing uses Bing Webmaster Tools. We would advise using both tools because even though Google is the dominant search engine and the first choice for most people, Bing does have a growing user base. We don’t want to lose potential customers or site visitors because we don’t optimize according to Bing.

Which of the above Metrics can I see in Webmaster Tools?

In both Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console you will be able to track and measure the following of the above metrics:

  • Organic Visibility and Rankings
  • Organic Click-Through-Rate (here you can measure the click-through rate based on queries and pages of your site).

These two metrics are the starting point of your measurement efforts. It starts with being found and then we move onto what happens when people visit your site.

Google Analytics

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a web-based platform that tracks and reports on your site’s performance (you can access Google Analytics here). Google started this platform in 2005 to help businesses and brands measure how their sites were performing online.

It doesn’t just track organic traffic but all sources of traffic that visit your site. This can be direct (someone typing your website’s URL in) or indirect traffic from Facebook (referral or social traffic). It also measures the conversions or goals once you have set them up.

Which of the above metrics can I find in Google Analytics?

Unlike the Webmaster Tools items mentioned above, you do not need to have an Analytics platform for each Search Engine. Google Analytics monitors overall website performance. With this being said, below are the list of metrics that you can find in Analytics:

  • Organic Traffic Organic
  • Bounce Rates
  • Organic Conversions
  • Organic Exit Pages and much more

We will be putting together a video to help show you how to find and access the various metrics that we have outlined above. This will be part of our ‘Where Do I Find The Data That Matters’ series. We will be posting these videos every Friday which can be found on our site or Youtube.

What happens if I can’t access any of these tools?

If you are making use of an individual or company for your marketing needs, you can request that they give you access by adding your email address as a user to the accounts. Once access has been given, you can use the links above to access and view your site’s performance.

If you would like assistance with your SEO, get in touch with us. We are able to assist you and determine if you do have the platforms measuring your website’s performance. If you don’t, we can gladly assist in setting them up for you.

We hope that this article has been helpful and gives you an understanding of what metrics are important from an SEO perspective. There is a lot more to measure in order to assess the effectiveness of SEO as well as guide our efforts going forward. Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming video series!

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