Every business is aware that SEO is an essential part of modern business. Short for search engine optimization, SEO practices help move the needle upward in terms of search engine rankings. One of the keys to keeping track of your SEO is to measure certain metrics on a regular basis. These metrics can be of amazing assistance in helping you stay the course and maximize your marketing budget and returns.
What’s the snag? Essentially, that there are so many SEO metrics available. If you’re new to the idea of tracking your SEO, you may feel overwhelmed. Even people who are comfortable with SEO can second-guess themselves. To help, we’ve outlined the top eight SEO metrics that matter to you:
#1: Conversion Rates and Changes
The conversion rate is how many visitors take a certain action on a page. Each landing page should have at least one conversion goal. The conversion goal may be to get visitors to download a whitepaper, sign up for a newsletter, buy a product or make a phone call. Whatever the conversion, it can be tracked using an analytics package.
As you track your conversion rates, look for spikes and valleys. While these may be anomalies, they may also be indicators something is happening you need to know about. A sudden change that becomes a trend in the conversion rate of a page should be investigated.
#2: Returning Visitors Rate
How many people keep coming back to your website to find out more? This is your returning visitors rate. You need to be aware of this SEO metric, particularly if you want to develop a relationship with prospects, subscribers and customers.
Make special note of how many visitors are returning on a regular basis. Is there a seasonality or cycle that could lead to predictive sales? If so, how can you make the most of this predictability?
#3: New Visitors and Visitor Growth
Just as you’re tracking returning visitors, you’ll want to count your new visitors and the overall visitor growth. New visitors today are going to be tomorrow’s customers, and without them, your sales could flat line or bottom out.
Extremely high peaks in visitor growth, as well as their opposite, should always be checked out thoroughly. Did you start a PPC campaign? Did you get penalized by Google? What happened? There’s always an answer, although you may need a web marketing expert to help you decipher the facts.
#4: Page Load Time
Google doesn’t like it when your page load time is too high. Neither do visitors. If you notice your page load times aren’t very good, especially on handheld devices like tablets and smart phones, do something about it. Get into the backend of your website, or have a pro do it for you, and see what’s making your site run like molasses.
#5: Bounce Rate
Let’s say your site is slow to load, or tough to navigate. Why should someone stick around to find out more? A bounce rate that’s unusually high is a warning sign something needs to happen.
But what’s an acceptable bounce rate?
To answer that question, look at the bounce rates of all the pages on your site. Which have the lowest bounce rates? What do those pages offer that the pages with higher bounce rates don’t? Spend some time researching that question, and you’re certain to find hints to improve bounce rates across the board.
#6: Organic Search Rates and Changes
When someone finds your site via a natural search, that’s an organic search. Organic search is important to know because it shows how well you’re being found on the web. Not everyone is going to find you through your PPC campaigns or deliberate inbound marketing strategies. Sometimes, the right keyword is all it takes.
#7: Backlink Sources
What sites are backlinking to yours? If you’re lucky, some five-star ones are. If you’re not so lucky, you might have a lot of junky backlinks.
Check into the backlinks you’re getting, and ask to be removed if they’re from spammy sources. The better your backlinks, the better your health in the eyes of Google and other search engines.
#8: Most Popular Pages
Which pages consistently get the highest amount of traffic? Why? It may be your inbound marketing landing pages, which make sense. But what about that blog post that keeps coming up high on the list? Why is it so compelling?
Knowing your popular pages gives you insights into the psychology of your visitors, which is always a benefit.
Don’t let the thought of SEO metrics scare you. Focus on the most essential SEO metrics, and you’ll be in the know.