As marketers we love SEO.
There’s so much data that you can snag from your website that can tell you how many website visitors you had, where they came from, and whether or not they opted-in to your offer. Marketers = data hoarders, which makes SEO a very, very fun part of our jobs.
Give us the data and we’ll make a marketing strategy out of it, all while tracking the most important metrics that will help us achieve it.
But, what are those metrics?
Let’s take a look at the 8 most important metrics to track your SEO ranking when you’re first getting started.
#1: Organic Traffic
Alright, let’s start with the obvious. To know if all the time you’re spending on your SEO strategy is worth it, you need to know what your organic traffic metrics look like. Organic traffic is the number of website visitors coming to your website from a search. You didn’t pay for them to be there or refer them through another website—these visitors found you by hitting search on Google.
Your organic traffic metric is sooo important because it’s going to give you an overview of how well you’re ranking and what’s working best for you.
You can use Google Analytics (for free!) to see your organic search sessions, new users, bounce rate, and page duration.
#2: The Keywords You Rank For
There are 2 types of keyword rankings you’re interested in when it comes to SEO. We’ll explain the first one here, the keyword you ARE ranking for here, and the second type below. This metric tells you what keyword you currently rank for—whether you want to or not.
For example, an ecommerce office supply company might rank for notebooks without having put a serious effort into ranking for the keyphrase “notebooks.” This is great because notebooks are definitely a product they sell, and it gives them a starting point to say, what else do we want to rank for?
To find what keywords your website currently ranks for, you can use Google Search Console.
#3: The Keywords You Want to Rank For
But what about the keywords you WANT to rank for? In our example above, the office supply ecommerce company probably wants to rank for… “office supplies.” Notebooks are great and fit their niche, but ranking for “office supplies” could make a huge difference for their business.
This is why you want to keep track of the keywords you want to rank for. You’ll want to do a deep dive to see how many searches certain keywords have each month and then give those search results a thorough look through to see where the opportunities are to rank for them.
You can use a tool like SearchVolume.io or Keywords Everywhere to see what the search volume is for a keyword. Then, you can figure out what keywords are worth putting your time and energy toward ranking for.
#4: Alexa Ranking
We’re going to pull a Gary Vee quickly and remind you that voice search is a BIG DEAL. Ranking on voice search (depending on your industry) could have monumental results on your business. Ranking for your ideal keywords on Google is important, and ranking on Alexa is the next step.
Forty-eight percent of consumers in an Adobe survey said they use voice for web searches. Out of that 48%, 85% were using voice on their phones and 39% used it on their Amazon Alexa or Google Home. Even if voice doesn’t seem like a huge deal for you now—it’s worth looking into how it could be a big deal in the future.
Tools like Alexa.com can give you SEO analysis, competitive website analysis, keyword research information, and more depending on how important your Alexa search ranking is.
#5: Backlinks to Your Site vs. Competitors
Tracking your backlinks will give you an idea of how good your content is. If it’s really friggin’ good content, you’re going to notice a lot of free backlinks coming your way. But tracking your competitor’s backlinks will help you see what THEIR really friggin’ good content is, and where you’re missing the mark.
If you see a ton of backlinks to a specific blog post—this is a great sign. The post is valuable enough for other websites to cite it in their content, which is bumping your post up in the search rankings. (Oh yeah, oh yeah!)
#6: Page Speed
This is one of those metrics that sounds like something you’d put at the end of your SEO to-do list—but in reality, it should be one of the first. Page speed is going to have a big impact on your bounce rate. Your bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors who clicked off of your website a few seconds after visiting. This rate is a negative indicator to Google that your content isn’t what they were looking for—which means Google’s going to want to find somebody else to replace you in the rankings.
Not only is your bounce rate affected by page speed, but nowadays Google will push your SEO ranking down if your page speed is slow. The general rule of thumb is to have your page speed be less than 2 seconds.
You can use Page Speed Insights by Google to see the page speed of each of your webpages.
#7: Social Traffic
Tracking your social traffic is necessary for a business that’s putting time, money, and effort into a social media strategy. If your call to action on Instagram isn’t turning followers into website visitors—it’s time to rethink your social media strategy.
Your social traffic will tell you how many website visitors are coming from social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. By tracking these metrics you can see how well your social strategy is going, how well a campaign is performing, or what type of social media offers are creating big spikes in your website traffic.
Google Analytics will show you how many website visitors came from social media channels.
#8: Organic Conversions
Ahh, last but not least—organic conversions. How many website visitors that found you from a Google search are opting into your offer? We saved this for last because this metric is going to define your SEO strategy moving forward. Having 100,000 monthly website visitors is incredible… but only if you’re able to convert at least 10% of them into subscribers or customers.
Organic conversions is your look at how well your content is converting website visitors into email subscribers, motivating these visitors to opt-in for a lead magnet, or buying a tripwire offer.
Inside of Google Analytics, you’ll be able to define conversion goals so you can see how well your content is converting traffic.
SEO seems big and scary, but just by looking at the number of times we mentioned FREE Google tools that will help your SEO rankings (6!) we have to give them credit for helping us out.
Google wants your content to rank well, use these metrics to keep your SEO strategy sharp, and to see where you can do a little better.