The Most Significant SEO Metrics to Measure

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By Lauren Inggs - October 09, 2015

In today’s modern marketing age (as in many industries), data is a critical commodity. It drives almost everything we do – and it’s a great thing! Being able to access a wealth of data helps us become better marketers, honing our efforts and perfecting our approach. Of course, accessing this data means we need to be fastidious in tracking more and more metrics – one of which is SEO.

SEO might only be one element in your overall inbound marketing programme, but it’s an important one. Consider that Google takes over 200 factors into consideration when ranking a website, and you’ll start to see how valuable it is to closely track your SEO efforts.

That said, we know it’s not really possible to track ALL SEO metrics (we’re not machines, after all), so we need to isolate the most pivotal ones and keep monitoring them if we want to see our efforts truly shine.

Crucial SEO Metrics to Monitor

Organic Search Traffic

It's an undeniable truth that boosting their organic search traffic is a major reason many marketers undertake SEO efforts to begin with. The rate of organic search traffic you're seeing is a key indicator of the effectiveness of your other inbound marketing endeavours, and highlights areas where you need to do a little work. Track your search engine traffic per month, and make sure it continues to increase - and do an overall review of it every few months, taking into account random events and seasonal changes (which can affect traffic irrespective of your marketing efforts).

Backlinks

Your ability to foster a solid link-building campaign has far-reaching consequences for your search ranking. It's no secret that Google rewards sites that link out to authoritative and relevant resources, and the reality is any SEO strategy you develop needs to have a strong focus on acquiring backlinks. It's possible for you to track your backlinks using trackers like MajesticSEO, Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs, while Hubspot users can track theirs using the reporting tool in Hubspot.

User Activity

What are visitors doing on your site? Do you know? If not, this is a metric you definitely need to pay some attention to - gaining insight into your users' intent is critical to ensuring you stay ahead of the curve. Examine how much time users spend on your pages, and how many pages each visitor views.  If you’re see short visits with high bounce rates, it’s a clear indication something is amiss, and you’re not satisfying your visitors’ objectives. To identify areas you need to work on, you can implement behavioral/ activity tracking software like Hotjar that can highlight areas of friction on your site. Check how many returning visitors your site is getting - you want people to return to your site again and again.

Device Traffic

Today's user isn't confined to one device - most of them will visit your sites from their tablets or smartphones equally, if not more often, than from a desktop PC or laptop. And we all remember Google’s Mobilegeddon – a move in which Google began ranking mobile-optimised sites better over those that are not mobile responsive. There's no excuse for neglecting the mobile sector of your target audience. Make your site completely mobile-responsive and delight your mobile users with a great UX.

Bounce Rate

Your site's bounce rate is defined by how often users, after arriving at your site, promptly leave again from the same page they entered on. A high bounce rate is a definite sign something is amiss on your site and is causing your visitors to abandon their journey early on with unmet expectations - so if yours is high it's time to revisit your content efforts and page load speeds.

Page Load Times

Your page load times are critical for securing and keeping visitors arriving at your site and are a ranking factor for Google. A slow page load time (often a result of poor coding along with images and multimedia that aren’t web-optimised), along with less than superb content, are prime culprits in sending your bounce rate soaring. Your page load times need to be 2 seconds or less, and if not you've got to evaluate how you can bring them to that level. Test your speed using tools like Pingdom or Quick Sprout Tool.

Keyword Rankings

Keyword ranking metrics can be used to determine how successful you are in your attempts to rank for specific keywords or terms. Analysing these metrics helps you determine if you’re targeting the right keywords, whether those keywords are improving in rank and whether your internal linking strategy is working to improve the rankings of your older pages. Among the keyword tracking tools you can use are Serpfox and Pro Rank Tracker.

Hubspot users can track their keyword rankings via Hubspot’s reporting tool, and Google’s Webmaster tools does a good job of tracking your rank per keyword over time. Tracking your keyword and term rankings is key to making sure you’re aligning your content creation and keyword strategies well, and optimising your content for your target keywords.

Spend time focuses on tracking and monitoring your progress against the above metrics, and you'll be strengthening your SEO and inbound marketing strategies in a powerful way, not to mention being able to gain tangible evidence as to the fruits of your labour and ways in which you can grow and improve. Have any SEO metrics you think we should include in this list? Let us know!

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