How do we know if our SEO (search engine optimisation) strategy is working? There are countless ways to track, monitor, and scrutinise your website’s performance, but just which ones are the most useful? 

This article offers help to cut through the traffic and identify key SEO metrics to observe in order to improve your overall strategy.

What are SEO metrics?

“Metric” just means a unit of measurement, so SEO metrics are ways in which we can measure the SEO performance of our content and campaigns. 

For those still in the dark, your SEO performance is simply how well your online content is ranking on Google. 

Some metrics are essential to monitor; they’ll tell you how well your content is being received and whether you need to make strategic adjustments. Some metrics are less useful, but nonetheless interesting, while others won’t offer any strategic benefits. 

We list our top 5 favourite metrics to analyse to best inform your overall content strategy. 

#1 User Experience

To rank highly on Google, you’ll need to offer your visitors a great user experience. Google ranks sites partly based on how user-friendly your page is and if that content satisfied your customer. 

The Core Web Vitals Report within Google’s Search Console provide a variety of metrics on how your website performs for your mobile customers. Though these reports are quite technical in their recommendations, they can be insightful. 

How does monitoring user experience help your SEO strategy?

If the console flags your page up as needing improvement, you could think about adjusting your site to make it more user-friendly. Some suggestions include: using smaller image sizes to increase pagespeed, bringing video content upfront to avoid hidden content, or improving your site’s layout and page navigation. 

#2 Quality of traffic

Increasing the quantity of traffic to your site is all well and good, but they also need to be high-quality visitors. 

To measure the quality of your traffic, you’ll need to monitor how users are interacting with your site. You can get a better understanding of this by looking at the following metrics:

  • Engagement metrics: time on site, pages per session, exit rate
  • Conversion metrics: conversion rate, revenue, email subscriptions, saved items and other goal completions
  • Relevance metrics: bounce rate, user geo-location, new and returning visitors

We also recommend you audit the accuracy of your data, you will be surprised of how even the biggest brands have inaccurate analytics data. Any changes to your SEO campaign should be supported by accurate data.

How can monitoring traffic quality improve your strategy?

Your overall goal should be working towards creating the highest quality content, website, and experience to convert visitors into loyal customers. 

Checking how long your users spend on a site, whether they complete a purchase, or if they return to your page is extremely useful to your SEO strategy. If you find your engagement, conversion and relevance metrics are trailing, try re-writing your online content and product descriptions or creating more relevant and interesting blog posts.

#3 Organic Traffic

The whole purpose of an SEO strategy is to create more organic traffic to your website If you’re getting more attention online, chances are your SEO efforts are paying off. 

Though tools like Google Search Console provide some insights in terms of estimated organic impressions and traffic, only an analytics solution like Google Analytics provides the level of data needed to build an accurate analysis.

Though there are hundreds of different analytics platforms, Google Analytics provides a free suite of tools which will likely be more than enough for any website.

How does monitoring organic traffic aid your overall strategy?

If your organic traffic isn’t increasing, it could be a sign that you need to rethink your processes. However, it’s good to remember that more traffic doesn’t necessarily mean more sales – you also need to ensure these visitors engage with your content.

#4 External coverage – links and brand citations

Though the value of external links has declined over the years, they are still an important part of a successful SEO campaign. Today, it’s more than just the volume of links, the authority and relevancy to your brand are just as important. A link from the BBC, for example,  is worth substantially more in terms of authority than multiple links from a less reputable source.

Brand citations are also important. While citations alone don’t offer an immediate SEO benefit, they are more common, especially for top-tier news publications with strict guidelines on who receives a link.

A natural blend of links and brand citations will help to improve authority, relevancy and brand awareness, all key metrics to help improve organic rankings.

How to monitor your coverage

There are a number of online tools available to monitor both external links and brand citations.

How can monitoring backlinks help your overall strategy?

As well as useful backlinks, if an un-trustworthy site links to your domain, it’s likely to damage your SEO performance. Checking your backlinks regularly will let you know if any toxic links are harming your performance in search engines – if so, you can send emails to the site owners to remove these damaging links. 

#5 Keyword Rankings

Keyword ranking metrics tell us how well your target keywords are performing in the search engine results pages or SERPS. 

You mainly want to focus on keywords highly relevant to your brand to get a better estimate of your overall SEO performance. 

Though you can track the keywords your site is ranking for in Google Search Console’s Performance report, we recommend a solution like SEMRush or Ahrefs rank tracker – these will provide a more accurate analysis as well as include data from other search engines.

How does monitoring keyword performance inform your content strategy?

If the keywords your website is ranking for aren’t exactly relevant to your brand or what your sell, chances are you’ll have a high bounce rate (% of visitors who leave your site without clicking on anything). This is likely because of a poor content and SEO strategy.

Find out more

For more digital marketing insights, read another of our informative articles on the It Works Media blog. Alternatively, contact us today to find out how we can help you improve your digital marketing strategy.