Optimizing your website and its web pages to rank highly on search engine results pages is a goal that so many businesses share. Yet there are many ways to go about achieving this goal. Understanding ways to measure SEO and performance metrics is necessary to begin making changes.
After discussing how to measure SEO, we’ll cover five key performance metrics for SEO and how improving each can set your website up for success.
The saying of “what gets measured, gets managed” applies to SEO measurement. In order to make changes and see improvements, you first have to take measurements to know where things stand. There are a range of SEO aspects to measure and even more factors that go into determining SEO rankings. In fact, Google uses some 200 ranking factors in its algorithm.
Various SEO measurement tools can track SEO performance, including Search Console, Google Analytics, Google Keyword Planner, and others. But how do you measure SEO, exactly, and which metrics should be measured and managed? Let’s take a look at organic traffic, keyword ranking, click-through rate, time on page, and conversion rate. These are all important, quantifiable components of SEO.
Organic traffic relates to the number of people who visit your site after clicking on search engine results leading them to your web pages. Organic traffic is a key metric because it’s targeted, which is to say that someone was looking for something specific (as demonstrated by search engine use), and your site may have the relevant information or solution.
Improvement in organic search traffic indicates SEO strategy progress. It also indicates that your website’s visibility through keyword ranking has improved. Being able to monitor traffic is key to seeing what’s working. There are a variety of tools and resources, such as SEMrush’s traffic analytics and domain overview tools, to monitor your site’s organic traffic.
A keyword can be any word or phrase that’s entered and searched for using a search engine. Words and phrases that are popularly searched for are typically considered desirable keywords. Businesses and groups want their websites to display toward the top of results when users enter popular keywords.
Simply entering keywords related to your business into a Google search can give you an idea of your ranking for those keywords. For competitive keywords, the goal is to appear on the first page or as close to the top of results as possible. The number of times that a keyword appears on your site, along with where and how it’s used (among other factors), affects your keyword rankings and SEO.
Click-through rate refers to the percentage of users who clicked on your website from a search engine results page. If your site appeared on a search results page 50 times in a week and 10 people clicked on your site, you’d have a click-through rate of 20 percent. Many factors can affect your click-through rate, including:
The more relevant a page looks to a user’s search, the more likely that it will get clicks. The first position on a Google search results page typically receives 28.5 percent of clicks for a specific keyword. Therefore, boosting keyword ranking can also increase click-through rate.
Google Search Console is a useful SEO measurement tool for reviewing your click-through rate. From the left-hand side, click Search Traffic → Search Analytics → CTR. Viewing this report will show the average click-through rate for your site, as well as your top-performing pages and keywords.
How long someone spends viewing your site and a particular page reflects your content’s relevance. Content meets users’ intent if they spend more time with it. Search engines rank for how long people spend on your site after clicking on it.
If people spend a long time on your site — meaning several minutes, as opposed to several seconds — it means your content met visitors’ expectations based on the keywords used to lead them to your site.
Google Analytics also proves helpful for measuring time on page. On the left-hand side of your dashboard, click Behavior Overview and view the full report at the bottom. You can see the average time spent on your site overall and the average time spent on each page and post. Keep in mind the amount and extent of content on each page when considering times. A brief landing page will have lower time spent than a long blog post, for example.
In terms of how to measure ROI of SEO, conversion rate relates to the overall effectiveness of your SEO strategy. Your website ultimately serves to display your products and services, and an increase in sales or engagement with your products indicates success.
A successful conversion isn’t necessarily a sale, however. Any user action that’s seen as positive and potentially profitable could be a conversion, such as:
Using Google Analytics, you can create goals for visitors. Analytics helps you track the percentage of your site’s visitors who complete any of these actions. From there, you can adjust your site to capture more conversions. The global average website conversion rate is 4.31 percent. While this figure varies based on industry and service type, it’s a helpful baseline.
The question of how long does it take for SEO to show results comes up quickly. If you’re making proactive changes to improve SEO measurement and performance, you probably hope to see results soon. Changes to SEO can occur quickly, but results will take time. As the saying goes, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Targeted SEO strategy with consistent changes implemented will likely see more effective results more quickly. Competitors, however, are probably working on their own strategies. Still, measurable results should be apparent within several months to a year. By targeting SEO metrics, such as those described above, you can quantify and track improvements. Remember, SEO strategy is an ongoing, long term project. Sustainability, not speed, should be your goal.
Are you still wondering, how do you measure SEO? We can help. My Creative Mark has the experience and expertise needed to kickstart your business’ SEO strategy. Or, if you’ve been working on SEO for some time and aren’t seeing results, we’d be glad to help out. And if you’re wondering how to tell if your SEO company is working, we’ll provide transparent indicators of success.
Measuring SEO markers and planning for success is essential for your business. So, contact us today to learn more.