So, you have embarked on your first SEO campaign, you have some great content, a good mix of keywords, backlinks and some on-page optimisation. But how do you know what is working? To find out you need some SEO metrics.
There are so many metrics that will be able to help you determine whether your campaign is about to sink or swim. You could be on the cusp of success or completely missing your goals. By taking advantage of the information available to you it will be far easier to see what needs tweaking.
With organic search being responsible for over 51% of website traffic, ensuring that your SEO campaign is effective is important. While it will take many months before you start seeing success, generally 8 to 12 to mature a campaign, you should begin measuring from day one to ensure this future success.
Tip: Use more than one metric
Before we get into the top metrics to use, there is one important tip that is missed in many SEO campaigns. It is really easy to get caught up in one metric, ensuring that you are performing the best at it, but success isn’t found solely in one metric. You need to diversify and ensure that you are seeing the big picture.
It is all well and good to rank well for a whole range of keywords, you could be gaining a lot of traffic. But if that traffic isn’t converting then you aren’t making any money. Your traffic could be coming from a completely different country to the one you ship to, or your website content could be struggling to convince, and drive your traffic further down the sales funnel.
To see what exactly is going wrong you would need to look at more than one metric. Here are 11 of the best metrics that you should use to measure the success of your campaign.
1. Click through rate (CTR)
Click through rate shows you the percentage of users that clicked through onto your website from organic search results. CTR is an important metric that will tell you very quickly whether the keywords you are targeting, and your meta description is relevant enough to searchers.
To give context to numbers, on average first position will receive a CTR of 30%, second just below 15%, with third at 10%. It then drops off quickly to 2% for positions 9 and 10. So the top three results grab the most clicks in any search. Now compare those averages to your CTR, remembering that they are averages, CTR can shift from industry to industry.
How are you performing?
2. Website backlinks
Links are an important ranking factor in organic search. Google uses backlinks as a ranking factor. This helps the algorithm determine whether your site is useful to users and has authority in the targeted industry. The better the links you have the more likely you are to rank highly in organic results.
So, it is incredibly important to measure the backlinks that your site has collected. But don’t just look at the number of backlinks you have, but the quality of the backlinks you have. Google will look for high quality backlinks over the number of backlinks as a ranking factor.
3. Conversion rate
Conversion rate is a metric that, by optimising, can really help in maximising your ROI. Your conversion rate refers to the percentage of visitors that perform a specific action on your site. What counts as a conversion will depend entirely on your business. For eCommerce it could be a purchase, but for a finance broker it could be an email inquiry. Often for all different industries it is multiple different actions depending on the page of the website.
You can use this conversion rate to help measure the success of your funnel. Combine it with page visit data and see where you are losing your visitors and begin optimising those drop off points. Maybe your contact form is too complex, we have an article about that here, or maybe your shipping prices are too high. Optimising your conversion rate will lead to more sales and a better ROI.
For help in comparing your conversion rate here are some stats.
- The average conversion rate overall is 16%
- For eCommerce it sits around 11%
- For education and non-profits it sits around 18%
- For financing or banking services it is generally around 14%
How does your conversion rate compare?
If you are behind, you will need to take action and improve it.
4. Dwell time
Dwell time determines how long a visitor spends looking at a page after they have clicked through to it. It is a great metric for measuring engagement. A high dwell time will tell you that your visitors are reading your content or watching your videos and are engaged by them. The more engaged visitors are with your content the more time your website has to convince them to purchase your product.
5. Average time on page
Average time on page may seem similar to dwell time but there is a nuanced difference in what they measure. This will tell you exactly how long a visitor spends on a particular page before they leave to another page.
While dwell time measures engagement, average time on page helps measure relevance. If your users are spending 45 seconds on a blog that should take 12 minutes to read clearly there is something wrong. It could be that the title is irrelevant to the content, or the first paragraph could be great, but the rest of the content is irrelevant.
Sometimes a high average time is bad too. If you have a contact us page that visitors are spending a lot of time on (they shouldn’t be) then maybe the information isn’t easy enough to find. Use this metric to ensure your content is relevant to what your users expectations are when visiting the page.
6. Bounce rate
Bounce rate refers to the percentage of searchers that visit one page before backing out to the search results. A high bounce rate can affect your organic search rankings, which makes it incredibly important to optimise. Generally, the higher ranking landing pages will have, on average, a bounce rate around 76% or bellow.
On its own bounce rate should not be a measure of success. You will always have a high percentage of users who will leave your website, it may not even be because your website was irrelevant. They could simply have clicked on one of your links to an external page, or navigated directly to another website, or simply closed their browser.
While it is important to lower your bounce rate, don’t expect it to disappear.
7. Pages visited
Pages visited is an excellent metric for measuring the effectiveness of your sales funnel. It is also a great metric for determining the engagement of each page and whether visitors are following the funnels you have set up.
In its simplest form you can see the number of pages that an average visitor visits which can tell you how engaging they find your content and website. It is a good idea to optimise your content to encourage users to visit more pages and explore more of your content, the more a visitor sees of you the more likely they are to convert. This metric can help determine how engaging your content is and how effective your call to actions are.
For more advanced optimisations you can look at the journey your visitors are taking through your website, what pages they visit in which order and where they drop off. This could help you fine-tune your entire sales funnel and boost your conversion rate.
8. Pages indexed
Index status is a great way to measure how effective your site is when being scrutinised by bots and crawlers. It will tell you which URLs have been indexed by the Googlebot.
This metric is useful for identifying any issues that could prevent your pages from showing up in search engine result pages.
9. Site health
Site health metrics are important for finding any bugs or technical problems and snuffing them out. Have a look at your page speed, broken links, duplicate content and any missing metadata. Technical problems could be preventing your website from performing its best in organic rankings.
Visit Google’s PageSpeed Insights page and type in your URL. There you will see just how well your page is performing in terms of load time. Your load times are an important ranking factor that should be looked at.
10. Search rankings
Search rankings are still an incredibly important metric for measuring the success of your SEO campaign. It is important to look at your search engine rankings overtime, recognise trends and which keywords bring you the most traffic.
Use this metric in combination with others like click rate and backlinks to begin homing in on your goals with precise optimisations.
If you need a benchmark to compare how well you are performing in particular keywords, look to your competitors. You can use tools like SEMrush to see how well they are ranking for similar keywords, and what other keywords they may be ranking in.
Now is where you bring all of these metrics together and determine whether you are hitting your goals. Are you receiving a good return of investment from your SEO campaign? Are you achieving sales, conversions and revenue from Organic Search traffic?
Keeping in mind that SEO campaigns do take many months to see results. Some you will see the results fast; others may take a little longer. It will depend entirely on the industry and how the SEO campaign is being run. If you have a dedicated, experienced SEO team then you may see better results than you would on your own.
To measure your ROI run a conversion report through Google Analytics and see the number of conversions and their individual value. Then compare these values to the amount spent on the campaign. It will give you a good idea on how your campaign is performing. You will find that your ROI will be low in the early stages before strengthening after a few months.
By tracking these SEO metrics, you will begin to see how your campaign is performing. Underperforming elements of your SEO campaign will become obvious and multiple different metrics will help you pinpoint the exact problem. From there you can make edits and optimise your website to improve your conversions and ROI.
Keep tracking your campaign and utilise these metrics to refine your results. Soon you will begin to see some real revenue come through, massively improving your ROI. Want to find out how to build an SEO campaign strategy that will blow your competitors out of the water? Have a chat with the Link Pixel SEO experts and receive a free SEO Audit to help get your campaign on the way.