by on October 1, 2020

They say if you'll measure something, you'll improve it.

In SEO, it’s no different. Professional SEOs track everything from rankings and conversions to lost links and more to assist prove the worth of SEO. Measuring the impact of your work and ongoing refinement is critical to your SEO success, client retention, and perceived value.

It also helps you pivot your priorities when something isn’t working.

Start with the top in mind

While it’s common to possess multiple goals (both macro and micro), establishing one specific primary end goal is important .

The only thanks to know what a website’s primary end goal should be is to possess a robust understanding of the website’s goals and/or client needs. Good client questions aren't only helpful in strategically directing your efforts, but they also show that you simply care.

Client question examples:

Can you give us a quick history of your company?

What is the price of a newly qualified lead?

What are your most profitable services/products (in order)?

Keep the subsequent tips in mind while establishing a website’s primary goal, additional goals, and benchmarks:

Goal setting tips

Measurable: If you can’t track it, you can’t improve it.
Be specific: Don’t let vague industry marketing jargon water down your goals.
Share your goals: Studies have shown that writing down and sharing your goals with others boosts your chances of achieving them.


Now that you’ve set your primary goal, evaluate which additional metrics could help support your site in reaching its end goal. Measuring additional (applicable) benchmarks can assist you keep a far better pulse on current site health and progress.

Engagement metrics

How are people behaving once they reach your site? That’s the question that engagement metrics seek to answer. a number of the foremost popular metrics for measuring how people engage together with your content include:

Conversion rate

The number of conversions (for one desired action/goal) divided by the amount of unique visits. A conversion rate are often applied to anything, from an email signup to a sale to account creation. Knowing your conversion rate can assist you gauge the return on investment (ROI) your website traffic might deliver.

Time on page

How long did people spend on your page? If you've got a 2,000-word blog post that visitors are only spending a mean of 10 seconds on, the probabilities are slim that this content is being consumed (unless they’re a mega-speed reader). However, if a URL features a low time on page, that’s not necessarily bad either. Consider the intent of the page. for instance , it’s normal for “Contact Us” pages to possess a coffee average time on page.

Pages per visit

Was the goal of your page to stay readers engaged and take them to a next step? If so, then pages per visit are often a valuable engagement metric. If the goal of your page is independent of other pages on your site (ex: visitor came, got what they needed, then left), then low pages per visit are okay.

Bounce rate

"Bounced" sessions indicate that a searcher visited the page and left without browsing your site any longer . many of us attempt to lower this metric because they believe it’s tied to website quality, but it actually tells us little or no a few user’s experience. We’ve seen cases of bounce rate spiking for redesigned restaurant websites that do better than ever. Further investigation discovered that folks were simply coming to seek out business hours, menus, or an address, then bouncing with the intention of visiting the restaurant face to face . a far better metric to measure page/site quality is scroll depth.

Scroll depth

This measures how far visitors scroll down individual webpages. Are visitors reaching your important content? If not, test alternative ways of providing the foremost important content above on your page, like multimedia, contact forms, and so on. Also consider the standard of your content. Are you omitting needless words? Is it enticing for the visitor to continue down the page? Scroll depth tracking are often found out in your Google Analytics.

In Google Analytics, you'll found out goals to live how well your site accomplishes its objectives. If your objective for a page may be a form fill, you'll set that up as a goal. When site visitors accomplish the task, you’ll be ready to see it in your reports.

Search traffic

Ranking may be a valuable SEO metric, but measuring your site’s organic performance can’t stop there. The goal of exposure in search is to be chosen by searchers because the answer to their query. If you’re ranking but not getting any traffic, you've got a drag .

But how does one even determine what proportion traffic your site is getting from search? one among the foremost precise ways to try to to this is often with Google Analytics.

Using Google Analytics to uncover traffic insights

Google Analytics (GA) is bursting at the seams with data — such a lot in order that it are often overwhelming if you don’t know where to seem . this is often not an exhaustive list, but rather a general guide to a number of the traffic data you'll glean from this free tool.

Isolate organic traffic

GA allows you to look at traffic to your site by channel. this may mitigate any scares caused by changes to a different channel (ex: total traffic dropped because a paid campaign was halted, but organic traffic remained steady).

Traffic to your site over time

GA allows you to look at total sessions/users/pageviews to your site over a specified date range, also as compare two separate ranges.

How many visits a specific page has received

Site Content reports in GA are great for evaluating the performance of a specific page — for instance , what percentage unique visitors it received within a given date range.

Traffic from a specified campaign

You can use UTM (urchin tracking module) codes for better attribution. Designate the source, medium, and campaign, then append the codes to the top of your URLs. When people start clicking on your UTM-code links, that data will start to populate in GA’s "campaigns" report.

Click-through rate (CTR)

Your CTR from search results to a specific page (meaning the percent of individuals that clicked your page from search results) can provide insights on how well you’ve optimized your page title and meta description. you'll find this data in Google Search Console, a free Google tool.

In addition, Google Tag Manager may be a free tool that permits you to manage and deploy tracking pixels to your website without having to switch the code. This makes it much easier to trace specific triggers or activity on an internet site .

Additional common SEO metrics

Domain Authority & Page Authority (DA/PA)
Moz’s proprietary authority metrics provide powerful insights at a look and are best used as benchmarks relative to your competitors’ Domain Authority and Page Authority.

Keyword rankings

A website’s ranking position for desired keywords. this could also include SERP feature data, like featured snippets and other people Also Ask boxes that you’re ranking for. attempt to avoid vanity metrics, like rankings for competitive keywords that are desirable but often too vague and don’t convert also as longer-tail keywords.

Number of backlinks

Total number of links pointing to your website or the amount of unique linking root domains (meaning one per unique website, as websites often link bent other websites multiple times). While these are both common link metrics, we encourage you to seem more closely at the standard of backlinks and linking root domains your site has.

How to track these metrics

There are many different tools available for keeping track of your site’s position in SERPs, site crawl health, SERP features, and link metrics, like Moz Pro and STAT.

The Moz and STAT APIs (among other tools) also can be pulled into Google Sheets or other customizable dashboard platforms for clients and quick at-a-glance SEO check-ins. This also allows you to supply more refined views of only the metrics you care about.

Dashboard tools like Data Studio, Tableau, and PowerBI also can help to make interactive data visualizations.

Evaluating a site’s health with an SEO website audit

By having an understanding of certain aspects of your website — its current position in search, how searchers are interacting with it, how it’s performing, the standard of its content, its overall structure, then on — you’ll be ready to better uncover SEO opportunities. Leveraging the search engines’ own tools can help surface those opportunities, also as potential issues:

Google Search Console - If you haven’t already, check in for a free Google Search Console (GSC) account and verify your website(s). GSC is filled with actionable reports you'll use to detect website errors, opportunities, and user engagement.
Bing Webmaster Tools - Bing Webmaster Tools has similar functionality to GSC. Among other things, it shows you ways your site is performing in Bing and opportunities for improvement.

Lighthouse Audit - Google’s automated tool for measuring a website’s performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, and more. This data improves your understanding of how an internet site is performing. Gain specific speed and accessibility insights for an internet site here.
PageSpeed Insights - Provides website performance insights using Lighthouse and Chrome User Experience Report data from real user measurement (RUM) when available.

Structured Data Testing Tool - Validates that an internet site is using schema markup (structured data) properly.
Mobile-Friendly Test - Evaluates how easily a user can navigate your website on a mobile device. - Surfaces website improvement insights using Lighthouse and provides the power to trace progress over time.
Tools for web devs and SEOs - Google often provides new tools for web developers and SEOs alike, so keep an eye fixed on any new releases here.

While we don’t have room to hide every SEO audit check you ought to perform during this guide, we do offer an in-depth Technical SEO Site Audit course for more info. When auditing your site, keep the subsequent in mind:


Are your primary sites crawlable by search engines, or are you mistakenly blocking Googlebot or Bingbot via your robots.txt file? Does the web site have an accurate sitemap.xml enter place to assist direct crawlers to your primary pages?

Indexed pages

Can your primary pages be found using Google? Doing a OR sign up Google can help answer this question. If you notice some are missing, check to form sure a meta robots=noindex tag isn’t excluding pages that ought to be indexed and located in search results.

Page titles & meta descriptions

Do your titles and meta descriptions do an honest job of summarizing the content of every page? How are their CTRs in search results, consistent with Google Search Console? Are they written during a way that entices searchers to click your result over the opposite ranking URLs? Which pages might be improved? Site-wide crawls are essential for locating on-page and technical SEO opportunities.

Page speed

How does your website perform on mobile devices and in Lighthouse? Which images might be compressed to enhance load time?

Content quality

How well does the present content of the web site meet the target market’s needs? is that the content 10X better than other ranking websites’ content? If not, what could you are doing better? believe things like richer content, multimedia, PDFs, guides, audio content, and more.


Website pruning can improve overall quality

Removing thin, old, low-quality, or rarely visited pages from your site can help improve your website’s perceived quality. Performing a content audit will assist you discover these pruning opportunities.

Keyword research and competitive website analysis (performing audits on your competitors’ websites) also can provide rich insights on opportunities for your own website.

For example:

Which keywords are competitors ranking on page 1 for, but your website isn’t?

Which keywords is your website ranking on page 1 for that even have a featured snippet? you would possibly be ready to provide better content and take over that snippet.

Which websites link to quite one among your competitors, but to not your website?

Discovering website content and performance opportunities will help devise a more data-driven SEO plan of attack! Keep an ongoing list so as to prioritize your tasks effectively.

Prioritizing your SEO fixes

In order to prioritize SEO fixes effectively, it’s essential to first have specific, agreed-upon goals established between you and your client.

While there are 1,000,000 alternative ways you'll prioritize SEO, we propose you rank them in terms of importance and urgency. Which fixes could provide the foremost ROI for an internet site and help support your agreed-upon goals?

Putting out small, urgent SEO fires might feel best within the short term, but this often results in neglecting non-urgent important fixes. The Not Urgent & Important items are ultimately what is going to move the needle for a website’s SEO. Don’t put these off.

SEO planning & execution

Much of your success depends on effectively mapping out and scheduling your SEO tasks. Free tools like Google Sheets can help plan out your SEO execution (we have a free template here), but you'll use whatever method works best for you. Some people like better to schedule out their SEO tasks in their Google Calendar, during a kanban or scrum board, or during a daily planner.

Use what works for you and stick with it.

Measuring your progress along the way via the metrics mentioned above will assist you monitor your effectiveness and permit you to pivot your SEO efforts when something isn’t working. Say, for instance , you changed a primary page’s title and meta description, only to note that the CTR for that page decreased. Perhaps you changed it to something too vague or strayed too faraway from the on-page topic — it'd be good to undertake a special approach. Keeping an eye fixed on drops in rankings, CTRs, organic traffic, and conversions can assist you manage hiccups like this early, before they become a much bigger problem.

Communication is important for SEO client longevity

Many SEO fixes are implemented without being noticeable to a client (or user). this is often why it’s essential to use good communication skills around your SEO plan, the time-frame during which you’re working, and your benchmark metrics, also as frequent check-ins and reports.

Congratulations on making it through the whole Beginner’s Guide to SEO! Now it’s time for the fun part — applying it. As a next step, we recommend taking the initiative to start out an SEO project of your own. Read on for our suggestions!

Practice, practice, practice

The best thing you'll do to create your confidence, skills, and skills is to dive in and obtain your hands dirty. If you’re serious about SEO and hope to serve clients someday, there’s no better place to start out than together with your own website, whether there’s a hobby you’d wish to blog about otherwise you got to found out a private freelancing page.



Posted in: Technology
Topics: seo
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