Knowing SEO Metrics: How to Assess SEO Efficiency

Knowing SEO Metrics: How to Assess SEO Efficiency

You set off on a cross-country roadtrip, ready for adventure. But then you realize the GPS is broken. Chances are, you’d end up lost, disoriented, and far from your destination.

Think of SEO metrics as your digital roadmap. For small business owners, launching an SEO campaign without these critical benchmarks is like driving blindfolded. How can you know you’re on the right track?

More than with any other digital marketing investment, SEO services require clear accountability. That’s because Search Engine Optimization is a long-term investment. When done well, it can transform your website into a 24/7 sales engine. But the real benefits to your bottom line will take six months or even a year to kick in. That’s frustrating for small business owners, who can’t afford to treat their marketing budget like a moonshot.

Without a regular SEO scorecard, it’s easy to panic, question your strategy or pull back — undermining your investment and rolling back future SEO gains.

When it comes to your business’s online visibility and engagement, you want to know exactly where you’re headed — and how fast you’re getting there.

Ready to dive deep into the SEO metrics that matter? Let’s roll.

SEO Metrics are your roadmap in the digital landscape

SEO isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor, and it’s not a guessing game. It’s a strategic pursuit, backed by data and informed by metrics. Whether you’re a seasoned digital marketer with a passport full of stamps, or a first-time traveller in the SEO landscape, understanding these metrics is pivotal to your online success.

Think of your website as a scenic road trip destination, packed with attractions and hidden gems. SEO metrics are your road signs and GPS, guiding visitors through the twists and turns, making sure they don’t miss any must-see stops along the way, and ensuring you create a great experience for them once they arrive.

Organic traffic, keyword rankings, page speed, backlinks—SEO metrics are your dashboard dials. They show your speed, fuel levels and other vital stats. And, just like a roadmap, you can use them to read user behavior, course correct strategies and avoid steering off course.

Ready to hit the road with confidence? Keep your eyes on those metrics.

Quote about how you cannot improve what you don't measure by William Thomson Kelvin

The importance of SEO metrics: your path to continuous improvement

SEO metrics are the compass that guides your digital marketing ship. They provide invaluable insights into how your website is performing in search engine results, how users interact with your content, and where improvements are needed. By monitoring and analyzing these metrics, you can refine your SEO strategy, increase your website’s visibility, and drive more organic traffic.

As every SEO consultant knows, SEO is the most data-rich field in digital marketing. That’s because SEO requires constant optimization. Unlike social media posting, paid ads or email marketing, there is no “set it and forget it” automation strategy for SEO. It’s the very opposite of a driverless car.

The very best SEO campaigns embody the old business chestnut that “what can’t be measured can’t be managed.” Extraordinary SEO results are within range for even the smallest local businesses — think tens of thousands of monthly visitors, dozens of daily appointments booked or leads closed. But to achieve that kind of success, takes near daily monitoring, adjustments and recalibration. Enter the intricate world of SEO metrics.

Ready to crack the SEO metric code? Consider this guide your compass in the ever-changing world of digital marketing. We’ll dive into key metrics, why they matter, and how to measure them. Best part? You’ll learn to use them like a pro to amp up your SEO game. Let’s get started.

List of 10 SEO Metrics that are important for small businesses

10 SEO metrics every small business owner should know

1. Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is the lifeblood of SEO. It represents the number of visitors who find your website through unpaid search engine results. Monitoring organic traffic metrics helps you gauge the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. Free tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console provide data on the volume of organic traffic, its sources (including search engines, social media and direct traffic), and user behavior.

Why it Matters: Increasing organic traffic signals that your SEO strategies are working. It means your website is becoming more visible in search results, attracting a larger audience, and potentially generating more leads or sales.

How to Improve: Focus on keyword optimization, high-quality content creation, and effective link-building to boost organic traffic.

2. Keyword Rankings

Keywords are the building blocks of SEO. Tracking keyword rankings allows you to monitor how well your website is performing for specific search terms. SEO software from Moz, SEMrush or Ahrefs can help you keep tabs on your keyword rankings (although they can cost you up to $100 per month).

Why it Matters: Keyword rankings provide insights into which keywords are driving traffic to your site and how competitive your SEO efforts are for those keywords. Improved rankings often lead to increased visibility and traffic.

How to Improve: Continuously optimize your content, monitor keyword trends, and refine your keyword strategy.

3. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

CTR measures the percentage of users who click on your website’s link in search results. It’s calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions (how often your link is displayed).

Why it Matters: A high CTR indicates that your title and meta description are compelling, enticing users to click through to your website. Boosting your rankings in search engine results can take months, require pricy backlinks or tedious revisions to a blog or service page. But improving CTR is five minutes’ work.

How to Improve: Craft enticing and relevant meta titles and descriptions, use schema markup, and test different variations to see what resonates with your audience. Think of it this way: a quick, click-worthy tweak to a headline may increase your CTR from 1 to 2%. In a flash, you’ve doubled your traffic!

4. Bounce Rate

Bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors who navigate away from your site after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate can indicate that visitors didn’t find what they were looking for or that your page’s content failed to engage them.

Why it Matters: A high bounce rate can negatively impact your SEO, as search engines may interpret it as a lack of relevance or poor user experience. Lowering your bounce rate can improve your website’s overall SEO health. Moreover, bounce rate gives you a handy barometer for the type of content your visitors enjoy.

How to Improve: Create compelling, well-structured content, improve page load times, and optimize your website’s user experience with eye-catching graphics and shorter, easy-to-read text blocks.

5. Page Load Speed

Page load speed is the time it takes for your web pages to fully load in a user’s browser. It’s a critical user experience factor, and it directly affects SEO.

Why it Matters: Search engines, particularly Google, consider page load speed when ranking websites. If your page loads too slowly, Google may push your website lower in search engine results. Equally, even when ever-impatient visitors do manage to find you, they’ll bounce before your page even materializes. And so begins a downward spiral into the low-ranked purgatory of pages two and beyond. Page Speed Insights offers a free tool that grades your website load time, identifies issues and suggests corrective measures.

How to Improve: Optimize images, leverage browser caching, and consider content delivery networks (CDNs) to improve page load times.

Example of page speed insights on technical SEO factors

6. Backlinks

Backlinks are links from external websites to yours. They play a significant role in SEO metrics because they represent a vote of confidence from other websites.

Why it Matters: High-quality backlinks are a strong signal to search engines that your content is authoritative and trustworthy. They can boost your rankings and domain authority.

How to Improve: Focus on creating shareable content, reach out for guest posting opportunities, and monitor your backlink profile for toxic or low-quality links.

7. Conversion Rate

Conversion rate measures the percentage of visitors who take a desired action on your website, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a contact form.

Why it Matters: While SEO primarily focuses on driving traffic, the ultimate goal is to convert visitors into customers or leads. A high conversion rate indicates that your website effectively persuades visitors to take action. In GA4 (Google Analytics 4), you can set up different actions you want customers to take, measure the conversion rates and optimize your website accordingly.

How to Improve: A/B test landing pages, improve website navigation, and create compelling calls to action (CTAs).

8. Page Authority and Domain Authority

Page authority and domain authority are metrics developed by SEO software provider Moz to predict how well a specific page or website will rank in search engine results. Each website receives a score of 1 to 100. The scale is logarithmic, which means that while YouTube and Google top out with a score of 100, and the Washington Post follows closely behind with a 93, few small businesses achieve a domain rating above 20 (and most hover between in the near-invisible 1-5 zone).

Why it Matters: These metrics provide a quick snapshot of your website’s overall authority in search engine rankings. Higher authority often leads to better rankings.

How to Improve: Focus on creating high-quality, authoritative content and earning backlinks from reputable sources.

Ahrefs domain rating of Washington Post is an example of earning high quality backlinks

9. Mobile Friendliness

With the increasing use of mobile devices, mobile friendliness is a crucial SEO metric. Google now considers mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor.

Why it Matters: Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly risk lower rankings in mobile search results, potentially losing a significant portion of their audience. Page Speed Insights gives you a dashboard of metrics for both the mobile and desktop versions of your website, so you can see exactly where mobile optimization is required.

How to Improve: Use responsive design, optimize for mobile page speed, and ensure that your content is easily readable on smaller screens. Today, many web designers build “mobile first” websites, which means the fonts, graphics and blocks of text are all geared towards a better experience on a smaller screen.

Graph showing mobile traffic exceeds desktop traffic

10. Local SEO Metrics

For businesses with a physical presence, local SEO metrics are essential. These include metrics like local search rankings, online reviews, and Google My Business performance. Local Falcon offers a free trial of software that creates a heat map of your local visibility in “near me” searches on Google.

Why it Matters: Local SEO metrics help businesses attract nearby customers and improve visibility in local search results.

How to Improve: Optimize your Google My Business listing, encourage customer reviews, produce content with local relevance and gain backlinks from trustworthy local business and organizations.

Behind the scenes with an SEO company: how RS Gonzales measures SEO for its clients

SEO metrics are great, but you may be wondering how a busy small business owner like you could ever keep up with all this information.

Fortunately, with the right SEO service provider, you can put your SEO campaign on cruise control and simply monitor the results.

At RS Gonzales, we recognize that SEO can feeling overwhelming, and that small business owners can start to feel anxious while waiting months to see the revenue benefits of their investment. That’s why we create an accountability dashboard, which gives our clients regular progress reports.

We measure hundreds of SEO metrics and deliver them monthly to clients in a concise, visually-pleasing report.

Graphic of 7 ways RS Gonzales measures SEO performance for clients

Some of the SEO metrics we regularly track include:

  • Keyword rankings

  • Estimated value of organic traffic

  • Backlinks

  • Domain Rating

  • On-page SEO score

  • More than 50 technical SEO factors

  • Google Business profile performance and visibility

Ready to steer your business to SEO success?

Navigating the digital highway without SEO metrics is like driving blindfolded—you’ll miss key turns and pit stops. For small business owners, these metrics can be a complex puzzle. Don’t DIY and risk getting lost. Partner with an expert to steer you with precision.

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