Measuring performance is a crucial part of SEO. Understanding your statistics lets you know what is working, what isn’t, and what is working okay but could be improved. For most websites it is not something that you should look at on a daily basis, but it is something you should come back to regularly.
A lot of valuable data on your SEO efforts is available for free, primarily through Google Analytics and the Google Search Console. You can pay to get more detailed data, or to have the data presented to you in nice, easy-to-read reports without having to drill through it yourself. It is important to understand the key metrics that you should look at, whether you are using Google’s free tools, or a premium service.
Here is what you should measure:
Percentage Of Traffic Coming From Search Engines
Your website will get traffic from a number of different sources. The most common are:
- Search engines
- Direct (directly typing your website into a browser)
- Social (from social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter)
- Referral (traffic from websites that have links to yours)
In terms of an overall digital marketing strategy, you should work to increase the raw numbers from each of these sources. Your SEO efforts have the potential to affect them all, but you should particularly keep track of the percentage of your traffic that comes from searches. Note any changes, seasonal variations, or overall increases or decreases.
Keywords That Generate Visits
It is also important to know what keywords people search for before visiting your website. This will give you information about the keywords that you are ranking well for, and those that you are not. You can do lots of things with this information, including improving your meta descriptions or title tags, or developing a link building strategy to get more traffic from a keyword that is currently under-performing.
When looking at this metric you will see a value close to the top of the list of keywords (often at the very top) titled “not provided”. Google does not provide data from searches conducted when a user is logged into their Google account, for privacy reasons. You will therefore have to use some estimates based on the assumption that people search in a similar way whether they are logged into their Google account or not.
The Pages That Search Engine Traffic Is Visiting
Keeping tabs on this will tell you the pages that are getting the best traction in Google. You can use the information to improve conversion rates on those pages, and keep the content fresh to ensure your rankings stay high.
You can also identify and investigate pages that are getting lower levels of traffic than they used to.
Finally, you can measure the conversion rates of traffic visiting pages on your website from search engines. This is probably the most important factor and will give you a good indication of where your future efforts should be focused.
Search engines and search rankings are constantly changing, and the only way to stay up-to-date is to regularly look at your statistics.