Your search engine optimization strategies and results are developed over time, not overnight. But how do you measure and understand if the tactics you are using are being executed properly?
Your SEO efforts are worth paying attention to on a regular basis because everyone looks at the organic side of search, and over 85% of searchers click on organic search results over paid results.
The following 10 SEO metrics are useful for tracking the progress of a web presence in organic search. Each metric provides signals as to what is working and what is not so your SEO efforts can be constantly tweaked and results improved.
1. SEO Rankings
Track your online organic search visibility for the keywords your organization wants to be found for in the search results. Following your SEO ranking metric every day, week or month will allow you to understand if your organization is expanding its web presence.
2. Unique Keywords (Discovery Index)
How many unique keywords are being used to find your organization on a monthly basis? If that number is trending upwards that means more and more unique keywords are being used in the search engines to discover your organization’s web presence. This is called the discovery index. Look at these terms and add a few to your content strategy each month to capture even more qualified traffic.
Are you growing the quantity and quality of the websites linking to your web presence over time? The number of backlinks should increase as you build out your optimized content strategy of blog posts, press releases and case studies. The associated anchor text as well as the domain authority of the websites linking to your content affect the quality of your backlinks.
4. Indexed Pages
Is the number of web pages from your web presence increasing or decreasing in the Google index? The more pages indexed in Google, the more opportunity you have to be found. For example, it would be difficult to rank for 100 keywords if you only have five web pages indexed in Google. As you build out your optimized content strategy adding new blog posts, web pages and press releases on a regular basis, your index count will grow.
5. Social Signals
Google and Bing factor social signals into their search algorithm to determine relevancy and rank. Social signals are metrics such as: Facebook comments, likes and shares, tweets and retweets, LinkedIn shares, and Google +1’s and shares – all of which include a backlink to a web page. gShift tracks the number of social signals during a specified time period to all your web content including web pages, blog posts, and press releases.
6. Website Traffic Breakdown
Tracking your topline website traffic on a regular basis is important. Are you growing your organic traffic? Or are you getting most of it from direct traffic? Is your referral traffic increasing? What traffic is converting better – organic, referral or social? Tracking these website traffic metrics can help you understand both your SEO and content marketing strategies.
7. Organic Conversions
It is also important to understand what percentage of your organic search traffic takes action on your website. Which keywords are driving the most conversions? Which keywords are leading to a high bounce rate (only visiting one web page)? Are your conversions increasing based on your optimized content marketing strategy?
8. Organic Market Share
Your organic market share is calculated based on the number of keyword phrases that your organization is following or wants to rank for organically. Calculate the volume of searches for those terms, how you rank, and then apply a “potential” click-through metric to determine the number of potential visitors you would get if you were ranking in the top three organic positions.
9. Organic Search Value
What is the dollar value of your organic search traffic as compared to what you would have paid for the same traffic via a paid marketing program such as Google AdWords? This metric can help set your budget for organic search and content marketing.
10. Branded versus Non-Branded Keywords
Out of the discovery index, how many keywords are branded? If 95% of your organic traffic comes from branded keywords, then your organization has an issue with your online visibility. A goal would be to increase your non-branded keyword phrases by building out your content marketing strategy.
SEO is one of the most difficult marketing tactics to measure and manage – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. And once you’ve mastered SEO for your organization the increase in leads and conversions will be worth the effort. Our recommendation is to pick a few SEO metrics to get started, measure them on a consistent basis and take action from the data.