When it comes to SEO, and digital marketing in general, it is so important to be able to define what success looks like and to be consistently measuring your efforts. Depending on the type of website you have, from eCommerce to blogs, and websites that promote service-based or brick-and-mortar stores, success is going to look a little different.
In today’s post, I’m going to be covering some metrics that everyone should be reviewing, while also diving into specific metrics that matter the most for different site types.
General SEO Metrics
Traffic Volume and Users: It’s important to get an idea of how many people are coming to your site from organic sources, as well as what percentage of your overall traffic. If you have low organic traffic to your site, this would be important to investigate and see if some preliminary optimization would be helpful.
Landing Pages: Aside from how many people are coming to your site, it’s also important to see what content is drawing people in! Depending on the size and style of your site, this could include blogs, service pages, menus, or even your homepage. Once you have an idea of the most popular and attractive content on your site, you can determine how to best optimize your content, where you should be investing your time, and even gain insight into what makes your site stand out in search results.
Pages per Session: For almost every site, you are going to want users to explore more than one page of your website. If you notice that pages per session are low, this could be an opportunity to review your internal linking structure to encourage users to take the next logical step in the customer journey towards whatever your site goal is (contact, purchase, call, etc.).
One helpful report in Google Analytics for determining how to encourage the best next step is reviewing the ‘Behaviour Flow’ chart. This allows you to examine popular user behaviour by landing page, source, and more! This report is visual, easy to read, and provides lots of insight on how your users are navigating through your website, and where they are dropping off.
Device Type: Determining how people access your website – on mobile or desktop – is critical in understanding your site’s user experience. It can also help you optimize and improve your site to cater to mobile search, ensuring that navigation is clear, information is kept short and to the point, and that images are small enough to load quickly on any device.
Revenue: This one may seem obvious, but at the end of the day, focusing on revenue-driving activities helps cut through the noise of ‘vanity metrics’, and allows you to truly invest your time and money on campaigns that drive sales. Reviewing which channels drive the most revenue, which landing pages lead to sales, and what content you can create to support your bottom line helps you stay focused as a business owner, and make better decisions on how to allocate your marketing spend.
Conversion Rate: While some pages may be major revenue drivers, looking for pages or products with high conversion rates gives you inspiration and direction on where you should really pour the gasoline for your marketing and promotion – if you have an awesome product with a great market fit, this is where you may want to invest in additional promotional content on your website, social media, and email marketing.
Bounce Rate: If people are searching for a specific product, clicking onto your product page, but leaving without taking action, then we know there is an opportunity to identify any gaps in user expectations. For eCommerce sites, it is important to review the keywords that are driving traffic to your product pages to ensure searcher intent match and optimizing your content on-site to better align with searcher expectations for increased sales. Google Search Console is a great place to get started with this!
Service or Brick and Mortar Businesses (Retail, Restaurant, etc.)
Custom Goals: When you are looking for users to take a specific action on your site, whether that’s calling your business, submitting a contact form, or viewing a menu, measuring success can be as unique as your business. That’s why setting up custom goals in Google Analytics is critical. This allows you to measure the success of your business in a more tangible way than simply views and users.
Bonus tip from SEO Saturday: For your contact form, have people who submit be directed to a thank-you page. Not only does this make tracking a breeze, but it also gives you a chance to provide value, information, and build relationships with your users! Embed a video about your business, link to relevant blog posts, add images of your staff thanking the user for reaching out – don’t let this valuable space go to waste! You already know this person is interested in what you provide – help them take the next step and get a warmer lead for when you respond.
If you are a blogger or influencer, your greatest asset is your audience. When you are looking to monetize your site, there are specific metrics that brands and businesses will want to see. It is also important to be able to measure and track the success of your collaborations to secure future deals and establish a professional reputation in the industry.
Demographics: Where are your users located, what are their gender, age range, and even in-market interested. This allows you to sell your influence for the right target markets when brands are looking to collaborate.
Average Session Duration: Bounce rates can be deceiving for blogs – a bounce rate of 80-90% is not uncommon, but what helps your content stand out is how long people spend reading your posts. This allows you to show that the content you create is consumed and that brands are getting valuable engagement from your audience.
New vs Returning Users: This is a great way to really prove your influence. Do you have users that return again and again to read your posts? Or are you driving lots of new traffic through optimized content? Either way, this helps you tell the story of your audience, and how they engage with the content you share.
UTM Tagged Links: I will write a deep-dive on UTM tagged links and how important they are for marketing across every channel, but as a blogger is is critical that you tag any link that you share which drives traffic to a brand or company that you are working with. This allows them to more accurately measure the success of their collaboration and helps you to provide stats and data to support their ROI in working with you. You can stage your links using this Campaign URL Builder from Google – an absolute must for tracking!
As we discussed on this week’s SEO Saturday, when you first dive into your analytics, it can be like a mountain of information. It can be hard to tell what metrics matter, and important to not get caught up or panicked about data that doesn’t directly attribute to your business’s success. I hope this overview has provided you with some clarity on where to focus your time, energy, and investment, and allows you to focus on what will move the needle in your business.
Have any SEO questions or suggestions for a future SEO Saturday topic? Slide into my DM’s at @tedibeznadigitalmktg and join myself and Maddie @thebuzzingblonde every Saturday at 9am PST/12pm EST for more SEO tips, tricks, and insights!