Measuring and understanding search data is crucial and you will see different metrics standing out, from rankings to page speed. Rankings are not the sole metric to rely on when tracking the progress of your SEO campaign. Whilst the higher the rank, the more visible your website will be to potential users, there are still some other simpler ways to measure the impact of the campaign. Although you can pay for premium tools to gain more insight into your SEO campaign, Google’s free Analytics and Search Console tools can give you the information you need.
This is a very simple way of measuring the success of your SEO campaign. Google Analytics will show you how many people have visited your site from search engines over a period of time. An increase in this number can usually be tied to an improved level of search visibility. You can find these stats on Google Analytics by going to Acquisition – All Traffic – Channels. This page will show where all the traffic to the website is coming from including Organic, Direct, Social, Paid etc.
From this page, you can dig deeper into the data. You are able to filter by keyword (although this data is quite restricted), source, landing page plus others including location. Some landing pages from search results will not always be your home page. Some users may land on specific pages related to their search query.
Setting the primary dimension to “Landing Page” will show which pages your organic traffic is landing on. Seeing the location of organic traffic can also be important, especially if you have spent a lot of time optimising for audiences in specific locations. This view can be found under “Other” – “Users” primary dimension. From this view, you can filter from the continent, down to the city.
Goals and Conversions
It is important that websites are tracking goals and conversions – whether that is for product sales, contact or downloads. Setting them up on your website allows you to measure the success of your SEO campaign by the goals and conversions achieved. By going to Conversions – Goals – Overview, you can see the number of completed goals over a certain period of time. You can also see how many goals have been completed on the different pages on your website, as well as the source. Achieving a high number of goal completions from organic traffic shows that you are visible to the right audience. A low number of goal completions from organic traffic shows that although you may be ranking well, you are not ranking for the most relevant search queries.
Average Search Rankings
You might think that you can just “Google” a search query to find out the search ranking of your website for that query. However, as your searches are personalised from your history and location, this will not be a true reflection. You are able to find this out for free via the Google Search Console. Paid services such as SEMRush which allow you to go into more detail.
A small but crucial part of your SEO campaign is ensuring your website’s pages you want to appear on Google are indexed. If some pages are not being indexed or the wrong pages are being indexed, this can seriously affect your SEO performance. It is simple enough to find out if a webpage is indexed. Head over to the Google Search Console and input the URL into the search bar. The Search Console will then tell you if the page has been submitted and indexed. There is also the option to request indexing if the page hasn’t been indexed or you have made changes to the page.
It is important to keep on top of any crawl errors that might occur on your site. This is because if a page has been blocked or isn’t crawlable by Google, there is no chance for that page to appear in the SERPs. You can find out if there are any crawl errors on Google Search Console under the “Coverage” tab.
Click-through Rate (CTR)
An important metric for SEO is the click-through rate (CTR). This is the percentage of impressions that resulted in a click to your website from the SERPs. Obviously, the higher the percentage, the more relevant your site is to the search query compared to your competitors. Once again, this information can be found on the Google Search Console under the “Performance” tab. You can then look at the CTR for search queries, landing pages, countries of origin, devices and search appearance.
Once someone clicks through to your website, you want the landing page to be relevant to the search query and have a good user experience. This will make it more likely for them to stay on your site and complete a goal. Whether that is a purchase, download or contact. The more people that stay on your site will also help with your ranking. If the information that the user required isn’t on the landing page, they are likely to quickly leave without taking any action. They will also probably end up on one of your competitors’ sites. This is called a bounce. Although in some cases a bounce isn’t an issue, it is important to ensure your bounce rate is as low as possible.
In 2015, mobile friendliness was reported as a ranking factor. This is crucial for the user experience, with mobile traffic often being higher than desktop traffic. Once again the Google Search Console can help under the “Mobile Usability” tab. You are also able to run the Google Mobile-Friendly Test to find out how mobile-friendly each page on your website is.
Page speed has become increasingly important for websites as page speed is a ranking factor both desktop and mobile searches. Thanks to Google’s PageSpeed Insights, you are now able to see the page speed for your desktop and mobile site, with suggestions on how to improve the speed.