If we time-traveled back to the late 1990s, as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was first becoming a viable digital marketing strategy, you would barely recognize the tactics being used. Tactics like keyword stuffing, hidden text, and extra-long copy to boost word count were all employed to sway search engines.
Most marketers are now quick to recognize that the execution of SEO has evolved and these tactics no longer work. But what about measuring the success of your SEO efforts? For decades, page rankings and keyword rankings were the primary metrics, or key performance indicators (KPIs). The first questions one would ask is “where am I ranking for keyword X” or “what is the ranking of my website?”
Just as SEO tactics have evolved over two decades, so have the metrics used to measure success. Website and keyword rankings are still some of the primary metrics, but there is no longer a simple way to measure them effectively. In today’s world, Google, and other search engines value user experience above all else. User experience includes many factors such as page speed, internal linking, easy website navigation, and most importantly, relevant content. Search results are also much more personalized, with Google catering results it believes best fits what users are looking for based on information gathered about them. (location, search history, and more).
In short, you can’t just look at where you are ranking. You need to continually review and audit your website, and measure additional on-page and off-page metrics that indicate user experience. Let’s dive into some of those metrics:
These metrics can be used to understand how strong the user experience of your website is, for SEO purposes. They can be easily monitored in Google Analytics or other tracking methods.
Monitoring your traffic is the best place to start. When reviewing the data, it is essential to ensure that your analytics platform is set up correctly and properly segmenting your traffic. It is also important to monitor trends over longer periods of time. If you look at just a snapshot with no context, you may fall victim to making drastic changes in response to current events.
Time-on-Page & Bounce Rate
These two metrics combined tell you how users are engaging with your page. If a page has long-form content, then you’d hope to see a longer time-on-page. If a page is meant to be short and quick, then hopefully you see a shorter time-on-page. When combining this with the bounce rate, you can better understand how the content is written. If a page has a high bounce rate, you may not be guiding a user to the next logical step. Including internal links can address this and is another way to give your SEO a boost.
These metrics will also help determine if the searches leading to these pages are relevant or seen as similar to the searches. If a page has a high bounce rate or low time-on-page, it could also indicate that the content on the page is not relevant to what users are searching for when they are shown your page in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Are users completing the action you want them to once they are on your page? First determine what actions you want users to take, such as completing a form, and set these up as conversions in your website reporting. Once established, monitor when users convert.
These metrics are more guiding metrics. They will not tell you how your website is performing, but are factors that go into getting your page to rank higher. Consistently monitoring the following metrics with website audits will help guide your efforts to help your website rank as high as possible.
Number of Backlinks
Backlinks are viewed as a “reference” from another website. In the case of backlinks, more does not always equal better. The more backlinks from credible sources, the better your website is viewed. It is important to monitor your backlinks to remove spam links.
Crawlability is the number or percentage of pages that are able to be crawled by a search engine spider or bot. There are several things you can do to increase your crawlability. When auditing your website, look to see what its crawlability is. The fewer pages that the spiders are able to crawl, the less likely your page or website is to rank.
Similar to crawlability, making sure what percent of your pages are indexable is imperative to making sure your website can be found. Not all pages are meant to be indexed, but if you notice that your website has a low index score, then your SEO impact is most likely going to be low as well.
One of the most talked-about factors of SEO is page speed, and it’s for good reason. It is easily measured, highly important for SEO, and can be improved with some effort. Using pages like Google Page Speed Insights you can measure the time it takes for a page to load, as well as gain insight into what you can do to improve it.
It is always important to understand that SEO is not a quick fix or set-it-and-forget-it marketing channel.. SEO takes time and consistency to show results. Our team at Millennium Marketing Solutions are experts in SEO and understand how to implement best practices to grow your organic presence. Contact us today to receive your FREE website SEO audit.