Measuring your SEO success is simple. Focus on how your website is performing for five key metrics and you'll know your SEO efforts are paying off. Coming up, we'll talk through what these metrics are, and how to measure them.
Google sees backlinks as A. Big. Deal. In fact, backlinks are one of the most significant ranking factors.
Backlinking – that is, links from other websites to yours – shows that other websites dig your content. Think of it as a "thumbs up" – a nod to the usefulness of your website for a certain topic or "keyword". There's a caveat, of course. The websites linking to you have to be seen by Google as relevant. Since the Penguin update a few spammy links will be ignored by Google. However if there was a pattern of behaviour suggesting a dodgy link building practice that goes against Google’s guidelines, then this may cause negative impacts on your rankings.
To see how many links your website has, head over to Google Search Console which shows you some of your links. Although no tool is going to get it 100% right all the time, Google Search Console can give you an idea where your links are coming from.
Positioning shows you where each of your pages rank for different search queries that people are typing into Google. The higher the ranking (closer to 1), the higher the page will appear in search results
Positioning is an important metric as it has a huge impact on the number of people clicking through to your website from a search results page (SERP). The lower the position, the lower the click through rate.
This graph shows just how much your click through rate drops depending on how far down in the search results you are.
You can track where each of your pages are ranking with Google Analytics. Here’s how:
Top tip: Make sure your search console has been connected to Google Analytics otherwise it will not work. For tips on how to set up Google Analytics, read our blog.
In your positioning report, you can see the search query that brought people to your landing page, the number clicks this brought in, and your average position for this search on a SERP. Google Analytics shows the average ranking position for every page of your website and all searches associated with these pages, so you will not receive precise results for each individual page.
Position ranking is especially useful if your goals are to reach a larger audience in search results without paying for ads, and to see what specific SEO changes to individual pages are doing to help improve performance.
3) Click-through Rate (CTR)
Click-through rate is the percentage of users viewing your page in their search results who then click through to your website. You will often see this abbreviated to CTR.
Although CTR is very simple to understand, its significance shouldn’t be understated. It is one of the best metrics for determining how well a piece of content is performing. After all, if lots of people see your page in the search results, (known as impressions), but are not clicking through to your website, you have a low click through rate. This could mean several things:
- The content for your page title and meta-description will need tweaking to make your website stand out on SERPs, encouraging more people to click though,
- Your website is too far down in the search results so more work needs to be done to improve your rankings.
There are lots of free tools that will preview how your result appears on SERPs. This will let you know if your page titles and meta-descriptions are too long, or too short. Some even give a rating on what you’ve written.
CTR is one of the most important metrics and can be found easily on whatever tool you decide to use. On Google Search Console, CTR can be found under the performance page.
You can even toggle the checkbox to display how your CTR has changed over time.
2) Organic search traffic
Organic search traffic is your total number of visits from organic search results. Paid search results will not count towards this metric.
If you want to see how much traffic you are getting from organic search, you can find this out for free in Google Analytics.
Click on “organic search” in the breakdown and you can uncover more details of what people have been searching for before they found your page.
Organic search traffic is arguably the most important metric for measuring the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. It shows whether the work you're doing is working to bring you more visitors.
See how you can improve your SEO performance quickly.
1) Total clicks
When you combine all the different sources for your website traffic, including social media, referrals from other websites, paid search results and organic search results, you will be able to see the total number of clicks through to your website.
The best way to see how many clicks you have is through Google Search Console.
If you don't see your total clicks growing over time, it is often a strong indicator that you need to switch something up in your SEO strategy.
If you need help driving more visitors to your website, or getting ahead of your competitors on SERPs, then get in touch with our team today.