Most webmasters and marketers know there’s a lot more to analytics than tracking visitor numbers and page views.
You need to analyze the right data to make your content and website as effective as possible. With around 85 percent of searchers clicking on organic search results over AdWords, a smart SEO strategy is crucial to attract the right sort of organic traffic.
But which metrics should you really be monitoring to improve your SEO results in the long term?
1. Organic traffic
Even if you’re achieving high rankings for particular search terms, it’s pointless if it results in the wrong kind of traffic. Monitoring your organic traffic and the related keywords that bring people to your site is key to understanding your performance in search engines.
To maximize your SEO strategy, you need to increase your organic traffic, but more importantly, increase your on-site conversions. This means monitoring various search terms to see which ones result in more qualified leads.
You can then optimize your site content around these search terms.
Now that search engine algorithms are taking into account social signals to determine content relevancy and calculate search rankings, it’s worth knowing which social channels are driving the most traffic to your site.
Look at the share of backlinks to your website. Is LinkedIn bringing in more traffic than Twitter? Creating more content specifically for these social networks can help boost social signals even more.
3. Bounce Rates
If visitors are only viewing one page on your site, you have a problem with site architecture, site usability, or your actual content. Apart from ensuring your site is user-friendly, make sure the keywords that are driving traffic are relevant to your marketing goals.
Do the web pages that visitors arrive on properly address the underlying questions contained in these search terms? Review your bounce rates for different pages to see which pages need special attention.
4. Site Speed
It’s common knowledge that site speed affects search rankings, and since Google’s Hummingbird update it’s even more significant. Google knows that people today expect sites to load quickly, so slow-loading sites are being penalized.
Check your site speed reports and follow Google’s Webmaster guidelines to ensure you’re getting it right.
5. SEO Ranking
Something as simple as checking your search rankings can be a strong indication of the effectiveness of your SEO content strategy. Increasing your brand’s overall web presence is one important aspect of SEO, so analyze your rankings for certain keyword phrases.
To get a more accurate measure of online visibility, focus on long-tail keywords.
As your content spreads, you should see the number of backlinks to your website grow, but it’s important to focus on their quality. Look at the domain authority of the websites linking to your content.
Analyzing the anchor text data can also help you understand how people perceive your brand. When you know the details, you can focus on delivering content based around these terms.
7. Indexed Pages
Do you have the correct number of web pages indexed with Google? For example, if you publish 100 pages but Google finds only 50, there’s obviously something wrong with your site structure. It could be because there are no links pointing to new pages, or duplicate content issues.
To check how many pages of your website Google are indexing, type: “site:” followed by your domain name into Google search.
8. Organic Conversions
Finding out what proportion of your visitors convert is key to developing an effective SEO strategy. How you define conversions will vary depending on your marketing goals, but measuring conversion rates can help you work out how effective your content is and whether you need to improve calls-to-action and site architecture.
It will also show you which keywords are attracting the most valuable traffic.
9. Branded and Non-Branded Keywords
Attracting organic search traffic through branded keywords is fine, but you could be missing out on traffic from non-branded search terms. Do you have enough in-depth unique content for your website that describes your brand? Check what percentage of traffic comes from non-branded keyword phrases and if it’s low, start developing content based around these search terms.
SEO is not one of the easiest marketing strategies to get to grips with, but if you get it right you can dramatically increase leads and conversions for your company. Instead of tackling every detail of SEO all at once, focus on one area at a time and then monitor the results. In time, you can develop more sophisticated techniques that maximize results for your unique business.