Whether you’re a marketer, a business owner, or trying to manage a website, you know that SEO, or search engine optimization, is important. This organic search performance is what drives organic click-throughs to your website. The goal at the end of the day, much like a brick-and-mortar storefront, is to grow the quality and quantity of your website’s traffic.
If you’ve been trying to nail down your SEO, you know that there are many different SEO metrics. It’s usually challenging to decide which are important and which are not. Metrics that matter include domain authority and organic traffic. The metrics that don’t matter may be ones you’re more familiar with.
Here is a look at what SEO is and why it’s important.
Metrics That Matter
A few content marketing metrics that matter most are those that may be considered common sense. Organic traffic and keyword rankings are among these. But rating well in one area isn’t a perfect picture of how well your website may be performing. Overfocusing on these two SEO statistics means you risk putting all your eggs in one basket.
The most important SEO metrics include:
- Core web vitals/page speed
- Coverage errors/website health
- Domain authority
- Keyword rankings
- Organic conversions
- Organic traffic
Let’s break each of these down so you can better understand why they matter and why it’s important to track them.
1. Core Web Vitals/Page Speed
Core web vitals, or CWV, are three separate technical SEO metrics to track that are associated with the speed of your website and the user’s experience. These three technical metrics are:
- Cumulative layout shift. This is a report about the instability of your website, signified visually by the layout shifting as viewers scroll.
- First input delay. This is a measure of how long it takes for your website to react when a user attempts to interact with your content.
- Largest contentful paint. This metric is a measurement of how long it takes your webpage to load the page’s largest content, whole and ready to use.
2. Coverage Errors/Website Health
When Google can’t add your webpage to its databases, it is forced to abandon the process. Since one or more of your pages are not retrievable in Google’s search engine results, coverage errors can damage your SEO efforts. They can decrease your level of organic traffic and visibility.
3. Domain Authority
This metric is essentially a measurement of how your website ranks in search engines, aside from Google. Domain authority is important because it speaks to your website’s credibility. It also demonstrates how you stand up to the competition.
4. Keyword Rankings
Keyword rankings refer to how your pages rank for specific search terms. When users search for certain keyword strings relevant to your webpage, you want your website to show up as close to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) as possible. The further down the list your website is, the less likely potential connections are to click on it.
5. Organic Conversions
Organic conversions are the important ways users interact with your website, such as checking out a purchase. They’re important because they’re a very measurable way to track how far your marketing dollars are going.
6. Organic Traffic
This is the most important among the SEO performance metrics. Organic traffic measures the unpaid click-throughs that come specifically from search terms. If you’re getting more traffic, chances are your SEO is doing the hard work. Traffic metrics are important to track because you want to know how many of your visits you’re paying for via paid ads and how many are coming from your organic SEO efforts.
Metrics That Don’t Matter
To be clear, all SEO metrics do matter in their own way. However, there are some that you shouldn’t spend significant time and money worrying about. Wasting your limited time on certain SEO metrics will minimize the time you can spend on important things. The metrics that aren’t quite as important as the others include bounce rate, exit rate, pages per session, and time on page.
1. Bounce Rate
This metric measures the percentage of users who do nothing else once landing on your webpage. These visitors aren’t adding to cart or adding a comment. This metric isn’t as important as you might think because it’s an extremely hard metric to track regarding success rate. There’s no standard for a healthy bounce rate, and you’ll have to filter too much to find the necessary insights.
2. Exit Rate
Exit rate measures the percentage of users who leave a website for another website on a specific page. Even if your exit rate is high, that doesn’t mean your website isn’t performing well. What may have happened is that the user got what they needed from the first page they visited — and, at the end of the day, that’s a good thing!
3. Pages Per Session
Pages per session refers to the number of pages visited on your website during a user’s session. While you may have seen that a lower number of pages per session is better, there’s no clear answer as to why. This is another situation where there are too many variables for a statistic to be a useful metric.
4. Time on Page
Generally speaking, time on page measures how long a user spends on a webpage. However, how this metric is measured often fails to provide much insight. More specifically, time on page records the amount of time it takes for a page to load before the user clicks on another page on your site — but not if they click away or back to the SERP. Even when the user spends a great deal of time reading information or interacting with your products, the metric isn’t a great measurement of the user’s attention if they only visit one page before leaving.
We’d like to stress that it’s not that specific metrics don’t matter. Instead, remember that some metrics matter significantly more than others and are more valuable ways to spend your SEO time and money. For example, you can spend your time measuring pages per session, but the information you glean may not be worth the effort; meanwhile, analyzing your organic traffic almost always proves useful.
The more you understand about the various SEO metrics, the simpler it will become to prioritize those that will have the most influence on the most critical measurement of them all — your bottom line. Optimizing your SEO efforts can have a ripple effect that eventually grows your site’s efficacy and your business. For more information about how to track SEO results or help understanding these metrics further, reach out to the SEO experts at Zero Gravity Marketing today.