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SEO is only as effective as its metrics that you can monitor and improve.

But with so many metrics available, which SEO metrics to track? And how can you improve them?

Take a peek to reach your SEO peak.

Benefits of Measuring Your Website’s SEO Performance

More Variety of SEO Testing Use Cases

Successful SEO is closely linked with continuous experimentation of various website elements such as page titles, blog post copy, product images, etc. Tracking the right metrics can help you uncover more opportunities for SEO testing and data-driven improvement.

Better UX

Today, SEO and user experience (UX) are two sides of the same coin. Tracking and improving your SEO metrics directly or indirectly translates into a better UX for your site’s visitors, and thus, more conversions.

Search engines like Google are constantly upgrading their ranking algorithms. If you don’t stay on top of your website’s SEO data, you’ll fail to notice if your site’s rankings are going down due to an algorithm update or new tactics adopted by your competitors.

SEO Metrics for Improving Your Website’s Performance

1. Organic Traffic

One of the key SEO metrics, organic traffic is the number of people visiting your website organically (without paying for ads) from the search results page.

SEO earns 1000%+ more organic traffic than organic social media marketing.

Mobile devices account for 63% of organic search engine traffic.

If your SEO efforts are working, then the number of visitors you earn from search results should steadily increase. And more organic traffic can mean more SEO-driven leads and sales.

How to improve:

  • Regularly publish valuable long-form content on your website.
  • Research and target long-tail keywords.
  • Invest in link building to improve your backlink profile.

Tool to use:

Google Analytics

2. Revenue/Sales

Coming to the business side of SEO, more organic conversions (sign-ups and sales) means you’re earning the right kind of organic traffic.

According to a Databox survey, 81% of SEO professionals track sales and leads (organic conversions) to measure ROI.

The global average website conversion rate is 4.31%.

If your organic traffic numbers are high but conversions are low, the quality of your traffic is poor. It means the bulk of your visitors arriving from search engines aren’t interested in your offerings.

How to improve:

Tool to use:

Google Analytics (custom goals)

3. Click-through Rate (CTR)

CTR is the percentage of people who visit your website after seeing one of your pages in the SERPs.

The first organic result in Google Search has an average click-through rate of 28.5%.

As per SEMrush, a “good” CTR for a keyword with commercial intent is between 10% to 20%.

Organic CTR shows how well your page’s SERP snippet (with the title, meta description, and URL) appeals to your audience and catches their attention.    Tracking page-level CTR tells you which content isn’t driving sufficient click-throughs from search engines.

How to improve:

  • Align your page title to the search intent.
  • Write custom meta descriptions for each page that entice people to click and learn more.
  • Use relevant structured data to showcase rich snippets in search results.

Tools to use:

Google Search Console

4. Number of Pages Indexed

Indexed pages are your site’s pages that search engines like Google have visited, crawled, and added to their database.

If your important pages are not indexed, it means search engines don’t know they exist and thus, cannot rank them. So, understanding the number of pages indexed is a vital SEO metric you must monitor.

How to improve:

  • Add all your important pages to your sitemap, optimize your website structure, improve internal linking, and fix duplicate content.
  • Ensure only pages that have a unique set of keywords associated with them are indexed to avoid cannibalization or rankings competition between your own pages.
  • Conduct an SEO audit to check if any of your indexed pages are duplicated, outdated, irrelevant, or thin, and then update, delete, redirect, or reinforce those pages with fresh content.

Tools to use:

Google Search Console, JetOctopus

5. Domain Rating (DR)

DR is a proprietary metric by Ahrefs which measures the overall SEO strength and authority of a website on a scale of 0-100. A higher domain rating correlates with a higher average number of keyword rankings, as per an Ahrefs study.

The score is calculated largely based on your site’s backlink profile, including the number of backlinks, the quality of referring domains, the types and relevance of links, and more. Higher domain ratings correlate with higher rankings on Google’s first page, as per Backlinko.

How to improve:

  • Focus on the quality (relevance and authority of the linking domain and content) over the quality of backlinks.
  • Create pillar-cluster content and implement a strategic internal linking structure.
  • Disavow spammy and low-quality links to clean up your backlink profile.

Tools to use:

Ahrefs, Moz

6. Dwell Time

Dwell Time is the amount of time a user spends on your landing page from the search results before returning back to the SERPs.

The industry benchmark for average dwell time is between 2-4 minutes.

Studies suggest that the longer users stay on your landing pages, the higher the pages would rank. So getting visitors to stay on your pages for longer could help your SEO.

How to improve:

  • Focus on nailing your page experience metrics: speed, navigation, mobile-friendliness, etc.
  • Don’t clickbait by writing overpromising titles and meta descriptions.
  • Keep your pages and content up to date and embed videos.

Tools to use:

Google Analytics

7. Returning Visitors

Getting organic visitors to your website is great, but getting them to come back is even better.

On average, a good returning visitor rate is around 30%.

Having a high percentage of returning visitors is a good indicator that you’re targeting the right traffic and satisfying their needs with the right content and product offerings. Returning visitors add 65.16% more items to their cart than first-time visitors.

How to improve:

  • Get feedback from visitors about their preferences and tailor your content experience.
  • Encourage visitors to sign up for your email newsletter.
  • Invest in creating interactive content such as quizzes, calculators, etc.

Tools to use:

Google Analytics

8. Average Time on Page

This metric measures the average amount of time users spent viewing a specific page on your site before moving on to another page. It is calculated as the total time on a page divided by the total number of pageviews, excluding exits.

The average time on page across all industries is 54 seconds. B2B has the highest average time spent on page at 1.37 minutes.

So if a visitor doesn’t move on to a second page on your site and exits, time on page isn’t calculated.

How to improve:

  • Craft comprehensive content that answers your audience’s questions.
  • Structure your content for easy consumption and include links to relevant pages on your site.
  • Use videos and images to retain the user’s attention.

Tools to use:

Google Analytics

9. Average Page Load Time

Page load speed is a pivotal ranking factor for Google on both mobile and desktop. The faster your pages load, the better the user experience, and the higher your website ranks. A Google study revealed that 53% of users abandon sites with more than a three-second delay on mobile

As per research by Google and Deloitte, reducing page load time by just 0.1 seconds can boost your conversion rate by 8%.

How to improve:

  • Compress all images.
  • Avoid redirects and minify your code.
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN) and a fast hosting provider.

Tools to use:

Google PageSpeeds Insights

10. Page-Level Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who exit your site after viewing just one page. A bounce means the visitor did not click any internal links or CTAs to visit any other pages on your website.

According to a RocketFuel study, a page-level bounce rate between 26%-40% is considered excellent, up to 70% is considered average, and anything over 70% is high.

Similarweb found a variance of over 16% in mobile and desktop bounce rates.

If a huge percentage of your visitors choose to leave your site and head to a competing page on the SERPs, it means your page is either irrelevant to their intent or doesn’t have the adequate quantity or quality of information they needed.

How to improve:

  • Ensure the content aligns with search intent.
  • Make the page’s purpose instantly clear by putting important details above the fold.
  • Create great content with compelling CTAs that makes visitors want to further explore your website.

Tools to use:

Google Analytics

11. Pages Crawled Per Day

If your website is large and has a lot of pages with constantly updated content, then you must keep an eye on how often Googlebot crawls your website’s pages.

A fast crawl rate means search engine crawlers can crawl and index your site easily and quickly, helping your odds of attaining better rankings on search engines. This also helps you optimize your website’s crawl budget for SEO.

How to improve:

  • Check for broken server redirects that prevent crawlers from accessing parts of your website, such as 404 errors.
  • Use server-side rendering or dynamic rendering.
  • Implement a strong internal linking structure.

Tools to use:

Google Search Console (crawl stats report)

12. Exit Rate

Your exit pages are the last pages visitors view before leaving your website. As this metric hints at people losing interest in your content, it’s important to track your exit rate for important pages.

“If certain product pages have high exit rates, it could indicate an issue with the product price or something else like the layout of the page.”

“By mapping your exit rates to your conversion funnel, you’ll see where people are in your funnel and can make changes as needed.”

Syed Balkhi, founder of WPBeginner.

If you note a high exit rate for a specific landing page, it may suggest that the page needs to be reworked for better user retention.

How to improve:

  • Make sure your page layout and content structure are intuitive.
  • Include internal links and CTAs to guide visitors to other relevant pages.
  • Invest in quality content with visuals (images and videos) to better engage visitors.

Tools to use:

Google Analytics

13. Crawl Errors

As the name suggests, this is one of those SEO metrics that’s best kept low. If a page can’t be crawled, then it can’t be indexed and won’t receive any organic search traffic.

A crawl error occurs when a crawler tries to read a page on your site but can’t. There are a number of issues that can cause crawl errors, such as deleted pages, pages marked as ‘noindex’, or pages blocked in the robots.txt file.

How to improve:

  • Avoid soft 404 errors wherein the server returns a 200 OK status to Googlebot for an invalid “404 not found” page.
  • Don’t disallow important pages in your robots.txt file.
  • Check and fix broken redirects, loops, or chains.

Tools to use:

Google Search Console, JetOctopus

14. Pages Per Session

This SEO engagement metric shows the average number of pages that visitors view in a single session.

A survey of 6,883 sites revealed the average pages per session to be 2.7.

The more the pages per session, the better, as it means users are visiting multiple pages and engaging with more content before leaving. As this metric gives you insight into your website’s ability to move people down into the conversion funnel, it’s an important SEO metric to track.

Infact, having more than 5.3 pages per session would put you in the best 10% of websites in terms of this metric.

How to improve:

  • Ensure your website navigation is effortless and the page layout is easy to understand.
  • Create topic clusters around themes with strategic internal links to guide users from one content piece to the next.
  • Create engaging content reinforced with videos, microsurveys, etc., that encourages visitors to interact with your content.

Tools to use:

Google Analytics

15. Backlinks (New Referring Domains)

One of the key ranking determinants, backlinks are the driving force behind your SEO performance. So, tracking new backlinks and referring domains growth is paramount as backlink quantity and quality are primary ranking signals.

Most top-ranking pages earn “do follow” links from new domains at a pace of +5%-14.5% per month.

Put simply, the more high-quality links from unique domains you have pointing to your domain, the more Google will deem you as an authoritative site that’s worth ranking higher. All else equal, more backlinks to a web page leads to better search rankings and organic traffic, according to an Ahrefs study

How to improve:

  • Create linkable assets such as ultimate guides, original research, and infographics that drive links on autopilot.
  • Plan a guest blogging campaign to contribute quality content to authoritative publications in your niche in exchange for contextual backlinks.
  • Use broken link building to land easy links from new domains.

Tools to use:

Ahrefs, SEMrush

16. Keyword Ranking

Only 0.78% of Google users click on a search result from the second page. With SEO, you’re optimizing your website to rank for a target set of keywords. And so, to track your progress, you must monitor how your rankings for your desired keywords grow over time.

By tracking your keyword rankings, you can gauge your current organic search visibility share. Since 16% to 20% of all annual Google searches are new.you can decide whether to focus on further optimizing for those keywords or targeting new keyword opportunities.

How to improve:

  • Aim to attain top rankings for less competitive and long-tail keywords before targeting high-volume head keywords.
  • Keep an eye on your best-performing competitors’ keyword rankings to reverse engineer their keywords strategy.
  • Focus your link-building efforts to earn relevant links on contextual anchors for your most important landing pages and business keywords.

Tools to use:

Ahrefs Rank Tracker, SEMrush (Organic Search Positions report)

17. LCP

One of the three Core Web Vitals — aka page experience metrics that are gaining importance as ranking signals — largest contentful paint (LCP) measures the number of seconds it takes from when a page begins loading to when its largest text or image element is displayed in the viewport.

WebP lossless images are 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs.

Monitoring and improving your LCP is vital to improving your overall user experience. Aim to have an LCP under 2.5 seconds for all pages.

How to improve:

  • Minify your JavaScript and CSS, and defer non-critical CSS.
  • Remove unnecessary third-party scripts and implement lazy loading.
  • Optimize your images for speed by using compression, caching, next-gen formats, along with a CDN.

Tools to use:

Google PageSpeeds Insights, Lighthouse 6.0

18. FID

Another Core Web Vital, first input delay (FID) measures the delay (in ms) visitors experience when trying to interact with your page content for the first time, such as clicking on a menu button or inputting a form field.

FID accounts for 25% of your Google Lighthouse Performance Score.

In other words, FID measures your page’s initial interactivity and responsiveness, so the lower it is, the better the user experience. Monitor this SEO metric and aim to hit the ideal FID score of under 100 ms.

How to improve:

  • Enable browser caching and defer unused, non-critical JavaScript.
  • Break down long-running code into smaller, asynchronous tasks.
  • Use on-demand loading of third-party code such as ads along with a web worker.

Tools to use:

Google PageSpeeds Insights, Lighthouse 6.0

19. CLS

The third Core Web Vital, cumulative layout shift (CLS) measures the visual stability of your page elements as it finishes loading.

46% of mobile URLs and 47% of desktop URLs pass the Cumulative Layout Shift benchmark of 0.1, as per a study by Screaming Frog.

If your page elements such as images and buttons move around significantly as the page loads, then you’ll have a high CLS score, which indicates a poor user experience. Monitor your CLS and aim to keep it under 0.1 for all pages.

How to improve:

  • Define size attributes (height and width) for images and videos.
  • Ensure dynamically generated content such as ads and embeds have reserved space.
  • Avoid inserting new content above existing content, unless in response to user interaction. 

Tools to use:

Google PageSpeeds Insights, Lighthouse 6.0

Infographic

Here is a detailed infographic with all these metrics for you to save and share with your network!

Track and improve SEO metrics
 

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