Whether you are an SEO guru or are new to the game, there’s always some anxiety once you’ve done the initial groundwork to rank well on search queries. For weeks or months, you have poured time, money, and human resources into implementing your SEO strategy. Yet, there’s never absolute certainty that what you did will bear the expected fruit.
To ensure you are on the right track SEO-wise, you must have a means of checking whether and how you are making progress. Without the best SEO reporting tools methods, you’ll be groping in the dark and perhaps over-investing or under-investing resources in certain SEO processes.
There are dozens of SEO metrics you could keep an eye on. The following are 4 metrics you absolutely must check regularly if you want to have firm control over your SEO success.
1. Keyword Tracking to Check Traffic Origin
There’s no universal formula for keeping track of your website’s keyword authority on search engines. Some metrics will, however, provide insightful estimates. Keep tabs on the statistics around the keywords you are looking to rank for. This will also allow you to see whether you are targeting the most appropriate keywords in your quest to outrank the competition.
Focus on the keywords that show sizable search volume. At least a couple of hundred monthly. With this information, you can begin to determine whether you are attacking the most suitable keywords and if your performance is improving over time.
2. Track Your Authority Via Backlinks
On-page SEO is crucial in getting your web pages ranked well on SERPs. Nevertheless, backlinks remain one of the most critical factors in SEO success. A large part of your strategy must comprise accumulating backlinks. Without backlinks, you are going to be at a disadvantage when battling your online rivals for SERP prominence.
You can measure the impact of your link-building effort by monitoring the quality and quantity of any new backlinks you acquire. All backlink-tracking services assign some form of quality score to links. The higher the link score, the better the quality. Arguably, the best tools for tracking backlinks today are Ahrefs and Linkio. Moz Link Explorer is an option too but it doesn’t have or provide access to as large a database as the one you’ll be working on with Linkio or Ahrefs.
3. Organic Search Traffic
The reason for an SEO campaign is to make your web pages appealing to search engines. The more search engines love you, the more organic traffic they’ll direct to you for free. Track the volume of traffic from search engines and ensure the trend is upward. Examine it over several months to take into account the seasonal variation in traffic.
On Google Analytics, go to Audience Overview to see a graph showing traffic over the preceding 30 days. You can adjust the timeline to cover a longer period. Click on Add Segment, select Organic Traffic, and click Apply. With that, a new line will appear on the graph demonstrating organic traffic next to the overall traffic.
4. Time On-Page
What’s the clearest sign that visitors to your web page aren’t finding what they came looking for? They leave the page shortly thereafter. On the other hand, if the page is interesting and relevant, they’ll linger longer and even want to explore other pages on your site. Your goal must be to get readers staying for as long as necessary.
There’s an overall average on-page number under the Google Analytics’ Audience Overview section. That’s not very actionable information though. For better insights, drill down on page data to find the time your visitors spend on each page. Investigate pages with very low time-on-page, revise the content, and keep checking if the number improves.
No two websites are the same nor will they follow an identical trajectory in their traffic evolution. If you aren’t tracking metrics, it’s virtually impossible to identify what tactics work and which ones don’t. At the minimum, keep track of these 4 metrics and take practical steps to improve them over time.