SEO is a vital part of digital marketing for businesses looking to attention online. However, it’s a complex process that seems to be confusing to most.
Although the principles of SEO are hard-coded in algorithms, and there are hundreds of resources online to help you enhance your SEO, the effects of any changes can seem random, almost mystic even. Here’s a simple breakdown of just six vital metrics to watch and manage to ensure top SEO performance. Being that there’s a huge number of things that go into SEO, use this list as a starting place to help you understand what kinds of metrics can be most important.
1. Search Engine Traffic
While this one might seem obvious, there are some important things to keep in mind about search engine traffic (also known as organic traffic). It’s the direct result of your SEO efforts: how much traffic am I getting from search results? If you aren’t watching these numbers, you’ll have barely any clue how well your strategies are doing in the real world. But keep in mind that these numbers alone don’t account for seasonal fluctuations, nor do they indicate the actual quality of the traffic.
Therefore, if your numbers go up around the holidays, that might not be a result of any SEO decisions. And even if these numbers are high, the clicks may be coming from irrelevant searches, which are less likely to result in sales or lengthy visits to your website.
Undoubtedly, Google Analytics is the best tool to track website traffic – and it’s free.
2. Backlinks or Linking Domains
One of the most important elements of SEO is backlinks or links on other websites that hyperlink to yours. A high number of backlinks from respected domains usually results in effective SEO. To build your own backlinks, check out the backlink profile of a competitor who ranks well for the same target keywords you use. You can do this by using Moz’s Free Domain SEO Analysis tool. Of course, the paid version will give you much more data. Try to mimic their practices to increase your own backlink numbers with reputable sights.
This article should get you started with guest blogging, a popular linking building strategy.
3. Crawl Errors
Even the best SEO campaign will fall flat if your website doesn’t work or isn’t fully functional for search engines. Reduce the number of 404 (and similar) errors and duplicate pages as much as possible to make your site more Google-friendly. Your pages need to be readable by Google to remain high on the search list. If your website is updated with new pages regularly, that means you need to check even more often to make sure everything is still fitting together correctly.
Crawl errors can be monitored using Google Search Console, another free tool.
4. Website Load Speed
In addition to your website’s content quality and functionality, search engines also take into account a user’s experience when visiting your website. This is why having a slow loading website negatively impacts search results. If Google returned websites that all took thirty seconds to load, it would frustrate the user – even if the website was otherwise exactly what they were looking for.
So, if your site is slow to load, you’ll lose spots to otherwise inferior content. You can see the speed of your site right in Google, actually. Use Google Analytics and go to Behavior, then Site Speed, then Overview, to get a general sense of the overall speed of your domain.
5. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Click-Through Rate or CTR is the rate at which search engine users click through to your website once it’s viewable on a results page. That means even if you’re page is a high-ranking result with great SEO, people still may not actually click your link. This has less to do with your SEO strategy, and more to do with how effective your links, or the ad copy, are at grabbing the attention of users.
6. Domain Authority
We’ve already touched on domain authority, and it’s something that will improve as you improve other items on this list. Essentially, the more search engines value your domain, the higher you’ll rank. That starts with your domain name and ends in…well, a multitude of factors that deserve their own post. Improving your backlink count is the best way to improve this metric. A fresh website that runs well and gets linked to by other respected domains is going to rise in the ranks quickly. Become an authority in your field, and you’ll find yourself on the top of a search list in no time.
While there are hundreds of factors that go into a quality SEO campaign, improving these six is a great way to set yourself on the right course and begin taking advantage of search engine traffic.
If you’re in need of SEO services for your business, contact our Atlanta SEO agency today.