Anyone who’s working in digital marketing knows that SEO is king. But there’s a difference between understanding its importance, and actually understanding how it all works. Let’s be honest –– SEO is a pretty complex thing to wrap your head around. It’s got a lot of moving parts, and can be pretty daunting for some, especially when so much is riding on it.
Though really, it’s not that tough a beast to tackle. Once you put the time in and follow a well-thought-out strategy, there’s no way you won’t see results.
When you consider that 68% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, and less than 1% of people click through to Google’s second page, it becomes pretty clear just how essential it is to have your website ranking high in search engines.
So let’s jump into how you can stay on top of your SEO marketing strategy, using key metrics to track your progress and see results.
Don’t treat SEO and content marketing as separate things!
It’s important to note that SEO and marketing don’t just go hand in hand –– they blend together. Many people make the mistake of treating them as two separate entities that should be tackled individually, or even that good content marketing eliminates the need for SEO.
Honestly, that makes zero sense. The only way to have successful content marketing is to have SEO. We can’t separate the two. Your marketing strategy should include SEO consideration, and your SEO analysis in turn informs your marketing strategy.
Yes, there are a few differences between the two that we should note. Content marketing is a much broader, holistic strategy, a term that can be applied to your entire operation. Meanwhile, SEO is a narrower slice of this pie, more technical, and steeped in metrics and keywords.
Treating SEO and content marketing as two different things is something that can hinder your progress as a brand –– it’s time to bring them back together and treat them as a single entity! After that, you can move on to creating a strategy and begin tracking performance.
5 SEO metrics to consider
There’s no point coming up with a whole marketing and SEO strategy if that’s where you end things. To execute a successful online campaign it is essential to then track your performance and progress. This is how you see what works, what doesn’t, and will inform all your future strategies.
Here are some important SEO metrics to keep an eye on. Most of these can be done through Google Analytics – an excellent tool that everyone should already be on board with!
1. Organic traffic
This is the number of visitors that come to your website from organic search results. Your organic traffic is an indicator of how well your site is doing in terms of SEO and keyword ranking. The higher your amount of organic traffic, the higher your site is sitting in relevant Google results. Plus, the more click-throughs you get, the more likely your links are to be favored by the algorithm.
Within Google Analytics, it’s super easy to see not just your daily organic traffic, but also to compare traffic in specific time periods.
Go to the ‘Audience > Overview’ report, click on the ‘Add Segment,’ and select the ‘Organic Traffic’ file. The tool will spit out a report to tweak to get the exact data you need.
2. Organic visibility
This is how often your site is showing up in the search results when people type in certain keywords. The whole point of tracking this is to measure how well your SEO strategy is doing –– are you appearing in front of enough people for it to translate into financial success?
Before worrying about CTR and conversions, this is the one metric you really want to be tracking. Even if everything else is low, but your visibility is high, it means that your content is ranking high in search results –– your strategy is working!
To track your visibility, use the performance section of Google’s Search Console. Here you’ll also find your average click-through rate, average ranking in search results, and the total number of clicks and impressions.
3. Time on page
This one does what it says on the box –– how long do visitors from search engines spend on your page before clicking away? The more engaging and interesting your site is, the more you entice them to scroll through, and the longer their time on the page will be.
The more engaged your visitors are, the more likely it is that they will follow through into a conversion. Do regular checks of your ‘time on page’ stats to ensure you’re doing the most to keep potential customers on your page. If the number is low, figure out what you can do to change that. Hint: it will usually involve making your content more engaging, scannable, and relevant to your audience.
You can track this in Google Analytics under Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. As well as monitoring each page, you should also measure it on a site-wide basis.
4. Conversion rate
ROI isn’t the only way to track the success of your business –– in fact, we don’t even think it’s the most important metric. Measuring and tracking your organic conversions – sales, leads, or both, depending on your business –– is a super-reliable way to determine exactly how successful your marketing campaign is.
It’s a good idea to start out any campaign with a conversion rate goal in mind, so you know what you’re aiming for. Maybe look at your number of conversions in the previous three months and use this as a comparison.
Again, you can track conversions in Google Analytics, by measuring goals for lead conversions. The inbuilt eCommerce report tool also allows you to track sales by channel.
5. Keyword ranking
This refers to where your website ranks in search engine results for particular keywords. Obviously, the higher your ranking, the more people will see your site. Your site’s position varies based on what Google deems relevant for the user’s particular search keyword or phrase. By using specific keywords, you can boost your site’s position in the search results list. And, remember search intent too –– your content and keywords should closely align with what your users are searching for.
This metric is really the bread and butter when it comes to SEO. Using the right keywords, which you can determine by figuring out what your potential customers are searching, is essential for boosting your Google ranking. However, it’s important to note that search engine algorithms are smart –– avoid using ‘vanity metrics’, or keywords that might rank highly but don’t really relate to your page’s content. If people click through to your page but leave again quickly, that’ll affect your position on the results page.
Speaking of which, your bounce rate is the number of people who visited your site but then left without taking any further action. This does vary across businesses and industries, but an acceptable bounce rate should be between 40% and 60%. A high bounce rate will cause search engine algorithms to deem your content as irrelevant, which will in turn severely affect your ranking within the results.
Once again, our favorite tool Google Analytics allows you to measure all your pages’ bounce rate. Keep a constant eye on this one to make sure you’re keeping that percentage in a healthy range.
Just go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. If you notice certain pages clocking in above the 60% mark, it’s time to reassess their content and relevance.
Understanding SEO metrics can inform the rest of your content marketing strategy
Once you’ve got your head around the world of SEO and how to track your metrics, this knowledge can also be applied to your overall marketing strategy –– it’ll set you up to optimize content, and test other keywords and ideas as well. And, ultimately, tailor everything to your audience.
Some content marketing measurement tips to keep in mind as you go:
Track your conversions. Some things are easy to track, like social media followers, and search engine click-through. But it’s also important to keep an eye on all the potential places that customers can come into contact with your brand. This can include things like conversions to email subscriptions and share of voice on social media.
Analyse your data. Collecting and tracking your metrics in an organized, color-coded spreadsheet is a good place to start, but that’s just the beginning. You need to analyze your data to find where and how you can improve. Metrics will help you determine what’s working, what’s failing, and where you need to focus your energy –– but only if you take the time to painstakingly analyze every last one.
Take action, and keep it going. You then need to take these data-driven observations and use them to inform your marketing strategy from here on out. Your business’ content marketing strategy isn’t something you should just set and forget. It’s a living, breathing strategy that should be constantly evolving to match your audience – and your brand. You have all the tools in the world to help you stay on track, don’t let your hard work go to waste!
At Scribly, we’re experts on all forms of written content, whether that be blogs, social posts, or SEO-focused website copy. If you need a hand with SEO writing or crafting the perfect copy, get in touch with our team to learn more about what we do.