5 SEO Metrics To Track – And What They Can Tell You About Your SEO Performance


Putting lots of marketing dollars towards your SEO strategies and not seeing results? Or, worse, are you unsure which metrics to look at to know how you’re performing at all? Part of the reason SEO can be such a frustrating marketing tactic is there are lots of different ways to approach it, conventional and unconventional wisdom and strategies, and plenty of differing opinions on the best way to do things. However, there are 5 very rudimentary metrics that are worth understanding. Not only can they tell you how you’re performing overall, but each metric can tell you very specific things! Read on to learn more about decoding the secret world of SEO metrics.

Organic Traffic 

What is it? You might be tempted to just look at the overall traffic coming to your website, but there’s a more zoomed in way to assess the traffic coming to you as a result of your SEO efforts. Organic search is just the amount of traffic coming to your website from organic sources, which in this case is a bit of a catchall term used to describe unpaid sources. Other traffic sources include paid traffic (from any paid sources like ads), social traffic (traffic from social media, as the name suggests), direct traffic (people who type in your website URL directly into their browser), and referral traffic (someone who clicks a link to your website on another website). 

Where to find it? Google Analytics or Google Search Console

What does it mean if it goes up or down? Something happened with your SEO to impact the amount of organic traffic. It can be hard to pinpoint exactly what that might have been, but there are two easy places to start looking. Start by checking to see if you’ve gained or lost any keywords you were raking for, or if there are any new technical issues detected with your website. 

Average Clickthrough Rate

What is it? This metric is used to calculate the number of people who saw your website in the search engine results page (commonly abbreviated as a SERP) and actually clicked on it to visit it. It’s a formula calculated by dividing the number of impressions (aka people who saw your website in the SERPS) by the number of clicks, and then multiplying it by 100 to make it a percentage.

Where can I find it? Google Search Console

What does it mean if it goes up or down? One of two things: either your website has improved or declined in rankings, (which means the number of impressions subsequently has gone up or down too), or, your clicks have gone up or down. It’s hard to improve your clicks directly, as Google can place all kinds of SERP features like questions and other things in there that have potential to impact how likely someone is to actually click on your website from the SERPs. 

Keyword Rankings

What is it? As the name suggests, keyword ranking is a measure of how well your website is ranking for specific keywords. The exact keywords that matter to a website and should be tracked will vary depending on a bunch of different factors, so we can’t tell you exactly what you should be tracking in this blog post.  

Where can I find it? There are free tools that can help you do this and work pretty well, but paying for SEMRush is worth the investment in our opinion – their keyword tracking tool lets you enter the keywords that are important to you, plus the Keyword Magic tool shows you the keywords you might not have ever thought of (and no, they aren’t paying us to say this, we really do use it, and it’s really that good!). 

What does it mean if it goes up or down? The Google algorithm Gods have judged you, and they have found you either lacking or pleasing. While large downward trends in rankings changes definitely indicate something weird is happening to your website, the truth about algorithm updates is that there are a ton of them happening every single day behind the scenes. The big ones with names (such as the Helpful Content update), we generally get warnings about. But if you notice that you’ve dropped places in rankings in one day, don’t worry too much about that. Pay more attention to what’s happening in a 6 month to one year span when it comes to rankings specifically.

Referring Domains

What is it? At its simplest, this is the number of websites (aka domains) that are linking back to your website. While you can have multiple backlinks from one domain, there will always only be one referring domain. The higher the number of referring domains linking back to your website, the better. 

Where can I find it? This one is slightly harder to find – some free services have it, but our favorite is SEMRush.

What does it mean if it goes up or down? If this goes up, it means more people are linking back to your website, which is fantastic! Usually, that means they find your content valuable and they want to direct their users to it. If this number goes down, usually it’s because people are cleaning up old backlinks and referring domains. While it’s not a huge cause for alarm if your number of referring domains goes down, it’s worth paying attention to how many of these your website has, because this is a ranking factor for Google.

Core Web Vitals Score

What is it? This is a report generated by Google that tells you some really important things about the technical side of your website. How quickly does it load? Do the elements work correctly? There are a lot of individual elements included in the CWV report, but generally, they’re all measuring user experience and site performance and speed. Since a lot of these are ranking factors, this report is incredibly important and your scores are worth paying attention to.

Where can I find it? Run a free report of your website at the Google PageSpeed Insights page to see how your site ranks and what you can do to improve it. You’ll also want to navigate to the Core Web Vitals tab on the Google Search Console dashboard to see individual pages that have been flagged as problematic by Google’s search crawlers. 

What does it mean if it goes up or down? This is the easiest way to tell if you have technical SEO problems. Web Vitals are meant to showcase where the problems with your website are and what exactly they’re impacting. If your Web Vitals metrics improve drastically, something has likely been fixed on the back end of your website (yay!), if something dramatically slows down or breaks, there’s probably something wrong and it should be addressed and fixed. Luckily, these reports should give you plenty of information to work with. 

We Can Help

Still not sure which SEO metrics will make the most difference to the success of your strategy? Our marketing experts can help! Contact us today to see how we can help you grow.

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