Whether you’re running a big corporation or a small start-up or any-sized company in-between, a strong online presence is crucial in order to be successful. For years, the concept of SEO, or search engine optimization, has been hailed as the end-all solution to cracking the online presence puzzle. Nearly every company has jumped on the SEO bandwagon, hedging their bets and covering their bases to best improve their company’s odds of appearing ahead of their competitors online. If you haven’t began implementing an SEO strategy for your company or business, you should. NOW.
Now, before you jump right in, you may be overwhelmed as to where to begin. Over the years, SEO has become more sophisticated with more and more metrics and analysis. If you’re new to SEO you’re likely clueless as to what metrics you should be focusing on.
- Average Keyword Ranking
The first thing to know about search engine optimization is keywords. These are the words or phrases you want search engines and web users to use to find and land on your website. These need to be carefully researched beforehand making sure they are relevant to your business and aren’t too competitive. Keywords are what search engines like Google use to “rank” websites on search results pages, or SERPs. The goal is to rank #1 for a keyword. The higher one’s keywords rank, the more visibility and subsequently more website visits and conversions a company will get.
In Google Search Console, a free tool for webmasters, one can see the average ranking of all their keywords in a Search Analytics Report. Look at your keywords that have a ranking less than 10 (only 10 rankings will be shown on a SERP page). These are your keywords that are on the first SERP page. If you have keywords on the second page (rankings 11-21), you can also focus on improving them as well by utilizing internal link building and promoting your page content on social media. SEMrush also has a keyword tracking tool that is updated daily and gives you the ability to monitor the keyword rankings of competitors.
- Organic Traffic of Your Website
There are two types of traffic, organic and paid. SEO is concerned with organic traffic, or website visitors who found your site themselves without being drawn in by an ad. There are multiple things that play into how easily your website is found online and how successful it is in generating clicks and conversions. Fortunately, in Google’s Search Console, many of these crucial metrics can be calculated and analyzed. Some of the ones you should pay special attention to include:
Organic Traffic. How many people are finding and clicking through to your website? What is their location, demographics and device they used? What keywords and landing page has generated the most clicks and site visits? With the Organic Traffic Report, you can get valuable insights into who your site visitors are, the keywords they used to find your site, the pages they clicked through to and stayed the most time on, the device they used and where they are located.
Conversions. The goal of SEO is to get conversions. In Google Search Console, you can find out a lot about what keywords and landing pages convert as well as demographics of the website visitors who convert. You can learn the age, professions, lifestyles, marital status, education and location of your customers that may cause you to alter your SEO strategy. You can also learn what device your website visitors used and what computer browser they used.
Conversion Goals. In Google’s Search Console, you can set a conversion goal and monitor how well you’re doing and where you may be falling short and need to make the appropriate improvements.
- Click-through Rate (CTR)
The purpose of doing SEO and getting your website to rank high in SERPs is to get people to click-through to your website. In Google Search Console’s Search Analytics Report, you can see how many people click on your links from SERPs. This will give you an idea on how relevant, useful and appealing your webpage content is. A high click-through rate is often correlated with site visitors converting. A low CTR can indicate a mismatch between the webpage content and the page’s title and meta description in the SERPs and result in a high bounce rate.
When looking at CTR, it is a good idea to look at what webpages on your site and keywords get the most clicks and which ones get the fewest. For those that aren’t generating many clicks, do some investigating and optimization of those pages and keywords.
- Number of Pages Crawled and Indexed Google Search Console
You can put in all the time and resources to fully optimize your website, but if it isn’t crawled and indexed by Google robots, it doesn’t exist and all your work is for naught. The pages of your site don’t “exist” they can’t be ranked and show up in SERPs.
In Google Search Console, you can see how many of your website’s pages have been crawled each day for the past 90 days. However, there will likely be problems if you have thousands of pages on your website. In these instances, the Google robots will likely only crawl a small number of them.
After Google robots crawl a webpage, the page’s content then gets indexed in Google’s search database. When a web user does a web search, the Google search engine will go into this database to bring up search results.
If your website gets crawled, its content will get automatically indexed into the database. However, there are instances when it can take a while for it to be indexed. There is a way to manually submit your webpage for indexing. This manually index submission can be done in the Google Search Console.
- Duplicate Titles and Descriptions
Duplicate titles and meta descriptions are big “no-no’s” in SEO. This goes back to the crawling and indexing of websites by Google robots. When these robots go through and index webpages, they categorize and store the content and keywords of those pages. When webpages have the same identical content, titles, descriptions and keywords, the search engine doesn’t know which one to store and show in search results and which one to ignore. It may seem like using duplicate content on multiple pages of your site will boost your rankings, but in reality, it pits those duplicate pages against one another, lowering the ranking of both. In Google Search Console, you can see if you have duplicate content and which pages are affected. Update the pages so they each have updated, unique content, titles and meta descriptions so they can be crawled and indexed by search engines.
- Bounce Rate and Top Exit Pages
Whether you’ve been in sales or not, you know that a high bounce rate is bad. In Google Search Console, you can get a report on the bounce rate of all the pages on your website. With this information, you can begin to make adjustments on those trouble pages. Related to the bounce rate are the pages where most people are on before leaving your site. These pages may also be the same pages that have a high bounce rate. Knowing which pages of your site are the common ones where people exit your site can help you do some investigating and make some changes to the page.
- Crawl and AMP URL Errors
For your website to get attention from Google, the Google robots, also called spiders must have access to “crawl” each page of your website. If a page isn’t crawled, it in essence, doesn’t exist. A page that doesn’t “exist” can’t be included in SERPs.
Sometimes things can get wacky and a page URL becomes inaccessible to a Google robot. Fortunately, you can check this in the Google Search Console.
It is now expected that a website’s webpages are to display properly on mobile devices. These webpages are called Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMPs. Because more and more web users are accessing the Internet via their smartphones, Google has now integrated a site’s AMPs into its search results ranking algorithm. In addition to AMP errors, you should also check the mobile usability report, also in Google Search Console. This report will let you know what problems people experience when trying to view or access your site on their mobile device. Fixing these problems will improve the user experience of your website and cut down on your bounce rate. If you’re not making your site mobile friendly, you’re not only missing out on a big group of prospective customers, but your site won’t be ranked as high on SERPs even if you’re doing everything else right.
- Trust Score and Number of Quality Inbound Links
In the Domain Analytics of SEMrush, you can check the quality of the inbound links to pages on your website in the Backlink Overview Report.
Links are important to boosting your SEO rankings, but not every or any link will do. You want links that link back to reputable, trustworthy sources. Google search engines are built to detect when the content on a webpage is stuffed with low-quality or dangerous, scammy links in an attempt to boost the page’s visibility or to fulfill their end of a link-baiting scheme.
When it comes to SEO, the quality, not quantity of your backlinks are what matters. If you scatter a few, high-quality, relevant links to trustworthy pages, both search engines and web users will better trust your website.
You can check the quality or trustworthiness of a link and a page it links to using SEMrush’s Trust Score. The Trust Score measures the trustworthiness of a domain using a scale from 0 (the least trustworthy) to 100 (the most trustworthy).
When it comes to measuring SEO success and tweaking areas that need improvement to make your website more visible in SERPs, there are many metrics available. For those new to search engine optimization, it can be overwhelming in discerning which metrics to focus on. Ones on keywords, organic search, backlink quality, crawl errors and bounce rates are just a few of the crucial metrics to consider paying attention to. These SEO metrics will give you important insight into the quality and effectiveness of your website.
Search engine optimization can take up a lot of time and resources. At Aktify, we can help your company secure quality leads off-and on-line through a variety of tactics including the use of social media and giveaways. We specialize in bringing back “dead” leads and converting these leads into paying customers. With Aktify, you can invest more into an SEO strategy while not letting go of your offline sales initiatives and goals. Contact us today to learn more about us and how Aktify can help your business grow its sales through resurrecting dead leads.