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most important SEO metrics
most important SEO metrics

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) used in marketing campaigns optimizes the content’s visibility across search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. The values of SEO help determine the performance and ranking of the website and gaining organic results.

There are numerous SEO metrics covering different aspects of the search engine algorithm. These are tracked, measured, and monitored for changes after month over month. The analysis from SEO metrics helps you see the webpages’ performance, and you get to know which areas are doing great and which needs optimizing. Monitoring SEO gives you insights on which SEO strategy works best for your project and leads to organic traffic.

According to Google, there are nearly 200 SEO metrics, but we will cover only 15 in this article.

Here is the list of the 15 most important SEO metrics:

  • Keyword Search Volume
  • Keyword Difficulty
  • Organic Keyword
  • Organic Traffic
  • Traffic Value
  • Return Rate
  • Clicks
  • Cost Per Click (CPC)
  • URL Rating
  • Domain Rating
  • Backlinks And Referring Domains
  • Authority Metrics
  • Local Visibility
  • Page Speed
  • Mobile-Friendly And Ranking

1. Keyword Search Volume

The first SEO metric to note is the Keyword search volume. It shows how many times per month, a specific keyword has appeared in a targeted location’s searches. Keyword search volume helps you determine which keyword is commonly used by masses related to a certain topic.

Google Keyword Planner is the primary source of collecting this data, and in the tool, it is labeled as “Avg. monthly searches”.

Keyword search volume does not refer to the number of people that have used the same keyword, but it refers to the number of searches made over a month. For example, if two or three people search about gifts over a month nearly 100 times, then the search volume of the word ‘gift’ would be around 300 just by three people.

The keyword search volume varies over time and does not remain consistent for a whole year.  Take an example of “Christmas gifts”, when you look at the search volume of this keyword in a whole year vs December you will see a significant difference.

You can track changes with the online tool and see which keyword to use when. The tools available online also shows the search volume of a specific region or globally for better reach.

2. Keyword Difficulty

Keyword difficulty is also referred to as “Keyword competition” or “SEO difficulty”. This metric helps determine how difficult it is to rank among search results in a specific keyword category. Multiple factors are involved in this, such as content quality, page authority, and domain authority.

It is an important part of the whole keyword research process because knowing the search volume is not enough, and you should know your competitors too to rank better. Keyword search volumes help you find the keywords related to your content and keyword difficulty metric to choose the best keywords with equal competition.

You will find many tools online that can do the work. These tools determine keyword difficulty based on many factors and rank them from high to lower. However, every tool measures keyword difficulty differently and produces variant results that can create confusion. Some tools take the number of referring domains, analyze content or take into account the page authority of websites to determine the keyword difficulty of a specific term.

Therefore you should not rely on a single tool and do deeper research on keyword difficulty by analyzing the competitors.

3. Organic Keyword

In SEO metrics, an organic keyword is a keyword that attracts free traffic to the website. It is the opposite of pay-per-click (PPC) keywords where traffic is based on paid searches. Organic searches of keywords are considered valuable in SEO marketing as it brings more traffic with some targeted keywords without paying for searches.

Organic keywords are the ones that people often type in the search engines to look up certain information. In order to drive more traffic to the website, it has to be optimized according to the organic keywords.

Google’s algorithm keeps on changing over time, but one thing remains consistent, optimizing content with organic keywords. It is highly responsible for ranking the website higher on the search results because if the word people are looking for cannot be found on your website, then your website will not appear in the results.

Doing research on organic keywords is most important in order to find the words that people commonly use for finding information about a related product, service, etc. Organic keywords change over time but rarely because people use simple and related terms when looking up information.

You might have some know-how of what organic keywords to use related to your website because you are a researcher yourself and know what words to use in order to see the information. However, you still need tools to get hold of this SEO metric and find the organic keywords for your website.

4. Organic Traffic

Organic traffic in SEO metrics refers to how much targeted audience a website or web pages get each month. These visitors land on the page or website with free search results. Organic traffic contrasts the paid traffic, which is generated through paid ads on search results. Organic visitors find your website through search engines like Google or Bing or other sites instead of being referred by another website.

Organic traffic is generated by publishing high-quality and optimized content on the website and updated after intervals according to the new algorithm. Many SEO metrics come under this because the purpose of SEO is to rank higher on search engines and generate organic traffic. It is the SEO metrics that many wish to succeed in.

Google Analytics is a tool that you can use to analyze your website’s monthly organic traffic. It shows different website traffics by sources. The analysis report of organic traffic is considered important in SEO strategy because it helps you determine whether your strategy is working or failing.

Analytics by Google is a free tool to monitor your web activity and analytics each month. It can also be used to see the overall number of page visits, organic keywords that generated the most traffic, and traffic sources.

Besides this, there are many tools available online made by companies that give you an analysis of your website and help you see generated organic traffic each month. These tools use website data such as targeted keywords and how each generated traffic and calculate the number to estimate organic search traffic.

5. Traffic Value

After knowing organic traffic next comes the value. This traffic value SEO metric shows the value of organic traffic a website generated. You must know there are two kinds of traffic a website gets, organic and paid. If the traffic is all organic, then it has a high value. However, paid traffic takes some resources to invest first to get good results for the long term but it is not suitable to practice for a newbie website.

In the case of paid traffic brought by Google Ads, the cost of traffic from all keywords makes up the traffic value.  For example, if one keyword has 5$ CPC (cost-per-click) and the company buys the 500 visits by bidding on it in Google AdWords, then the single keyword will cost $2500. So, when you calculate all the keywords and their traffic together along with the target location, then the resulting number represents the traffic value.

One thing to remember is Google AdWords is like an auction where advertisers change bids all the time and prices rise and fluctuate. For such reasons, tools use the average CPC rate to calculate the traffic value metrics. Therefore, traffic value is an estimation to use as a comparison or reference purpose only.

6. Cost Per Click (CPC)

Cost per click (CPC), an SEO metric, shows the average cost per click of a paid search result on a specific keyword. It is a dynamic and volatile number that keeps on changing depending on the rise and fall of bidding advertisers set on their ads. Google AdWord is the tool to use for determining the authentic CPC at a specific time on a keyword. It displays the authentic CPC values of targeted keywords in the dollars.

CPC is important to know for purposes such as to see whether you get financial success through paid search strategy and how much resources you have to spend for this. The amount of investment on each keyword click determines the quality of the result. To make sure your investments are going in the right place, first identifying the cost and value of targeted keywords is important. Here the Google AdWords tool helps to identify and choose the clicks that are inexpensive and valuable. With the help of this SEO metric, you can put your resource in the right direction.

7. Return Rate

Return Rate (RR) in SEO refers to how many times the same person searches for the specific keyword in the same month or 30-day period. When looking for a return rate in a tool, RR represents return rate and RR1 refers to the keywords that are not searched repeatedly. However, RR2 and RR3 show that the keyword was searched two or three times within a month. It shows that the second one gets more searches than the first.

Ahrefs is the only tool that is used to measure the RR metric. You can use this tool to determine the RR of any given keyword. It also shows other SEO data such as CPC, volume, CPS, and clicks.

8. Clicks

Google has introduced various SERP features over the years and one recently is providing “quick answers” in search results. It lessens the time of research for users by preventing them from clicking links and instead of giving them specific information on the top of the results. Due to this new feature, the gap between search volume and clicks has become wide.

For a specific keyword such as “Boris Johnson age”, if you analyze the data on this keyword you will see the wide gap between search volume and clicks. If you search the keyword yourself, you will understand the reason yourself more clearly. Google will give you exact information on the top of the page that will prevent you from going through any links.

However, this cannot be said in every case if you search for something like, “best SSD laptop” then you will have to go through a few links to find the best information for yourself. In this case, you will see less gap between search volume and clicks on the stats.

Some SEO tools like Ahrefs calculate both paid and organic clicks that go to specific keywords. The difference between the two is important because when you see the results you will get to know that organic clicks have higher percentages than paid. People usually trust the organic links over ads for information.

9. URL Rating

URL rating (UR) of any web page shows the strength of its backlink profile on an algorithm scale. It is rated from 0-100, the latter being the strongest number. Both internal links and external links are combined to determine the URL rating of the target page. However, the process of evaluating both backlinks are different.

URL has a strong correlation with Google Rankings which means pages with strong URLs have higher chances of ranking on top of the organic search results. URL rating is determined with the help of Google’s PageRank formula that many tools available online use. These principles are as follows:

  • Number of links between pages
  • Damping factors
  • “Nofollow” attributes
  • Crawling web far and wide

The above formula has evolved since the launch and many tools use the same or simpler version of it. The more complex the formula, the more costly the tool will be.

To sum it up, URL rating is almost a perfect way to calculate the ranking of a particular page because it correlates with Google ranking well.

It is to note that, UR is a page specific metric as it only targets the page of a website. Whereas Domain Rating is associated with domain-level metrics that show website rating as a whole. You will see more in detail below.

10. Domain Rating

Domain Rating (DR) is for determining the strength of the backlink profile of a website on an algorithm scale. It can be rated from 0-100 with higher the number, stronger the Domain rating. The purpose of Domain Rating is to evaluate the link popularity of the targeted website.

It is a very useful metric when it comes to link prospecting because websites with higher link popularity are more valuable compared to low popularity link sites. Domain Rating is also referred to as the link popularity and estimation of a website’s ability to rank on top of the search results and get traffic from Google.

Through long research between Domain Rating and organic search traffic, it was proved that both have a strong correlation and help rank the site better.

11. Backlinks and Referring Domains

When it comes to the SEO performance of a webpage or website, backlink plays a great role. Your website performance would be much better if the backlinks are strong. If we compare two web pages, one with better content, fast loading speed, and less bounce rate while others have many backlinks of strong referring domains, the latter will have a better ranking.

An analysis study on 1 million Google search results showed that a number of referring domains and web page ranking has a strong correlation. Using backlinks to your website from reffing domains increase the traffic back to your website and improve ranking.

Backlinks and referring domains are some of the most effective search engine optimization strategies. At first, it might not give an immediate result but over time it shows positive results. Keeping track of backlinks and referring domains helps you understand the effectiveness of this SEO strategy much better.

12. Local Visibility

Local visibility SEO metrics are important for websites that are targeting a local audience with their content campaigns.  Multiple SEO metrics track local visibility to ensure the website is getting a targeted local audience. Some local SEO metrics are Google My Business insights, Google Maps Ranking, Session Location, and Google Maps Rankings.

Google My Business Insights is a tool that you can set up to track your GMB page and see how many times it appears in search results, directions, and number of calls.

Google Maps Ranking can be tracked by a rank tracker available online. It tracks the Google Maps ranking of your website and also shows you Google 3-Pack results according to your business location.

Session Location helps you see the exact location of your website sessions and evaluate the traffic that your website receives locally.

Tracking local visibility helps you gather data about your local audience and improve your website ranking among certain location search results. It can be done using different SEO tools that will show the areas your website has been searched from and the amount of traffic it generated from surrounding locations.

13. Page Speed

Page speed refers to how fast the content loads on each page of the website. By having a slow loading speed, the reach and clicks effects greatly. Page speed is a useful SEO metric that helps your website by tracking and monitoring its loading speed.

You themselves have had a bad experience while looking for information and coming across slow loading pages. The long loading time pages create a bad impression on the reader and increase bounce rate. A visitor quickly goes to another website that manages to load the content within seconds instead of taking a long time and loading content bit by bit.

Google uses these SEO metrics to determine the SERP ranking of your webpages. Page speed is different from site speed. It refers to the page views on your website and can be categorized into two parts, page load time and time to the first byte.

Page load time refers to the time it takes for the content to load when the visitor opens the pages.

Time to the first byte refers to the time it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of the page content from the webserver.

Page speed SEO metrics are essential to track in order to improve the performance of your web pages. Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool is the most commonly used tool to analyze page speed, and it also gives suggestions on how to improve page speed. You can use other online tools available for free online for analyzing the page speed of your webpages.

14. Engagement Metrics

Engagement metrics are important for your website as they indicate the success of your website. It also shows how well the content of your website along with the interest of the visitors. This SEO metric is related to the overall quality of your webpage content and profitability. A few of the engagement metrics are:

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate expressed in percentage refers to the number of visitors that click back or leave your web page without checking anything. Lower bounce rate = higher ranking

Page per visit

It shows the number of pages of your websites that an average visitor visits before leaving the site.

Time on Site

It is the amount of average time visitors spend on your web page.

These all show how a user engages with your website and helps you improve the lacking areas by tracking results every month. This plays an important role in ranking the engaging content ranks higher on search results as Google recognizes the content as of high value.

You can keep track of engagement metrics by using tools such as Ahrefs or AgencyAnalytics and improve your content accordingly.

15. Mobile Traffic and Ranking

Last but not least SEO metrics tracking mobile traffic and ranking. Optimizing your website for mobile browser has become important with Google’s switch to mobile-first indexing. Nowadays, nearly 60% of searches on the internet are from mobile. This section of SEO metrics helps you track the mobile-friendliness issues of your site.

Google and other search engines prefer to rank mobile-friendly sites higher on search results. Using this metric allows you to know If the mobile traffic remains even without any increase over time, or there are issues with the mobile-friendly website layout. It helps you to know what your target audience preference is. If your audience accesses your site from mobile then you should invest in a mobile-friendly layout of your website.

The Search pattern from mobile is different from the desktop. Mobile uses prefer voice search over typing and use fewer keywords. Approximately 20% of mobile users use voice search with minimum keywords. Tracking mobile traffic also helps your website rank on mobile-only search terms and show where your ranking lines or is mobile-friendly.

Mobile traffic and ranking are important SEO metrics to track to rank better on mobile search results. It can be done by using the online free or paid tool that analyzes your site and presents analytics about your website accessible from mobile and desktop over time. With the help of these SEO metrics by DgSol, you can improve your site for mobile users and increase traffic.