With the introduction of new search engine algorithms (Penguin and Hummingbird), transition to secure search, EMD update and increasing popularity of social media channels, several metrics (for example, keyword data, exact match keywords) that were considered as the determining factors of SEO success become ineffective now. Here are the six metrics that matters most for optimization today and helps you to improve your online business.
- Search Engine Result Page (SERP) Ranking – Search engine rank is a metric that is more widely focused on than others metric. Though top ranking for your major keyword can cause an adrenaline rush, this metric alone cannot bring meaningful benefits unless it lead to other metrics that truly matter.
- Backlinks – Incoming links or backlinks are an important part of Google’s algorithm for website ranking. Here you should remember that the focus should be on quality and not quantity. The focus should be on building high quality, relevant backlinks t improve your search ranking. A single link from a clean (free from viruses and malware), relevant and reputable website is more valuable tha hundreds of links from smaller, lesser known websites.
- Traffic – The number of visitors coming to your website or website traffic is very a crucial metric. The most widely used statistic is visits per day which is often compared with month-to-month or year-over-year visits and paired with frequency of visits, return visits or daily return visits. You can use analytics software or built-in features (for example, Google Analytics, Facebook Insights) to view daily or monthly traffic, their sources, visited pages, audience, referral traffic from social networking sites and more. It is very important to analyze traffic by device (desktop, smartphone, tablets and more) and by browser (Safari, Firefox, Chrome and more) so that you can optimize you site for the device and browser which brings more traffic.
However, mere numbers are meaningless. What you should really do is find out which keywords are bringing in more traffic, which web pages are doing best, and so on. But with Google’s recent move to make all searches secure, keyword data is no longer passed to websites and it could be difficult to track users by the keywords they use.
- Bounce Rate – When a user visits your website and leaves quickly, that’s a bounce. The bounce rate is the proportion of the number of visitors that bounce from your website compared to the number of visitors who stay for a long time. So the goal is a lower bounce rate which can be achieved by improving your title tags and Meta description tags. This will ensure that users who are not interested in your website do not click through to it and those who click through would get the results they want. You can use Google AdWords to view bounce rates of your campaigns and ad groups along with the Click-Through-Rate (CTR).
However, a low bounce rate, traffic, backlinks and rankings are only ‘intermediary metrics’ only if they lead to the other metrics discussed below.
- Conversions – If a visitor comes to your website and perform an action you want (for example, buy a product from your e-commerce site), you have achieved a conversion. More traffic means greater potential for conversion. Likewise, all the other metrics mentioned earlier pave way for this metric. Conversion rate is measured in two ways – one-per-click, means measuring a single action as for instance, leads and sign ups, and many-per-click, means measuring multiple conversions per click and useful for measuring conversions every time they happen for e.g., purchases. You can create goals with Google Analytics and verify them to view the conversion rate for the 7 days from which the goal was set up. You can also import goals from Google Analytics to Google AdWords and view many-per-click conversions:
- Profit – Suppose you have good conversion rate for your e-commerce site that sells jewelry items. You assume your business is going well and continue with conversion optimization steps. But, what if you find you are selling 10 necklaces worth $1000 each and 50 pairs of earrings worth $250 each per month. So focusing your SEO efforts on earrings would earn you more profits. The bottom line is that rankings, backlinks, traffic, and even conversions would matter only if they boost profits. So if need to measure profits generated by your SEO to know where to focus your efforts.
So your online success can be ensured by focusing on the metrics that matter. It can be difficult to keep track of the factors that are influencing the performance of your site. A professional SEO company can help you do this and focus on the metrics which will bring you the results you want.