Do you know if your SEO campaign is yielding an ROI?
If not, it’s likely because you aren’t keeping track of crucial SEO metrics like organic traffic & conversions.
Not only that, but tracking your results will let you know if your current tactics are legit or not.
If you notice that your metrics aren’t moving in the direction you want after a few months, it’s a sign you need to go back to the drawing board and adjust your strategy.
Here at The HOTH, we’re constantly tracking SEO results for our clients to ensure their continued success – which is how we knew that we improved this online store’s organic traffic by a whopping 10x.
If you want to duplicate these impressive results for your website or digital marketing clients, you must know which SEO metrics matter the most for your bottom line.
For instance, there are countless SEO metrics that you COULD track, but only a handful that you SHOULD track.
In particular, you should only focus on metrics related to organic traffic and the money you can generate from it.
In this guide, we’ll break down the most reliable ways & tools to track SEO results, so read on to learn how to monitor the success of your SEO campaign properly.
The Essential Metrics for Tracking SEO Results
There are plenty of metrics out there that some SEOs track but don’t matter much for improving your bottom line or enhancing your user experience.
An example would be exit rate, a metric that measures the percentage of web visits that end on a particular page.
Some SEOs believe that a web page with a high exit rate percentage means there’s something wrong with the content.
The only problem is the exact opposite could be true. It could be that users are getting exactly what they need from the page, which is why they chose to end the session.
Since the metric does not indicate whether one of your visitors left satisfied or not, it’s largely not worth paying attention to.
After all, the last thing you’d want is to delete or alter a piece of content that was working perfectly fine.
Unlike exit rate, here’s a list of the most crucial metrics for tracking your SEO results.
Organic website traffic
Web traffic breaks down into two categories, paid clicks and non-paid clicks.
Paid clicks come from PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns, and non-paid clicks come from SEO campaigns.
Whenever a user visits your website from the search engine results, they’re considered an organic visitor.
The word ‘organic’ represents that they clicked on a search result you didn’t have to pay for but earned through optimizing your content to rank better on search engines like Google.
Accordingly, measuring the number of organic visitors you receive is a strong indicator of the strength of your SEO strategy.
If your organic traffic is steadily increasing each month, you’re definitely doing something right.
Conversely, if your traffic remains stagnant despite your efforts, it’s a sign you need to try something else.
How can you keep track of your organic traffic?
The most popular way is to use Google Search Console’s ‘Search Results’ report, as it’ll provide you with a highly detailed overview of your organic traffic, including:
- Total number of clicks
- Total impressions
- Organic traffic over time
If you run an established and popular brand, you’ll want to apply a filter that excludes your brand name. That way, you’ll only see the organic clicks you received from SEO and not other marketing channels.
Another option is to use our free Website Traffic Checker.
Important note: Just because you’re seeing more organic visitors doesn’t mean that it’ll directly translate into more revenue.
In addition to optimizing your content to rank higher on search engines, you also need to optimize for conversions to generate revenue (more on this in a bit).
If you want to generate lots of organic traffic, then you should place a lot of importance on your target keywords’ position rankings on search engines.
Research has consistently shown that the first 3 Google results receive 54.4% of all clicks.
So if you want your organic traffic numbers to increase, you need to secure top-ranking spots for your most important keywords.
Which keywords matter most?
The general rule is the more relevant a keyword is to your business, products, or services, the more important it is to rank for it.
For example, if you provide mobile notary services in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – trying to rank in the #1 spot for the keyword ‘mobile notary pittsburgh pa’ should be at the top of your priority list.
Ranking for that keyword will provide your business with a ton of value, as it will generate organic visitors that you know are in need of the exact service you provide.
Climbing to the top of Google’s search results isn’t something that can happen overnight, which is why tracking your keyword rankings is extremely important.
There are a few ways you can monitor your position rankings, including our free Rank Tracker.
You can also use GSC by going to Search Results under the Performance tab.
From there, click on Average CTR and Average Position.
Scroll down until you see the Queries report, and you’ll get to see a complete breakdown of all the keywords you currently rank for on Google – including their position.
Click-through rate (CTR)
This metric is crucial for determining the effectiveness of your title tags and meta descriptions.
What are those?
A title tag is an HTML code tag that allows you to assign a title to one of your web pages. This title is what will appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) as the ‘blue hyperlink’ that users can click on to visit the web page.
A meta description is a brief line of text that appears underneath the blue hyperlink on search engines like Google. It serves to describe the web page’s content as well as entice users to click on the link.
Your click-through rate is a percentage that represents how many users chose to click on your result versus how many times it appeared in the SERPs.
For example, if your content appeared in the SERPs 100 times but only 3 users clicked on it, your CTR would be 3%.
You won’t be able to generate organic traffic if users don’t click on your links, even if you’re ranked in one of the highest spots.
That’s why you need to write relevant and compelling title tags that make users want to learn more. Also, try including calls-to-action (CTAs) in your meta descriptions to encourage users to click on your link.
For SEO, a CTR of 3% is considered good, and anything above that is excellent.
To view your click-through rates, head over to the Performance report on GSC to view your Average CTR. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to view the Queries report, where you can view your CTRs for specific keywords.
Average session duration (dwell time)
This metric is valuable because it provides valuable insights into your user experience and how well you satisfy a keyword’s search intent.
Dwell time refers to how long a user spends on one of your web pages/website before clicking back to the SERPs or closing the browser.
For example, let’s say that a user clicks on one of your blogs from the SERPs, stays on the page for ten minutes, and then clicks on the CTA that directs them to one of your product pages – where they spend an additional two minutes before buying a product and ending their session.
In this case, their session duration was 12 minutes between both pages.
This is a fictional best-case scenario, but the dwell time showed that they were clearly interested in the blog post – reinforced by the fact that they continued to explore your website and even made a purchase.
The average session duration of a web page compiles all user sessions into an average number to provide you with a preview of its effectiveness.
Dwell time should concern you when the average session duration of an important piece of content (like a long-form blog post) is less than a minute.
That implies that your content had one of the following issues:
- It didn’t satisfy the search intent behind the keyword
- The page loaded too slowly or was corrupted (broken link)
- The content was incorrect or not helpful to users
It’ll take a little more digging to determine the root cause of poor dwell time, but it’s always a sign that your content needs work.
However, it’s normal for some web pages to have shorter dwell times due to their nature, such as a lead magnet page offering a free download.
You can view your average session durations on Google Analytics by going to Audience on the left-hand menu and then clicking Overview.
All the organic traffic in the world won’t matter if your visitors don’t convert, which is why you need to keep close track of your conversion rates.
A conversion happens whenever an organic visitor decides to take further action by making a purchase, providing their contact information, or signing up for membership.
To make the data easier to digest, you can separate lead conversions from customer conversions.
Google Analytics is one of the best tools for keeping track of your conversions.
To do so, go to Reports > Acquisition > Traffic Acquisition.
However, doing this alone won’t enable you to view your conversion rates.
That’s because you’ll have to add them manually, which isn’t too difficult, luckily.
Click on the pencil in the top-right corner of the screen, and select Metrics.
From there, click on Add Metric, and select both Session Conversion Rate and User Conversion Rate.
You’ll want to view both conversion rates to get a solid overview of the strength of your content, product pages, and landing pages.
User conversion rate measures the percentage of users that triggered conversion events versus those that did not.
Conversely, the session conversion rate measures the number of sessions that triggered conversion rates against the total number of sessions.
Conversion rates between 2 and 5% are considered good, and anything above that is excellent.
If your conversion rates aren’t where you want them to be, then you’ll need to work on your CTAs, product descriptions, and landing pages.
Last but not least, you need to keep track of the number of backlinks you acquire, also known as your backlink profile.
This is especially true for Google SEO campaigns, as backlinks are a top-ranking factor for that platform.
If you want to penetrate the top 5 spots on Google’s SERPs, you need to strengthen your link profile with high-authority backlinks from reputable sources.
If you can’t seem to outrank a competitor despite your excellent content and flawless technical SEO factors, backlinks are likely the culprit.
You can use our free Backlink Checker to view the backlink profile of any website, including your own.
Link-building tends to be a challenging and time-consuming process, so you definitely need to make sure that your efforts are paying off.
After you secure a backlink placement on a high-authority website, you’ll have to wait for it to appear in Google’s index before it will affect your SEO.
The strength of a website’s backlink profile is measured by its domain authority (also called domain rating).
While this isn’t an official Google ranking factor, it’s one of the most reliable measurements used for backlink profiles.
Domain authority scores between 40 and 50 are average, 60 is considered good, and anything above that is excellent.
Final Thoughts: How to Track SEO Results
You must know how to track your SEO results if you want to run a successful campaign. Otherwise, you’ll have no way of knowing if you’re seeing an ROI or not.
The metrics mentioned in this article are the most important for tracking the success of your SEO strategy, so don’t forget to check them often.
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