In search engine optimization, SEOs often refer to the following concept:
“If you can measure it, then you can improve it.”
Translation: Measurement is critical to search engine optimization success. And although every business is unique in its own way and every website has different metrics that matter, professional SEOs track several metrics to collect data about rankings, links and more in an endeavor to assess their SEO strategy and subsequently pave the road to success by making the necessary improvements and/or adjustments.
Some Universal Metrics that Every Business Tracks
Key to understanding the concept of recommended metrics to track is an understanding of KPIs, a term that you probably hear more often than any other in the nascent field of Web Analytics. KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators.
By definition, KPIs are financial and non-financial metrics that an organization can potentially use to qualify, quantify and measure its progress towards pre-set goals. As mentioned above, every business is unique so an important note here is to remember that there is no such thing as a universal list of KPIs that you can simply follow for organizational success. If such a list exists somewhere on the web, it’s either a guide or someone is putting up information that’s misleading. Think about it for a minute. Even if two businesses are in the same sector, they may have different goals and that will drive the need for different KPIs. In essence, what works for Jane might not work for June, figure of speech.
With that said, in this post, we’re only covering those metrics critical to optimizing for the search engines. So the following list of metrics is pretty “universal”. They would matter to any business in addition to other, more actionable KPIs.
1. The contribution of each traffic source for your site
- Direct navigation
- Referral traffic
- Search traffic
These numbers are critical to helping you identify weaknesses and compare data over time to evaluate and track your marketing and traffic acquisition efforts.
2. The contribution of each engine to your search traffic
Three engines make up over 95% of all search traffic in the United States: Google and the Yahoo-Bing alliance. Knowing the contribution of each engine to your search traffic is critical for several reasons. Let’s discuss two.
- First off, by measuring the contribution level of each engine, you can assess performance. Should your search traffic drop someday, knowing the relative and exact contribution levels from Google and Yahoo/Bing can prove to be essential to diagnosing the problem.
- Secondly, certain SEO efforts have better results with some search engines than others. For example, better keyword inclusion has more benefit with Bing & Yahoo! while specific anchor text links from different domains has a more positive impact with Google. By evaluating the performance of each search engine towards your overall search traffic, you can uncover tactics that have strategic value.
3. Visits referred by specific search terms and keyword phrases
The keywords that send traffic to your website represent yet another piece of your analytics pie. You want to keep a tab on these on a regular basis to be able to make out new trends, streamline your performance for key search terms and identify keywords and keyword phrases bringing in the most traffic. For example, certain keywords that are only in demand at specific times of the year, month or week.
4. Conversion rate by search term
When it comes down to organizational success, few metrics matter as much as conversion. With the above data, you can do two things.
- Check your rankings for the key search terms converting the most and improve these positions in the SERPs.
- Because analytics will also indicate to you what pages visitors are landing on, you can subsequently ameliorate these for a better visitor experience.
The value of this metric, as you can see, is tracking the keywords that continually send visitors who convert.
Measuring Metrics and Finding the Right Tools for the Job
From the above section, it’s pretty clear that choosing a web analytics software is a critical process. You have to make sure you have the right tools for the job. The key consideration is that no matter which analytics software you choose, remember to test different versions of pages on your site. The aim is to make as much improvement to your conversion rate as possible using the results. Testing pages on your website can be as simple as testing two versions of a page header. It can also be as complex a process as simultaneously testing hundreds of variants of a page.
Some free tools
- Yahoo! Web Analytics. This was formerly known as Indextools
- Google Analytics
- Piwik Open Source Analysis
- Mondovo (Free Edition)
The paid ones
- Moz Pro
5 Tools to Measure and Improve your Search, Brand and Content Marketing
While choosing one specific analytics tool from all the options available can be tough, Google Analytics is among the top recommendations because of it’s broad collection of tutorials and guides available over the web. Google Analytics also boasts the unique advantage of cross-integration with some other distinct and helpful Google products such as Webmaster Tools and Adwords.
Why choose Google Analytics
1. Know your audience
Your customers go everywhere and every step of the way, Google Analytics helps you thoroughly analyze and understand your visitors: where they are, who they are and how they are interacting with your pages.
Some of the available SEO tools:
Advanced Segments: Lets you segregate and analyze subsets of your traffic that led to conversions.
Audience Data & Reporting: Focuses on your audience: the kinds of people they are, how they find your content and so on.
Traffic Sources: Can be used to evaluate your referrals, direct traffic, organic search keywords and custom campaigns.
In-Page Analytics: Use it to see how users really behave on your pages.
2. Reach your business goals
If you need to assess the performance of your marketing campaigns across different digital platforms, Google Analytics can help you with insights into which campaigns are really driving visits, sales and other actions. Google Analytics is also equipped to help you send the right messages to the right people at the right moments through the use of tools like Remarketing and real-time reporting.
Some of the available SEO tools:
Data-Driven Attribution: Assigns values to marketing touch points across the customer journey.
Multi-Channel Funnels: Shows you the effects of your digital marketing activities including search, social, email and more.
Real-Time Reporting: See how many people are on your site right now, where they are based and what they are viewing.
Remarketing: Helps you narrow down on customers who have shown an interest in your products and/or services before.
3. Split-testing made easy
Google Analytics gives you insights you can turn into real results. So start testing! From marketing plans to a particular photo on your front page, Google Analytics has tools available that you can use split-test different pages and strategies.
Some of the available SEO tools:
Advertising Reports: Lets you see how well your advertising dollars are working
Content Experiments: Lets you test and compare variations of your pages to determine which designs bring you the most conversions.
In this digital era we now live in, insights into the pulse of your website and the source of your visits is essential to driving business growth and success. Piwik is a leading and valuable open source web analytics platform giving hundreds of thousands of businesses and organizations insights into their website’s visitors, marketing campaigns and much more. Websites that use Piwik include T-Mobile, Forbes and Sharp.
Why choose Piwik
1. Web analytics
Whether your site only garners a few visits a day or over a million, Piwik can help you gather valuable information about your users by tracking KPIs such as visits, conversion rates and keywords.
2. Ecommerce Analytics
Integrating Piwik with your ecommerce software can help you analyze revenue, conversion rates, average order values and other statistics. Would it not help to see which of your products are the most popular or have the highest conversion rates. Piwik makes it possible for you to extract this information in real time through a detailed Ecommerce log.
Some of the tools:
Real time data updates: Monitor in real time the flow of visits to your website and what your visitors are doing once on your pages.
Customizable Dashboard: Lets you create a new dashboard with widget configuration fit to your needs.
All Websites Dashboard: Perfect to let you see what’s happening on every website you own at a glance
Goal conversion tracking: This tool allows you to stay on your course and see whether you are achieving your goals.
Event Tracking: Lets you measure interaction on your sites and apps.
Site Search Analytics: Tracks searches performed via your internal search engine.