June 15, 2023
e9 digital’s Top SEO Tips: Analytics
Last week, we covered both sides of backlinking: how to link to the best external sites and how to get your website linked on other sites to build domain authority.
We’ve talked about how your website is a building. Think of the floors of your building as content. The more floors you build, the easier people can “see” your building and visit it.
You want your building to be one of the 10 biggest buildings on the block, AKA one of the top ten results in Google’s search engine results page (SERP).
But here’s a doozy for you: how do you know how to build if you have no way to measure the materials? If you’re just doing your best guess, you could be off by inches.
This may not seem like a big deal at the time but it could cause your whole building to lean like the Tower of Pisa later on! And while the Tower of Pisa is a notable landmark, it’s a terrible building. It leans further by .02 inches every year.
Just like a building in America is measured by feet and inches, your website building is measured by analytics. These analytics tell you what you’re doing wrong and right on your website, which in turn benefits your search engine optimization (SEO).
Am I Doing This Right? How Analytics Measure SEO Success
Web analytics, usually referred to as “analytics,” is the process of collecting and synthesizing data to improve your website in various capacities.
This definition feels so vague because analytics looks different for every company. There are hundreds of types of analytics you could measure but what matters is that your analytics fall in line with your business goals and KPIs (key performance indicators).
To narrow the immensity of the topic that is analytics, we’re gonna cover how analytics benefit your search engine optimization (SEO). Analytics are the compass to your SEO map and help you understand if you’re heading in the right direction.
Let Your Compass Be Your Guide: 8 Analytics to Measure SEO
The more SEO you implement, the more you’ll realize which analytics you should measure for your website. However, if you have no idea where to start, these 8 analytics cover the basic building blocks to measure your SEO success.
But don’t try to measure these on your own. You can look up the formulas and try but that’s a quick way to waste time and score a migraine. Instead, sign up for a web analytics service like Google Analytics 4 or Ahrefs (or both) to give you the data you need.
So, time to jump from the frying pan and into the fire and learn about these eight critical metrics for SEO.
Pageviews refer to the number of times someone looked at a page on your site. This has no indication of who was doing the looking, just the amount of times that the page was looked at. This can be helpful to get a general idea of how your SEO strategies are bringing people to your site.
There’s a more specific version of this metric called unique pageviews which combines the number of times the same user looked at the page in one session. So if they were on your website for 10 minutes and looked at the home page three times, then that would only count as one pageview.
Impressions are the number of times that your website showed up on Google’s search engine results page(SERP), which is the list of websites that show up after someone googles a query. You want your website to show up in the first ten search engine results for the keywords that you’re aiming to rank for.
Impressions don’t mean that the user clicked on your website but it’s an early indication that your current SEO tactics are working.
3. Website Conversion Rate
The website conversion rate measures the number of people who follow through with one of the most important actions on your website.
The web conversion rate looks different for every website. If you have an ecommerce site, someone purchasing a product is probably the most important action on your website. But if you’re a wedding photographer, it could be someone filling out the contact form because they’re interested in meeting you to learn more.
4. Bounce Rate
The bounce rate is basically the measurement of boredom. Bounce rate covers the number of people who leave your site after looking at one page.
You could have a high bounce rate because
- Your home page is too confusing to understand
- You’re ranking for the wrong keywords
- You have too many external links that are driving traffic away from your site
5. Click-Through Rate
The click-through rate (CTR) measures the correlation between who sees your website and who actually clicks on it.
The higher you rank on a web page in SEO, the higher your CTR will be, so this can be a great metric to indicate improvement.
For example, if your website’s CTR jumps from 2.3% to 13.3%, that’s an indication that you’re ranking higher on Google’s SERP. Typically, the higher the CTR, the higher the website ranks on Google.
6. Keyword Rankings
Keyword rankings indicate your website’s position for a certain string of search terms. You must track your keyword rankings to see if you’ve selected the right ones to aim for.
And if there’s an unexpected drop in ranking, it can mean that Google has hit you with a penalty. To fix that, go to Google Search Console and click “securities and manual actions.” Then, the problem should be listed in the manual actions section.
Other common keyword ranking issues include someone else outranking you, an algorithm update, or major website changes. So if you plan on completely redoing your website or updating optimized content, know this will impact your current SEO rankings.
7. Traffic Sources
Traffic sources highlight where people are coming from to view your website. This could be socials, organic search, referrals, banner ads, paid search, and more.
You need to know which type of traffic brings in the most people, but ultimately you want to spend the most time beefing up your organic search. This is the traffic source that shows if your SEO strategies are working or not.
Content is one of your key traffic sources to attract visitors to your website. If you don’t have a blog, consider working with a digital marketing agency to create articles and other types of content to drive traffic to your site.
8. New vs. Returning Visitors
This is technically two different analytics but you want to know which of your visitors are new to the site and which ones are returning. Your returning visitors show that you’re creating a product that’s helpful, and new visitors show that you’re doing the right SEO to attract people to your site.
There Are Many Metrics In the Sea: How to Choose Website Analytics
Does your head hurt yet? This is why so many people don’t want to be behind the SEO wheel and instead hire a digital marketing agency to cover SEO for them. Because there are hundreds more of these metrics that need to be measured and assessed correctly to determine the proper SEO strategies.
At the end of the day, every business decides on analytics differently. If you want to choose your own analytics to measure, you need to consider
- What are your business goals and key performance indicators?
- What are the ways you’d like your website to improve?
- What is the benchmark you’re using to measure success?
Let’s say an art studio wants more students. To do so, they need to drive traffic to their website. The studio measures success through the website conversion rate as anyone who fills out the form for one free class on their homepage.
Measure Your Building: Get Started on Google Analytics
Before you can measure any analytics, you need to sign up for a web analytics service. One of the best ones to start with is Google Analytics. They promise to help you measure traffic and engagement across your web and corresponding apps.
One of the best things about Google Analytics is that there’s a free version that works for most small businesses. You can use it to figure out how to best spend the money you are elsewhere on Google, whether that be on your website or with PPC (Pay-per-click) ads.
If you find that the free version isn’t robust enough for your needs, there’s a comprehensive option called Google Analytics 360, which costs at least 50k/year.
The other thing you want to measure on Google is your search engine rankings. When there are big changes, that tells you when the search intent of your target audience is changing. You need to stay up to date with these changes and implement them in your SEO strategy.
If you want to pay for an option that’s a bit more user-friendly than Google, other highly-rated analytics services include
- Ahrefs: Great comprehensive service to do all your SEO in one place but there’s no free trial of the full product, only a cut-down version.
- Matomo: Open-source platform that gives you 100% data ownership but doesn’t have great customer support when issues arise.
- Hotjar: Collects data on how people use your site in real-time but the tool sometimes slows down page load time.
Don’t Let the Building Burn Down: Perform SEO Audits
Every year, your building has to schedule a safety inspection, where your landlord or building manager completes a walkthrough of the apartments to assess what needs to be updated and repaired to ensure it’s up to code.
Similarly, websites need the same type of care and attention but it’s called an SEO audit.
An SEO audit is a checklist of items you need to assess to ensure that your website has proper SEO. Different items in an SEO audit vary– and it’s up to you how often you want to check them.
You want to perform an SEO audit often enough to fix small errors like slow page speed or duplicate content. Small problems like these could cause bigger ones in the future, including broken links and Google crawl errors.
Most analytics tools have an SEO audits feature where you’ll be checking both technical and on-page SEO analytics, including
- Page speed
- XML Sitemap
- Mobile capabilities
- Schema markup
- And more!
Every SEO audit looks different but a professional could be checking 50 different elements in an audit. So, if you want to do this yourself, be prepared to spend a lot of time and energy on it.
Building SEO can take years, so you want to be efficient in your strategies from the very beginning to get the most bang for your buck.
You won’t design a building if you’re not an architect. The same idea applies to websites. For a stellar website that stands out from the crowd and reaches the coveted #1 spot on Google’s SERP (eventually), trust the SEO experts at e9 digital.
Our SEO strategies cover everything we’ve talked about in these articles, from websites to blogs to site maintenance to local SEO and more.