Top 3 Metrics Where Trends Matter in SEO Data
When you are sitting down to look at metrics, it can be difficult to decipher what trends really matter for SEO. You can follow trends in just about any situation, but that can be a daunting task and some are more important than others. To help with this, let’s look at three metrics where trends really matter for SEO success. Then we can look to a couple of examples where trends really shouldn’t concern you, and you can keep pushing forward with your strategy without having too much concern for trends in flux.
While there are many different metrics to focus on, according to other experts in the industry, the three on this list are almost universal—no matter what business you are in you will definitely want to turn your attention to these that matter most. As a marketing company, trends drive how we advise clients to improve their SEO and make necessary changes, much of what we focus on are found in these three metric trends.
3 Metrics That Matter in SEO
1. Search Engine Referral Traffic
The majority of website traffic that arrives through search engine referral comes from Google, Yahoo, or Bing (with Google being the top ranking, as you might anticipate). Search engines drive a lot of traffic, which is why we pay so much attention to them! There are a few reasons why paying attention to these trends can give you valuable SEO insight:
- Potential Drops. If something changes with your metrics in search engine traffic, it is something you want to look into closely. For example, if your traffic drops significantly at any point, you will want to know what exactly contributed to the drop from each search engine individually so that you can diagnose the issue. If for example, all engines drop off equally, the problem is very likely to be one of accessibility. If Google is the engine to drop significantly, while the others remain at previous levels, it’s more likely to be a penalty of your SEO efforts by that one singular engine.
- Identifying Efforts for Results. Another reason it is important to watch your search engine referral traffic trends is to see what SEO efforts are contributing to results. Some efforts are going to have a greater impact on Google over Yahoo!, and vice versa. Studies have shown that on-page optimization tactics such as keyword inclusion and targeting reap greater benefits with Bing and Yahoo!, compared to the results that they get with Google. Yet, gaining specific anchor text links from a large number of domains has a more positive impact on Google. The point of this is to say that if you can identify what factors are contributing to search engine referral traffic, and fluctuations in those trends, you are going to be able to optimize your SEO.
Further, you also want to keep track of the contribution of each traffic source for your website. Knowing exact numbers will help you identify any weaknesses and will also give you a basis for comparison over time.
- Search Traffic: Queries that sent traffic from any major or minor web search engine is one of the most obvious metrics that matter and also one of the most important.
In addition to search traffic, you also want to keep track of the following:
- Direct Navigation: Typed in traffic, bookmarks, email links without tracking codes, etc.
- Referral Traffic that comes from links across the web or in a trackable email, promotional, and/or branding campaign links.
In summary. It is clear from even two examples that search engine referral traffic (as well as direct navigation and referral traffic) is a trend to keep a close watch on for SEO goals, improvements, and changes.
2. Conversion Rates
When considering the most important metrics to look at in terms of SEO and overall business success, conversion rates are definitely one of the most important to keep close tabs on. In fact, in my opinion, they may be the MOST important to consider.
- Work towards improvement. Look to see how you rank in your industry or which products are doing better than others. Once you know where you stand you can make strides towards improving your position or adjusting how you are presenting products to your visitors.
- Landing Pages. When you look at conversion rate trends pay close attention to landing pages so that you can help to improve user experience on that page.
- Keyword tracking and beyond. You want to make it your goal to find keywords that continually draw visitors who convert to becoming paying customers. You want to focus on data like keyword tracking when it comes to conversion rates so that you can see what is driving the success, but remember; this isn’t the full story. If you look at all of the details associated with keyword tracking you can often discover even more interesting and applicable data, especially in considering how conversion starts and ends on your site.
3. Specific Page Data
In order to monitor your SEO performance, you absolutely need to know which pages are getting the most traffic and results for your site. This number also provides insight into the pages that search engines are keeping in their indexes as well. As such, this number really is a good benchmark for traffic success and gives insight into where things might need to be improved. Some things that people use page data trends to work on/improve include: Site architecture, link acquisition, XML sitemaps, uniqueness of content, and Metadata
With these improvements more and more of your pages should be making their way into the indexes of search engines, and this is clearly very important for SEO. You might say that looking at page specifics and how pages are receiving search traffic is the best long-tail metric trend around.
2 Metrics Where Trends Don’t Always Matter
- Email Marketing
Email marketing is incredibly important—there is no doubt about it! However, in terms of SEO metric trends to pay close attention to, the connection just isn’t all that important. Email marketing should be looked at it in its own marketing and conversion success terms. It is a strategy to pay close attention to, but one that may not directly increase or decrease your SEO as much as other metrics will. You want conversions and traffic from email marketing, but since most of these visitors are going to be coming directly from clients on your email list, search rankings are just not all that important.
- Social Media Traffic
Just like email marketing, social media marketing is important for directing people to your site and it can absolutely help your rankings. However, too much focus on these metrics takes away some of the focus you should have on aspects of optimization that is really going to help your website climb the search engine rankings and gaining query search traffic as well as links to your pages. Just like email marketing, social media marketing strategies and traffic gained from them should almost be viewed on their own terms. It is not that they won’t contribute to search rankings—they will—but their trends are just not as important to monitor as the three mentioned earlier in this article for actually improving SEO.