Monitoring SEO Performance is important for ensuring your site is healthy and competitive. Analyzing data, noticing trends, and making improvements to your site is the key to keeping it successful. Stagnation is death and change is growth, so it should be a priority to monitor the performance of your site.
But how do you do this? What is the best way to go about checking the performance of your site? What key insights should you be looking for? Have no fear! I’ll discuss that with you below and you’ll be improving your site’s metrics in no time!
Monitoring SEO Performance
Measuring your goals is especially important for improving SEO performance. If you know what your site’s metrics currently are and you know where you want them to be then that information can serve as the frame for your site goals.
Monitoring those same metrics as you work toward your goal will give you insight into how your changes are improving or hurting your site’s performance and will serve as a guideline to show you what is working and what isn’t.
Don’t get bogged down in technical wording and vague language. Keep your goals simple and easy to understand. The easier your goals are to understand the less time you have to bother with conceptualizing and the more time you’ll have to work on boosting performance.
Collaborate with others to help improve efficiency and productivity. I often want to take on projects on my own to ensure all tasks are done to my standards, but I have to remember that no one person can shoulder the burdens of the world on their own, they have to share the burden with others and lighten the load. The same is true for smaller goals. The lighter the load is, the easier it will be to make progress and you will reach your goals that much faster.
What are people doing on your site when they get there? Analyzing and understanding user behavior can be a valuable tool in seo analysis and can easily be done with SEO monitoring tools like Linkio.
Perform a website analysis to determine how people are interacting with your site and give yourself insight into the quality of your website and help yourself to understand what aspects of it need improvement the most. The primary goal of any site is for people to visit it and get the information they need so measuring these metrics will show you how well your site is meeting that goal. For the off-page activities it's a good idea to leave it to professionals and getting link building and blogger outreach services from agencies like OutreachMama in order to boost your online visibility and ranking positions.
Once you know what people are doing on your site you will know where improvements need to be made and this will allow you to streamline the improvement process. Remember to keep your goals in mind as the lens through which you view all data and to keep your goals simple to make reaching them as efficient as possible.
Time on page
This metric monitors how long people are spending on your page when they visit it. The time they spend on your site can be a good determiner of how effectively you are getting your information across, or if you should change the quantity of content in some way.
If your site is primarily for advertisement purposes, like for a restaurant or a party destination, then a low amount of time spent on your page could mean that you are efficient in delivering the information people need to get in contact with you and make use of your services. On the other hand, a higher time spent on a page could be from people having to search thoroughly because they are having a hard time finding out what they need to know.
If you are primarily a blogging site it is the opposite. A low amount of time spent on your page might mean that your articles aren't engaging enough to keep readers interested. A high amount of time spent on the page might mean that people are very engaged with your articles and are taking the time to read them in-depth and absorb what you have to say.
Pages per visit
How many pages are visited by each person that views your site is an important metric for those sites that have a lot of pages attached to them and intend for viewers to jump between them a lot.
If your site is primarily used to host gaming walkthroughs then a high pages per visit metric means people are actively using your walkthroughs and could be a good thing. On the other hand, it might also mean that people are spending a long time searching for the walkthrough or section they need and can’t find it. It isn’t enough to just track statistics; you also have to understand them which takes practice.
If the pages on your site stand-alone and are only meant to deliver a quick bit of information then viewers may visit that page and then move on, which is perfectly fine. That is a sign that your page is working efficiently and performing the purpose it was intended for.
Bouncing is when a user visits your site briefly but actually leaves before consuming any of your content. A higher bounce rate looks like a bad thing on paper, but in truth, this metric is a lot more complicated and difficult to understand than a simple answer like "higher is bad."
Bounce rate may be an indicator of website quality, but that is not always the case. The meaning of a high or low bounce rate is almost entirely determined by what your site’s intended purpose is.
If you created the site specifically for delivering necessary information very quickly, like an advertisement site, then a high bounce rate is probably a good thing, because users are getting what they need quickly and then moving on to make use of your services.
If your site has content that is meant to be engaged with thoroughly then the interface may need improvement or the aesthetic of your site might be due for an overhaul.
It is also possible that bounce rate is an entirely random statistic and should be ignored entirely. Meanings can be found in the data provided by this metric, but it is difficult to say whether they are the right meanings or if it truly has one at all.
How much of your pages people are seeing is an excellent identifier of page and content quality. If your site is engaging and delivers content that people are looking for then they are more likely to spend more of their time interacting with it. I spend a lot of my time online reading and I can confirm that if a site doesn’t provide what I’m looking for shortly after I click on it I will leave and move on to a different one, so it is important to make sure your information is easily available while being concise and direct.
If you are providing informational articles, then how deeply a reader scrolls through your site will provide a good understanding of the quality of your articles. Articles that don’t have as much scroll depth might need rewriting or it is possible that the subject matter just isn’t needed by the people viewing your site.
This is an important metric that, when understood and used right, can help you to make a large impact on the quality of your site and provide a guideline for the improvements that need to be made to your site as you move forward toward your goal.
Monitoring the metrics of your site is an excellent way to improve its performance, but there is more to keeping your site healthy and successful than keeping the content quality high. You also have to understand how it is performing in searches, how often it shows up when a person queries a search engine, which page it shows up on, and whether it shows up in search engine recommendations like the “people also asked” section. This is called website traffic monitoring and it can be done using seo monitoring software.
Once you have all of this information at your fingertips you can monitor how easy it is to find your site and how often it is presented to people looking for your content. Many tools can be used to monitor your search traffic that will give you all of that information and more, but the recommended tool to use is Google analytics.
Using Google analytics to uncover traffic insights
The vast amount of data that is provided by Google Analytics can be daunting to jump into, especially if it is your first time using their service, but the detailed information provided is very useful for determining website seo and it is a very effective seo software. You might feel a bit overwhelmed at first, but with a little practice and know-how, you will be sifting through that data and finding the important bits in no time.
Some of the more important features offered by Google Analytics that I found most helpful include monitoring site traffic, visits to your site per page, and Click-Through Rate.
You can search Google Analytics for your site’s traffic during a specific date range. So, for instance, you could see the traffic your site has gotten for its whole existence, or you could see how traffic was changed around the time you made a significant alteration to it.
You can also track which pages on your site are getting the most visits which will give you a good idea of which content is the most popular and can give you insight into why people visit your site in the first place. If you know why they are visiting then it makes it much easier to give them exactly what they want as efficiently as possible.
Knowing the click-through rate will tell you how many people have visited your site by clicking on a link to it from a search engine. If a lot of people are seeing your site in their search engine of choice then that means your page titles and meta descriptions are efficient and enticing enough to draw a lot of attention. If you aren’t seeing a lot of visits through this method then those are the first things to look at to improve your site’s performance.
Additional common SEO metrics
The metrics that I’ve already mentioned are important and provide a good understanding of your site, its health, and how it is performing, but they aren’t the only ones available. There is a vast array of metrics for you to inspect and use to your advantage.
Once you feel confident that your previous metrics have given you all of the information you can get from them it is time to seek improvement elsewhere. Below, you will find a list of additional metrics to help you improve your site and reach your goals as soon as possible so you can set new ones and continue to improve.
Domain Authority & Page Authority (DA/PA)
Domain Authority and Page Authority are proprietary metrics developed by Moz that can be viewed by using their seo tools. Domain Authority is a score used to determine how highly a website will be placed on a search engine. Page Authority determines the same quality but concerning specific pages on your site instead of the site as a whole.
Domain Authority is a great metric to use to compare your site against its competitors and see how your seo ranking compares to theirs. If you rank significantly lower than them then that is a sign that you need improvements and it might behoove you to analyze their own site to see where improvements can be made on your own. If you rank higher than them this tells you that you have time to focus on more long-term endeavors to improve your site and stay ahead of the game.
Page Authority is very useful for comparing each individual page on your site and seeing which ones are better than others. A website is only as strong as its weakest page, so using Page Authority to find out which one that is and improving it will ultimately result in a stronger website altogether.
Keywords are one of the primary tools search engines use to find websites for their users when they input a query, so having the right keywords is very important to making sure your site is found and used. Something that should take priority while improving your site is keyword rank monitoring using seo monitoring tools.
Using very competitive keywords may be an attractive idea that seems like it would be very effective in making your site more noticed, but this is not always the best idea. Instead, you should be looking to use longer-tail keywords that will specify exactly what kind of information you are delivering to your viewers or really detail what kind of product you are selling.
Not only will viewers appreciate this, but it also makes it more likely that your site will appear when a user inputs a very specific query into their search engine of choice.
Number of backlinks
Backlinks are links that lead back to your site from other websites. Having more backlinks increases the chances that your site will be found by visitors to other sites, but this is a case of quality over quantity.
More is obviously better, but you really want backlinks that lead to your site to be on websites that are just as good as your own site. That way, if both sites rank highly, then your chances of being found have just doubled, and your chances will continue to increase exponentially depending on how many high-quality backlinks you have leading to your site.
How to track these metrics
These kinds of metrics are tracked using specific tools, like Moz’s Pro Tools which have already been mentioned. One of the cool things I enjoyed about Moz’s tools is that their data can be used in combination with something like Google Sheets, Google’s online equivalent to Microsoft’s Office Excel.
Using the data provided by Moz’s tools with Google Sheets allows you to very quickly visualize and conceptualize how your site is performing and monitor the important data all in one neat and tidy database that you can manipulate however you like to find the insights and information you need at any given moment.
Some of my colleagues turn to Ahrefs for all their SEO and auditing needs. This is one of the tools that are must have for any SEO pro.
Evaluating a site’s health with an SEO website audit
One of the most important things you can do to find opportunities for improvement on a site of your own or one you are working on for someone else is to perform a seo audit on the site using a search engine’s tools like the google seo tools. You don't want to just make improvements to your site one time and leave it as is afterward, you should make it a habit to perform a seo site checkup regularly.
Google provides an excellent tool called “Google Search Console” which will provide you a wealth of information on how Google views your site and will even point out areas of your website that can be improved to increase the engagement of your users and parts of your website that are throwing errors that need to be fixed.
Search engines do the searching for their users. Part of that process is “crawling” which is done by a bot that will follow links to new websites. Once the bot finds a new website it will read that site and search it for keywords. Once the entire site has been read it will be added to the bot’s index of websites.
The bot follows an algorithm for this process and once your website has been read by the bot it will be ranked according to that algorithm. Where your website ranks will determine how often the bot comes back to check for updates on your website.
Unfortunately, it is possible that during the creation of your website it can block bots from adding the website to their index which makes it impossible for your website to appear in a search engine. Ensuring that your site is crawlable is one of the most important things you can do for your site and is something that you should check immediately if you haven’t already.
It is possible for your site to be crawlable but for pages to be resistant to indexing due to a line of code that prevents it. Searching specifically for your website and each webpage on it will help you to determine if it is possible for your site and pages to appear in a search engine and is certainly worth doing if you think this might have happened.
Simply query your search engine of choice for the specific address of your site and for each of the webpages. If they show up in the search results then they are fine and there is no need for further investigation. If some of them don’t show up then you may have to investigate their code to see if they are stopping bots from indexing them.
Page titles & meta descriptions
The title of your page is like its face. It is the first thing a potential viewer will see and it tells them exactly what the page is. This makes it easier for them to find out if your page is the page they need or if they are looking for something else, so you want to make sure it is as enticing as possible if you want viewers to look at your site instead of someone else’s.
The meta description for your webpage is a brief description of what a potential viewer will find inside. It is like a page title, but more descriptive and detailed, if only barely because meta descriptions need to be short and concise.
One of the areas you can make improvements to your site is the page titles and meta descriptions for each. You want these to be descriptive and enticing to a viewer, while also being concise and detailing exactly what they will find inside. If a viewer clicks on your site because your meta description or title says one thing, but they find something else then they won't be happy and this will likely affect the health of your site.
The content of your webpage will affect how quickly it loads. If your website takes a long time to load then most viewers will simply move on and choose a more optimized site or page to view. Try to avoid large, uncompressed images or videos when designing your site and make sure to regularly engage in website performance monitoring.
If you are experiencing slow loading on your page then the first thing you should look at is the graphics that appear on it and ensure that they are as compressed and efficient as they can be. A good way to test this is to use a website performance monitoring tool.
Ensuring that your website meets the needs of its viewers with an overall high quality will positively impact the health and success of your site and should be a primary concern when determining what to improve on.
If the content of your site is not better than your competitors then it needs to be improved upon. This is a good opportunity to scope out your competitors and see what kind of content they are providing so that you can compare it against your own and see where you need to improve.
Website pruning can improve overall quality
Something you may consider doing if your overall content quality isn't high enough for you is pruning your site. If you find old content that doesn't perform well and is of a lower quality than the majority of that provided by your site then you may consider removing it from your site entirely and not adding it back until it has been overhauled to match or exceed the other content you provide. Once you remove that content it will no longer be detracting from the performance of all of your better content.
Prioritizing your SEO fixes
Unfortunately, when you are making improvements to your site to increase its SEO performance it will be impossible to fix everything at once. This is why you need to prioritize your fixes and ensure that you are making changes and improvements to things that need to be worked on first.
There’s no point in slogging through all of the content on all of your webpages to edit for more keywords if all of your webpages are blocking indexing, for example.