Meticulous Metrics: The Key Elements Missed When Measuring SEO Results
Google has evolved into an irresistible force online, so much so that as much as 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, according to Databox.
Of course, the power of search engines is no secret to website owners and marketers alike. Today, SEO is the focal point of just about every marketing campaign conducted, with businesses investing heavily in building comprehensive link-building strategies and optimizing their pages accordingly.
One of the most significant issues surrounding SEO, however, is the difficulty marketers can experience in accurately tracking the performance of their efforts. From oversights in keyword research to flawed backlinks analysis, the SEO landscape is so rich and nuanced. It can be extremely difficult to track all the aspects involved in measuring effectiveness.
For many, especially the smaller businesses and startups among us, SEO strategies can be virtually impossible to track. However, large companies, too, can easily fall into the same traps.
With so many metrics available, which significant insights are users missing out on when measuring their results? Let’s take a deeper look at some of the key elements of search engine optimization that businesses are missing from their reporting:
Identify Which Pages Are Putting Visitors Off
The vast majority of measurable results that marketers engage in when it comes to SEO are traffic-related. This is because website traffic tends to act as the most efficient litmus test to how your SEO is performing. Getting more audiences to decide to navigate onto your pages helps to put them straight in front of your branding and messaging.
Unfortunately, many marketers are guilty of letting their guard slide once traffic starts arriving on pages, and they subsequently fail to take the time to see what’s actually causing them to depart without converting.
At the end of the day, most websites are focused on getting as many quality customers as possible, be it a SaaS business or a casual blogger.
The two important components to review here are "Bounce Rate" and “Exit Rate”.
These two may sound similar, but they’re actually quite different.
Bounce Rate: illustrates the percentage of single sessions, meaning visitors abandoned the website after viewing one page
Exit Rate: shows the percentage of exits on a particular page
Both metrics are capable of identifying underperforming pages.
Google Analytics can act as a great resource for discovering more about your website as a whole. Still, the wealth of data available to website owners is so vast that it’s commonplace for SEO professionals to go months without exploring certain metrics.
However, Google Analytics provides an excellent and fully actionable insight into the pages of your website that are actively putting visitors off.
Page exit percentages help to provide an insight into what page visitors were browsing when they make the decision to navigate away from your website. The information relating to exit percentages is readily available on Google Analytics, and the data comes alongside an average percentage for all page exits on your site - for ease of reference.
It’s important to move quickly in investigating the various pages of your website that are drawing disproportionately high volumes of visitor exits. This could be down to poor linking, shabby content, slow load speed, or broken images.
Likewise, if you find pages with a relatively low exit rate that have the potential to drive lead and conversions, it could be worth focusing your marketing efforts there.
Of course, it’s important to note the caveats. Some high-quality pages will draw a higher exit volume if it features a video, for instance, that’s drawn widespread attention on social media.
This would result in more visitors navigating onto your site with the sole intention of viewing the video. More will navigate elsewhere once they’re done, but a higher number of visitors could stay exploring your site, even if they’re represented by a marginal percentage.
Monitoring Your Authority
It’s ironic, in a way, that the primary goal of just about any SEO strategy is to boost a company’s visibility online and yet not everyone monitors their Domain Authority or Domain Rating to quantify their performance. Although neither of these impact your website’s visibility, they are useful in analyzing your competition and your progress.
Link building and content can all help to raise your website’s profile, but its success would be almost impossible to track but for the power of Moz’s DA, Ahrefs’ DR, SEMrush’s Authority Score or Majestic’s TF.
These metrics are based on numerous factors, but the most important ones are the quality and quantity of referring links.
Today, Domain Authority can open up plenty of doors for websites, especially if they’re a B2B endeavor. Some prospective clients flat out refuse to do business with low ranking sites while more collaboration opportunities will open up if their DA gathers momentum.
Because the quality of links you build are a significant factor in determining your DA, if you see your score fluctuating or falling, it could be down to gaining a backlink from an untrustworthy website. Fortunately, this metric helps to quickly identify if your website’s authority is falling and allows you to make quick decisions on how to mitigate any issues.
Double-Check Page Speeds
Usability is high on the agenda of many website owners and marketers alike, and checking the speed of pages is invaluable ahead of audits. But what about monitoring the speed of your pages after adding that new product catalog onto your website? Or when you installed a heavy plugin last month?
Websites are heavily affected by the addition of new content and plugins, as well as updates to the browsers that visitors use to access pages. It’s essential that you avoid losing out on customers by continually checking whether any factors have caused certain pages to slow down on both mobile and desktop browsers.
It’s well documented that the probability of bounce backs occurring increases significantly with every passing second that visitors wait for a page to load. Make sure that you never lose conversions for the sake of the odd second again by scheduling weekly checks of your website’s performance.
(Image: Think With Google)
Google’s Page Speed Insights is a great free tool that provides a healthy level of information pertaining to the pace of your site. If pages are showing signs of slowing down, act fast to prevent it from deterring customers.
Check For Duplicates
It’s possible to tap into the power of tools like WooRank’s Site Crawl in order to check the number of duplicated titles and descriptions active on your site. The key issue with duplicate content is that it sends the wrong messages to crawlers about their content.
If, for instance, you’re running duplicate meta descriptions on your pages, crawlers will essentially tell Google that each page is covering the same topic - thus negating the level of authority you hold in the eyes of search engines and your ability to rank for the topic in question.
Once again, the issue that many marketers hold in scouting out duplicate content is that it’s a monotonous task to undertake regularly. However, considering how your pages may underperform, it’s absolutely worth monitoring regularly.
Keeping On Top Of Crawlers
Google Search Console can highlight crawl errors. Naturally, it’s vital that search engines crawl your pages effectively in order to help them to categorize your pages accordingly and identify your SEO efforts.
Some marketers find themselves so consumed by their on-page SEO that they neglect the monitoring of issues with crawlers. On Search Console, it’s possible to access sitewide and segmented errors - enabling you to get to the bottom of any issues that may have occurred that are hindering the progress of a crawler. It’s imperative that these issues are ironed out immediately, or else your website runs the risk of losing search engine exposure.
In an online space where 93% of website arrivals occur through the medium of a search engine, it’s absolutely vital that website owners and marketers invest an appropriate amount of time into studying their SEO progress.
Metrics surrounding the use of keywords and traffic flow are highly regarded by professionals, but many experienced SEO practitioners still fall into the traps of neglecting important metrics that could make all the difference in creating more conversions and attracting more visitors.
The SEO landscape is ever-changing, and Google’s algorithms can boost the rank of a website in one moment, before severely penalizing them next. With such fickle fortunes for website owners, the only solution is to maintain your focus and assign more time in monitoring the metrics that have been neglected in the past. Websites can represent the primary source of income for many businesses, and it’s time to give them the attention they need.