7 SEO Metrics That Every Marketer Should Pay Attention To

How do you pick the right met­rics for your busi­ness in a world of data over­load?

Richard Faderin By Richard Faderin from Linkdex. Join the discussion » 5 comments

In dig­i­tal we are obsessed with mea­sure­ment and data; there are hun­dreds of ways to col­lect stats on how web­sites per­form and how users are inter­act­ing with each site. It becomes easy to be blind­ed by data and hit a wall of num­bers. How­ev­er, data is only use­ful if you can extract insight from it that will help dri­ve your busi­ness for­ward. The best way to do this is to stream­line the infor­ma­tion you’re look­ing at to be only the most rel­e­vant and use­ful fig­ures to your over­all busi­ness goals. By fil­ter­ing out the noise, you can effec­tive­ly iden­ti­fy the met­rics that mat­ter and make strate­gic busi­ness choic­es backed by accu­rate data.

So, just how do you pick the right met­rics for your busi­ness in this world of data over­load?

Organic Rankings

The sim­plest mea­sure for under­stand­ing your organ­ic per­for­mance is to track your rank­ing posi­tions across tar­get­ed key­words. How­ev­er, this data is very gran­u­lar and can lead to those with a more top-lev­el view get­ting caught up in the detail. Google con­tin­u­al­ly tests and changes rank­ing posi­tions by a cou­ple of places so the data is sub­ject to exter­nal fluc­tu­a­tions. Sev­er­al fac­tors, includ­ing the time and loca­tion of a rank check, can skew the image you see. Instead, we’d rec­om­mend look­ing at your rank­ings hand in hand with a cou­ple of oth­er met­rics to real­ly see the full pic­ture.

Keyword Position Spread

Key­word Posi­tion Spread — The Key­word Posi­tion Spread of a site shows the dis­tri­b­u­tion of the key­word rank­ings across each posi­tion in organ­ic search.

To get a clear­er overview of your rank­ings, beyond indi­vid­ual posi­tions, a key­word posi­tion spread chart will enable you to see how you do across all terms. It is fair­ly typ­i­cal for a site to have sig­nif­i­cant­ly more terms in posi­tions 31+ than they do on the first page of the search results so you should see each cat­e­go­ry increas­ing in size as you get fur­ther from posi­tion 1.

This chart enables quick insight into the imme­di­ate SEO oppor­tu­ni­ty of a site. Lots of key­words in posi­tions 11–30 are referred to as ‘low-hang­ing fruit’ as often a few small SEO tweaks can lead to these mov­ing onto the first page of results — lead­ing to a sig­nif­i­cant increase in click through rate and vis­i­bil­i­ty.

A site with a fun­da­men­tal tech­ni­cal integri­ty issue, or inter­nal can­ni­bal­i­sa­tion of con­tent, will fre­quent­ly see that it strug­gles to rank for any terms on the first page of the search results. This is an ini­tial warn­ing sign that per­for­mance may be hin­dered by some­thing much deep­er on the site and a full audit is required. Linkdex has a page flux fil­ter which allows you to iden­ti­fy and mon­i­tor can­ni­bal­i­sa­tion issues:

Number of Ranking Pages

Num­ber of Rank­ing Pages — The num­ber of unique URLs which appear in the top 100 rank­ings posi­tions for any key­word.

Along­side look­ing at the num­ber of key­words, and their rank­ings, it’s impor­tant to also under­stand the val­ue of all of the pages on your site. A well-archi­tect­ed site, with effi­cient crawl­ing and key­word tar­get­ing, should see all of their pages per­form­ing for the appro­pri­ate key­words.

Com­pare the num­ber of rank­ing pages your domain has, to the num­ber of pages which appear in Google. A large dif­fer­ence should raise con­cerns that either the site is over-indexed or there is a reliance on a very small per­cent­age of pages in organ­ic search as equi­ty is not flow­ing around the site cor­rect­ly.

These sim­ple met­rics can be used along­side indi­vid­ual key­word rank­ings to get a clear­er pic­ture of how a domain is per­form­ing organ­i­cal­ly. It enables a bet­ter under­stand­ing of where these rank­ings are com­ing from, and what the big­ger pic­ture is beyond just a few focus key­words. This is essen­tial for track­ing the progress of an SEO cam­paign.

Competitor Comparison

As a busi­ness, you do not oper­ate in iso­la­tion, which means that under­stand­ing the per­for­mance of com­peti­tor sites is also key. Util­is­ing pub­lic met­rics to gain insight into how a competitor’s web­site is per­form­ing can act as a bench­mark for your own per­for­mance, and help you to iden­ti­fy new oppor­tu­ni­ties.


Click-Through Rate (CTR) rep­re­sents the per­cent­age of users who clicked on a link to your site from the SERP. Typ­i­cal­ly, the high­er a result is posi­tioned on the SERP, the high­er the chance that a user will click on it. Lots of research has been done on the aver­age rate at which users click-through to pages based on their posi­tion. In Linkdex, you can set­up your own CTR mod­els to get an idea of how much traf­fic you or your com­peti­tors might be get­ting based on your rank­ings. For exam­ple:

For an even more accu­rate view of CTRs, you can inte­grate your Google Search Con­sole account with Linkdex to see for each page and key­word, exact­ly what your aver­age CTR is based on real world rank­ings data split into mobile, tablet and desk­top.

Estimated Traffic

Esti­mat­ed Traf­fic — This met­ric takes the total search vol­ume for a key­word against the typ­i­cal click through rate for that posi­tion rank­ing to esti­mate the vol­ume of organ­ic traf­fic a domain is earn­ing.

It’s sim­ple to com­pare your own organ­ic traf­fic month on month to under­stand your SEO per­for­mance with all the data col­lat­ed in Google Ana­lyt­ics. How­ev­er, how do you know how you’re doing com­pared to your com­peti­tors? Esti­mat­ed Traf­fic enables a broad overview of how much traf­fic your com­peti­tors may be tak­ing in organ­ic search; which is espe­cial­ly valu­able when com­pared to your own organ­ic traf­fic and mul­ti­ple oth­er com­peti­tors esti­mat­ed traf­fic to under­stand your mar­ket share.

Universal Results

Uni­ver­sal Results — Uni­ver­sal Results is a term which describes any rich results in organ­ic search e.g. video, maps, knowl­edge graph box­es, these tend to appear at the top of the page and increase a site’s click through rate.

One of the ele­ments which help a site gain a high­er click through rate, and reflects the strong tech­ni­cal integri­ty of the domain, is the num­ber of uni­ver­sal search results which are owned by that domain. Site’s with strong lev­els of author­i­ty around a top­ic will often be used by Google to pro­vide rich­er results, with images or video in search on cer­tain key­words. If uni­ver­sal results are being dis­played on a search term, it is an oppor­tu­ni­ty for you to devel­op your web­site fur­ther to pro­vide the best infor­ma­tion and take own­er­ship of this promi­nent organ­ic posi­tion.

To suc­cess­ful­ly analyse com­peti­tor per­for­mance, track the num­ber of uni­ver­sal results on each key­word which is sig­nif­i­cant to your busi­ness and iden­ti­fy which brands are own­ing these results. This insight will inform a con­tent strat­e­gy for video pro­duc­tion, struc­tured data blogs, and your Google My Busi­ness imple­men­ta­tion.

Product/Service Launch

While these met­rics are essen­tial to mak­ing sure your web­site is thriv­ing, they also pro­vide data-dri­ven insights for when you plan to launch any addi­tion­al prod­ucts or ser­vices on it. SEO met­rics and the data that your site col­lects can help you to estab­lish the size of the mar­ket you’re try­ing to devel­op into, and the lev­el of com­pe­ti­tion with­in it.

Traffic Opportunity

A very niche prod­uct or sec­tor will have a sig­nif­i­cant­ly low­er search vol­ume in total, which can make it hard­er to break into if there are already exist­ing busi­ness­es. Or it can mean that your mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy needs to focus on demand gen­er­a­tion, rather than sup­ply­ing the pre-exist­ing audi­ence. To under­stand the type of the mar­ket you’re mov­ing into in terms of search, the total search vol­ume for relat­ed terms can be a good met­ric:

The sum of all relat­ed key­words to your new sec­tor added togeth­er will pro­vide a total Traf­fic Oppor­tu­ni­ty, which is a rough esti­mate of the size of the mar­ket in organ­ic search. Under­stand this in rela­tion to the prod­ucts and ser­vices you already pro­vide to see how large the oppor­tu­ni­ty you’re enter­ing into is.

Media Value

Media Val­ue — Media Val­ue is the sum of all PPC AdWords spend around the select­ed group of key­words.

Whilst we’ve focused on organ­ic search, the Media Val­ue can also be extreme­ly valu­able and indi­cate user inter­est in a prod­uct — which then will impact upon the SEO strat­e­gy you use.

If the Media Val­ue is high on the key­words which you are analysing, it indi­cates that com­pe­ti­tion with­in that sec­tor is high. It also shows that the terms are con­vert­ing well for the busi­ness­es which are already oper­at­ing in that sec­tor as it is unlike­ly for brands to be spend­ing high amounts on terms which do not gen­er­ate them direct rev­enue.
If you’re an agency or part of an in-house SEO team, traf­fic oppor­tu­ni­ty and media val­ue can also be use­ful met­rics for pitch­ing to a new client or mak­ing a busi­ness case for a stronger focus on SEO to senior deci­sion mak­ers.

The met­rics cov­ered here are just a small selec­tion of ones which can pro­vide insight into web­site per­for­mance. They demon­strate how dif­fer­ent met­rics are impor­tant to each busi­ness, depend­ing upon the objec­tives they are try­ing to meet. The most impor­tant part of track­ing is to be able to take that data and con­vert it into real, action­able insights to impact your busi­ness.

Richard Faderin

Written by Richard Faderin

Product Marketing Manager, Linkdex

Richard is a Product Manager at ScribbleLive, working closely with users of the platform to understand their needs and desires and make improvements to Linkdex. He has a background in Logistics and User Experience Design and has held a number of Product and Marketing roles at technology companies based in London.

Inked is published by Linkdex, the SEO platform of choice for professional marketers.

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