SEO Metrics that You Must Keep An Eye On When Doing SEO Tracking

Blogging, optimizing keywords, building backlinks, content promotion… there are so many tasks involved in content creation.

But that’s not the end for the SEO practitioner, one of the most important tasks is SEO tracking and it can be an even Herculean task.

After all, if you’re going to invest the time and budget to create and maintain an SEO plan, you want to make sure your investment is worth the results.

For that, what metrics you are looking for and the tools used to gather them is important.

What is SEO Tracking?

For many site owners, you might be wondering why not rank tracking?

Thing is you cannot always rely on search engine rankings to track your progress, because it can take weeks, even months to update SERPs.

Even if they do, ranking improvements are seldom according to your exact keyword but distributed uniformly across your targeted keywords.

However the problem isn’t accessing enough information, rather it’s determining which metrics to focus on.

In this blog post, I’ll show you which are the most important SEO metrics that you need to track and exactly how and why you are tracking them.

1. Monitoring Weekly/Monthly Organic Traffic

Nothing else matters more to SEO than traffic.

That’s the first reason you did SEO in the first place. That’s why tracking your organic sessions is one of the strongest indicators of SEO performance.

A month-over-month increase in visitors through search engines is a natural indicator that your rankings are improving even if you’re not tracking your rankings.

Organic traffic is the most direct and quantifiable proof that your SEO efforts are working in the right direction and actually bringing in more visitors.

The quality of the traffic in terms of being hot or cold leads, will, of course, depends on which keywords you are ranking for.

How to Track Your Organic Traffic

Tracking organic traffic is easy. All you need is to set up Google Analytics and just log into your dashboard and click on your audience overview > add an organic user segment.

Google Analytics - Organic Traffic

You’ll now be able to see your organic traffic as a percentage of total traffic.

For organic traffic, it’s best to keep track of it both weekly and monthly.

Keeping track of it weekly will let you know if your SEO efforts are progressing on the right path, especially if you have recently made changes to optimize a blog post or made some improvement on your structured data.

Comparing it month-to-month is also important to let you know if your monthly content efforts are gaining Google’s attention.

2. Track What Keywords You Are Ranking For?

With RankBrain implementing personalization and continuously shifting search results, should you even bother tracking your keywords rankings?

Yes, and please do.

Even though search results are not the same for everyone, and can differ within the day itself or with a minor update to Google algorithm, tracking your keyword rankings lets you know:

Your overall keyword optimization efforts

Better rankings for one keyword is usually a signal for improved rankings overall, especially for related long-tail keywords.

Tracking your keywords will show you how effective your keyword optimization plan is, and if you are answering the search intent on point.

Keyword Selection is On Point

If you don’t see an improvement in target keyword rankings, it could mean a poor keyword selection.

Google might not see you as an expert on the subject yet, and in such a case you should choose less competitive and long tail keywords and try to rank for it first.

Watch out for the competition

If you are not tracking your keywords rankings, I betcha your competitors are. Keeping an eye out on your rank trackings can let you keep an eye out if there’s any new rivalry coming up the ranks.

How to Track Keywords Rankings?

Tracking keywords can be done using Google Search Console. You just simply need to click on page performance, and you’ll be able to see what keywords that page is ranking for.

However take note, this is just a representation of the data. Do not rely on Google’s data alone, try using rank tracking services like RankReveal to let you uncover and hidden keywords that you are actually ranking for.

Keeping this metric in track can let you know if there are any low hanging fruits, like for example if you’re ranking number 1 but not on the snippet.

You can then optimize your content to try to get the rank snippet or simply move up the SERP results.

Better yet, you can also keep an eye on non-performing content and see how Google are perceiving them. Some tips on reoptimizing your content, make sure to look at your:

Page Engagement Metrics

Something extra that you’d want to take note for newly written content or content that you have been trying to optimize is their engagement metrics.

This includes bounce rates, time-on-site, and pages per visits which are important metrics in the post-Panda world.

The theory is simple – the more time users spend on your site, the more likely they love your content.

Lower Bounce Rate = Better Rankings

You need to have a clear understanding of the before and after of how each page is performing.

If anything, you need to look at this to even decide if it is an opportunity to put in extra effort to work on it and increase the ranking for this high-performing page.

For example, if you’re working on building backlinks to a specific page or improving that page’s content, you need to look at its traffic to evaluate your SEO effort.

How to Track Your Engagement Metrics

Tracking your engagement metrics is easy with Google analytics. Simply click on pages and select the content you’d like to see.

3. Number of Backlinks and Referring Domains

On-page optimization aside, backlinks are still one of the most important factors determining the SEO result of a website.

Between two pages with similar on-page metrics such as bounce rate, time-on-site, content quality, the one with more backlinks from higher quality domains will win.

A study by Backlinko showed that there is indeed a strong correlation between a higher number of backlinks and higher rankings.

Source: Backlinko

The same goes for internal linkings, more densely internal linked content is showed to have better rankings and there’s a better effect when one content goes up, so does the other.

Though both linking strategies do not immediately lead to better rankings, but in general they do show a positive impact on your SEO efforts.

How to Track Backlinks and Internal Linking

You can also use Google Search Console for your backlink tracking, simply click on your site name and move to search traffic > links to your site.

This however is inaccurate, as the list isn’t updated frequently nor is it terribly accurate. That’s why our go-to link tracking software is Link Vector.

It’s a much faster and accurate alternative to track both backlink and internal links for your website.

4. Domain/ Page Authority Metrics

As an SEO, you’re most likely already familiar with domain and page authority.

It is one of the metrics we look at when we’re measuring the quality of the backlinks we’re building, but often do we missed it out for our own site.

A term coined by Moz to gauge the authority of a domain name on a scale of 0 to 100, your domain authority takes into account your links, brand mentions

It’s a comprehensive metric to gauge your overall SEO effort and the higher your domain authority is, the more authority the site has or the more trust it represents to Google eyes.

Page authority, on the other hand, is similar to domain authority but instead of looking at the whole website, it is a gauge of the page authority.

An upwards movements in these metrics is a sign that your SEO efforts are bearing fruit.

However, take note that it will require much more effort to go from DA80 to DA90 than it does to grow from DA10 to DA20.

How to Track Your Domain and Page Authority Metrics

These metrics can simply be attained through Moz website or through adding the Moz add-on tool which will let you know the domain authority when you are googling itself.

5. Mobile Traffic and Rankings

Is your site ranking well on mobile search or on the desktop search?

With Google’s announcement of switching to a mobile-first index, optimizing for mobile is more important than ever.

Plus, between 51 to 60% of searches are all done from mobile. So keeping track if your content is getting mobile traffic can let you know if you have:

Mobile-friendliness issues

It’s no secret that Google prefers mobile-friendly sites. So if your website is mobile search friendly, Google is more likely to feature you, and if that’s not the case, it might be time to look for issues with mobile-friendliness.

Mobile-only search terms

Mobile search terms are different from desktop search.

For instance, you’d be asking how “What are the key performance indicators for SEO?” instead of straightaway typing SEO key performance indicators.

That’s why tracking mobile traffic can let you know if you’re ranking for these mobile-only search terms.

6. Local Visibility and SEO

If you are a business with a physical store, this is a metric that is especially important.

You need to track metrics to make sure you are out-ranking your competitors and attracting organic traffic from the right audience.

It would be irrelevant for you to be getting traffic from India when you are operating an ice cream parlour in the States, right?

You can do this by tracking a few key local SEO metrics.

7.Google Maps Ranking

See where do you rank when you Google your business with keywords like near me or if you google ice cream parlor in New York

Google My Business Insights

Set up Google My Business Insights to track how often your GMB page appears in the search results, number of calls, and directions.

Session Location

See the exact cities where your web sessions are to evaluate the amount of local traffic your website receives.

How to Track Local Visibility

You can always measure your top session locations in Google Analytics by simply going to Audience > Geo > Location to get conversions, sessions and key metrics by location

8. Organic Click Through Rate

While the above metrics measure engagement of visitors once they’re on your site, tracking organic CTR (click-through rate) measures engagement level when they are still on the SERP.

Organic CTR indicates how well your content appeals to your audience. If they see your article while scrolling through the search engine results, but don’t click, ask why.

Is the content irrelevant for the search term? Do your titles and meta descriptions do a good job of summarizing the content of each page?

Tracking organic CTR will allow you to measure the relevance and appeal of your content. Honestly, these are low hanging fruits.

Pay attention to pages with low CTR – you should optimize them according to your impressions and you will get more traffic fast.

9. Conversion Traffic

What do you want people to do on your website?

While we might be aiming for traffic, ultimately its conversion that every business is targeting.

Probably one of the most important SEO metrics. In comparison, other metrics don’t matter unless you can get conversions (leads or sales) from your traffic.

This can be done by setting up goals on your Google analytics. Each business has its own defined conversion goals – subscription, sales, leads, or other actions it wants site visitors to take.

How to track your conversion traffic.

In Google analytics, you can set up conversion goals to be measured.

Choose admin from the top navigation and select goals in the right-hand column, you can then choose what would signal conversion traction for example.

You can then set up goals at every step along your conversion path so you can see exactly where you’re losing people in your sales funnel.

Google Analytics also lets you assign monetary values to conversion goals, which enables your analytics data to track the revenue per transaction, per page.



Well, as SEO has become more complicated, measuring your SEO results have become more difficult as well.

You can no longer rely on a single metric to tell the story of your SEO efforts. Instead, you need to track multiple metrics in order to tell the whole story of your SEO.

More importantly, search engine optimization requires data and analytics to make a more informed decision.

Without tracking your SEO metrics, you would be driving in the blind.

If anything, your SEO effort should start with your tracking as there’s nothing like data that will let you make a more informed decision.

Remember, if you can measure something, you can improve it.

Updated: 3/5/19

What is Rank Tracking and Why is it Important for Effective SEO?

Rank Tracking

If you’re running a blog, one of the key measurements you must own is rank tracking.

Because when it comes to organic visibility, it’s all about your ranking and you need to make sure that your content marketing strategy is on the right path.

Besides, you’ve got to make sure that you are ranking for the best keywords and phrases above your competitors.

However, rank tracking can be an easy trap for SEO practitioners as they become fixated with their rankings, which can later turn into an issue of security.

To avoid that, it is important to know what you are looking for when it comes to tracking your site rankings to help find opportunities and guide towards success.

Before we begin, let’s understand what is rank tracking in SEO?

What is Rank Tracking?

What is Rank Tracking

Rank tracking is the consistent monitoring of your content’s ranking position on the search engine results page across different queries and keywords.

Although you can track your ranking for keywords manually by opening up a sheet and internet browser in incognito mode, it is not really reliable (…and trust me, the process is going to be tedious)

In fact, for years there was never really a reliable way to know for sure what kind of ranking you had overall in Google for any particular keywords.

You can always refer to Google’s Search Console as a keyword tracker:

1. Sign in to Google Search Console
2. Click on the name of your website (or click add site if you haven’t done so previously)
3. Refer to search analytics for “average position”

But take note that this number is an average, so your site may not actually have ranked in the exact position – either before or now.

For example, if your content has been ranked 2nd for half of the time and 4th for the other half of the time, your average ranking position would be 3rd.

Due to the continuous updates of Google’s ranking algorithm, rank tracking simply isn’t as straightforward as it used to be.

It will often fluctuate – from day to day and from week to week. In certain instances, you can even see how the ranking for your content vary in just a single day.

Before you start tracking your rankings, here are a few things you need to know:

  1. Rankings for Keywords Changes Every Hour
  2. Even in one day, a page on your site might rank in different positions for the same keyword.

    Although fluctuations within a day are normally just difference in a position or two, a Google algorithm update can also cause drastic changes.

    Hourly rankigns

  3. Keywords Rankings vary due to Personalization and Localisation
  4. Depending on where you are and your personal preference, Google can return different search results in different order and positions.

    For example, someone who searches search engine optimization agency in New York is definitely going to get a different result from someone who searches for it in London.

    Even if both searchers are in London, personalization can also impact in different returned results based on both users previous searches.

  5. SERPs aren’t the previous 10 results
  6. With Google ads, answer box, and featured snippets, search engine results has long featured more than 10 organic results.

    So note that while it may say you’re ranking in the first position for a certain keyword, in reality, you may be fifth (after position zero and ads).

What Does This Mean For Rank Tracking and SEO?

Hopefully by now, you’d understand now that rank tracking is no longer about getting 1st place on the SERP.

There’s zero stability, but this doesn’t mean you should give up on rank tracking.

Instead of aiming for position #1, you should look to get your content on page one and position zero. This is because page one would remain consistent, with the top 10 domains either staying put or just flipping one or two positions between themselves

In any case, rank tracking is still important to inform you and help you make effective SEO decisions.

Rank Tracking Tips for Effective SEO

Again, knowing where does your website rank is not about being #1.

Because as you can see, the volatility of results is largely affected by geography, personal preference and factors like featured snippets.

Remember all you want to do is get high on the first page of the SERP.

While it is good to optimize in order to rank higher or continuously stick to position #1, it should not be the main focus of your rank tracking.

Rank Tracking

Avoid getting freaked out when you suddenly lose the position only to get it back the next day. So, the question is what should you achieve with your rank tracking?

1. Use Rank Tracking to Uncover hidden SEO keywords

When we are doing SEO, we always want to know where our website is ranking in search engines like Google and Bing.

Often times, we track our ranks through keywords we already know. But sometimes our content might be the answer to another type of query.

That is why you need to keep tracking your ranks.

Because how Google works is – whenever you create a new content, Google would most likely feat it on related search queries to get some feedback.

It’s not just for your targeted keywords, Google will be showing your content to anything relatable and your content might be the answer for that instead.

Problem is, search engines don’t really tell you all the words you are getting traffic for.

In this case, you need to use a reverse rank tracking technology like RankReveal to uncover all the keywords you are currently ranking for.

Rank Tracking

These are keywords you may never even knew existed!

2. Understand The Variations of Keyword

Search engine rank tracking or SEO keyword tracking, there are so many ways rank tracking can go by, and that’s just the semantic side of things.

When it comes to keywords variations, rank tracking and track rankings both mean the same thing.

However, your content might be ranking for one and not the other, in this case tracking this data can help let you know the next blog post you are about to write.

Write a content that answers this intent, and link it to your original content and soon you will create your own topic pillar of content.

3. Understand if Your Content Matches Search Intent

Though we mostly use organic traffic to tell if our content is ranking, ranking analysis, on the other hand, can let you know how Google understand your content.

Looking at your impressions on Google Search Console would reveal the keywords Google is ranking it for.

Lo and behold, you might be finding your content gaining a lot of impression for certain keywords but not getting the traffic.

Though it may be low or placed after page 2 and beyond, knowing these keywords will give you an important direction to re-optimize your content.

Or grab the chance to write another more specific content to target that keyword. Link it back and you have a win-win strategy.

match search intent

Take note that what you want to achieve, is to rank on the featured snippet. So write content that answers the user’s intent in the query.

4. See how your SEO Efforts Translate in Rankings

An important feature of monitoring your rankings is to pinpoint the effect your changes you make, both on- and off-sites.

This includes changes of all kinds, from switching to Https or tweaking your titles and descriptions. Tracking your rankings then will let you know the impact of your efforts.

5. Tracking your competitors ranking can reveal your next aim

You need to keep an eye on your best competitor, according to Alan G. Lafley and Roger Martin, and the same goes for internet marketing.

You need to track the ranks not just for your own sites but for your competitors as well.

You need to see what your competitors are doing to be able to sit above them in the searches, this also serves to inform you what to do next.

Really, if you’re not doing it, your competitor sure is. Rank tracking lets you keep an eye on them to make sure you’re always at the top.

6. It Lets You Spot Search Engine Algorithm Updates

One important feature of rank tracking for SEO is that it lets you know if Google has released another algorithm update.

When they do, you will see fluctuations for your rankings and you may want to keep track which rankings are improving and which are falling off the charts.

This will let you know what to update for.

Now that you understand what you should be looking for in your rank trackings. It’s time to start rank tracking and better rank analysis with RankReveal.

Before you go, here’s one last advice.

Takeaway: SEO isn’t something that you can set and forget

The world of SEO is constantly changing, and sites that have ranked well in search engines just last month may have dropped this month.

Some may have even been shut down or blacklisted, and the best way of knowing all this is through rank tracking.

The best way of knowing all this is through rank tracking. But one thing to avoid is don’t be tracking every single keyword and phrase.

Those that you should always focus for are those with the highest search volumes, ignore keywords you may be ranking for but has low search volume.

Because what’s the point, it is meaningless to optimize it if people don’t use them on a regular basis. Your readers aren’t going to find you with those keywords.

Updated: 26/4/19