Search Goals: 5 Important SEO Metrics to Focus On in 2019
Do you know that there is actually an objective scale that measures spiciness? I actually saw this from an old-ish episode from Top Gear where Hammond showed a particularly hot variant of pepper that has like a million SHU or something where even gently rubbing the pepper on food is much more than enough to make them spicy. SHU stands for Scoville heat units, which takes its name from its inventor Wilbur Scoville, that is used to objectively measure spiciness in pepper.
It might sound irrelevant to the general public but I do think it’s a good idea for the pepper industry to have an objective metric they could use for spiciness. It’s always nice to have a number to fall back on since they’re easily defined and measurable, there’s a reason why college admission is mainly based on ATAR scores. It’s not just for peppers and colleges, having an objective, number-based metric is also useful for the purpose of SEO, since SEO services would have easily defined goals they could focus on.
An unambiguous, universal value
Everyone has a different standard for spiciness. I sit on the very low end for example while I have a friend who can never have enough jalapeños when we go out for Mexican food. It annoys me when I ask him for food recommendations and he answered that this-or-that place isn’t spicy only to find myself burning my mouth eating the very same food. It would be seriously helpful if SHU is applicable to every kind of food instead of just peppers.
This is the same line of thinking when I say that having objective metrics for SEO is important. Broadly speaking, SEO can be taken as a measure of popularity and while trying to decide which one is more popular, Margot Robbie or Chris Hemsworth, is somewhat hard, using an easily identified number such as Instagram followers is much easier. With that out of the way, here are 5 of the most important SEO metric you could use to gauge how well, or badly, your SEO efforts is working.
The most easily visible and arguably most important number you should check out is organic traffic. I say organic here because if you’re also running a PPC ad, your website traffic is going to be divided into organic traffic and paid traffic. Put simply, anyone who visited your website through a paid advertisement is categorized as paid traffic while any other traffic is defined as organic traffic.
Anyone who typed your URL into the address bar, clicked on your website from a search engine results page (SERP) or visited your website through a link from other websites is defined as organic traffic. If you want the most basic way of seeing whether your SEO efforts are working or not, tracking the changes in organic traffic is the easiest way to do that. Keep in mind however that organic traffic only tracks visitors, converting them into customers is another matter entirely.
Keyword rankings are a standard SEO metric and that’s still true even in 2019. Other than as a gauge for your SEO efforts, looking at keyword rankings is also a pretty useful way for you to decide whether the keyword you’re currently optimizing for is the right one or not. The issue with keywords is that if your choice is too generic, you might find it impossibly difficult to rank high for that particular keyword since your competition is going to be both fierce and wide.
If the above case were too be true, it might pay dividends to switch to more specific or longer keywords that are still relevant but nowhere near as generic. One other thing I like to mention is that while ranking high is all well and good, it doesn’t directly translate into traffic, which is why rankings are only useful when used in conjunction with another related metric, organic click-through rate.
Organic click-through rate (CTR)
A lesser known but still important metric is the organic click-through rate. This metric is defined as the ratio of the number of people who saw your website in a given search engines result page against people who actually clicked on the link to your website. While getting on the first page of a SERP is indeed important, organic CTR is arguably the more valuable metric since it’d be like the difference between someone walking past your shop and someone who walks past, found your place to be interesting and decided to see what’s in store.
While as a metric bounce rate is definitely important, it’s also a bit tricky to analyze. Bounce rate is defined as the number of people who left your website after viewing only a single page. It might indicate that the visitor ditched your website after seeing that what you have to offer isn’t what they were looking for but since bounce rate doesn’t actually measure the time they spent on that particular page, it could also mean that they simply found the one thing they’re looking for.
Obviously, you’d probably want them to see other pages in your website but if they’re pressed for time, there’s not much you can do about it. Still, you can analyze bounce rate from each pages of your website and if you’re seeing particularly high bounce rate on your home page, you might want to do something about that. If you’re seeing high bounce rate in one of your blog post and contents, I wouldn’t worry too much about that.
Average page load time
Now that the majority of internet traffic comes from mobile devices, this metric takes on a greater importance. Mobile internet, even with the advent of 4G LTE network is still nowhere near as reliable as fixed broadband network. To start with, you’d want to focus on your main landing page first. Less than 5 seconds in Google Analytics would be a good number to go for but less than 3 seconds would be ideal. For your content-heavy pages, 10 seconds is a good starting point.