So you’ve got yourself an SEO strategy, but are you measuring your online efforts? If you aren’t tracking and routinely re-assessing what you’re doing, then how do you know what’s working?
Here are four basic SEO metrics to monitor – and four tools up for the task:
Organic Search Traffic – Google Analytics (Free)
Ideally a solid SEO strategy should net more organic traffic, which is why installing Google Analytics on your site is the first step to knowing whether or not that’s the case.
With Analytics you can easily track website traffic over time, break out traffic by source (direct, paid, organic, and referral), and even compare traffic over various date ranges.
Of course that’s not all Google Analytics offers. If you’d like to dive deeper you may also be interested in the following data: conversions assisted by organic search traffic, top landing pages, bounce rate, and the number of new users.
Search Analytics – Search Console (Free)
Search Console is Google’s companion piece to Analytics, meaning it’s of equal importance when it comes to monitoring the success and health of your website.
Clicks and impressions for search queries and pages are some of the most reliable ways to get a sense of how often your website is being served up in search and for what keywords. This is especially useful in a post-keyword “Not Provided” world.
Expand the date range to show the last 90 days of data in order to spot any trends, positive or negative. If in that time you notice an increase in search impressions that generally means your site is becoming more relevant in search for a greater number of keywords, which is what you are aiming for.
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for any abrupt declines in impressions. An overnight plummet may indicate a Google Penalty, either from an algorithm update or manual spam actions. If this happens you need to immediately assess your SEO strategy and make sure it aligns with current best practices.
Like all other Google products, there’s a lot more in depth reporting available with Search Consple. From backlinks and crawl errors to HTML improvements and sitemaps, there’s plenty more to explore for those looking for more advanced metrics.
Backlinks – Open Site Explorer (Limited: Free & Full: $$$)
Link building is still essential to SEO, it just needs to be done naturally. So even though you’re going to take it slow and steady, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be monitoring your backlink portfolio and growth.
Besides providing the number of links coming to your site, you’ll also be able to determine whether or not they are “nofollow,” the title and URL of the linking page, anchor text, and page authority — which is a helpful way of determining link quality. The tool even now offers a spam analysis.
Additionally, Open Site Explorer allows you to compare your website with up to five competitors, allowing you to see how your site stacks up.
Keyword Rankings – Conductor Searchlight ($$$)
The entire point of engaging in SEO efforts is to rank well for relevant keywords to boost online visibility within search. With that said, it’s obviously important to know where your website ranks for various search terms of value.
The Conductor Searchlight tool can do just that. Don’t waste all of your time Googling various keywords just to find out where you are ranking for each one. Let Searchlight do that instead.
New data is pulled each week and you’ll be able to easily follow the rise, or decline, of your website’s rankings for the customized list of keywords in your account. You can even group keywords by categories in order to monitor search trends on a more macro level.
For time saving-purposes alone Conductor Searchlight is an invaluable tool, but rest assured it’s much more than a one-trick pony. Searchlight is capable of providing in-depth insights into your keyword rankings and content strategy with SEO page recommendations, head-to-head competitor comparisons, and more. The tool also integrates with YouTube, Google Analytics, and Search Console for even more robust reporting opportunities.