How do you run an agency during extreme uncertainty? Nearly 60 agency professionals share how they are currently managing their businesses and helping clients.
Marketing | May 27
Elise Dopson on March 30, 2020 (last modified on April 6, 2020) • 16 minute read
But, you’ve probably read (or head) that statistic before.
That’s likely why SEO is one of the marketing initiatives you invest in most heavily.
The only problem? A comprehensive SEO strategy contains everything from keyword research, all the way through to fixing crawl errors and other technical issues.
You’re not alone if you find all of those elements hard to track with any real consistency.
But, different metrics require different reporting frequencies. In other words, you don’t need to track everything every day.
So, which SEO metrics should you track on a daily basis? We surveyed 60 marketers on the ones they recommend. Here’s what we learned:
Click the links above to jump to a specific section, or continue scrolling to learn which SEO metrics should be added to your daily report.
“The most important SEO metric that marketers should track daily is the primary keyword ranking,” according to FNDtek‘s Danyal Effendi.
“This is because every other factor is linked with the primary keyword and fluctuation in ranking will have a great impact on all other SEO metrics such as organic sessions, organic clicks, new visitors, etc.”
In fact, it’s the most common metric that SEO experts track on a daily basis:
Jessica Chase of Premier Title Loans explains: “This is relatively a straightforward metric but has great importance. We rank the keywords to rank our business so it is necessary for marketers to check the ranking of their keywords on a daily basis.”
“One can directly check the ranking from Google’s search but to get a more comprehensive look at my business rankings I use the SEMrush tool. I look at the reports using this tool to monitor ranking changes from time to time and gauge how my search visibility is improving overall.”
“Overall keyword growth is an important indicator of performance, but we are focused on performing well in the areas that are most likely to get us leads, so zeroing in on these keywords makes more sense for us as a business,” says myhrtoolkit‘s Camille Brouard.
“We track a selection of high-conversion keywords for our industry, which don’t necessarily have the lion’s share of search traffic, but are more likely to get us website visitors who convert into leads.”
Pavel Stotnikov of 9thCO explains that “keyword rankings tend to fluctuate the most on a day to day basis and they have the most impact on a website’s organic performance. It’s important to spot major fluctuations early in order to be able to address the declines and identify the factors that may have contributed to the increases.”
“Keyword rankings and click-through rate have the biggest impact on organic traffic, but CTR doesn’t fluctuate as much on a daily basis so it’s not as important to monitor it frequently.”
Partel‘s Filip Silobod adds: “I like to look at my keyword rankings form my keyword list daily. That is not really necessary, but what is insightful is the fluctuations. Are they high or low?”
“If a keyword has high daily position fluctuations it means that the site is not relevant or authoritative enough for that keyword. Usually, keywords that you rank well for move by 1 or 2 positions. Movements with 10+ or more positions in a day are usually a sign that the keyword relevancy is weak.”
Summarizing, Commarglo‘s Terea Fritschi adds this is important “because you cannot formulate a content strategy without page rankings on the keywords specifically related to business objectives.”
*Editor’s note: Do you know how your keyword rankings change over time? This Keyword to Pageview dashboard shows your best keywords in terms of position and volume, alongside your highest-viewed pages, all on one page:
“Organic traffic would be the most relevant metric to track for your website in terms of SEO,” says Adam Hempenstall of Better Proposals. “This is how successful your content is in attracting organic visits from Google and it is one of the main metrics to track your overall SEO success.”
Elmer Taboada of DaVinci Tech explains: “Higher web traffic means effective SEO practices. The primary purpose of SEO is to increase organic traffic to your site. If you have data on your performance yesterday, you need to check if it performed better today. If it didn’t, there’s something wrong with the content you recently published.”
“Luckily, if you’re able to pinpoint problem areas in time, you will stop lowering your ranking,” Taboada adds.
Kent Lewis says the team at Anvil Media also tracks “organic traffic resulting in conversions (daily trending). It’s the only SEO metric that matters. Rankings and traffic don’t matter if it doesn’t turn into revenue.
Brad Ormsby adds that the team at Colorstone Marketing also tracks this metric because “is that SEO is all about organic traffic so it’s important to pay close attention to this metric.”
“It’s important to note that I don’t make decisions based on daily data. Instead, I pay attention to the trend over time before making decisions but looking at this data each day keeps things top of mind.”
Summarizing, Pelicoin‘s Sam Olmsted adds: “When it comes down to it, you just want to attract more people to your site day after day.”
“Whether those people buy something, read your content, or just stay on your site after they come is a whole different matter. However, the first step in any campaign is just getting users to come there.”
We know that organic traffic is an important SEO metric to track daily. But according to Eden Chai of Generation Marketing, “marketers should track organic traffic by landing page daily.”
“This is important because your various pages rank for different keywords, and tracking organic traffic by landing page will give you clarity on which improvements you made actually made an impact.”
Toni JV of JVT Media recommends tracking views by page “so that you can see if any one page is getting any sudden spikes in traffic.”
“For example, let’s say a big influencer in your industry mentioned you in their new YouTube video, and you got a spike in traffic. You can now take this moment to reach out and connect with this person and see if you can’t add any value back and build a relationship for the long term.”
“This is just one example, but daily tracking can basically show you any big sudden changes that might open up to new opportunities,” JV adds.
In fact, Kelly J Waffle adds that the team at Hinge reviews “the amount of organic traffic—by landing page and by location [on a daily basis because it] enables us to make adjustments or improvements in a responsive manner.”
“For example, we may see that we have some keywords rankings on Google page 2 and we want to focus some of our efforts to try and bump these keywords to Google page 1. We also break down this metric and look at North American traffic and International traffic.”
Waffle continues: “As we see trends, we adjust our overall marketing strategy. Tracking this metric also helps us understand when Google is making changes to its algorithms and what the positive or negative impacts are.”
Organic traffic is slightly different than organic clicks. The latter represents the number of times your results have been clicked in SERPs.
“To [Rain], a B2B company, clicks are the most important metric,” says Anastasia Iliou. “It’s nice if we’re ranking, but if no one is clicking through, it doesn’t help us. We need to be constantly monitoring clicks so that we can revise our SEO strategy and look for better results.”
Cashcow‘s Adam Lumb explains: “I can easily do this by opening Google Analytics and checking the dashboard, and it also compares the Organic Clicks you get with the previous week’s.”
“This comparison gives you an immediate idea of whether your traffic is decreasing, steadying out, or increasing.”
(That’s likely why Google Analytics is the most popular tool used for daily SEO monitoring.)
Lumb continues: “Of course, I don’t use this data alone to make decisions – as it’s perfectly normal to have weeks where traffic dips slightly, for example – but if it becomes a regular occurrence then Organic Clicks is a good place to start.”
“You can then delve further into the data for each page to see what’s changed, for better or worse.”
Monitoring the number of clicks you’re generating from organic search is a great place to start. But some experts recommend diving further and tracking the click-through rate of those keywords.
(A click-through rate is the percentage of people who saw your result on their results page and clicked your link.)
“Google Search Console tracks CTR for all queries your website ranks for over time,” Joseph Pineiro of 360training explains.
“Use it as a general gauge of how well your website is ranking for priority keywords. If it starts to fall drastically, it’s an indicator that a ranking for a keyword with high volume has fallen.
William Westerlund of SW Growth AB adds: “If the click-through rate goes down perhaps you’ve lost position(s) or someone else has optimized their title and meta description in a more compelling way meaning you’ll lose traffic.”
“Keeping track of this on a daily basis will help you reoptimize your article, meta tag or title before losing too many positions on Google.”
“Every day you should review the position of your top three pages in Google Search Console,” says Jeremy Cross of Corporate Events NYC.
“Most mature sites get the majority of search traffic to a small handful of pages, and sometimes just one or two. As a result, if these pages drop in position by even one or two spots then the overall traffic to your site may drop significantly.”
“Monitor the top three closely, update as needed, and do everything you can to maintain your top positions.”
“One metric to rule them all would be new high-quality backlinks,” says Neal Taparia of Solitaired.com. “Backlinks are 50-75% of the SEO game. If you need to simplify and stay laser-focused, this is the way of doing that.”
Amelia Whyman of Global App Testing agrees: “It’s important to keep track of who is linking to your site for website health and to get an idea of whether your content is gaining enough traction.”
“If one source of content is constantly linked to, you know that’s a piece you should invest a lot of your time into. Backlinks aren’t the only way to improve your SEO, but they are definitely important.”
Plus, Rhonda Martinez of LegitWritingServices.com says: “When it comes to SEO, some people just can’t play nice. Negative SEO attacks and spammy link campaigns are very common these days. Tracking the number of new backlinks may help you foil your competitors’ attempts to sabotage your site’s rankings.”
Wiza‘s Brooklin Nash adds: “I take two minutes each day to look at our new backlinks. If there are any high DA sites I don’t recognize, I take another minute to send the author a Connection request or an email to ask how they found our tool. Instead of a passive recipient of backlinks, I open up the door for future collaboration.
Similarly, William Taylor of MintResume says: “I recommend keeping updated daily about lost backlinks. As backlinks make up such a large part of the SEO power of a website when backlinks disappear it can have a detrimental effect relatively quickly. because of this, it’s important to follow up with these websites to gain back the backlink.”
Mailbird‘s Andrea Loubier agrees: “Lost links are extremely important to your rankings. If you are depending on a link to help you rank for a specific keyword, and it is removed or broken, then you’ll begin to lose the search juice for that link. When this happens, you’ll want to replace that link to keep supporting that particular keyword.”
*Editor’s note: Keep track of new backlinks with our Link Analysis dashboard. It pulls data from your SEMrush account and shows important link metrics–like the number of incoming links, sessions by source, and percentage of new sessions:
“The only thing I like to actively track on a day to day basis are unlinked brand mentions,” says Jamie Anderson.
“The reason these need to be tracked daily is that the quicker you spot an unlinked brand mention, the quicker you can reach out to request that the writer/webmaster add a link to the content.”
Anderson adds: “If you don’t spot these until a couple of weeks after publication, your chances of having a link added are massively reduced compared to addressing it within a day or two of publication.”
Matt Zajechowski of Digital Third Coast agrees: “It’s also important to monitor unlinked mentions of your name and brand daily as these are often easy opportunities to earn more backlinks. You want to catch these unlinked mentions as quickly as possible.”
“To do this setup brand or name alerts with Google Alerts or Buzzsumo Monitoring. Both of these tools will send you real-time alerts to your email when your brand name is mentioned.”
“If you notice an unlinked mention, simply reach out to that writer or website and ask them to link back to your website,” Zajechowski says.
“On a daily basis marketers should check the number of new and returning visitors to their website or blog,” writes Omedaro Victor-Olubumoye of Bodmek Digitals.
“Checking for new/ returning visitors on a daily basis will show the number of average visitors that can easily find your page via the search engine.
Additionally, this will determine if your SEO strategy is working or it requires improvements.”
It’s something the team at WOW Club also track on a daily basis, as Sumitra Senapaty explains: “We like to track new and returning visitors so that we can really define our strategies and pivot on a moment’s notice.”
“It’s important to see new visitors so that you can have more opportunities to snag new customers. However, returning visitors (even though they may already be customers) can mean upgrades, additional purchases or that they really enjoy the beneficial content on your blog.”
Angela Ash of Flow SEO adds: “Determining if your clicks are from new or returning visitors can be key in determining your marketing strategy. And honestly, you’ll want a mixture of both.”
“If you have informative blog content, it’s nice to know that visitors are returning to be educated on your site. And if these are new visitors, you’ll need to note that and stay in contact if a purchase isn’t made.”
LetMeBank‘s Morgan Taylor thinks that “checking exit pages daily is a must for any hands-on SEO manager.”
“If you are publishing new content daily, it’s important to follow your internal linking and figure out where the cracks are. If your new content is leading people offsite instead of further down your funnel, that is a situation that needs to be remedied immediately.”
“On a daily basis, we need to monitor the website’s technical performance and health, that there are no server lags or drops, that there are no UX problems, for example in an ecommerce shop, that the buyer has no problems with purchasing products and so on,” writes Yoav Bernstein of YB Marketing.
“Those are not direct SEO elements, but all I mentioned can heavily harm the overall SEO performance if they don’t perform as they should!”
“Bounce rate is something we monitor on an almost daily basis,” says John Donnachie of ClydeBank Media. “A sharply declining bounce rate can be an early warning indicator of technical issues on the site.”
Charlie Tatum of Superior Honda adds: “While bounce rate is not always a completely accurate measurement of the quality of site visits, large fluctuations in bounce rate can indicate underlying problems with analytics or point to spammy traffic.”
“Tracking scroll depth is crucial because you need to know how effective your copy is,” says Nikola Roza.
“If you see that folks are reading at least till half the page, or they’re skimming and jumping around, but they still reach the end– great! You have a chance to build a rapport with them. To help them, to get on their radar as a new brand that just popped up with excellent, instructive and helpful content…”
“And with proper scroll depth, you have a chance to build your email list and get more clicks on your internal and affiliate links. With the former you get new content exposure and potential SEO benefit; with the latter, you get a potential sale.”
Roza continues: “However if you notice that scroll depth is very shallow, that folks are bouncing off the top of the page never reaching even half of it, let alone the end- then you have a severe copy problem. It’s probable that your intros and headlines are weak, and you probably lack flow in your articles.”
“You need to fix this ASAP because shallow scroll depth negatively affects your bounce rate, dwell time and your earnings/email signup potential.”
James McMinn of Matchbox Design Group explains: “This, of course, measures the average length of a visit for a user to your site.”
“This helps us know that we are hitting user intent in the search. It helps us know if we are hitting the website speed mark. It helps us know if we have a good site structure and good in-depth content. It helps us know that we are providing a good user experience overall.”
“This one metric helps us know so many things about whether we are making our users happy or not,” McMinn adds.
As you can see, there are a bunch of SEO KPIs you can track on a daily basis.
Add the most important to your SEO dashboard to make it easier to spot any changes. That way, you can jump on any changes before they become a bigger issue–and celebrate small wins.
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