There are over 200 factors that Google considers when ranking content on search result pages.
That means there are plenty of ways to make your way to the top.
But, at the same time, it can make your SEO strategy complex, as you also have numerous metrics to track if you want to learn whether your efforts are paying off. It’s no wonder marketers often find it hard to determine what SEO metrics they should choose as KPIs and include in their SEO reports, or whether they should display them in daily or weekly reports.
We asked more than 50 experts to share a few words of wisdom from their experience: in this article, you’ll learn which SEO reporting metrics you should include in daily, weekly, and monthly reports.
SEO reporting is the practice of analyzing your SEO efforts and determining whether your strategy has generated the desired results so far. Based on your report, you can identify the weaknesses and strengths of different aspects of your website and its content, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
A good SEO report involves all elements of SEO: on-page (such as meta descriptions, title tags, links, URLs, and more), backlinks, keywords, responsiveness, and more.
Combining detailed SEO daily and weekly monitoring with reporting gives you an opportunity to react promptly whenever a red flag occurs and fix mistakes practically in real-time; and through reports, you get a complete picture of how much impact you’ve made with your SEO activities.
SEO metrics and KPIs are best tracked via different analytics tools, such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console, which are also the most popular ones, among our contributors (around 90% of respondents use GA, and over 75% use GSC). Other popular SEO reporting tools are Ahrefs, SEMrush, Screaming Frog, Google Trends, Moz Pro, and others.
PRO TIP: How to Analyze Your Best Pages for SEO Performance
To optimize your website for organic search, you probably use Google Search Console to learn which pages receive the most impressions and clicks, and which queries are driving them. Now you can quickly assess your SEO performance in a single dashboard that monitors fundamental metrics, including:
Which search queries drive traffic to my website?
Which of my website pages generate the most impressions and clicks in search engines?
What’s the average click-through rate (CTR) for our website pages in search?
What’s the average position our website pages show up in search results?
How many clicks have our website pages generated in search results this month?
Now you can benefit from the experience of our Google Search Console experts, who have put together a great Databox template showing the most important KPIs for monitoring organic search performance. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
There isn’t a single correct answer to how often you should create SEO reports.
Most companies, according to our survey, have monthly SEO reports (around 80% of them), while others report on their SEO efforts weekly (50%), quarterly (40%), or annually (30%). Only a small percentage focuses on SEO reporting metrics daily (around 15%).
If you are not sure what SEO reporting metrics should be a part of your daily, weekly, and monthly reports, read on. Over 50 experts agreed to share their best practices and help our fellow marketers get the best out of their SEO strategies.
“Keyword ranking is the most important SEO metric,” says Melanie Musson of InsuranceBlogByChris.com. “So much of your success hangs on keywords. They help Google choose your content to show to those seeking for what you can provide. The better your keywords, the better your search ranking.”
The results of our survey confirm the importance of keyword rankings. Around 60% of participants said they monitored this KPI daily.
Mudassir Ahmed of Blogging Explained adds that monitoring your keywords also helps determine where you stand compared to your competitors.
“Tracking your keywords ranking relative to competition could help you with actionable information that you can leverage to optimize your website for search performance. Ahrefs can be the right tool to start tracking this data and send you regular updates,” explains Ahmed.
Lastly, tracking your keyword rankings will also indicate how visible you are in the SERPs. Atiba’s Jake Peterson shares “Studies have shown it takes an individual 5-7 interactions to remember a brand. If someone is looking for a specific service through various keywords and keeps seeing your name pop up, I believe that will help them to recognize and remember your brand.”
Organic visibility also has to do with the keywords you may want to try and rank for. “Organic visibility also gives you a chance to see what phrases/terms are working for your pages and which phrases aren’t. This allows you to update your on-page content or refocus your content funnel,” adds Peterson.
Another critical metric for most marketers is organic traffic. “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,” says Adam Hempenstall of Better Proposals.
Our survey asked marketing professionals to choose one SEO reporting metric that they consider essential for their reports. Organic traffic is among the top ones, based on the participants’ responses.
However, it’s important to pay attention to the organic traffic that actually converts. Kent Lewis says that Anvil Media 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.”
“The most important SEO metric to look at is conversions from organic traffic because that underpins your business’s bottom line,” agrees Marcie Lord of Digital Dynamo LLC.
“The purpose of your website is to create conversions; whether it be purchases, downloads, time on site, completion of contact forms, or some other action directly tied to your business’s KPIs, if users are not completing these actions, then your business goals are undermined.”
New and Lost Backlinks
For The Whit Group’s Sarah Walters, new backlinks play an important role in their SEO efforts. “The more referring domains your website have, the higher your website ranks in Google organic search,” says Walters and explains why new backlinks are of critical importance:
“Google puts less weight on links that came from the same websites that have already linked to you before. For example, the first link from a website is powerful. When you got a second link from the same website once again, the link will be less valuable now. That is why it’s best to focus more on referring domains and increase the number of new referring domains. Monitor this metric as it can show you if your SEO strategy is working or not.”
Lost backlinks can also tell you a lot about your SEO success.
Mailbird‘s Andrea Loubier claims that “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,” concludes Loubier.
Tracking impressions doesn’t occur to everyone but it can be useful for determining whether your content attracts enough attention.
Manick Bhan of LinkGraph agrees that “impressions data are often underutilized in SEO reporting but they are essential to helping prove the value of SEO efforts. More impressions mean that your web pages are ranking for multiple keyword phrases and are being shown to searchers, even if they aren’t clicking,” says Bhan and adds a piece of advice:
“When you identify pages with high impressions but fewer clicks, it’s your hint that the page has lots of SEO potential. Working on areas like site authority and on-page SEO can then make a significant impact in improving your average ranking positions so you can start turning those impressions into real clicks.”
“Almost everything we do as SEOs is to score a conversion of some sort,” says Brodie Cornett of Sagapixel. “Be that an email sign-up, a download, a call, or a purchase. So, I feel that organic conversions are the most important metric.”
“Whether it’s soft or hard conversion it’s the most important in a large majority of SEO scenarios. It provides us with a strong indication of the following:
that we are attracting the right type of user to the website
the page or pages are working well to establish a degree of trust
we are effectively communicating with users to solve a specific pain point
users are completing a desired action on the website
we’ve got revenue opportunities.”
Your website’s technical performance should be an important aspect of your SEO strategy, given that hiccups in page loading can, for instance, prevent visitors from even seeing your fabulous content.
“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!”
Andrew Clark of DAVID.MARKET also agrees and like to track “technical” metrics.
“For me, a decreasing number of crawl errors is tantamount when it comes to SEO,” says Clark.
“A site needs to be working properly in the eyes of search engines and optimized to the best degree possible. Otherwise, a site runs the risk of being rendered to the sidelines of organic search results, as well as turning off users with a poor user experience.”
SEO Metrics to Include in Your Weekly Reports
We wanted to know what SEO metrics our marketing professionals included in their weekly SEO reports. The survey showed that many of those monitored daily are on their weekly to-do list as well, but here are some more tips to help you make the most out of the SEO reports you create every week.
Shannon Trimble of The Search Cure claims this is the critical metric that can tell you a lot about your content. “Not only does it signify that you have put your content in front of the right audience (through proper targeting), but it means that your content is relevant and valuable to that audience,” says Trimble.
“While other metrics are useful (such as organic traffic, speed and no. of backlinks etc), CTR sits at the crossroads between visibility and conversion. No single metric will tell you everything about a website’s SEO performance, but CTR ensures that your efforts are establishing a level of returns and working as intended.”
Arbeit‘s Eleanor O’Connor shares a valuable piece of advice about the organic click-through rate: “If your CTR for a target keyword/phrase has been less than your average CTR for the past few weeks you may need to consider targeting a more broad or narrow keyword/phrase depending on which part of the buyer’s journey the page caters to.”
“It could also be as simple as making some adjustments to the wording of your title tag and meta description to better describe what the landing page is about and what action users can take on that page,” says O’Connor.
Domain authority is a good indicator of whether your SEO activities are paying off. For example, if you’re getting enough quality backlinks, your domain authority will increase. One of the best strategies to do so is to focus on guest posting, says Citrusbug‘s Raaquib Pathan.
“To boost our website search rankings we mostly rely on guest posting on high domain authority sites which not only increases our website traffic but also increases our own website’s authority. Besides this, it gives more audience exposure transferring trust, and provides brand awareness. All of these advantages are really vital in search rankings which proves guest posting is the best strategy for us,” explains Pathan.
Traffic by Landing Page
Organic traffic is an important metric to track, but it’s pretty broad if not broken down into more precise KPIs.
Gennady Lager of Generator Tools believes that’s what marketers should do. “What really matters is where those organic search sessions are landing,” says Lager.
“If they are landing on a homepage that does not convert well or is not your main ‘money’ page or does not move your traffic to better conversion pages well then those sessions are not very valuable.”
“However, if those sessions are landing and trending to increase on a recently optimized inside pages such as a category, brand, product, or article page, then you can utilize that information to determine how well your recent SEO efforts are performing. This can give you actionable insights in terms of the keywords that drive those organic search sessions and point to specific optimization steps that you can take on your site. Finally, you can utilize this data as a case study and, if successful, apply it on other pages and in other efforts,” concludes Lager.
Eden Chai of Generation Marketing agrees: “Marketers should track organic traffic by landing page. 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.”
New vs. Returning Visitors
You probably already know that retaining customers costs far less than acquiring new ones. Similarly, you need to track returning visitors in your website analytics – they’re just as important as new ones.
Thomas Fultz of Coffeeble confirms: “As much as people want new visitors to their site, we take the most interest in repeat visitors, as these are much more likely to convert and buy from us. It usually takes between 3-6 touch points from an opportunity to turn into a client, so we will watch the repeat visitors,” explains Fultz.
“In addition, current customers generate a lot more revenue long term. I would rather have one customer buy from us ten times, then 10 customers buy from us once.”
Adam Collins of CurrantWeb adds that tracking this metric can help you discover what’s going on when your traffic is low and let you know whether you’re going in the right direction. “If your traffic is going down then you are more inclined to see what might be causing these issues, such as checking your bounce rate, average time on the page and new/returning visitors, etc.”
“Organic clicks provide agencies with the best insight into whether an SEO campaign is working and to what extent,” Steve Yanor of Sky Alphabet Social Media claims.
“New campaigns that involve new pages and fresh on-page technical SEO often start with zero clicks but some impressions. Over time, as the page increases its visibility, the impressions will grow, but clicks usually do not start appearing until the page has reached at least page two, if not page one,” says Yanor and adds:
“With some searches, people WILL go deep to find what they want, but for the vast majority of campaigns, organic clicks provide the best window into the myriad of adjustments and ongoing improvements that digital marketers undertake to improve the visibility and attractiveness of a web page.”
Top Growing Queries
Matt Hodkinson of Influence Agents highlights the importance of being proactive when it comes to SEO. For his team in Influence Agents, “this is a tight, powerful metric that’s provided by Google’s Search Console, and allows marketers to take a proactive approach in how they create new content.”
“With the combination of search intent and how it related to content you’re already getting found for, this metric can allow you to cement your discoverability around key topics, and take a more targeted approach to on-page conversion, too,” explains Hodkinson.
SEO Metrics to Include in Your Monthly Reports
Your monthly reports, whether you’re reporting to a client or your team, should help you create an overall picture of how you’re performing. That means that most of the previously mentioned metrics should also find their way into your monthly report, especially conversions, organic traffic, click-through rate, domain authority, number of backlinks, and similar.
However, here are a few other KPIs that can be good success indicators and experts recommend you include them in your monthly report too.
Getting organic traffic is probably not your ultimate goal. Is this traffic generating enough leads for your business? Jonathan Aufray of Growth Hackers believes it’s important to include the number of generated leads in your monthly SEO report.
“You don’t just want to increase your organic traffic, what you want is to make sure that the traffic you’re getting is relevant, targeted, and qualified,” says Aufray.
“To track this, don’t stop at the number of organic visitors you’re getting, but track if they convert when they go to your website. A great way to do so is by analyzing the number of leads you generate from your organic traffic. If your organic leads increase over time, your website SEO is going in the right direction.”
“Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most important SEO metrics that marketers should track is bounce rate,” says Hosting Data‘s Alex Williams. “It demonstrates the number of users and/or potential customers that landed on your site, but left pretty swiftly, without taking any action at all.”
Tracking your bounce rate can help you identify where things go south – whether it’s a technical issue, low-quality content, or something else.
But keep in mind that low or high bounce rate also “depends on the purpose of the page,” says Williams, “if the aim of the page is to make a purchase, or subscribe to a newsletter if people aren’t sticking around then it’s a clear sign that the marketer needs to make a tweak to try to change this.”
Pages per Session
According to Angela Ash of Flow SEO, “knowing how many pages a user visits will help you in targeting the keywords for the pages that you hope to rank with search engines, as well as be helpful in developing your content marketing strategy.”
“The longer a user stays on your site, the greater the chances that they will find your products, services and content beneficial” – that’s why Ash’s team recommends tracking the number of pages in an average session.
Keywords Lost and Gained
‘While everyone knows that traffic, bounce rate, session duration, and similar metrics should be tracked in real-time, something that most businesses with only a basic understanding of SEO do not track is their keyword volatility,” explains Zack Chambers of Sure Oak.
“This can provide you with a lot of important heads-up. For instance, if you see a slow decrease in your organic keywords, you know that something is up and you need to audit your site,” claims Chambers and adds: “If you see a major drop off or increase, chances are you have been affected by an algorithm update. Whatever the case, keyword volatility is huge for any website.”
How to Track and Evaluate Organic Search Performance in Databox
Looking for ways to track your organic search, and learn which keywords and landing pages are ranking best? Then watch the video below to learn how to use Databox to answer the following key questions:
How much of our website traffic is coming from organic search?
How many new contacts?
Which keywords and landing pages are ranking best?
This information will also help you decide which topics and keywords to focus on for content marketing.
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If you were ever confused about what metrics to include in your SEO reports, we bet this guide has removed all your doubts.
Many marketing experts have shared their thoughts on what you should track daily, weekly, and monthly to be able to spot any issues or growth opportunities and react timely. These timely reactions can help you build your authority, get top-quality backlinks, and climb your way to the top of SERP.
That’s why both day-to-day monitoring and monthly reporting are important – just choose which metrics you’re going to track and you’re all set to get started and finally see your SEO efforts pay off.
About the author
Stefana Zaric Stefana Zarić is a freelance writer and a teacher fluent in several languages. She has recently started her own business and educates future writers who want to build a career in marketing. When not working, Stefana loves to read books, play with her kid, and dance salsa.
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