When you leverage Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as part of your digital marketing strategy, you have the awesome benefit of monitoring the effectiveness of your work using SEO metrics. Yet, if you’ve ever spent time looking at this data, you know how daunting it can be. 

Instead of bombarding you with all the metrics at once, this article focuses on only five SEO metrics as a starting point. Together, these will give you a good idea of the visibility and performance of your website in organic search results, as well as the functionality for visitors who take the next step and go to your website.

The metrics we will discuss include:

  • Organic traffic
  • Organic clickthrough rate (CTR)
  • Exit rate
  • Pages per session
  • Page load time

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Monitor SEO Performance with These 5 Search Metrics

1. Organic Traffic

The first SEO metric is likely the most familiar to you: organic traffic. It’s a good basic measurement of the amount of traffic you get from organic search results.

While there are many different sources of traffic — paid advertising, social media, direct traffic — organic traffic helps you measure your visibility in organic search results specifically.

To obtain your organic search traffic data, log in to your Google Analytics account. From the dashboard, navigate to the Audience > Overview in the left sidebar and select “Add Segment”. Next, select “Organic Traffic” and hit “Apply”. You should be able to view organic traffic as a percentage of your total traffic.

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2. Organic Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

The next SEO metric to look at is your organic clickthrough rate, or CTR. This number tells you how many people choose to visit your website once they see it in organic search results.

For example, if 500 people see your website in organic search and 100 people click on it, then your clickthrough rate is 20 percent.

To view your organic clickthrough rate, you can use Google Search Console. Click the “Full Report” button on the “Performance” panel in the main feed to see your results.

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3. Exit Rate

The exit rate is an important search metric because it shows you the last pages people visit before exiting your website. Pages with the highest exit rates mean the pages, or the content on those pages, aren’t enough to keep visitors on the site.

To find your exit rate, go to Google Analytics and click on “Behaviors” in the left sidebar, then choose “Site Content” and “All Pages”.

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4. Pages Per Session

It’s a good idea to monitor the pages per session metric as it indicates how many pages a user visits during a single session on your website. The more pages per session the better, because it means visitors are staying longer on your site.

You can view the pages per session by going to Google Analytics and clicking on “Acquisition” in the left sidebar. From there, click on “All Traffic” and then “Channels” where you’ll be able to view the pages per session for every channel.

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5. Page Load Time

The final SEO metric you’ll want to focus on is your average page load time. It measures how long it takes for your page content to load. Google specifically notes this is a key SEO ranking signal, so you should monitor this data regularly.

To view the average page load time, visit Google Analytics. Click on “Behaviors” in the left sidebar, then select “Site Speed”. You can view overall page load times, or drill down to individual page performance.

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About the Author

Rob SandersRob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience. During that time, Rob has helped a wide range of companies utilize new and emerging technologies to increase sales and profitability. As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob helps clients maximize their digital marketing efforts via SEO, SEM, SMO, and Web Analytics. He is responsible for many facets of the web analytics value chain, from identifying business goals and objectives to developing strategies and translating those into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rob also teaches digital marketing and analytics classes throughout the U.S. and abroad. As a contributor for Simplilearn, Rob creates expert thought leadership content on a variety of digital marketing and analytics topics.

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