To optimize, you need to measure.
And to measure, you need the right metrics.
These are the 10 SEO and non-SEO metrics we measure in order to keep track of and optimize our SEO process.
1. Share of Voice (SoV)
Traditionally, SoV refers to the portion or percentage of advertising space or time that a particular brand has compared to its competitors.
For example, let’s say there are three car brands: Brand A, Brand B, and Brand C. If Brand A has the most commercials on TV, taking up 50% of the total airtime, while Brand B has 30%, and Brand C has 20%, then Brand A has the highest share of voice. In conclusion, Brand A is the dominant brand in the advertising space on television compared to its competitors Brand B & C.
In general, SoV helps companies understand how much attention and exposure they are getting vs their competitors.
However, in SEO, SoV means something different.
SOV refers to the percentage of clicks that land on your website as compared to all of your tracked keywords combined.
If you only track a single keyword and all top 10 positions in Google are occupied by pages from your website (meaning you get all possible traffic from that keyword), your share of voice is 100%.
However, in practice, this can never happen. It’s not a matter of difficulty but rather how Google’s SERPs work. Since 2019, the maximum number of results from the same website domain is two. Therefore, the best result you can possibly get in any given SERPs is position #1 and #2.
In other words, if you occupy the #1 spot, while your competition takes the rest, your SoV for the specific keyword would be around 30% (depending on the CTR curve of the search results for that particular keyword).
And here’s the formula in practice:
SOV = Total clicks x keywords you track / Clicks resulting in your website
SOV = 100×10/20
SOV = 0.5%
2. Organic Traffic
That’s the absolute number. It is only for this number that you do ALL those SEO efforts. This metric refers to the visitors who land on your website through organic (non-paid) means.
These visitors arrive at your site by clicking on the search engine results page (SERP) listings that appear when they search for specific keywords or phrases relevant to your website’s content.
Analyzing the bounce rate per landing page will help you better understand it. Despite the fact that the diagram above includes ALL pages, in reality not all pages are equally valuable to your business.
From a marketing perspective, organic traffic is considered more sustainable in the long run compared to other sources, such as paid advertising, in the form of PPC. On the one hand, paid campaigns deliver immediate traffic, but they can be costly and the traffic stops the moment you stop paying for them. On the other hand, organic traffic through an effective SEO keeps flowing.
Remember, having organic traffic means nothing if you don’t properly and carefully select the keywords that are relevant to your business and convert them into leads. Traffic is easy, but relevant traffic should be your focus.
3. Domain Rating (DR)
DR Is a metric developed by Ahrefs that measures the strength and authority of your domain. A website with a high domain rating is more likely to rank higher in search engine results.
Ahrefs calculates Domain Rating based on factors such as the quantity and quality of backlinks pointing to a domain, the diversity of referring domains, and the overall link profile of the website. Websites with a large number of high-quality backlinks from reputable and relevant sources tend to have higher Domain Ratings.
Every SEO platform has its own metric to measure the backlink authority of a domain. The most prevalent ones are Ahrefs’ DR and Moz’s Domain Authority (DA)
No matter the platform, if you want to improve your backlink profile you need one thing: build links from high-authority and relevant domains.
Our favorite link-building techniques are:
- The Skyscraper Technique: Find popular content with many backlinks, create even better and more comprehensive content, and reach out to those who linked to the original content to ask them to link to your improved version.
- Broken Link Building: Identify pages with broken links with many backlinks, create a replacement page, and reach out to the websites linked to the original content to suggest replacing the broken link with a link to your new page.
- Stolen Images: Reverse search for images used in the content, reach out to the websites using those images without proper attribution, and request a link back to your website as the source of the image.
- Guest Blogging: Write blog posts for other websites in your industry or niche, including links back to your website. Ensure that the guest post is valuable and relevant to the target website’s audience.
4. Position Distribution
Positions distribution refers to the distribution of the search engine ranking positions of the keywords that a website is ranking for in the SERPs.
According to Ahrefs, this is what the categories in positions distribution mean for most SEOs:
Positions #1-3: “ranking goals achieved” (ranking #1 for all keywords is rarely possible);
Positions #4-10: “almost there, needs some more work”;
Positions #11-50: “looks promising”;
Positions #51-100: “at least Google knows my page exists.”
When you analyze the position distribution of your website or webpage, you get a clear understanding of how many keywords are ranking in the top positions (such as the first page of the search results) and how many are ranking in lower positions. Ahrefs presents this information in the form of a graph or chart that shows the percentage of keywords ranking in different positions.
Position distribution is an important metric because it gives you insights into the overall visibility and performance of your website in search results. Higher positions, especially on the first page, generally indicate better visibility and higher chances of attracting organic traffic. Lower positions, particularly beyond the third page, often mean that your website may not be easily discoverable by users.
By monitoring the position distribution over time, you can track the progress of your SEO efforts. If you see an increase in the percentage of keywords ranking in higher positions, it indicates that your optimization strategies are working effectively. Onthe contrary, if you notice a decline in position distribution, it may indicate the need for improvements in your SEO tactics to boost your rankings.
5. Google Curiosity Index
A Google Curiosity Index shows how your brand awareness changes over time based on the number of people searching for your branded keyword(s). If you haven’t heard of this metric it’s because we’ve come up with it.
The way we get this metric is through filtering from Google Search Console the terms that are associated with our brand name. In our case, these terms are “growrocks”, and “growth rocks”.
Many company activities such as campaigns, reviews, events, and general publicity will affect this diagram’s volatility. As with any graph, if you need to get a better picture of the graph’s trend and progress, consider adding a trend line.
6. Backlink Domain Authority Distribution
Not all backlinks have the same value. This metric measures the distribution of the domains that link to your website according to their Domain Rating (metric #3).
Most of the time, the higher the value of a domain, the higher the value of PageRank that is being transferred.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
A high Domain Rating does not necessarily correlate with a domain quality. There are ways that a website can increase its DR virtually. Therefore, in some cases, DR doesn’t correspond with the actual authority of a given domain. DR is a metric that can be manipulated easier than other metrics, such as organic traffic.
Usually, the links that refer to you aren’t under your control; you don’t decide where you get the link from. Therefore, you need to set up a process so you can keep an eye on the backlinks that are coming your way. We use an Ahrefs weekly alert for this purpose.
If you have a considerable number of spammy or low-quality links pointing to your site, consider disavowing them.
7. Top Organic Pages
A website’s top organic pages are the pages that receive the most traffic from search engines. These pages are typically well-optimized for search engines and contain high-quality content relevant to the search terms used by users.
The report on the top organic pages will help you answer a few questions:
- Which pages get most of the organic traffic
- What traffic do we get from them
- What keywords get the most clicks
- How much potential traffic can be generated by those keywords based on their total volume
- What position resulted in traffic; higher positions don’t always result in more traffic
Understanding the top organic pages allows you to prioritize your SEO efforts. You can focus on optimizing and improving the content, UX, and SEO elements of these pages to further enhance their performance and maintain or improve their rankings in the SERPs.
PRO tip: It’s more efficient to improve medium-performing pages than creating content from scratch and trying to rank it.
Moreover, top organic pages can reveal opportunities for internal linking within your website. By linking from these high-performing pages to other relevant pages on your site, you can distribute the organic traffic and authority more effectively, boosting the visibility and rankings of other pages.
8. Backlinks Attributes (Nofollow vs Dofollow)
Technically speaking, DoFollow and NoFollow are HTML attributes that instruct search engines on how to treat a backlink.
DoFollow links are the standard/ by-default links that pass PageRank and contribute to the linked page’s rankings.
NoFollow links, on the other hand, indicate to search engines that the link shouldn’t be considered for ranking purposes. While NoFollow links may not directly impact rankings, they can still bring referral traffic and contribute to a natural link profile.
What’s more, a big number of nofollow links may indicate that there are spammy and low-quality links targeting your domain. You may want to consider disavowing them.
9. Engagement Rate
Doing the best possible SEO is not our end goal – and it shouldn’t be your end goal either. You need to optimize the user’s journey and make sure this task is not left to people not responsible for driving traffic.
Engagement rate refers to the level of interaction visitors have with a website. It shows their level of interest and how much your website resonates with them. A higher engagement rate suggests that visitors find the website valuable, spend more time exploring its content, and interact with various elements such as links, forms, comments, and social sharing buttons.
Engagement rate can be measured using various metrics, including:
– Time spent on a page
– Bounce rate
– Pageviews per session
– Social media shares
– Conversion rate, which is also the end goal
Improving the engagement rate involves implementing strategies to enhance UX such as creating valuable and engaging content, optimizing website performance, and encouraging user interaction through calls-to-action.
10. Top-20 Pages Performance
Metric #7 was about the top organic pages, meaning the pages that receive the most traffic from the search engines. This metric is about which pages perform the best in terms of engagement.
More precisely, these are the questions that need to be answered to measure engagement:
How many users…
- Entered a form
- Made it to the email field
- Actually submitted the form
- Were identified (submitted their email)
- Were identified (submitted their email)
- Clicked on another internal link and thus consumed more content
- Bounced to other pages (useful metric especially when the content is a listicle and/ or there are links on the page that lead to URLs of competitors [example])
You need to remember that user engagement happens in a funnel.
- Users first visit the page (each page)
- Users find a form to engage with at some point
- Users start completing the form
- Users submit the form
At any moment, users:
- Users click on an outbound link on a page
- Users click on an inbound link on a page (in this case, the user journey resets and goes back to point 2 from the previous paragraph)
Theodore has a 20-year experience in running successful and profitable software products. During his free time, he coaches and consults startups. His career includes managerial posts for companies both in Greece and abroad and he has significant skills on intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship.