SEO metrics we use to measure success

Measuring the success of your SEO strategy goes beyond your keyword ranking reports

When it comes to SEO, there are plenty of metrics you can use to gauge your success.

You see, your SEO strategy is far from a done-and-dusted program. It’s a malleable, long-term strategy that is constantly analysed and adjusted to ensure you’re getting the best results for business.

Accurately tracking your SEO performance needs a more cohesive methodology, with multiple different metrics being tracked regularly to determine success, and most importantly, help us identify where tweaks and changes need to be made.

Metric #1: Keyword rankings

The ultimate goal of any SEO strategy is to increase your position on SERPs. Naturally, that makes keyword rankings one of the pivotal measures of success!

Using Google’s free tools (or a third-party tracker), you can measure how your your site is ranking for individual keywords. Some programs can tell you which specific pages are ranking, not just your homepage.

Not only is ranking an effective way of telling whether your strategy is paying off - it’s also a great tool for building and modifying SEO strategy too!

In addition to telling you how your site is ranking, keyword metrics also include things like:

  • Search volumes for specific keywords
  • How tough the competition is
  • Real-time changes in ranking
  • Ranking trends (monthly, seasonally, etc.)

Each of these can help you plan your SEO strategy. Let’s say you want to target a specific phrase.

Keyword metrics might tell you that while there are a lot of searches for that phrase, there are also many businesses in Melbourne competing for the top spot for that keyword, too.

We’re talking potentially thousands of competing websites and individual pages.

In this particular instance, it might be better to start small and target less competitive keywords (like local suburbs) in the early stage of your strategy.

Once you’ve dominated more niche keywords, you can then consider targeting the bigger, more competitive ones.

And we haven’t even gotten started on the keywords that you didn’t mean to rank for! Google works in mysterious ways - it’s not uncommon to find yourself ranking for a service that’s only a small part of your core business and therefore something you are not targeting.

The key takeaway? If you want the complete picture of how your SEO is working out, you need an SEO agency that:

  • Monitors a variety of metrics
  • Is highly analytical
  • Can recommend tweaks on a regular basis
  • Provides actionable advice, not just a ranking report

Metric #2: Website metrics

Behaviour flow

We also look at the flow your users take when they are on your website.

Sometimes we can even identify patterns that show how users might be struggling to find the information they’re seeking.

For example, going from the home page to an inner page and then back to the home page again can indicate a navigation problem, and that users feel they can’t navigate around the site unless they return to the home page and start from there again.

These metrics can be incredibly insightful when it comes to determining how your search engine optimisation is going - provided you know how to read them of course!

Organic traffic

Rankings are important, but if they’re not bringing in traffic, we’ve got a problem.

Simply put, organic traffic refers to visitors coming into your site through channels that don’t require you to pay for placement. These are the people that find you through a simple Google search - no ads!

Organic results are the “purest” metric, so to speak. Others might highlight trends or immediate traction, but organic traffic highlights long-term, sustainable results.

Bounce rate

People are coming to your site. But are they staying?

That’s exactly what bounce rate tells you.

Bounce rate tells you how many visitors to your site are leaving after viewing only one page.

No matter where they land, if they leave that particular page without viewing another, that is considered a “bounce”. Naturally, you want that percentage to be as low as possible!

However, there are indeed exceptions to the rule.

Blog posts are a good example of pages that tend to have a higher bounce rate. This is often due to the reason that people will find a blog post after typing in a (possibly very specific) search term or question, and your particular blog post is displayed in the results.

They may click on your blog post, read it, and “bounce” away - either because you bore them to death, OR they found their answer! Two extreme reasons for a bounce, which is why it’s important to remember that there are exceptions.


Two engagement metrics you should be looking at time on site and pages per visit.

Both of these metrics tell you how well your web content is connecting with visitors AND whether they can comfortably navigate through the site.

And in SEO-land, engagement plays a huge role in determining rankings. As the theory goes…

  • If people are spending more time on your site, that’s a strong indicator that they are enjoying your content
  • If they like your content, that means your site is a good source of information, and is credible
  • A credible site is more likely to be prioritised by Google on search engine results pages (SERPs)

Metric #3: Conversions

  • Phone number clicks
  • Form submissions
  • Contact page visits

Remember, a visitor coming to your site doesn’t automatically mean they are ready to purchase or even contact you.

There are 5 stages of the buying cycle - and only one is the “point-of-purchase” stage. That means at any one time, 80% of your visitors are at any of the other four stages.

That’s where conversions come in. Conversion rate tells you how many of these visitors are actually taking action. That can include:

  • Making a purchase
  • Filling in a form
  • Clicking a phone number
  • Signing up for a newsletter, ebook, or any other promotion

On a weekly and monthly basis, we examine how many leads you’re receiving, and we critically analyse to see how we can improve not only the number of leads you get, but the quality.

We examine:

  • If the leads coming through are from the right types of customers you want to work with
  • Whether contact forms are too simple, and if we ought to look at getting more information from leads when they fill in a form
  • A high number of visits to a contact page with few conversions may indicate people are searching for a location, office address, or service area

Metric #4: Site speed

Open up your website right now. How long does it take for the home page to load?

With the advent of mobile-first indexing, this could be the difference between a site that ranks and one that tanks!

Simply put, desktop users, mobile users, and Google iself want fast-loading websites.

A slow website affects the way a visitor uses your site: a slow site is frustrating, causing visitors to leave, affecting time spent on page and bounce rate.

These two important metrics will suffer, and could affect your overall ranking.

Metric #5: Crawl errors

If you want your site to rank, Google’s bots need to be able to read it first.

That’s exactly what “crawl errors’ refer to. Each of these errors can lead to difficulty crawling your site - furthermore, many of them might negatively impact the user experience as well!

Google splits crawl errors into two main categories:

Site errors

These are errors that prevent your entire site from being crawled. And if your site isn’t being crawled, it’s not being indexed by Google!

These include errors such as DNS and server errors. If Google can’t communicate with your server, it’ll come back later - this isn’t usually an error unless your site is frequently out of action.

URL errors

These are errors that are limited to individual pages.

A lot of URL errors are the result of internal links. Maybe your site still contains dead links, is missing pages, or features media that doesn’t work.

To avoid these, you’ll need to do regular maintenance on your internal links, especially when you get rid of a page or article!

Whatever the cause, effective search engine optimisation requires your site to have as few crawl errors as possible. While this isn’t an SEO metric you’ll need to be tracking 24/7, it’s definitely worth looking at, especially when your site undergoes updates.

SEO is a jungle, and these metrics are your map

Make no mistake, organic traffic and search rankings are the most direct measures of SEO success.

However, they’re not the only ones!

Search engine optimisation is a jungle. Without the proper tools guiding you in the right direction, it’s easy to get lost. If you want a complete picture of how your efforts are panning out, you’ll need to look at other metrics too.

Each of the metrics we’ve looked at above can directly affect another - they all overlap and influence each other, which means there is a lot to look at on a regular basis!

If you find yourself struggling to keep up with all these different metrics or simply don’t have the time to undertake a highly critical SEO analysis on your own - and on a regular basis, no less! - it’s time to get in touch with an SEO team who can!

Call our office now on 1300 88 64 50 or fill in this form and we’ll be in touch!


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