Choosing SEO Metrics That Matter: A Guide for Business Owners

August 11, 2023

Over the years, search engine optimization has become more than keyword research, content optimization, and link building. It is a result-oriented marketing strategy that measures numbers, evaluates tactics, and continuously optimizes itself. SEO metrics help in making the outcomes actionable and measurable.

 

Working without metrics is like shooting in the dark, hardly knowing whether your work is paying off. Following a cookie-cutter approach with metrics is even worse because every business has different needs and goals. You need to look for the ones that show the areas for improvement rather than only highlighting where you are winning.

 

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According to a recent survey, only 44% of North American businesses currently implement an SEO strategy. That means you may not have a lot of insights into SEO metrics as a beginner. Following the basics like organic traffic, search visibility, clicks, conversions, rankings, bounce rates, and revenues seems like the best bet.

 

But you may end up with tons of data that might overwhelm you without serving real value. The hard truth is that you should be selective enough to focus on the metrics that actually matter to your business. Here are a few tips for picking these metrics.

 

Define and Understand Your Audience

 

According to a HubSpot survey, only 42% of marketers have basic information about their target audience. That’s where most beginners go wrong with SEO because every strategy should have your audience as its foundation. It also applies to the metrics you choose to define the success of your SEO plan in the long run.

 

Before planning your measurement strategy, you need to dig deep to find a few things about your target buyers. Consider what motivates them or holds them back. Think of what may push them forward in a journey. According to Sapid SEO Company, target audience analysis is the mainstay of SEO, regardless of the industry.

 

Gathering relevant data requires a multi-pronged approach because your target audience may be at different locations. You can conduct surveys, engage in social listening, organize client persona workshops, and leverage CRM data to get details such as demographics, motivations, thoughts, and actions.

 

Conduct Channel Research

 

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Choosing the right SEO metrics is a long journey, and defining your target audience is only the first step. A business uses multiple audience engagement channels, so it is crucial to gather quantitative data to establish the opportunity on the varying channels. While conducting channel research, you need to cover the following:

 

  • Keyword research and search trends
  • Audience insights and targeting
  • Competitor review
  • Social media trends
  • Current Performance audit

Build your Customer Journey Map

 

After gathering customer, keyword, and channel-specific search data, you are all set to build your customer journey map. It is the time you will see and filter the SEO metrics for your business. After mapping each buyer persona’s touchpoints, thoughts, feelings, and actions, you can understand their desired actions as they move down the buying funnel.

 

The standard customer journey includes four stages, with each stage having a set of relevant KPIs. Here is a checklist of SEO metrics to consider for different stages of the customer journey.

 

Stage 1: Awareness

  • User engagement
  • Downloads
  • Social follows
  • Newsletter signups
  • Video views
  • Saves/wish list
  • Dwell time
  • Next page flow

 

Stage 2: Consideration

  • Detailed content views
  • Live chats
  • Review interaction
  • FAQ interaction
  • Many of the awareness metrics

 

Stage 3: Purchase

  • Bookings
  • Inquiries and sales
  • Add to cart
  • Online visibility

 

Stage 4: Retention

  • Downloads
  • Newsletter signups
  • Newsletter engagement
  • Social engagement
  • Returning user rate
  • Referral/Discount code

 

Nailing the Metrics that Matter

 

The list of SEO metrics may seem too long and overwhelming to a beginner, but you need not follow up on all of them. Let the customer journey define your SEO measurement strategy.

 

For example, you can initially track a specific set of metrics to see where most of the action happens. For some business owners, downloads may be the most active part of the awareness stage, while video views may be busier for others.

 

A hit-and-trial approach can help you nail the metrics that matter for your business. At the same time, be receptive to changes because you may need to switch to different ones due to changes in external factors like audience expectations and market trends.

 

Summing Up

 

Choosing the right SEO metrics can reduce your workload and provide relevant insights instead of loading you with tons of numbers. Moreover, the strategy offers clear data regarding where performance falls short. You can focus on these factors and get the best outcomes with your SEO strategy.

 

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