Which metrics should I use to measure a successful SEO?

For years, SEOs have relied on website rankings to estimate progresses. High positions in the SERPs have been used to prove customers that agencies were doing their job.

However, factors like “personalized results” or more “aggressive PPC ads” (and the interest from search engines to give sponsored results always more and more space) are now influencing the results in the SERPs and the effectiveness of the CTR.

Therefore, is no longer worth speaking only of positions. And talking about the PageRank is pretty much the same, especially considering that this announce comes from Google (once again).

Now times are definitely changed, and Web analytics packages have been gaining more and more importance. That is because the whole purpose of SEO is to get more free traffic! So we want to keep an eye on how much we are getting, from where, and how long the visitors are hanging around.

Therefore, having a look at time spent on site, bounce rate and incoming keywords is definitely better. More you dig into your analytics package, and more you can discover about your SEO processes or opportunities.

How can I measure my successful SEO?

Having a web analytics package is definitely mandatory. Having a good one is ultimately important. There are free alternatives like Google analytics (despite it has been murmured about the possibility it will sooner become a paid tool), or paid tools like Omniture and WebTrends, which could cost an eye of your head.

Some are good, some are not. I’m not interested into collating a list of preferences here.

My only point is to be sure that all your pages are properly tagged, and to properly setup filters and goals, otherwise monitoring your results will be an hard task.

Very nice, but what metrics do you consider?

Ok, I don’t want to keep anything secret, also because there is no secret on this. That’s the metrics I do normally watch:

  1. Visits, time spent on page, and bounce rate by top entry page
  2. Reverse goal funnel
  3. Visits by non-paid keywords, but filtered for branding, trademarked, or copyrighted terms.

Of course there are other metrics you can use, but other software and analysis tools need to be used. Perhaps, this could be the subject of one of my next post.