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Understanding SEO Metrics

Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for driving traffic, leads, and sales from search engines like Google. To properly track and improve your SEO efforts, you need to understand the key SEO metrics that indicate performance and identify opportunities. This guide will explore the most important SEO metrics to monitor and provide tips for analysis and optimization.

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic refers to visits coming from unpaid search engine results pages (SERPs). Monitoring organic traffic metrics helps gauge SEO success and identify trends.


A session is a group of user interactions on your site within a given time frame. Analyzing sessions provides insight into visitor behavior and engagement.

  • A rise in sessions shows your site is attracting more visitors from organic search. Compare sessions week-over-week and month-over-month.
  • Segment sessions by source/medium to isolate organic search trends.


Users represent the number of unique visitors coming to your site from organic search during a given period. Growing users indicates you are reaching new audiences.

  • Compare users over time and segment by source/medium.
  • Look at user retention metrics to see if visitors are returning.


Pageviews count how many pages users view during their sessions. More pageviews mean visitors are consuming and engaging with more content.

  • High bounce rates may indicate poor page experience. Optimize pages to keep visitors engaged.
  • Look at landing pages and exit pages to identify issues.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of single page sessions where users leave your site immediately. High bounce rates signal poor user experience.

  • Analyze landing page content, speed, and design. Remove friction points.
  • Implement internal links and calls-to-action to encourage further exploration.

Keyword Rankings

Monitoring keyword rankings allows you to track SEO success for targeted searches. Here are key ranking metrics:

Top Rankings

Focus on tracking rankings for priority keywords you are trying to rank highly for. Progress toward the coveted top 3 positions indicates optimization success.

Average Position

Average position sums up your overall ranking performance across keywords. A lower average position indicates improvements.

  • Use ranking reports to identify low performing keywords needing more focus.

Search Impressions

Search impressions show how frequently your pages appear in the SERPs for target keywords. More impressions drive more clicks and traffic.

  • Look for upward trends in impressions for optimized keywords over time.
  • Identify low impression keywords as optimization opportunities.

Backlink Profile

Your backlink profile reflects how many other sites link back to your site. Robust backlink profiles tend to achieve higher rankings. Track:

Total Backlinks

This shows the total number of backlinks to your root domain. Generally more is better, but focus on quality.

Referring Domains

This counts the number of unique domains linking to you, indicative of broader trust/authority.

Domain Authority

Domain authority metrics (e.g. Moz’s DA) score the strength of your domain based on backlink profile. Higher DA shows greater trust.

Domain Authority & Page Authority

Domain authority refers to the overall authority and trust flow passed through your root domain. Page authority scores show authority being passed to individual pages.

Domain Authority Score

Domain authority ranges from 1-100, with higher scores carrying more weight in rankings. Optimize your backlink profile to improve domain authority over time.

Page Authority Distribution

Review page authority scores within your site. Well optimized pages that target keywords should have higher authority. Identify pages needing more link building focus.

Organic Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Organic CTR shows how frequently searchers click your SERP listings. Higher CTRs send more visitors.

Top Rankings CTR

Top-ranking listings will have the highest visibility for targeted keywords, so strive for a strong CTR.

Average CTR

Look at overall average CTR across keywords to identify opportunities to improve click appeal.

  • Optimize titles and meta descriptions for relevance and click enticement.
  • Improve page load speed and user experience on landing pages.

Bounce Rate and Dwell Time

Bounce rate shows visitors leaving immediately, while dwell time reveals engagement. Optimize both.

Bounce Rate

A high bounce rate indicates your content doesn’t meet visitor intent or expectations. Review landing pages and make improvements.

Pages per Session

More pages per session indicates visitors are engaged and exploring your site.

Average Session Duration

Higher average session times show visitors are consuming content. Produce quality content that keeps visitors engaged.


Monitoring and optimizing key SEO metrics provides crucial insight into your overall search visibility, traffic acquisition, and content engagement. Pay attention to trends over time, set goals, and track progress. Audit underperforming areas to identify issues and opportunities. By regularly analyzing your core SEO metrics, you can boost organic search growth and performance.

FAQs About SEO Metrics

What are the most important SEO metrics to track?

The most important SEO metrics to track are organic traffic (sessions, users, pageviews), keyword rankings, backlinks, domain/page authority, organic CTR, and engagement metrics like bounce rate and session duration. These provide a comprehensive picture of your search presence and visitor behavior.

How often should I be checking my SEO metrics?

Check key weekly and monthly SEO metrics at least once a week to identify trends. Schedule time to do an in-depth quarterly SEO audit analyzing progress across all metrics and tactics. Be proactive about monitoring and optimization.

What’s a good organic traffic benchmark to aim for?

There is no universal benchmark for organic traffic, as it varies widely by industry and niche. Focus on increasing your own organic traffic month over month or year over year by 10-20%. Set targets relevant to your business.

How do I isolate organic search data in analytics?

Apply a secondary dimension like source/medium to segment traffic data, filtering specifically for organic search channels. This provides insights into core SEO acquisition metrics excluding other channels.

What should I do if my organic traffic drops suddenly?

If your organic traffic drops suddenly, investigate potential Google algorithm updates. Audit technical SEO issues like site speed, mobile optimization, and indexing. Review keyword rankings for lost positions. Refresh content and backlink building. Stay persistent.

As you can see, regularly analyzing and optimizing key SEO metrics is crucial for improving search visibility and driving growth. Use this guide as a framework to track your progress. Monitoring SEO performance provides key data insights to inform your strategy. With an analytical, metrics-driven approach, you can elevate organic search success over time.

For more expert SEO tips and best practices, check out Optimized24. They offer an industry-leading SEO analyzer tool and top SEO services to help businesses maximize their search presence. Their experienced team specializes in advanced organic search optimization and conversion rate optimization.  target Visit Optimized24’s SEO analyzer to explore their robust SEO toolset and resources.

Digging Deeper into Core SEO Metrics

Now that we’ve covered the key categories of essential SEO metrics, let’s do a deeper dive into analyzing and optimizing some of the most important indicators.

Monitor organic landing pages closely

Pay close attention to the specific pages on your site that visitors are landing on from organic search.

  • Identify your top landing pages and optimize them for maximum impact.
  • Look for low performing landing pages that may need refreshed content or better on-page optimization.
  • Ensure your most important landing pages are mobile-friendly and fast loading.

Break down rankings by keyword intent

Categorize your target keywords by informational, navigational, transactional, and commercial intent.

  • Identify rankings gaps among certain intent categories that should be higher priority.
  • Develop content and optimization strategies tailored for each keyword type.

Set CTR benchmarks by industry

Use benchmark CTR data by industry to set reasonable expectations. For example:

  • Financial Services: ~2% average CTR
  • Healthcare: ~5%
  • Home Services: ~6%
  • Legal: ~3%

Then work to exceed benchmarks for your top keywords.

Expand total keywords tracked

Don’t just track the search visibility of your core target keywords. Expand keyword tracking to include:

  • Product and service line variants
  • Common misspellings
  • Competitor keywords
  • Industry terminology

Monitor rank change velocity

Rankings fluctuate constantly. Identify keywords with positive or negative velocity:

  • Positive velocity: rankings consistently improving
  • Negative velocity: rankings consistently declining

Invest in high velocity keywords gaining ground.

Review Google Search Console data

Google Search Console provides insights into query details, click/impression data, manual actions, indexing issues, and more.

  • Set up tracking and integrate GSC reporting into your analytics platform.
  • Incorporate key GSC metrics into your SEO dashboards and reporting.

Collect voice search insights

Review visibility and performance in voice search to inform speech optimization.

  • Monitor voice search impressions and CTR in GSC.
  • Optimize pages for featured snippets opportunities.
  • Incorporate natural language into content to rank for conversational queries.

Prioritize mobile optimization

With mobile representing over 50% of searches, ensure your site is fully mobile-optimized.

  • Use Google PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse to diagnose mobile UX issues.
  • Track mobile vs. desktop performance in organic search and work to close gaps.

Use SEO tools for deeper analysis

Robust SEO tools like  Optimized24’s SEO analyzer provide advanced reporting on rankings, backlinks, page optimization, metrics trends, and more to take analysis to the next level.

By diving deeper into key organic search KPIs, you gain more granular visibility into SEO performance. Use these advanced tactics and tools to level up your analytical capabilities and strategic optimization.

Advanced SEO Metrics Analysis Tips

Now that we’ve covered the core SEO metrics you should be tracking, let’s explore some pro tips for conducting advanced analysis to extract key insights.

Set Up Dashboards & Reporting

Consolidate your essential SEO metrics into dedicated dashboards and reports to enable regular analysis.

  • Connect your analytics platform to sources like Google Search Console for a data hub.
  • Build custom dashboards tailored to different roles like analysts, managers, and executives.
  • Establish reporting cadences such as weekly, monthly, and quarterly overviews.

Identify Trends & Patterns

Look at historical trends and patterns in the data to spot opportunities.

  • Call out metrics that are consistently increasing or decreasing over time.
  • Note seasonal differences and anomalies in trends.
  • Flag outliers or dramatic shifts for further investigation.

Compare Segments

Segment data by dimensions like source, page, device, query, etc. to surface insights.

  • Determine which segments are over/underperforming for optimization.
  • Identify the pages, keywords, locations, etc. driving top performance to double down.

Set Goals & Benchmarks

Determine goals and realistic benchmarks for metrics to gauge progress over time.

  • Set specific period-over-period growth goals for key metrics.
  • Establish benchmark CTRs and conversion rates based on your industry.
  • Use historical averages or best performers as baselines.

Diagnose Underperforming Areas

Dig deeper into metrics deviating negatively from goals or benchmarks.

  • Review specific landing pages, campaigns, keywords, or sources lagging in expected metrics.
  • Conduct audits to determine issues, then formulate solutions.

Continuously Optimize

Consistently act on insights uncovered in analysis to drive optimization.

  • Address technical issues impacting crawlability, indexation, or speed.
  • Refresh or expand content around target topics.
  • Build links, social shares, reviews to increase authority and visibility.
  • Enhance on-page elements and UX to improve engagement.

Conducting rigorous and regular analysis of your SEO metrics provides the fuel for data-driven strategy and nonstop optimization. Follow these tips to unlock maximum value from your key KPIs.