There are no shortcuts when it comes to ranking on search engines. You can only do the work and then wait for results.
But that doesn’t mean you have to sit around twiddling your thumbs. There’s one way to cut that waiting time down significantly: by taking a data-driven approach to SEO.
Let’s start with the basics: what is data-driven SEO? It’s an approach to optimising websites that relies on analysing metrics like keyword rankings and traffic, instead of guesswork and “best practices”.
Data-driven SEO is a term you hear bandied around a lot these days, but you might have no idea of what it actually means. It’s very easy to think that data-driven SEO is the same as any kind of SEO, after all, we’re talking about optimising websites for search engines, right? But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The biggest difference between data-driven SEO and regular SEO is that data-driven SEO uses hard data to guide decisions. Rather than relying on instincts, experience and best practices, it uses the actual results from a site's performance. This isn't to say that other approaches don't work — some people are very successful with them. Data-driven SEO just adds another layer of information to the decision-making process.
Here are six types of metrics that can help you increase your site's effectiveness:
Where should you begin?
A good and free place to start with metrics is on your own website analytics tools. Many websites hosting platforms have those included when you build your site. If you don't have access to it then you should at least have Google Analytics set up correctly on your site, you'll then be able to see things like:
* The number of visitors you get per month.
* Your most popular pages.
* Your highest-converting keywords.
* Your bounce rate (percentage of visitors who view one page and don't navigate further).
You can use this information to understand how people are interacting with your website now and how they could interact with it better. For example, if you have a high bounce rate on some pages, it could mean those pages aren't very relevant to visitor search queries, or they're difficult to navigate or read. You can use this data to improve your website design too!
Why organic traffic is important?
There's one main reason companies want to rank higher on Google: to get more free organic traffic from search.
Organic traffic is any traffic that comes from your site being un-paid for in search results. If you see an increase in organic visitors, this means your campaign is working and you're getting more visibility in search results. A successful SEO campaign will typically result in an increase in organic traffic. Organic traffic refers to any visitor who has arrived at your website from a SERP without clicking on a paid ad.
Tracking organic traffic is a good way to measure the efficacy of your SEO efforts, allowing you to get a sense of how many visitors have found your site through organic search and what kind of volume you can expect from that source going forward.
In order to track this data, you'll need to be using Google Analytics. If you aren't already, you'll want to set that up before moving forward. Once you've done this, log in to your Google Analytics account and follow those steps:
1. Navigate to Audience > Overview and select Add Segment:
2. Select organic traffic from the list:
Done, you should then be able to see organic traffic as a total percentage of all traffic received by your website!
What is Click-Through Rate (CTR)?
CTR, or click-through rate, is the number of people who clicked through to your page from the organic search results, divided by the total number of searchers who saw the search engine results (aka Impressions).
While having a high ranking on Google is desirable, CTR is much more important. After all, what’s the point in ranking highly for a keyword if nobody is actually clicking on your site?
However, CTR does not mean much without context. You need benchmarks to see if you are tracking well against other sites. The most noteworthy fact about search engine results page (SERP) click-through rates (CTR) is that the top three positions have a huge average CTR. It’s over 30% in the first position dropping to 10% in the third position. In other words, the top three positions typically grab the lion’s share of organic search traffic.
After that, it drops quickly to just 2% CTR for positions 9 and 10. Now it’s time to find your CTR. You can easily monitor your CTR, simply go to your Google Search Console account!
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a fun and weird industry. It's amazing to see how much change there has been in such a short time, as well as what the future holds. While we can't predict exactly what changes are coming, we can get you working on the best possible strategy for your site with our FREE AUDIT so you'll be ready for whatever comes next.