written by
5000fish Team

Top 15 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Metrics You Should Be Monitoring (and Why)

KPIs and Metric Examples 7 min read
DashboardFox - Self-Service Business Intelligence

Learning SEO is a multi-step process. You have to get a grasp on on-page, off-page, and technical elements, then turn your attention to actually measuring the fruits of your labor. The easiest way to do that is by selecting the best SEO metrics to determine how your site is performing, where your content is reaching its goal, and where you could improve.

In this guide, we’ll dive into the top 15 SEO metrics you should be monitoring and how they can help you improve your site.

1. Organic Traffic in SEO

Organic traffic is the most fundamental metric you should measure in SEO campaigns. This number reflects how many people found your website through search engines. The higher your search ranking, the higher your SEO traffic should be. If you’re hoping to climb to the top of SERPs (search engine results pages), you’ll want to keep a close eye on your organic traffic.

You can also use organic traffic to analyze the performance of individual pages on your website, which can be particularly helpful when A/B testing or building out service pages.

2. SEO Keyword Rankings

Speaking of SERPs, keywords are the magic gateway to your coveted top-3 ranking position. Since the first three Google results get 75% of all clicks for any given search term, you want to optimize your site for keywords constantly. This means repeatedly evaluating what terms are relevant to your audience, improving your content, and ensuring you take advantage of semantic keywords.

Semantic keywords are not your target keywords but words related to them. They help search engines better understand the context of your web content. For example, if your website is trying to rank for “coffee shop in [city],” then your LSI keywords would be “coffee,” “[city],” “cafe,” “barista,” and even specific types of drinks.

When tracking keywords, be sure to monitor search volume, average ranking, and keyword ranking distribution.

3. Click-through Rate (CTR)

Your CTR tells you how many people saw your link displayed in SERPs and clicked on it. It ties into your overall traffic because it lets you know what pages people are actually engaging with on SERPs. If your CTR is low for certain pages, then you need to assess why. Is it because your overall ranking is low or your metadata needs optimized?

Optimizing meta information can maximize your CTR. Think of the meta title and description as the preview of what readers can expect. At the same time, you still need to write great page content, since Google tends to pull highlighted snippets and display them over meta descriptions these days. Google will do this if they think their snippet is better than your original description.

4. Page Load Time

Responsiveness is important in rankings. Pages that are too slow to load will fall on SERPs, even if they have good content that meets users’ queries. Make sure that you’re aiming for a fast page load time. Google reveals that 53% of mobile users (who make up the majority of searches) will click off any page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

5. Bounce Rate in SEO

The bounce rate of a site reveals how many people leave your site after only viewing one page. Higher bounce rates tend to be correlated with poor SEO, indicating that people are not finding what they’re looking for. Alternatively, if you’re ranking for a highly generalized, top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) search, you may find more people clicking off after reading one page because they got the information they wanted.

You can also measure page-level bounce rates to determine which pages are performing better on your site.

6. Pages Per Visit

While bounce rate shows you how many people left your site after viewing one page, PPV shows you the average number of pages people view when they land on your site. How many pages you want someone to see will depend on your objectives. People who spend more time on your site are more likely to convert, so it’s always good to aim for a higher PPV than a lower one.

However, sites with great optimization may still see high conversion rates with a lower PPV.

7. Indexed Pages

A page has to be indexed before appearing in search results. You want as many pages on your site indexed as possible to boost your ranking. If your pages aren't being indexed, you’ll have to take a closer look and figure out why.

8. Organic Conversions from SEO

How many leads are you paying for, and how many is your site generating? Use the organic conversions metric to measure how many people completed a desired action (like messaging you or making a purchase) after landing on your site through SERPs.

9. Referring Domains

Referring domains are backlinks — sites that link back to yours. Backlinks are good for SEO because they signal to search engines other websites find your website valuable. You want high-ranking and authoritative referring domains. Keep track of these to learn how your site’s reach is expanding on the web.

10. Domain Authority

Domain authority represents your website’s overall performance online. Higher authority means your site is generally more trusted by search engines to be an accurate, reliable source. Lower DA means that you need to optimize your site and correct SEO errors, whether they’re on or off page, due to duplicate content, or technical issues.

11. Session Location

In local SEO metrics, you want to know where most of your organic traffic is coming from. Ideally, you should be getting views from people in your target area. If you aren’t, then optimize your content and site for location more using tags like “in [city]” or “near [city],” but be sure to keep it as natural as possible.

12. Dwell Time

Dwell time refers to how long someone stays on a page before returning to SERPs. You can measure it along with bounce rate to determine whether people are clicking off because they’re unsatisfied or because they found what they were looking for.

Generally speaking, higher dwell times are associated with higher search rankings and better SEO performance, so keep this in mind when crafting content and page structure.

13. Returning Visitors

This is an important metric because it tells you how many people came back to your site after their first visit. Returning visitors are likely contemplating your website as a viable option, and they’re more likely to make a purchase. A good returning visitors rating to aim for is about 30%.

14. Crawl Errors

Crawl errors impact your site’s visibility. Sites that can’t be crawled can’t be indexed, so you won’t see any organic traffic. Make sure to reduce crawl errors as soon as you learn about them, whether it’s a 404 error page, a page marked as “noindex,” or pages blocked in your robot.txt file.

15. Exit Rate

Exit rate in SEO reveals the last pages visitors view before leaving your site. This metric can help you better understand where you need to focus on optimization. Consider where you’re losing the most visitors to identify opportunities to make their experience better.

Visualize Your SEO Success with DashboardFox

Tracking the right SEO metrics is crucial, but understanding them requires clear visualization. DashboardFox empowers you to transform your SEO data into actionable insights presented through interactive dashboards, charts, graphs, heat maps, and more.

DashboardFox doesn’t replace your SEO collection tools, but rather we help you take the data collected from there and convert them into useful dashboards, reports, and insights.

Data can be pulled from many of your sources into excel or CSV files, with DashboardFox you can import those. Does your tool have an API to provide the data, DashboardFox can connect to those API endpoints and pull the data in. Already have your data in a centralized database, DashboardFox can query it real-time to do data analysis.

Once DashboardFox has access to you data, our codeless reporting interface makes it all possible, no coding expertise needed.

Need to track keyword ranking progress over time? Consider it done with line charts. Want to visualize organic traffic sources? Pie charts deliver clarity. Curious about click-through rates across geographic regions? Heat maps provide the answers.

Transform raw SEO data into insights that drive growth. DashboardFox puts the power of visualization in your hands – all within an affordable, one-time payment model.

Don't let your SEO data live in spreadsheets. Upgrade your analytics with DashboardFox's flexible visualization options. Experience the difference with a free live demo or book a meeting to discuss your specific SEO reporting needs!

SEO search engine optimization Metrics