According to a recent study, more than one-third of small businesses have an SEO strategy in place, and nearly 40% are planning to create one before the end of 2019.
This demonstrates that as people increasingly use search engines to discover new products and services, small businesses are keeping up by expanding their SEO efforts.
How do small businesses know whether their SEO investments are paying off?
Many mistakenly track “vanity metrics” such as social media engagement or blog post page views. These metrics, though, don’t provide context for making business decisions since they reflect popularity rather than a contribution to business objectives.
Small businesses need to track actionable metrics such as search traffic retention and conversion rates to better understand the success of their SEO and adjust their strategies for higher revenue.
In this article, we explain the actionable SEO metrics that are most beneficial to small businesses. Use the information to guide how you measure the success of SEO strategy.
#1. Search Traffic Retention
Small businesses most commonly track the amount of traffic search engines that are driving to their websites to measure SEO success. Unfortunately, the amount of traffic your site receives from search engines isn’t a specific enough metric to provide context about how the value of that traffic.
Instead of tracking just the number of visitors to your website, examine your search traffic retention to learn about how engaging your site is to its visitors.
Several metrics can help you evaluate your search traffic retention, including:
- Time on page
- Exit rate
- Pages per visit
- Scroll depth
- Click through rates (CTR)
- Active users
- Repeat customers
While driving traffic to your site is a positive step, it’s essential to confirm that the traffic you’re receiving holds potential for sales and conversion.
For example, if your site receives 5,000 visitors over the course of a month from search, but none of them clicks through to other pages, subscribes to your newsletter, or clicks on your social buttons, it’s a good indication that you are attracting the wrong traffic.
Poor traffic retention may indicate one of the following problems:
- Search engines aren’t sending the right type of traffic to your site
- Your site’s content isn’t relevant or useful to the search term
- Your offers or CTAs aren’t compelling
Every site visitor represents a potential opportunity, but if your site isn’t engaging and retaining visitors, your SEO services aren’t providing a solid return on investment.
#2. Bounce Rate
The bounce rate measures the percentage of viewers who exit your site after just viewing a single page. This metric is helpful for determining whether the audiences your small business draws from search are compelled to learn more about your company.
To do this, track the source of your traffic to a particular page, and for traffic that originates from search engines, review the bounce rate.
When people spend time and engage with internal links on your website to new pages, it sends a positive signal to search engines that can improve your rankings in the SERPs. Additionally, it improves your chances of converting visitors to customers, especially if they navigate to your product pages.
Make a point to measure people’s likelihood to abandon your website after just viewing the page they land on from search. Know how to reduce bounce rate. Your objective is to earn site users who visit multiple pages and are able to gain as much knowledge as they need to convert on your products.
#3. Conversion Rate
Nearly 20% of small businesses list leads and conversions as the top metric they use to gauge the effectiveness of their SEO efforts. Conversion rates are the most actionable and metric small businesses can track to gain helpful about the commercial impact of their SEO.
Google Analytics calculates conversion rates by dividing the number of unique visits by the number of conversions. Conversions, though, can refer to a variety of actions depending on your goals. These include:
- Sales or signups
- Email subscribers
- Free trial signups
When you track email and free trial signups, it’s essential to pay attention to whether your leads convert to sales. People who engage with your site but don’t eventually convert to customers are “low quality leads” and will do nothing to improve your revenue.
High or steadily improving conversion rates indicate that your SEO services are effectively driving high-value traffic to your site.
Use Actionable Metrics to Evaluate Your SEO Efforts
Vanity metrics such as the number of site visitors you don’t properly measure whether reaching a target audience that’s likely to convert to revenue.
Rather, metrics that measure your search traffic retention and track conversion rates more accurately assess the success of your SEO investment and help discover ways to improve your ROI.
Use these metrics to narrow your SEO efforts, engage target audiences, and adjust your website to increase engagement and conversions.
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