Thorough Approaches for Assessing SEO Performance

  • July 3, 2024
  • SEO
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SEO metrics such as rankings provide an essential gauge of your website’s visibility and effectiveness. However, the ultimate measure of SEO’s success is its contribution to business growth and revenue generation.

To truly understand the value of SEO, it is crucial to track the right metrics and analyze how they translate into increased revenue. Focus should be placed on metrics that reflect:

  • Audience Quality: Are the visitors you attract likely to convert into customers?
  • Engagement and Behavior: Are users finding the information they need, spending time on your site, and taking desired actions?
  • Conversions: Is your organic traffic leading to desired business outcomes?
  • Brand Impact: How is SEO influencing your brand’s reputation and visibility?

In this article, we categorize and elaborate on key metrics to focus on, providing a high-level overview of essential SEO performance indicators.

User Engagement Metrics

Tracking user engagement metrics offers insights into how users interact with your website. Below are key metrics to monitor:

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of users who leave your site after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate often indicates that visitors are not finding what they are looking for, prompting them to exit your site quickly.

Why Is Bounce Rate Important In SEO?

Understanding bounce rate helps address various issues:

  • User Experience: A high bounce rate can point to problems with your website’s content, design, or alignment with user intent. Addressing these issues can significantly improve user experience.
  • SEO Rankings: Search engines prioritize user satisfaction. A high bounce rate may signal to Google that your site isn’t meeting user expectations, potentially reducing your visibility and affecting conversions.

How To Analyze Bounce Rate

To calculate bounce rate, use Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Navigate to your reports to find the percentage of single-page visits compared to the total number of visits. For instance, if your site received 500 visitors and 400 left after viewing just one page, your bounce rate would be 80% (400/500*100).

Read more: 20 Proven Ways To Reduce Your Bounce Rate.

Dwell Time (Engaged Session Duration)

The engaged session duration measures how long a user actively interacts with your content before leaving the site or becoming inactive. For example, if a user searches for “best running shoes,” clicks on your link, spends three minutes reading your content, and continues to engage, their session duration is three minutes.

Why Is Engaged Session Duration Important In SEO?

  • Content Engagement and Relevance: Longer session durations suggest users find your content valuable and worth their time.
  • Rankings Impact: Extended engagement indicates to search engines that your content effectively satisfies user intent, which can positively impact your rankings.
  • Content Effectiveness Measurement: Higher dwell times suggest your content meets user expectations and provides the necessary information.

To Analyze Dwell Time

  • Go to GA4 and click on Reports in the left-hand menu.
  • Select Traffic acquisition: Session default channel group.
  • Click the pencil icon at the top right corner and choose Metrics.
  • In the search box, type “average engagement time” and click Apply.

Screenshot from GA4, June 2024

Engaged Sessions Per User

This metric tracks how frequently users have meaningful interactions with your website. In GA4, an engaged session includes user activities such as spending a set amount of time on the site, viewing multiple pages, or completing specific actions like form submissions or purchases.

Why Are Engaged Sessions Per User Important To SEO?

  • User Engagement and Satisfaction: High rates of engaged sessions indicate that visitors find your content valuable and meaningfully engage with it.
  • Positive SEO Impact: Search engines regard high engagement metrics as indicators of content quality and relevance, which can enhance your ranking.

How To Calculate Engaged Sessions Per User

GA4 provides this metric, but to calculate it manually, divide the total number of engaged sessions by the number of unique users. For example, if your site had 50,000 engaged sessions and 20,000 unique users in a month, the engaged sessions per user would be 2.5 (50,000/20,000).

Read more: Essential GA4 Reports You Need To Measure Your SEO Campaigns.

Conversion Metrics

Here are vital conversion metrics to track:

Organic Conversion Rate

The organic conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who come to your website via organic search results and complete a predefined action (e.g., making a purchase, submitting a lead form, subscribing to a newsletter).

How To Calculate the Organic Conversion Rate

  • Define what constitutes a conversion for your business (e.g., form completion, sales, subscription).
  • Track the number of users who complete the desired action and the total number of organic visitors over a specific period.
  • Divide the number of conversions by the total number of organic visitors, then multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

For example, if 500 out of 10,000 organic visitors complete the desired action, the organic conversion rate would be 5%.

Read more: What Is Conversion Rate & How Do You Calculate It?

Goal Completions

A goal completion is recorded whenever a user completes a specific action defined as valuable. These actions could include purchasing, filling out a form, or signing up for a newsletter.

How To Track Goal Completions

  • Select an analytics platform such as GA4, Adobe Analytics, or Matomo.
  • Clearly define your goals (e.g., “purchase confirmation page viewed”).
  • Set up goal tracking.

Using GA4, the process looks like this:

  • Go to the Admin section.
  • In the Property column, click on Events.
  • Click the “Create Event” button to set up a new event (e.g., “form_submission” or “purchase_completed”).
  • Define the event conditions (e.g., event name equals “form_submit”).
  • Save and mark the event as a Key Event (conversion).
  • Monitor and analyze the reports to track goal completions.
Key events: GA4
Screenshot from GA4, June 2024

Ecommerce Transactions

In ecommerce, conversion tracking centers on transactions that generate revenue, such as purchases, adding items to the cart, creating accounts, or subscribing to emails.

What Does Tracking Ecommerce Transactions Look Like?

  • A user searches for [best running shoes] on Google.
  • They click on your blog post, “Top 10 Running Shoes for 2024,” high in organic search results.
  • They click through to a product page and complete a purchase.

Enabling enhanced ecommerce in GA4 helps track the customer journey from product view to purchase. Use UTM parameters for source identification and link the purchase to the user’s profile in your CRM for further analysis.

Read more on tracking ecommerce sales with Google Analytics 4.

Traffic Metrics

Prioritize the following traffic metrics:

Organic Traffic Volume

Organic traffic volume measures the number of visitors arriving at your website through unpaid search results. High organic traffic typically indicates that search engines find your website relevant and authoritative for your targeted keywords.

How To Measure Organic Traffic

Log into GA4, navigate to Acquisition Reports, and go to Reports > Acquisition > Traffic Acquisition. This report provides a detailed breakdown of traffic sources, including organic search.

Organic Traffic Value

Organic traffic value assesses the actual worth of visitors your SEO attracts by quantifying potential revenue or business impact.

How To Calculate Organic Traffic Value

You can use CPC, conversion-based value, or LTV metrics:

  • CPC Method: Estimate the value of organic traffic by calculating how much you would spend on PPC to achieve the same number of clicks. For example, 1,000 organic clicks at an average CPC of $2 would be valued at $2,000.
  • Conversion-Based Value: Calculate revenue from organic traffic by tracking conversions and assigning a value to each. For instance, 50 conversions from 1,000 organic visitors, each worth $100, would total $5,000.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (LTV): Consider the total value a customer brings over their relationship with your business, factoring in repeat purchases, retention, and average order value. For example, if an average customer makes three purchases a year at $100 each and remains for two years, their LTV is $600.

Technical SEO Metrics

Technical SEO metrics provide insights into your website’s infrastructure, crucial for ensuring search engines can access, crawl, and index your content. Key metrics include:

Crawl Errors

Crawl errors occur when search engine bots encounter issues while crawling pages on your site, potentially leading to lower rankings and visibility in SERPs.

Types of Crawl Errors

  • 404 (Not Found): The requested page doesn’t exist, possibly due to a broken link or deleted page.
  • 5xx (Server Errors): The server encountered an error while processing the request, perhaps due to an outage, misconfiguration, or overload.
  • Robots.txt Errors: The robots.txt file blocks search engine bots from accessing certain pages or sections of your website.

How To Identify Crawl Errors

Use Google Search Console (GSC). Navigate to Index > Coverage to view crawl errors and warnings. Click on each error for details and affected URLs, and prioritize fixing the most critical issues, such as 404 errors on essential pages.

You can also check server logs for crawl errors not listed in GSC.

To fix 404 errors:

  • Restore accidentally deleted pages.
  • Create a 301 redirect for moved pages.
  • Set up a custom 404 page guiding users to relevant content.
  • Use the URL Inspection tool in GSC to validate fixes and ensure proper crawling and indexing.

Indexation Status

Indexation status determines whether a specific webpage is added to a search engine’s index. Indexed pages appear in search results; non-indexed pages don’t.

How To Ensure Proper Indexing of Pages

  • Create high-quality, unique content using relevant keywords.
  • Submit a sitemap to help search engines discover and crawl pages.
  • Optimize internal linking to assist search engine bots in navigating your site.
  • Check robots.txt to ensure it doesn’t block critical pages from being crawled and indexed.
  • Monitor indexation status using the Index > Coverage report in GSC.
Page tracking
Screenshot from GA4, June 2024

Site Speed

Site speed measures the time it takes for a website’s content to load and become fully interactive for users, impacting both user experience and search rankings.

Why Is Site Speed Important for SEO?

  • User Experience: Studies show users expect fast load times. Slow speeds can lead users to leave your site, affecting engagement and conversions.
  • Search Engine Rankings: Search engines prioritize faster websites as they provide better user experiences, potentially helping your site outrank slower competitors.

Read More:

Content Performance Metrics

Content performance metrics assess how effectively users engage with your content, evaluated through:

Content Engagement

Content engagement measures how users interact with your web pages, indicating interest and value.

How to Measure Content Engagement

  • Track metrics in GA4 like average engagement time, sessions, and engagement rate.
  • Use heatmaps and session recording tools like Hotjar or Crazy Egg to visualize user interactions, revealing where users click, scroll, and spend the most time.

Content Shares and Backlinks

Social shares indicate valuable content worth being shared, amplifying reach, brand awareness, and attracting backlinks. Backlinks from authoritative sites signal trust to search engines, boosting rankings and domain authority.

How to Track Shares and Backlinks

Use social media analytics to track shares, likes, comments, and engagement. Tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, or Moz can monitor backlinks, referring domains, and link quality.

Read more:

Local SEO Metrics

Local SEO ensures your business appears in local searches. Key insights can be gained from Google Business Profile (GBP) Insights.

Google Business Profile Insights

Google Business Profile provides data on how customers interact with your business listing.

How To Track GBP Performance

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