5 SEO Metrics Every C-Suite Executive Should Monitor

Austin Mahaffey
By Austin Mahaffey

The age of information has not only given us access to valuable customer information, but it also allows marketers to measure a dynamic range of numbers pertaining to their consumers. Measurement is king, and companies that aren’t adopting a data-first mentality are apt to fall behind in the digital market.

It starts at the top, where Chief Marketing Officers and other C-level execs have the ability to construct a crystal clear snapshot of their organic search performance by monitoring specific metrics. We are going to focus on 5 metrics found in Google Analytics — a free platform offered from Google.

SEO Performance Overview

It’s important to measure how your organic traffic stacks up against the rest of your channels. In other words, how much traffic does SEO drive versus paid, referral or social channels. By comparing all your channels you are able to not only get an average metrics across platforms, but you can establish an organic baseline. An organic baseline will help you reconcile the dollars spent on paid campaigns; you’ll know whether the traffic spike following a paid campaign is worth it or not.

On a simple level, you’ll receive information for growth and decline. Are people engaging more on Facebook this month? Are less people visiting our website since we changed our homepage?

These are the channels you should be comparing Organic Search to on a monthly basis:

  • Referral – This is traffic that comes from 3rd party media hits like publications who may have written an article about you and shared a link back to your site
  • Social – Social media channels which drive traffic to your website
  • Paid – This metric is bit of double edged sword because if you spend a lot, you’re going to get a lot of traffic. It’s not always a reflection of your actual content that’s causing a spike — it could simply just be the money spent
  • Email – The performance of your email campaigns
  • Direct – People who go directly to your url from their browser

New Users

Found next to sessions, a new user is counted when they enter your website for the first time. As your brand grows this number should go up over time, in fact it’s one of the clearest indicators of brand awareness. If this metric is constantly increasing, then your brand awareness is growing.

Related: How to Balance SEO and Branding

You should also be comparing how many customers are returning versus how many are new. It goes without saying, but if your new user numbers are high and return user numbers are low, your visitors are not leaving satisfied.

Spitting up your visitor metrics to ‘new’ and ‘return’ also allows you to avoid inaccurate SEO representations. For example, if you’re only viewing existing customers and new visitors under one metric, your numbers may indicate that your SEO efforts are boosting visits, when in actuality they are just customers who would have come to your site anyway.

 

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Bounce Rate

This is the rate people are leaving, or bouncing off your website very shortly after arriving. It’s a pretty strong indicator that your website is ranking high in Google but you’re in the wrong place. For instance, if every time someone searched ‘royalty’, Burger King was the top result, chances are their home page would have a really high bounce rate. Under behavior metrics, bounce rate lets you know if users landing on your website are finding what they want.

Related: How Much Written Content Should I have on My E-Commerce Site?

If a bounce is above 60%, executives should be asking questions about what this page offers, and if a change should occur. Often this situation arises because your website is optimized for the wrong keyword and topics. It’s recommend that you asses all of your title tags, meta descriptions, and headers to insert more relevant long-tail keywords.

Conversions

Are people who come to our website driving revenue, or are they just window shopping?

Not only does measuring your conversions help you understand profits, it also gives you a look at how your customers behave. Although most companies focus on sales, leads are an equally important type of conversion — creating an account, email subscription, download, survey, or free trial sign-up.

Depending on your specific business needs, a conversion is essentially any user behavior that you can measure. These are the two most important conversations to keep an eye on: A) Filling out a form. B) Calling you. For phone call tracking we recommend using CallRail. CallRail is seamlessly integrated with Google Analytics, making it a popular choice, and a service Power Digital believes in.

Related: Why Many CMOs Fall Behind When It Comes to Understanding Marketing Metrics

Whatever your position is at the executive level, it usually involves some aspect of financial management and awareness. So you know that all the money your business spends on web presence and marketing gets pricey. That’s where understanding your conversion metrics can really help. Once you improve your conversation rate, you’ll be able to justify your marketing investment due to the high returns.

It varies between businesses but typically a healthy conversation rate should be above 5%. About 10% is excellent. Conversion Rate Optimization is a powerful concept, check out our recent article, what CRO means in 2017

Exit Percentage

This is different from bounce rate in that it measures how frequently users leave your site from a  specific page. For example, you’d be able to determine if people are leaving your website after they read your “About Us” section. And if that was the case then you would know, it’s time to make some changes to that specific page. More commonly, it’s used to understand engagement. If a page that is designed to collect user information has a high exit percentage, you’ll need to make adjustments to increase engagement.

Wrapping up

The Google Analytics dashboard may seem overwhelming to some, but getting a firm grasp on some of the most important metrics is a good place to start. If you’re a C-level executive, finance undoubtedly plays a role in your job — understanding metrics gives you a behind the curtain peek at how your customers behave. That way, when it comes time to put together a new marketing strategy and place some money on the line, you’ll have a strong, data-based picture of how the market will respond.

 

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Austin is an SEO project manager and account manager who has been with PDM since 2015. Austin has a passion for entrepreneurship, which he received a bachelor's degree in from Point Loma Nazarene University. Using his passion for business development, Austin focuses on leveraging a strong Organic traffic to help sustain overall business growth. Austin is also known as the best ping pong player in the office as he easily defeats his coworkers on a daily basis.