Top 9 Most Important SEO Metrics To Track


In SEO, the challenge isn’t a lack of data. On the contrary. You often have too much of it. You’re faced with choosing the right metrics to analyze and tell you what you (and your company or clients) need to know. And that’s sometimes a challenging task.

This article will help you understand which metrics are critical and why. You’ll also learn how to measure each one.

Let’s dive right in.

SEO metrics: what are they and why do they matter?

SEO metrics are the data points that allow you to evaluate your SEO efforts and reach optimization decisions. They also enable you to detect changes, spot opportunities and identify errors.

The metrics you choose to track depend on your website and SEO goals. However, there are some core metrics that every SEO should always monitor.

And here’s another thing to keep in mind: some SEO metrics aren’t valuable when you look at them in isolation. You’ll only get useful insights when viewing them in relation to other SEO metrics.

I’ll share with you which crucial SEO metrics to consistently monitor, what weekly SEO metrics you should measure and what monthly. I’ll also discuss the importance of the various metrics for SEO.

9 SEO important metrics

1. Keyword rankings

What is it?

When you optimize a page for a specific keyword, your goal is to rank as high as possible on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Keyword ranking refers to your page’s position on the SERP for a specific keyword search.

Why should you measure it?

Keyword ranking is probably the most straightforward SEO metric. It’s an almost direct measure of how successfully you’ve optimized a page for a keyword. Almost, because domain authority, E-A-T factors, and other non-keyword-related ranking factors also impact where your content ranks.

Optimization to increase ranking is a process you need to track because it takes time. In addition, once you’ve reached a rank you’re satisfied with, you need to hold on to it. That’s a good reason to frequently measure so you can detect changes and deviations.

How do you measure and monitor?

You can view the keywords and pages your site is ranking for in Google Search Console. However, the search query data is incomplete and the dashboard is limited. Considering the importance of this metric, you should use a rank tracking tool such as the Similarweb platform.

The tool allows you to create keyword groups using tags so you can easily monitor progress, detect trends and monitor topics. You can organize your reports by search volume to understand better how competitive a keyword is or by keyword difficulty to prioritize further and assess keyword challenges.

Screenshot of Rank Rangers rank tracking graph

View ranking changes over time and track how competitors’ pages rank for the same keyword or set of keywords. With Similarweb, you get everything you need to pinpoint issues to focus on and set your SEO priorities.

Tacking the ranking of your core SEO keywords should be a daily routine. Simlarweb presents a long range of data, so you can always see the progress.

2. Organic Traffic

What is it?

Organic traffic refers to the traffic your site receives as a result of organic clicks. It means the part of your site traffic you receive through the SERP without paying as you would in PPC or display ads.

Why should you measure it?

Increasing organic traffic is usually the number one purpose of SEO. As we’ve seen, ranking is important; the better the ranking, the higher your chances of increasing traffic. (You also need to consider CTR, but that’s the next point.)

You want to track the organic traffic to all your pages to gauge their performance. Investigate why pages are gaining or losing and which need optimizing.

Also, comparing your traffic to the market and to your top competitors helps you assess how you measure up. You get a visual breakdown of the traffic share among the top websites (or the ones you select) followed by a detailed table.

Screenshot of Similarweb organic traffic share graph

How to measure organic traffic?

You can get a measure of your sitewide traffic in Google Analytics. With a bit of digging into the tool, you can find page-specific data.

GSC provides basic data about organic clicks, but it’s best to go into a deeper analysis from there. For example, benchmark against the competition to understand the context and value of positive measures. It’s another crucial SEO metric to monitor daily.

To do that, you need a more advanced tool like Similarweb. The platform delivers fresh, verified web traffic data to help you analyze digital market activity. You can view your traffic data in context, benchmark against industry or individual competitors, and easily monitor the entire organic search landscape relevant to your business.

The view below allows you to analyze your competitive organic landscape as the metric. Select the parameters for the y-axis and the x-axis to understand your position.

Screenshot of Similarweb organic competitor quadrant

3. Organic click-through rate

What is it?

The organic click-through rate shows the percentage of people who clicked on your URL after seeing it on the SERP. It divides the total impressions by the number of clicks to your page.

Why should you measure it?

You want to know how many of the people who found your page also clicked to get to its content. A large percentage of searchers clicking your URL on the SERP is a sign you’ve convinced them that your page content answers their query. But what’s considered a large percentage?

There’s a clear correlation between ranking and CTR. The first position has the highest average CTR, and the percentage gradually decreases with each rank. Different tools will provide you with different numbers, which vary significantly. This is because other factors, such as type of industry, zero-click searches, SERP features, and search intent impact the average click-through rate per rank.

We’ve taken several statistics and come up with an average range that you can use as a benchmark. Check your page’s ranking and CTR against the numbers displayed. If you reach a significantly lower percentage of click-throughs, you need to investigate why.

Illustration of average organic CTR by ranking position

A low CTR can have many reasons. Here’s what you should check:

  1. Check if your meta tags (title and meta description) align with SEO guidelines and ask yourself if they encourage the user to click on the search result. Compare to other sites and check how you improve meta tags, for example, with a clear call to action.
  2. Another angle I suggest is to check the search intent. You might be targeting a keyword with a different search intent. The searcher may refrain from clicking because your content doesn’t respond to the intent.
  3. The third reason you should measure this metric is to identify zero-click searches. Zero-click searches are queries that get answered within the SERP, meaning the searcher doesn’t click on any result. A high percentage of zero clicks for a keyword leads to a low CTR. You want to know this in advance so that you can align your strategy.

How do you measure it?

Measuring click-through rate is part of your daily SEO monitoring. You’ll find the average CTR for a specific page or keyword in Google Search Console.

Plus, you can find data on zero-click searches, search intent, and SERP results in Similarweb Digital Marketing Intelligence.

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4. Organic Conversion Rate

What is it?

The organic conversion rate represents the percentage of organic visitors who took the next step you want them to take. It’s essentially an action taken on the website, which differs per business. The most common examples are: signing up, making a purchase, or filling in a form.

Why should you measure it?

For many marketers, the organic conversion rate is the number one metric that measures the efficiency of their digital marketing efforts.

A low conversion rate signals that your content or product page needs to be more convincing or that you need to work on your audience targeting.

In terms of SEO, conversion rate helps you gauge the relevance of your keywords and the searcher’s intent compared to what you offer.

How to measure conversion rate?

To measure conversion rate, you’ll set up event tracking and specify goals in Google Analytics so the tool can measure and track conversions effectively. Monitor it weekly or monthly, depending on your business type and the page’s importance. Ecommerce companies monitor even more frequently but may not do so in GA.

Large revenue-generating websites often have their own custom dashboards that allow them to track and monitor crucial metrics in the best way for them.

5. Core web vitals – CWV

What is it?

Core web vitals are a set of factors Google looks at to assess overall user experience. Providing excellent user experience is one of Google’s top priorities. The search engine rewards pages that load fast, especially on mobile.

These metrics are used for evaluation:

  • First Contentful Paint (FCP) – Measures the first point on the page-load timeline where the user can see anything on the screen.
    FCP illustration
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – Measures the time it takes for the largest image or text block to become visible.
    LCP illustration
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – Measures visual stability by quantifying how often a layout shift occurs.
    CLS illustration
  • First Input Delay (FID) – Measures load responsiveness, the time it takes for the browser to begin processing an event.
    FID illustration
  • Time to Interactive (TTI) – Measures the time it takes for a page to become fully interactive.
  • Total Blocking Time (TBT) – Measures the total time from FCP to TTI.

Why should you measure it?

Core Web Vitals are confirmed Google ranking factors. That’s a straightforward reason for every SEO to keep a close eye on them. On a more holistic note – measurement can show you areas to improve the overall user experience on your site.

How to measure it?

You can obtain a CWV report under “Experience” in Google Search Console or use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool for individual pages. You can check weekly or monthly, depending on your website and business type. The tool also shows you if your CWVs are ‘good’, ‘need improvement’, or ‘poor’.

6. Search visibility

What is it?

Search visibility measures how visible to the user your page is on the SERP.

A high keyword ranking alone no longer ensures your page gets traffic. SERP features, such as a knowledge panel, product listing, or Instant answers, often push the top-ranking results below the fold. And users rarely scroll down.

Why should you measure it?

The keyword rank doesn’t indicate how easy it is for people to find your page. Search visibility helps overcome the challenge of evaluating that and provides a clearer picture.

How to measure it?

Measuring search visibility is the task of a rank-tracking tool. Rank Ranger’s Absolute Visibility metric calculates a page’s visibility on the SERP based on three factors:

  1. Where is it ranking?
  2. Are there SERP features on the SERP?
  3. Is it above or below the fold?

On the visibility graph, you can clearly see the fluctuation in the visibility of your page on the SERP. The table provides you with the relevant data.

Screenshot of Rank Rager’s absolute visibility graph

Screenshot of Rank Ranger’s absolute visibility table

7. Referring domains

What is it?

Referring domains are sites with one or more backlinks to your site. For example, Rank Ranger blog posts, product pages, and homepage URLs have links leading to Similarweb. In this case, the Rank Ranger URLs are the backlinks, and Rank Ranger.com is the referring domain.

Why should you measure it?

Identifying and analyzing referring domains lets you assess the relevance and quality of the sites that send you traffic. Google considers these, and so should you.

Monitoring referring domains lets you unveil “bad” websites and keywords you prefer not to be associated with. You can upload a list of these pages to GSC that you don’t want Google to recognize as “recommendations”.

The metric can also be useful in discovering what caused an increase in keyword ranking. You might need to check the referring domains and backlinks for this keyword and see if other websites are linked to the page you are promoting.

How to measure it?

You have the option to measure both backlinks and referring domains. The best is to start with the referring domains. This way you get to see entire domains that may be affecting your traffic before you investigate the specific backlinks and see anchors and URLs.

A simple and convenient tool to check and investigate referring domains to your site is Majestic. It maps all referring domains and backlinks to your site, shows you new links and links you’ve lost, gives you the anchor text, and more.

8. Indexed pages

What is it?

Indexed pages show you how many of your domain’s URLs a search engine indexed. A page that isn’t indexed will not appear on a SERP. The reason could be that you don’t want them indexed because they are internal, or Google isn’t indexing them due to a technical issue or other reasons.

Why should you measure it?

Monitoring the number of indexed pages is a matter of good housekeeping. You want to see that the number is reasonable for your website and reflects the changes you make on the website. When you launch or migrate to a new website, you can follow up on the progress of crawling and indexing your pages.

An existing site you can monitor less frequently but check it periodically to identify potential errors.

How to measure it?

Google Search Console keeps you informed of the number of indexed and non-indexed pages per day. The tool also gives you the reason why a page isn’t indexed.

Screenshot of GSC indexed pages metric

9. Crawl Stats

What is it?

Search engines frequently crawl your site, but you can’t know exactly which pages, when, and how often. Crawl stats measure the crawling activity on your site in two parameters:

  • Crawl requests: The total number of crawl requests by the search engine in the given period.
  • Response time: The average time it takes for a page to respond to a crawl request and retrieve the content.

Why should you measure it?

You might identify a pattern. For example, the search engine might focus on a particular page template and crawl them more often than others. This is something you want to be aware of, so you can improve these pages and possibly rank higher.

Screenshot GSC crawl stats

How to measure it?

You already guessed the answer: Google Search Console has the information. However, you should use Screaming Frog to get more statistics and granular data insights and do your weekly or monthly site crawl. With this tool, you can conduct audit redirects, identify broken links immediately, check technical issues, and stay on top of your on-page SEO.

Other metrics for SEO – how significant are they?

Bounce rate

What is it?

Bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors that arrive at your site but leave without taking any additional action.

Should you measure it?

Bounce rate varies between industries, niches, and even page types, and as long as you’re within the normal range, you’re doing OK.

Monitoring bounce rates can help you identify page errors. In combination with other engagement metrics, marketers can analyze how visitors behave. However, for SEO, the metric is not a top priority.

How to measure bounce rate?

You can find the information in Google Analytics. However, GA does not provide information about what’s ‘normal’. To benchmark against others and to correlate with other engagement metrics, a keyword research tool like Similarweb provides a lot more valuable information. Commercial sites check engagement metrics weekly; others are OK with measuring monthly. Similarweb also lets you compare your engagement metrics with your competitors’ side-by-side.

Screenshot of Similarweb engagement metrics competitive view

Average session duration

What is it?

The metric shows the average time visitors spend on your site from the moment they arrive until they exit.

Should you measure it?

Similar to bounce rate, average session duration normalcy depends on either industry, website, or page type. If visitors spend less time on your site than your competitors, you want to know why.

Whether session duration is valuable for you to measure regularly depends on what your site offers and what your business goal is.

SaaS companies and subscription sites may find this insightful because it helps them understand whether users find value in their service. Likewise, ecommerce marketplaces may be interested in visitors browsing through their categories – and hopefully, buying more. You should measure it in combination with other engagement metrics, such as the number of pages visited, visit duration, and bounce rate.

For SEO, the metric is less critical because it doesn’t provide direct insights about the SEO quality of your content.

How to measure it?

Just like bounce rate, you get the average session duration with Similarweb Traffic Analytics. Under all traffic, you’ll choose channels and then look at organic search. The tool provides a breakdown per keyword and landing page, including bounce rate and average session duration.

To understand user behavior, you’ll need a more comprehensive set of engagement metrics and more analytics from tools like Similarweb.

Exit rate

What is it?

Exit rate measures the percentage of visitors that leave your domain from a specific page.

Should you measure it?

Some businesses like to track the exit rate to identify where the visitor’s journey ends. It can be interesting for ecommerce sites to monitor the exit rate at the payment gate. The true value for SEO is debatable. Nevertheless, it’s important to understand visitor behavior and this metric provides information on that.

How to measure it?

You can find the number of exits from a page on Google Analytics. Then calculate the average exit rate by dividing the number of exits by the number of pageviews for the page in question.

Tools to track SEO metrics

We’ve talked about useful tracking tools throughout the article, so let’s summarize which can help you achieve what.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is the primary tool to measure the key metrics for your SEO success. It’s a free platform that provides data about organic activity on your domain.

On GSC, you can check most elementary metrics, such as keyword ranking, organic click-through rate, indexed pages, and Crawl Stats. In the enhanced section, you can also find CWV and page experience reporting.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is useful for getting insights on other traffic channels besides organic. With this tool, you can also investigate engagement metrics and some metrics that are SEO critical such as details about organic traffic volume, bounce rate, average session duration, and more. You can track goal completion, such as purchases and products added to a cart. And it helps uncover audience demographics.

Similarweb

Similarweb Digital Marketing Intelligence has a wide range of tools to analyze organic traffic and SEO metrics. The platform lets you dig into your website’s performance within the context of your market. Let’s make that completely clear: You can see the traffic metrics of any of your competitors, your industry, and the entire web. The same goes for engagement and audience demographic insights.

What does this mean? Most SEO metrics alone don’t tell you much. So, you’ve increased your organic traffic for a specific keyword over the past three months by 5%. Is that good? Or are you actually losing the game because your top competitors gained 10+ %?

And that’s just one example where looking at your isolated SEO metrics doesn’t have much value.

Rank Ranger

If Similarweb puts traffic data in context, RankRanger does it for ranking data. This makes it incredibly valuable for SEOs because ranking is not only about reaching a high position. The tool lets you track and monitor your and your competitors’ search results landscape over time, analyze visibility and SERP features, and get highly granular data per every keyword and URL.

Final Thoughts

Google has over 200 ranking factors, some not publicized. If you were to measure them all to ensure your website is perfectly optimized, you’d probably get more confusion than clarity. But when you focus on the high-level metrics for SEO I’ve explained here and dive into a complete analysis, you’ll uncover opportunities and threats to your SEO strategy. And that’s really the point of monitoring, right?

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FAQs

What are SEO metrics?

SEO metrics are measures that help you evaluate how well your pages are optimized for organic search. Some essential SEO metrics are keyword ranking, organic traffic, and organic click-through rate.

How do I measure SEO effectiveness?

Regularly measure and track important SEO metrics. Benchmark your numbers against competitors and market averages. When identifying weaknesses and losses, investigate why and optimize your pages.

What are important KPIs for SEO?

The KPIs for SEO depends on your strategic marketing goals. If your main objective is to generate traffic, you’ll set KPIs for traffic-related metrics. If your marketing objective is to increase the conversion rate, you’ll focus on a different set of metrics.

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