Essential SEO Analytics: The Performance Metrics That Truly Count #Liveblog #11B

Rhea Drysdale @Rhea is setting the context: don’t take every recommendation and try to implement it, but do implement something. Tie your business goals to your metrics.

“Welcome to the new age.” This is a song and it was in the back of her mind when she put this presentation together. SEO is evolving, it used to be easy to demonstrate SEO value. You’d grab keywords, put together content, point some good links to the site. Today is more complicated. It’s difficult to track. Why? So many Google updates over the years have made it hard to track results. It started in 2007 with taking out signed in users, up to 2009 with personalization to everyone. Social search is the 3rd aspect of personalization. (Local, Social, Vertical Search) Her website has 68% (not provided) visitor data.

Every campaign must have 3 things:

1. Business objective
2. Business metric
3. SEO metric

Metrics guidelines to follow:

1. Get leaders involved.
2. Visually represent your metrics.
3. Metrics must respond quickly.
4. Metrics must be simple.
5. Metrics should drive only important activities.
6. Limit the number of metrics.
7. Take corrective action.

Putting those metrics to work, example:

Biz objective: grow online rev
Biz metric: 20% increase in conversions from organic search. 1k annual conversions,
SEO metric: 16k annual increase in traffic from organic search.

At every stage of a campaign, you should be tracking different metrics and go back to them at regular intervals and ask “is this working?”

Operating in a vacuum will harm your business. We are in danger of losing sight of biz objectives, focusing on the wrong metrics and motivating the team with risky methods.

Fresh Web Explorer is a new beta tool for SEOmoz Pro members, and it pulls 4 weeks of brand mentions and you can find those that don’t have backlinks.

Rhea’s 4 favorite metrics:

1. Organic traffic: by SE, category, season, persona. Why? Locate problems/opportunities with Analytics, Google updates, technical changes

2. Conversions: by SE, category, season, persona. Why? Locate problems/opportunities with usability concerns, product stock

3. Backlinks: by quantity, quality, relevance, location, anchor text distribution, domain authority. Why? Locate problems/opportunities with negative SEO, agency accountability, enterprise-level accountability

4. Indexed pages: by site-wide, subdomains, main templates/categories. Why? Locate problems /opportunities with manual penalties, algorithmic updates, technical issues, duplicate content

Jon Henshaw @RavenJon is going to talk about how you measure without rankings. If you’re an SEO, Google has been on a rampage. A few months ago they woke up and wanted people to stop scraping search results.


(not provided) SUCKS. It could reach 100% with Chrome and Firefox and the rest of the browsers making it a default. We’re going down a road where we’re not going to have keyword data, so get used to it. In SEO we’ve had a sense of entitlement, but look at it from Google’s perspective, they’re just making business decisions. This isn’t about punishing marketers, it’s about privacy.

Google Webmaster Tools provides impressions for keywords that people are searching on, clicks, average position. Looking back, we became so dependent on a ranking result for a keyword that may or may not have been working well. Now you can tell if a keyword is doing something for you, a lot of impressions but no click throughs is a sign that maybe something’s not working. A rank checker is one data point, where Search Queries in GWT is an average of universal experience. The data is exportable.

What clients really need and want is not ranking data. They want more organic traffic, more targeted traffic, more conversions and ultimately more money. In order to do that you have to show them. We may forget to track things to demonstrate improvement. lets you set up events and goals that you can show your client at the end of the month. Then set up an advance segment in GA with a regex segment of all the search engines with pipes in between. Connect GA with GWT. You can’t show improvement unless you’re showing comparative date ranges.

The first place he usually goes is traffic, site engagement. So activate the organic advanced segment. Landing pages is also a good report that speaks to the content of an SEO project.

Referral Traffic + Goals + Links Built = Awesome

Also, comparing a crawl with something like Screaming Frog before and after your on-page SEO will show, hopefully, how the site has improved. is full of amazing reports people are sharing.

Will Scott @w2scott is next to the podium. The challenge of customers is they want to know what you’re doing when they pay you. Most of his customers are small, local, service. They care about if peple are transacting with us. It’s hard to show them pretty pictures and say the Yetti exists. We have to measure it, and say this is the outcome we were hoping to achieve that matches up with your goals. “Show me the money.”

Charts and ranking tables is not what shows them it’s working. They want leads. This can be demonstrated.

Web Forms – Input: Track data from the analytics cookies in forms and you can report.
Calls: Track them back to referral sources (Facebook, Google, Bing).

GA just came out with multi-channel attribution (overlap of paid, direct, organic) seen at the goal level. Along the whole path you can tell what a client is doing and all the touch points.

Local SEO + Call Tracking = Peanut Butter + Poo. This is a big danger. Google will keep those numbers as authoritative forever. Be sure the tracking phone number is only ever present when there’s a search query string on the URL – that’s kind of safe. Pushing bad phone numbers into the local search ecosystem is unethical.

Rob Bucci @STATrob is next. SEO is a cyclical job, performance metrics drive our strategy and measure our results. Data helps clients understand where they’ve been, where they are, where they’re going, and metrics help to prove ROI, tracking is important. So what to measure? If you can’t look at decisions from multiple perspectives, you’re not measuring enough data. So why ignore any one metric? (Yes, he’s talking about rankings.)

SERP analytics is about looking at everything on the SERP. Start by thinking big, large scale aggregate metrics. Think about short, medium, long-tail keywords. Kwds you dominate, your competitors dominate. In every location important to your business. Then segment, ruthlessly; be granular.

Segments examples:

Search query + location
Search query + modifier
Psychographic categories or customer intent

Put segments into buckets. This gives us fine-tuned control among big-picture metrics.

Metric one: SERP share. Who are our top competitors? Frequency count of all domains on the SERP, ones that show up in top 3 the most. How much saturation is there? How much do you control?

Metric two: rank distributions. Where are you clustering? How many times does your own domain appear? If 60% of keywords in a bucket are position 1-3 but 20% are position 7-10, if you push those up you push everything up.

Metric three: URL frequency. Know what content is ranking highest. Specific types of content losing or gaining visibility. Can be done for competitors as well.

You’re seeing winners and losers. Which content is most relevant and authoritative, what buckets they dominate in. This data sets expectations of what’s possible. Maybe you’ll find out that a bucket has a lot of space that aren’t organic and can never have a strong presence in. His preso is summarized at

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

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One Reply to “Essential SEO Analytics: The Performance Metrics That Truly Count #Liveblog #11B”

Thanks for the summation Virginia :-)


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