It’s important to keep track of your business’s website metrics from day one. These numbers give you insight into audience demographics, where your traffic is coming from, and what actions are being taken by your visitors. Once you have this data, you can make changes to your marketing strategies and watch your numbers grow. So what metrics should you be tracking?
If you’re new to analytics, we’ve made a list of seven metrics you should pay close attention to. The sooner you learn which trends increase traffic and sales, the more effective you’ll be in the long run. For the purpose of this post, we’ll be referring to Google Analytics as the tool, but there are other tools available to obtain the same type of data.
7 Must-Track Website Metrics
1. Organic Traffic
Organic traffic is an important metric to keep track of because it’s based on people’s web searches and not from a direct ad or link. If your organic traffic numbers are low, this means you’ll need to work on search engine optimization (SEO). In the simplest terms, search engines take information from your web pages and rank them based on search trends.
Based on what you learn from your research, you may need to modify your website’s metadata, headlines, and copy to more accurately or effectively communicate your company’s offering. Your ultimate goal should be for your business to show up on the first page of Google search results, and focusing on simple improvements and page accuracy is invaluable to moving up the list.
2. Organic Click-through Rate
Once you take marketing a step further with digital advertising, you’ll want to monitor click-through rates. This percentage is the number of clicks your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown. Your click-through rate is important because it helps gauge which keywords are working and which ones aren’t.
In Google Analytics, your keywords also have their own click-through rates, which can help you decide which words or phrases need improvement. The more these words relate to your particular target audience’s interests, the higher the chances of users clicking on your ads.
3. Bounce Rate and Pages Per Session
Once you get people to your webpage, your goal is to make them stay there. What’s the point of working to increase traffic if people click away two seconds later? You should pay attention to your bounce rate because it tells you the percentage of all sessions where users exited your site without viewing any other pages on your site.
Whether you want a high or low bounce rate depends on whether you want users to view more than one page. If all of your information is on one page, such as a blog post, a high bounce rate is normal. This could mean you’ve answered your visitors’ question(s), or that they are performing the desired action of clicking on the link to another website.
If your goal is to get users to click a call to action on your landing page that leads to another page on your website, you’ll want a low bounce rate. You can also see how many pages users view per session, which will tell you which pages you need to improve on, such as by adding more relevant internal links.
4. Conversion Rates
Your conversion rates are crucial metrics because they tell you how many users complete the ultimate action you want them to take from your landing page, such as to check out, sign up, download content or start a trial. After all, the purpose of your online presence should be (at least partially) about growing transactions, right?
Having data on the completion of any activity, whether it’s a sale or newsletter signup, will tell you if the content on your page is persuasive and engaging. You can also look at conversion rates based on users’ location, device, browser, etc. This will help you tailor your content so that it’s most effective for specific demographics or devices.
5. Average Page Load Time
Another Google Analytics metric you should keep track of is average page load time, which tells you how fast your page loads. You might wonder what this has to you with you since everyone’s internet connection is different, but it’s crucial you pay attention to this number.
Think With Google makes the case for low page load times crystal clear:
“[When] page load time goes from one second to 10 seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases 123%.”
So average load time isn’t just about how long a user waits for the page to load; it directly impacts SEO. The lower the load time, the better your site will rank on Google. The better your site ranks, the more relevant traffic you will get, the higher your conversion, and the more revenue you will get.
6. Indexed Pages
Whenever you publish a new page on your website, you want Google to know about it so it can appear in search results. While Google crawls the web regularly to find new content, errors can occur and not all of your pages may be getting “seen” by Google. Be sure to check Google’s index status report. This tells you how many of your URLs have been indexed, how many have been blocked, and how many have been removed.
The number of backlinks to your website is a metric that also impacts SEO. A backlink is basically a referral and shows you how many web pages out in the world have a link to your site. Backlinking affects your page rank on search engines because it’s an indication of whether or not your website contains content that other sites consider worthwhile. The quality of your backlinks is more important than quantity. Five backlinks from reputable websites will positively impact your SEO more than thirty backlinks from low-quality sites. To view backlinks, go to Google Analytics and click Acquisition → All traffic → Referrals.
Stay on Top of Your Website Metrics
Optimizing your website isn’t a one-and-done proposal. It needs to be a constant part of the care and growth of your business. If your business uses a project management system to keep work moving, consider website/SEO metrics review as a mission-critical project, with schedules, tasks, and milestones similar to your normal workflow.
If website metrics are new to you, the entire concept can be overwhelming at first. Google’s Analytics Academy is a worthwhile investment of time. Easy-to-complete lessons walk you through the basics and deliver a detailed enough understanding of how analytics work.
As you get accustomed to Google Analytics and its features, you’ll gain an increased understanding of who’s viewing your website, how long they stay, and whether they complete the actions you want them to take. Identifying successful pages and drop-off points will guide you in what changes you need to make to improve your website’s user experience and search engine visibility. The more appealing your website is to your target audience and the more optimized it is for search engines, the more visitors you’ll see converting into customers.