SEO specialists identify ranking problems and diagnose the health of a website using different metrics. Most of them would comb a site with one or two dozen metrics that they’re familiar with. They apply this process to campaign after campaign without seeing the strengths or weaknesses of the website. What they fail to realize is not all sites leverage the same set of metrics. Whether you’re optimizing websites for dental practices or executing SEO franchise strategies, it’s important to know what metrics you’re measuring. This is what our first Partner Bootcamp training webinar is all about. In the Simplifying SEO: The 6 Core Metrics You Need to Know webinar, I discussed the important metrics that you need to leverage when optimizing your client’s website.
Table of Contents
Grouping Your Search Metrics Makes Your Work Easier
Google uses over 200 metrics to rank websites. Every SEO expert knows that can’t optimize a website with all of these ranking factors. The algorithm works like a filter—it provides the best and most relevant information to users. The best approach when optimizing is to group metrics that behave and affect rankings and indexing the same way. Here’s why you need to work with search metrics in groups:
- No single metric can rank or penalize a website.
- Metrics work synchronously.
- Using search metrics in groups makes it easier to leverage the correct metrics to gain results for your client’s website.
SEOReseller’s Six Core Metric Groups
Through dozens of experiments, SEOReseller’s analysts were able to create a methodology built on the segmentation of metrics to the six most essential groups. We’ve used these metrics on over hundreds of websites with our methodology.
Authority is the third group of metric, and it is internally known to Google as PageRank. Released in 1998, PageRank was named after one of the founders of Google, Larry Page. It is difficult to influence Authority because one of its primary metrics is website Age. Moreover, Google removed PageRank from search toolbars to prevent webmasters from manipulating it. How do you optimize for this metric group?
- You don’t optimize for it.
- You can only leverage Authority if it is inherent to your client’s website.
On-page is the first group of metric. Foundationally known as the LDA (Latent Dirichlet Allocation), this metric functions as the Keyword Density Algorithm. This serves as the core of all search engines, being the literal and basic element of the On-page metric. It relies on the presence of terms to identify their relevance, which is why content will always be king. How do you optimize for this metric group?
- Optimize Meta titles by limiting them to 68 characters.
- Leverage brand and the target keyword on Meta descriptions to encourage higher click-through.
- Optimize headers and content with the keyword being on the top 100 words of the body.
- Insert multiple content formats like images and videos to build trust and frequent indexing.
Off-page is a Google-invented metric that focuses on quality link building. As opposed to On-page, this metric optimizes a website based on external factors that influence its rankings. Essentially, Off-page is about building online chatter—the more buzz you create, the more popular your client’s site will be. How do you optimize for this metric group?
- Improve your content marketing and link building strategy.
- Create compelling content that can be cited as a resource by other websites.
- Get your client’s business on relevant business listings, such as Yelp and YellowPages.
- Develop a social media strategy.
- Integrate YouTube optimization.
- Improve your client’s brand mentions—not just as a keyword.
The Behavior metric focuses on how users interact with your client’s website during a search. You can’t directly control this metric, but you can see what happens if you have Analytics. From there, you can apply interventions to optimize your client’s website. A website is measured against several metrics: visits, bounces, exits, sessions, repeats, unique visit, and CTR. How do you optimize for this metric group?
- Plan your site architecture by focusing on user experience.
- Make your clicks shallow—you lose 74% of users past a third click.
- Optimize your Meta descriptions by showcasing your client’s brand name and value proposition clearly.
- Apply layout changes based on user behavior; Build for the user (Google Rule #3).
- Look at impressions versus clicks on your Google Webmasters Tools.
Quality is an On-page regulating element of the algorithm—the most modern of all the metrics. The first algorithm to introduce the effects of this metric was the Google Panda. This metric group tells you how smart the web is becoming through the following elements:
- Content Originality
- Content Quality
- Trust Signals on-site
This metric group doesn’t necessarily give you an additional score; it augments or depreciates your client’s on-page score. How do you optimize for this metric group?
- Apply an HTTPS certificate to your site.
- Build your site using a mobile-friendly framework.
- Use modern code (HTML5).
- Allow social signals and interaction.
- Make your content original, worthwhile and value-adding.
- Implement rich media.
- Apply trust signals and badges.
- Link to reviews.
Generally known as the Google Penguin, Trust is the Off-page regulating element of the algorithm. This focuses on the digital footprint of your client’s website—it looks at the C-class distribution, the PageRank distribution, and textual distribution lists of your links. How do you optimize for this metric?
- Don’t optimize for this
- Don’t hire cheap SEO services—only trust the experts
- Build thought leadership; this is where you leverage your expertise
- Don’t buy links; get people to naturally ask for your content
- Balance your digital footprint
Before you start optimizing for any of these metric groups, keep in mind Google’s Golden Rules:
- Don’t be Evil.
- You Searched and You found what you were looking for.
- Build for the User.
- Don’t “Game” the algorithm.
Search metrics provide you the parameters to validate the results you present to clients. With SEOReseller’s six core metric groups, you can be more confident to explain the methodology to your clients and make data-driven decisions for your campaigns. Get more insights about this topic with our training guide available for download at the Resource Center. Also be sure to check out our SEO site audit training webinar.