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They say that if you can measure it, then you can improve it. In search engine optimization, measurement is critical to success. Professional SEOs track data about rankings, referrals, links and more to help analyze their SEO strategy and create road maps for success.

Compare Performance vs. Market Share

By tracking not only search engines broadly, but by country, you'll be able to see exactly the contribution level of each engine in accordance with its estimated market share. Keep in mind that in sectors like technology and Internet services, demand is likely to be higher on Google (given its younger, more tech-savvy demographic) than in areas like cooking, sports or real estate.

Get Visibility Into Potential Drops

If your search traffic should drop significantly at any point, knowing the relative and exact contributions from each engine will be essential to diagnosing the issue. If all the engines drop off equally, the problem is almost certainly one of accessibility. If Google drops while the others remain at previous levels, it's more likely to be a penalty or devaluation of your SEO efforts by that singular engine.

Uncover Strategic Value

It's very likely that some efforts you undertake in SEO will have greater positive results on some engines than others. For example, we frequently notice that on-page optimization tactics like better keyword inclusion and targeting has more benefit with Bing & Yahoo! than Google, while gaining specific anchor text links from a large number of domains has a more positive impact on Google than the others. If you can identify the tactics that are having success with one engine, you'll better know how to focus your efforts.

 

The keywords that send traffic are another important piece of your analytics pie. You'll want to keep track of these on a regular basis to help identify new trends in keyword demand, gauge your performance on key terms and find terms that are bringing significant traffic that you're potentially under optimized for.

You may also find value in tracking search referral counts for terms outside the "top" terms/phrases - those that are important and valuable to your business. If the trend lines are pointing in the wrong direction, you know efforts need to be undertaken to course correct. Search traffic worldwide has consistently risen over the past 15 years, so a decline in quantity of referrals is troubling - check for seasonality issues (keywords that are only in demand certain times of the week/month/year) and rankings (have you dropped, or has search volume ebbed?).

Referring Phrases
 

 

When it comes to the bottom line for your organization, few metrics matter as much as conversion. For example, in the graphic to the right, 5.80% of visitors who reached SEOmoz with the query "SEO Tools" signed up to become members during that visit. This is a much higher conversion rate than most of the 1000s of keywords used to find our site. With this information, we can now do 2 things.

  1. Checking our rankings, we see that we only rank #4 for "SEO Tools". Working to improve this position will undoubtedly lead to more conversion.
  2. Because our analytics will also tell us what page these visitors landed on (mostly http://www.seomoz.org/tools), we can focus on efforts on that page to improve visitor experience.

The real value from this simplistic tracking comes from the "low-hanging fruit" - seeing keywords that continually send visitors who convert and increasing focus on both rankings and improving the landing pages that visitors reach. While conversion rate tracking from keyword phrase referrals is certainly important, it's never the whole story. Dig deeper and you can often uncover far more interesting and applicable data about how conversion starts and ends on your site.

Conversion Stats

 

Knowing the number of pages that receive search engine traffic is an essential metric for monitoring overall SEO performance. From this number, we can get a glimpse into indexation - the number of pages the engines are keeping in their indices from our site. For most large websites (50,000+ pages), mere inclusion is essential to earning traffic, and this metric delivers a trackable number that's indicative of success or failure. As you work on issues like site architecture, link acquisition, XML Sitemaps, uniqueness of content and meta data, etc., the trend line should rise, showing that more and more pages are earning their way into the engines' results. Pages receiving search traffic is, quite possibly, the best long tail metric around.

While other analytics data points are of great importance, those mentioned above should be universally applied to get the maximum value from your SEO campaigns.

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