So you want to build your business’s visibility through an SEO campaign, maybe in tandem with your content marketing or advertising. It’s not as simple as checking your analytics to see whether you’ve got more website visits, clicks, or sales after you’ve gotten started. SEO requires some studying, but much like programming, everything that’s complicated about SEO (or, Search Engine Optimization) is what actually makes it so powerful for people who understand it.
If you’re still new to analyzing SEO metrics, no worries. Let’s take a look at the key concepts that you’ll need to monitor, and those will in turn help you paint a better picture of how the Internet, and visitors, perceive your brand. We’ll also cover what to do with this information and how to enact the right changes if you’re not getting ideal metrics.
Domain and Page Authority
Referred to as DA, Domain Authority is a score from 1-100 that predicts how high a website will turn up on a search engine result page, hereby referred to as SERP. Do not be discouraged if your website has a low DA, especially if it’s new. You should compare the DA of your competitors and monitor how they change over time, finding what had worked to raise their DA. Don’t worry too much if you hit a wall with raising your own site’s DA, either, because the score has a logarithmic curve, where going from 20 to 30 is more difficult that going from 10 to 20, and so on.
Page Authority, or PA, is exactly like DA but for a specific web page. While DA is great for comparing your website and multiple competitors, PA will tell you which pages are working the hardest to make your site visible. You can check the DA and PA of your domain, pages, or those of other websites with an easy tool by Search Engine Reports.
Keyword Ranking Metrics
You can’t have a good SEO metrics without fresh content on your website that uses hot keywords. The two key metrics for choosing and using keywords will have different names depending on the SEO analytics you use, but Ahref describes them as Keyword Difficulty and Search Volume. Keyword Difficulty is simply how hard it is for the average website to show up in the top ten Google results on that keyword’s SERP, and is also measured from 1-100, with 100 being hopelessly difficult. Search Volume is how many people searched that keyword, usually per month.
Ranking keywords is all about choosing a keyword that has a good search volume, meaning it’s something people actually look for online. If you can find keywords that have even a small Search Volume and have a lower difficulty ranking, you’ll know what to include in your website’s content for relevant, organic visits. You may have to get creative, but it won’t take long to compose a long list of promising keywords with high volume and low difficulty.
This ranking states how much traffic a website gets, and is based on the recorded traffic from users of the Amazon Alexa toolbar. Lower is better, and anything under 100,000 is a site with enviable amounts of traffic. It factors in how many people on average visit the site per day and the number of pages that get high traffic from individual users. Alexa does not count repeat visits by the same person, and requires data from three months of visitation. This helps make the number more reliable.
If you have a great Alexa ranking, you could stand to gain a return on investment for advertising. Advertisers will offer higher bids for your ad space if they have reason to belive that more people will see them. The only real issue is that it ranks entire domains, not subdomains, so if you have a terrifically performing webpage or section of your website but the rest is a ghost town, that could drag your ranking higher and make your business seem less viable for advertisers.
Trust and Citation Flow
Image via Flickr by rogiro
Trust Flow and Citation Flow are link metrics used to show popularity and reputation, helping you connect with real, trusted influencers. Trust Flow, or TF, predicts how trustworthy a page link is based on how similar it is to high-quality websites, and Citation Flow, or CF, predicts how influential a specific page’s backlink to another page could be, without considering how trusted it is. Both numbers range from 0-100. By analyzing these numbers, you’ll discover who delivers more authority to your brand and who delivers less, or even tarnishes your name.
For example, an untrustworthy but popular webpage could be the homepage to a pornography site. That would have very high CF but very low TF. Conversely, a trustworthy but new influencer in your niche with low traffic would have low CF but high TF. What matters is the CF to TF ratio, and the more balanced, the better. A perfect One (equal CF and TF), is ideal, and 1/2 (twice as much trust as popularity) is a more realistic picture of a great influencer, and someone you should connect with for more traffic while preserving your site’s reputation.
These are the numbers and ratios you should be on top of when building your website’s audience, ranking higher in SERPs, choosing keywords for general content and blog post ideas, and building authority by linking to and from similar websites. Many businesses try some simple keyword-based content and linking campaigns without really checking the numbers, instead watching only for an increase in organic growth and reach. While those numbers are great to see going up, you’ll understand how your SEO campaign is truly working, or not, from the metrics listed above.
Remember that SEO is complicated because it has serious power, and if it were too easy to understand and get going, then everyone would do it, reducing its value. Don’t give up if you’re new to SEO and find these concepts overwhelming! Raising your visibility and becoming the top trusted brand in your niche is absolutely possible, especially if you use these metrics to gather insights. Read the data and try new things, and soon you’ll be an SEO mastermind.