SEO Metrics That Matter

In addition to my blog post detailing what are the obsolete metrics in SEO, I am listing the SEO measurements that must be made to better understand the performance of our websites.

There needs no changes in the search engine landscape to prompt us to switch our measurements. Keyword ranking is so last decade and I just feel sorry for companies that stick to this one, without thinking of new ways.

Search Engine Index Ratio
Different websites hold different appeal on the “eyes” of search engines. Factors such as frequency of content updates, quality of contents and inbound links play their respective roles as to how often robots come across these pages and therefore determine how quickly newly added ones appear on search index. The ratio between the number of indexed pages and the total number of pages will tell how much love has a site been receiving from search engines. This is because no matter if the site has a lot of pages, but if most of them aren’t indexed, they won’t be seen by visitors unless they are referred from another site or is bookmarked.

Keyword Volume Information
Volume of keyword referrals is also a useful SEO metric to consider. This is because it is easier to tell that the higher a page ranking is for a specific keyword, the more likely that the page will be clicked. Therefore, if that page maintains its rankings or there is a surge of popularity for that keyword, the higher the number of referrals become. This is a differentiator between mere measurement of rankings and delivering actual traffic comes to play. This means that if a page within Regal Hotel’s website is ranked high for “hong kong airport hotel”, it does not necessarily mean it’s successful until it brings traffic to the site who eventually perform hotel bookings.

Search Engine Referral Numbers
On a larger scale, if the site receives considerable citation from search engines, it is likely that it will receive respectable page rankings across a variety of search terms. We measure SEO through a site/page’s search engine visibility so using this as a metric makes more sense than just keyword rankings.

The number of terms it will rank high will largely depend on the amount of content the site, although I think this isn’t always the case. Since individual pages are ranked and not websites, overall performance of search engine referral numbers will be dictated by individual keywords (that is, if the raning of one search phrase goes down because of increased competition, it doesn’t necessarily mean other phrases will also go down). Improving content quality, addition of relevant pages will likely increase the number of search engine referrals.

Brand Keywords vs Generic Keywords
When we talk of keyword referrals, it is inaccurate to count mere numbers culled from search engines. It is sometimes necessary to further distinguish search engine referrals by type of keywords. The first type is brand keywords, which are more specific to sa brand or product. For example, when I search for “xinhua finance”, it is more likely that I am looking for a page within Xinhua Finance website and not just any financial company site. This is the type of search phrase used by visitors who are aware of specific names. Other examples are “singapore airlines hong kong singapore package”, “sony sz series” and “Fuji FinePix S700”.

The second type is generic keywords, which are general in nature and is “more vague” to search engines. This is the type of phrase visitors will use when they aren’t sure what they are looking for. Examples are “hong kong online banking” or “hk massage services”. This type is a more ideal sector to be measured because these are used by solution seekers, who theoretically outnumber those who are searching for specific brands or services.

While we aim to have more generic keyword referrals from search engines, it is also noteworthy to ponder that increased searches for brand keywords means that more people are aware of the brand and will increase brand awareness. So my take on this type of metric is to count by the numbers and not take the ratio between brand keywords and generic keywords.

Hopefully, the key performance indicators described above will bring more meaning into measuring performance of SEO campaigns.