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How to Measure SEO Performance: 8 Essential Metrics

Read Time 8 mins | Written by: Martin Harrison

SEO is one of the most powerful marketing channels, and its results cannot be evaluated using one specific metric. A growth in keyword rankings and organic traffic means nothing if sales remain at the same level.

To understand an objective situation, you need to analyze a complex set of SEO metrics. We will tell you how to measure SEO to assess the results of your efforts.

Importance of measuring SEO campaigns

SEO metrics are important for analyzing and improving a website's visibility in search engines and achieving business goals. SEO measurement allows you to:

  • Examine the current state of the website
  • Set realistic goals for SEO strategy
  • Analyze the results and adjust actions according to changes in search algorithms, audience behavior, and the competitive environment.

In addition, it helps to demonstrate the value of optimization and show why SEO is a good investment.

Setting clear goals for SEO campaigns

Setting precise goals is paramount for achieving the desired outcomes of your SEO campaigns. The specific targets and results must harmonize with your overall business goals. For example, you can work on SEO to:

  • Augment organic search traffic
  • Enhance keyword rankings
  • Amplify conversions
  • Mitigate bounce rates

Each objective should be well-defined and measurable, facilitating progress tracking and the evaluation of campaign efficacy.

Key metrics to measure SEO performance

Here are eight metrics you can use for SEO measurement.

Organic Search Traffic

Organic traffic from search engine results is one of the main metrics used in SEO. Google Analytics is the primary tool for measuring it. It allows you to:

  • Compare attendance from the organic search results at different periods
  • Analyze the audience and understand how targeted it is (gender, age, region, etc.)
  • Evaluate user behavior (session duration, number of pages viewed, bounce rate)

In Google Search Console, you can check what keywords people use to find your site. These can be: 

  • Branded and non-branded keywords. You need to track them separately. The growth of branded traffic can be associated with successful PR work or the launch of an advertising campaign. 
  • Informational and commercial keywords. Commercial keyword traffic indicates the successful promotion of commercial pages, while informational keyword traffic indicates successful blog work.
  • Targeted and non-targeted keywords. Targeted keywords contribute to achieving the set goal – a sale, subscription, etc. However, non-targeted keywords can hinder this process. So, for example, if you sell goods in retail, requests with the word "wholesale" will be untargeted. If there are user conversions on them, you need to check the content of the pages and fix it.

With a clear understanding of what keywords people use to find your website, you can create a strong SEO strategy.

Keyword rankings

Keyword rankings directly indicate whether your SEO strategy is working and give you an accurate assessment of your SEO efforts. By tracking keyword rankings, you can identify positive position changes as a result of successful on-page and off-page optimization. Negative position changes can be the result of algorithm updates or technical problems, changes in competitors' strategies, etc.


Keyword rank tracking can show you your position, where your opponents are, and the ranking dynamics. Regularly monitoring keyword rankings can help you quickly notice any problems, react to them, and prevent traffic loss.

Website authority

Website authority reflects how authoritative and trustworthy your website may be considered by Google. The main factors that are taken into account when calculating website authority are backlinks – links from other sites. The quality of these links plays a big role: they should be numerous and come from authoritative and relevant sites in your niche.

Different SEO tools use different approaches to measuring a website’s authority. For example, with the authority checker by SE Ranking, you can evaluate domain trust (DT) – a unique metric that is calculated by considering the number and quality of the website’s backlinks and referring domains.

Main dashboard of Backlink Checker by SE Ranking

Along with domain trust, you should pay attention to the number of unique referring domains with their DT estimations and keep track of new and lost backlinks.

Return on investment (ROI)

ROI shows how effective your investments are in SEO. It is calculated by using this formula.

How to calculate SEO ROI

It is not always possible to separate the income from SEO from the overall profitability of the website, as it is influenced by other traffic sources (advertising, SMM, email marketing, etc.). Nevertheless, here is a simple guide on how you can measure SEO ROI in 3 steps:

  • Sum up your investments in SEO (these can be costs associated with the team, freelancers, diverse tools, backlinks, etc.)
  • Evaluate the value of conversions from your organic traffic (you can track e-commerce and lead data)
  • Use the special formula: (Value of organic conversions – Cost of SEO investments) / Cost of SEO investments.

Remember that in SEO, outcomes don’t come overnight. You can see a positive ROI from SEO after 6-12 months. 

Click-through rates (CTR)

CTR indicates the percentage of users who visit a website after seeing it in the search engine. For example, if 50 potential customers entered a specific search query and saw your website in SERPs and only 5 out of 50 visited it, the CTR would be 10%.

It is easy to calculate the CTR metric using this formula.

CTR provides an understanding of how attractive the site is to users when they view it in the search results. Low CTR may indicate the need to correct the Title and Meta Description tags.

A CTR may also be low when your site is being displayed for inappropriate keyword. And people won't click on your site if it doesn't match what they are looking for. 

For example, a person searches for "How to bake a chocolate brownie". Your site appears with the title "Buy chocolate brownies with delivery". Of course, the person won’t click on your site because their search intent is different.

You can check the data on CTR in Google Search Console, which has data on different keywords and pages. You can also see the number of clicks and impressions.

 CTR in Google Search Console

Top exit pages

Beyond simply identifying top-performing website pages, you should pinpoint underperforming pages. It is important to track exit pages, which refer to the final page a user visits before leaving the website.

Noticing a trend where numerous users exit after viewing a specific page may suggest that the content requires some refinement. The content may not match what people are looking for (optimization for irrelevant keywords), or there may be something wrong with the page itself.

Exit Pages in Google Analytics

Engagement metrics

Behavioral factors indirectly show the results of your SEO strategy and whether the site's quality needs to be improved. These are the engagement metrics you should track:

  • Average session duration
  • Bounce rate
  • Pages per visit
  • Activity on the page (clicks, scrolling)
  • % of returning users


Most of the engagement metrics can be tracked in Google Analytics.

Behavioral metrics in Google Analytics

In Google Analytics 4 (GA4), behavioral metrics can be achieved through the Funnel Exploration and Path Exploration reports. They are accessible within the "Explore" section of the GA4 interface.

Unlike the Behavior Flow report in Universal Analytics, these reports provide enhanced flexibility and intricate insights into user journeys on your website. The Funnel Exploration report enables the monitoring of predefined user paths. The Path Exploration report offers a more fluid approach, allowing the tracking of user paths without preset steps.

Page speed

A long page loading time can create a poor user experience. Google highly recommends site owners to achieve good Core Web Vitals. It is a collection of metrics that determine the quality of user experience on the page and shows how comfortable they are using the site.

Since all search engines, including Google, want to give quality websites in their search results, it is important that your website has a good CWV score. That way, it will have a better chance of getting higher positions. Otherwise, you may be overtaken by your competitors.

The Core Web Vitals report contains three metrics:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – measured in seconds during which the largest element is loaded on the first screen: form, block, video, image.
  • Interaction to Next Paint (INP) – how many milliseconds are required for the user to start interacting with the content on the site.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – the number of unexpected shifts of content blocks on a site page on load.

You can track page speed and Core Web Vitals with the help of PageSpeed Insights by Google. It gives each page a score and suggests improvements.

Core Web Vitals report in PageSpeed Insights

How to measure SEO: tools to track SEO metrics

You can use Google Analytics and Google Search Console as the basic tools for SEO measurement. GA tracks key metrics such as organic search traffic, keyword performance, and user engagement, while GSConsole offers valuable data on keywords, click-through rates, and site indexing.


You can also take advantage of advanced SEO tools like SE Ranking. It is a multifunctional platform that offers a comprehensive toolkit for every possible SEO task. You can do keyword research, rank tracking, on-page optimization, backlink analysis, etc, and keep track of almost all metrics in one place.


There are several KPIs that can measure SEO results at the same time. You can analyze these results with the help of the following metrics:

  1. Organic search traffic
  2. Keyword rankings
  3. Website authority
  4. ROI (return on investment)
  5. CTR (click-through rate)
  6. Top exit pages
  7. Engagement metrics 
  8. Page speed

These metrics will allow you to measure SEO results and find new points of growth for the project.

Martin Harrison