Are you thinking of launching or growing your website, but the whole “SEO” thing isn’t in your comfort zone? These statistics should increase your confidence that you can handle the basics as a beginner:
- As of 2023, there are approximately 200 million active websites ready to view at any time.
- 547,200 new sites are created every day worldwide.
- More than 1.5 billion sites exist but are inactive or rarely updated.
With this many people starting their unique websites, it’s easy to see that it isn’t as difficult as it seems at first. Many platforms offer intuitive setup features that make the design process a breeze. The challenging part comes next: getting people to find your site. That’s where SEO comes into play.
How you set your site up for this feature, officially called search engine optimization, ties strongly in with your success. This guide breaks down the basics of SEO metrics you’ll need to know as a beginner. Think of it as the ABCs of website success. Master them, and managing the more involved details will become much simpler!
1. Understanding SEO
Let’s continue with the reading analogy for a second. Imagine you’re an author. You wrote the most amazing book, and you’re pretty sure it’s the best content ever created in the history of the world.
Does it really count as a fantastic book if you’re the only one who reads it? And how can you get everyone else to pick it up and see all the potential within its covers as you do?
The same idea applies to your website. It doesn’t matter how professional your content looks and how incredible your product or service is if no one sees your site. Sure, you can send them there directly, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if people you didn’t know were able to find your website and order?
That’s what search engine optimization does. It uses specific characteristics of your site to rank your site when a user queries terms related to your business.
You’ve used this feature yourself when you search the internet for answers to your question. When you make use of SEO, you can bring customers looking for related keywords to your site. The more your site uses optimization, the higher you’ll rank on Google’s search results page.
2. The Five Features of SEO
So now that you know the importance of optimizing your website, the next question is, how do you do it?
Google’s SEO algorithms include five main metric-related features:
- On-page SEO
- Technical SEO
Your role as the owner/builder of your site is to dig into the details of each of these features. Research the keywords your ideal target audience is inputting to find your product or service. Create unique content that leads people to your site and showcases your authority, and make the content SEO-friendly (clear and concise).
Throw in the strategic use of links from other authoritative, trustworthy websites. And finally, add labels, text, metadata, and other information to help search engines find and index your site content.
3. Monitoring Your SEO Success
You’ve done all the “things,” and you think your site is SEO-friendly. But is what you have working? Now, it’s time to analyze the benchmark metrics to see where your areas of growth opportunity are so you can focus on them.
Whether you know how to use them or not, behind the scenes, data is piling up rapidly every time someone visits your site. These are your benchmark metrics, as explained in this article by Intergrowth, and they include information such as:
- Organic sessions, conversions, and revenue
- Clickthrough rates
- Keyword rankings
- Site readability
- Bounce rates
- Referring domains
- Indexed pages
- Crawl errors
Focusing on all of these metrics at once can be overwhelming. Before you start an ad campaign or decide to reshape your site, it’s wise to choose one or two as your main areas of opportunity.
Look at the metrics in the admin site of your platform to start. If there are red warning numbers, check those out first. You may have indexing errors preventing people from finding your site or errors in coding that are delaying your loading time. If your bounce rate is high, that should be corrected as soon as possible.
Once your core pieces are in the green, move on to fine-tuning the rest of your site to reach your goal. For instance, if you want to ensure you rank for a specific keyword in your industry, take the time to adjust your metadata and tags to reflect that term.
Set a date to review your metrics and see if your SEO campaign worked, then reflect on the results and determine your next step. Taking your benchmark metrics a little at a time makes this more streamlined and easier to accomplish than eating the entire proverbial elephant.
The importance of search engine optimization is clearly evident, but the how of it is a bit more challenging. Now that you have a better idea of what SEO metrics involve, understanding how to adjust your site to include them becomes a hill instead of a mountain.