This is the first part in a two part series of the SEO Health Check. The SEO Health Check surfaces data that give you meaningful insights into your site’s progress in SEO.
The metrics that a large number of businesses track related to search engine optimization (SEO) are, frequently, the wrong ones. If your SEO team tracks metrics that skew too macro, or too micro, you can end up with a skewed view of your progress in organic search:
The 10,000 Foot View
If your metrics are too high-level, the numbers can mask both problems and opportunity. A good example is looking only at the total number of visits that your site gets on a monthly basis from organic search. You may be satisfied if your numbers are stable year-over-year, but what if 90% of your traffic comes from 5 terms, and the only page that ranks is your home page? That’s a problem.
The 10 Foot View
Many marketers obsess over the rankings of a handful of keywords—sometimes called “vanity rankings”. Often, these are keywords that drive large volumes of search traffic, or keywords that an executive has decided are strategically important for the business to have visibility for. While tracking a handful of keyword rankings is fine, you need a broader focus to ensure that your site is performing well in the long tail of search, where 70 percent of total search volume is.
SEO is simple. But it’s simple the way baseball is simple. The old saying “throw the ball, hit the ball, catch the ball” comes to mind. Simple, right? There’s always complexity lurking below the surface, but just like in baseball, your SEO team needs to have a quick set of metrics they can refer to that give you meaningful information about how well you’re performing. I call these metrics the SEO Health Check.
The SEO Health Check
The metrics tracked here are designed to give you a quick, directionally accurate view of how well your site is doing in organic search. It tracks indexation, landing pages, keywords and traffic, (covered in my previous post).
Let’s take a look at how to track each of these areas, and then dive into how to interpret the data:
URLs and Indexed Pages
First, you need to know how big your site actually is. Usually, this will require feedback from your Engineering or Product teams. You need to determine the number of valid content URLs that your site is capable of generating. Relying on a “guesstimate” is not sufficient here...