Measuring your blog’s success can be tricky. You want to get as many visitors as possible, but that’s often not a reliable indicator of how engaging your content is. If you want to understand your audience and steer your blog in the right direction, there are a lot of performance indicators you should be paying attention to.
For example, the more backlinks your blog has, the easier it becomes to rise through the search engine rankings. On that same note, you want to keep an eye on your blog’s position for specific keywords, so you can take the top spots away from your competitors.
In this article, we’ll talk about four Search Engine Optimization (SEO) performance indicators for your blog. We’ll go over what makes them so important and how you can improve them. Let’s get to it!
How to Monitor Your Blog’s SEO Performance
If you want to have access to in-depth data about your blog’s performance, you need to use an analytics tool. The best option for most users is Google Analytics:
Not only is Google Analytics free, but throws so much data at you that learning the platform’s in and outs can take months. Ideally, you’ll integrate Google Analytics with your blog as soon as you launch it. Even if you’re not getting that much traffic yet, having that integration will let you monitor your blog’s growth.
If you’re using WordPress for your blog, connecting Google Analytics to it is simple. Once you have an analytics tool set up, you’ll gain access to hundreds of performance indicators, including the following:
4 Key SEO Performance Indicators for Blogs
There’s no single number that can tell you that your blog is successful. In theory, getting tons of traffic every day is a great start, but it doesn’t paint an entire picture. In practice, you need to look at these indicators together to understand how your blog is performing and how you can improve it.
Traffic is the most obvious performance indicator for blogs and websites of every kind. Big numbers are good but what you really should care about is sustained growth.
Ideally, your blog’s traffic should grow at a steady pace over time, which you can easily see using historic charts:
Dips in visits are normal but if you start seeing a downward trend it can mean one of the following:
- You’re not targeting the right keywords.
- There’s been a dip in the quality of your blog’s content.
- You made a change to your blog’s functionality or design that users didn’t like.
Downward trends in traffic tell you that you need to switch gears to keep your blog alive and healthy. For a lot of people, it can be frustrating to see that traffic doesn’t increase sharply overnight, but that’s normal for a website.
Even if you have blog posts that go viral, traffic tends to stabilize over time. It’s far better to see slow, steady growth than it is to get the occasional flash in the pan and nothing else.
Backlinks are one the performance indicators I pay the closest attention to. When you launch a new blog, you’re not going to get any unless you do some very aggressive outreach.
Once your blog starts to gain some traction, though, something magical happens – other websites start to link to your posts by their own volition. In other words, if you see the number of backlinks to your website increase steadily, your blog has probably hit its stride.
Backlinks can be deceiving sometimes, though. You want to make sure you’re getting links from high-quality websites and that they aren’t spam.
Analytics platforms enable you to keep an eye on who is linking to you and how much traffic you’re getting from each source. From time to time, you want to take a deep dive into your traffic sources to get an idea of who is sending you visitors.
3. Keyword Rankings
It’s impossible to talk about SEO performance without getting into the topic of keywords. In most cases, you’ll publish content on your blog built around specific search terms:
That’s not to say that you should ‘stuff’ your blog posts with keywords. What you want to do is try to find a way to make sure your content targets the types of searches that people actually make.
The goal of that exercise is to get your content to show up among the top results for the keywords you’re targeting. The three top spots for most searches get the lion’s share of clicks, so it’s a near-guaranteed way to ensure your blog gets more attention.
One mistake a lot of people make is they optimize blog posts around keywords but the don’t keep an eye on their performance. What you should be doing is periodically checking past blog posts to see where they appear in the rankings.
For posts that are within the first page of results, you can often make them climb higher by making a few changes. For example, you can expand their content, tweak their meta descriptions, consider using rich snippets, and more. With this approach, you can easily increase your blog’s traffic without having to rework articles from scratch.
4. Bounce Rate
If you pay attention to the way you use the web, you may notice that you open a lot of websites but end up leaving right away. That’s what we call a ‘bounced’ visit.
In practice, most websites have a bounce rate of around 40-50%. That’s a lot and in most cases, you can attribute bounced visits to one of three factors:
- Long loading times
- A poor user experience
- Terrible web design
Since those users don’t stick around long enough to read your content, we can assume that quality isn’t the problem. That leaves your blog itself.
A good bounce rate should oscillate between 20-30%. Anything less than that and you’re doing splendidly. On the other hand, if it rises about 40%, then it may be time to sit down and ask what aspects of your blog’s experience you can improve (such as its design).
Successful blogs get a lot of traffic and they know how to turn those visits into loyal readers. In a nutshell, you do that by publishing content that users want to read about and doing a better job of it than the competition.
A lot of a blog’s success comes down to SEO performance, though. If you want to get a holistic view of your blog’s performance, here are the four indicators you need to pay attention to:
- Keyword rankings
- Bounce rate
Do you have any questions about how to tackle SEO for your blog? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.