Simply getting the first website running can present challenges. That’s not to say website monitoring and maintenance is easy for seasoned marketers and webmasters either; it isn’t. Day-to-day tasks are simple enough, but there’s an abundance of website metrics to track, monitor, and act on. Here are 7 of the most important website metrics to track along with their subdivisions where appropriate:
How Website Metrics Can Inform Your SEO
First and foremost, let’s briefly address why tracking metrics truly matters in the context of digital marketing.
For personal use and otherwise non-business websites, such metrics are relatively meaningless – as in, no actions will often follow. However, tracking eCommerce metrics or such performance metrics as traffic, leads, and conversions is vital for professionals of all industries.
That’s because these metrics, and subsequent actions, will directly affect final revenue. What’s more, they often translate into better Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which also substantially affects performance.
Consider, for a notable example, traffic sources. Citations are an important part of SEO, and referral traffic directly affects lead generation, acquisition, and conversion tactics. Thus, not keeping track of this metric will hamper your SEO, link-building efforts, and your website’s performance.
7 Most Important Website Metrics to Track – And Why
Starting with the above example, traffic is undeniably one of the most important website metrics to track. Doing so gives you a clear overview of how your SEO is performing and can help inform your revenue goals.
However, raw traffic by itself is only so actionable. Thus, you may focus on more specific aspects of it for more accurate insights. The most notable ones are:
Organic and Paid Traffic
To properly gauge the efficiency of your SEO, Pay Per Click (PPC), and other marketing campaigns, it is crucial to distinguish between organic and paid traffic. Not all traffic is the same, and different visitors will require different content to frame their customer journey.
Traffic by Source
Similarly, visitors coming to your site from different sources will also require different approaches. Consider, for example, a visitor who finds you on Google versus one who your Facebook post invited. Those two will likely have different intents and already follow different journey paths.
Traffic by Device
Finally, it is equally crucial to distinguish between desktop traffic and mobile traffic. Such visitors do exhibit different behaviors and have different experiences across your respective website versions. What’s more, mobile-friendliness is integral to SEO, and Statista notes that mobile accounts for roughly half of all web traffic. Thus, knowing where your visitors stand in this regard can prove invaluable.
2. Page Load Times
Page load times are also among the most important website metrics to track. It too directly affects SEO and UX and can, in turn, directly impact revenue. In fact, Google’s own research directly correlates page load times with bounce rates.
That said, your main page aside, page load times are indeed more of a page metric than a website metric. Nonetheless, monitoring individual pages can benefit your site on the whole, from UX to Domain Authority (DA) and more.
3. Bounce Rates
Directly related to, but not exclusively because of, page load times are bounce rates. Tracking bounce rates is almost self-evidently crucial, as it directly affects conversion rates. Put differently, it may explain gaps between traffic and expected leads and conversions; in turn informing Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).
Naturally, bounce rates directly undermine your sales funnel, so they should be handled swiftly and decidedly.
4. Exit Rates and Exit Pages
Bounce rates aside, visitors may still exit your website and end their journey without converting. To address this, you may monitor two distinct metrics; exit rates and exit pages.
Exit rates refer to the overall rate your visitors exit your website prematurely. Tracking this metric will offer an overview of your website’s performance and highlight such shortcomings as content hierarchy errors.
Then, you may specifically track individual exit pages. Identifying your top exit pages may reveal shortcomings on these specific pages, such as poor design or content quality.
5. Conversion Rates
Having touched on CRO, conversion rates may well be among the most important website metrics to track. However, there are quite a few different aspects to conversion rates to gauge and distinguish among.
Case in point, the basic conversion rate formula will look like this:
(Leads ÷ visitors) x 100 = conversion rate %
However, leads may not be able to convert in each session – you may, for example, offer subscriptions. In that case, your conversion formula would need to be this instead:
(Unique orders ÷ unique users) x 100 = conversion rate %
Such factors will, of course, depend on your type of website and business. Nonetheless, correctly calculating your conversion rates is paramount to distilling actionable insights through this metric.
Then, you may track two different conversion rate metrics:
Overall Conversion Rates
Overall conversion rates will offer an overview of how your website performs.
Page-Level Conversion Rates
Then, page-level conversion rates will inform design choices, SEO options, and CRO. Tracking overall conversion rates is undeniably useful, but identifying the highest and lowest-performing pages lets you intervene accordingly.
6. Page Metrics
Then, you may track more page-level metrics to inform your efforts. For the sake of text economy, the most crucial ones are arguably time on page, engagement, and backlinks.
Time on Page
First, time on page will inform you of your pages’ general effectiveness and appeal. Then, you may compare time on page among different page types depending on their purpose. For example, you may want users to stay on product pages for longer than, say, your main page or landing pages.
Moreover, you may track engagement with individual pages. Engagement might include scrolling down, clicking on interactive content, and so forth. Along with time-on-page, both of these metrics also denote healthy SEO.
Finally, backlinks are equally crucial to SEO; some would argue they are its proverbial backbone. In the context of this article, you may monitor how many backlinks pages earn to further gauge their value. What’s more, such pages will often serve as traffic sources, generating more qualified leads – precisely because they came through backlinks.
7. Session Metrics
Finally, another crucial set of notably essential website metrics to track is session metrics. Like the others, these also denote a better UX, affect SEO, and inform content creation and other practices.
First, average session duration will help reveal UX and engagement rates. Granted, you will need to contextualize it; Google Analytics, for example, will close sessions based on inactivity. Still, longer session durations should denote a healthier, more appealing website with a proper content hierarchy that fuels your funnel.
Pages Per Session
Then, you may specifically focus on pages per session. Visitors exploring multiple pages per session also denotes the above and increases the likelihood of successful conversions.
Should visitors explore few pages per session, you may examine such factors as broken links based on page exit rates. Should they take longer journeys, you may study how your content, structure, links, and other factors affect final conversions.
To summarize, there are many important website metrics to track and different reasons to track each. The effectiveness of doing so will also depend on your business type, goals, tools, and other factors unique to you. Nonetheless, the seven metrics highlighted above should warrant your attention; from SEO and UX to final revenue, tracking them should offer deep, actionable insights and reveal growth opportunities.