Beyond SEO rankings: Measuring the true metrics of success

Feb 13th, 2024

In the world of digital marketing, the obsession with SEO rankings often overshadows the broader view of success metrics. While rankings are crucial, a comprehensive understanding of your website’s performance requires a much deeper dive.

Rankings are like the tip of an iceberg—visible, but there’s much more beneath the surface. Success online is a complex interplay of factors that extend beyond just your businesses’ positioning on SERPs. Here are a few reasons why you can’t rely on SEO rankings to measure your success entirely:

  1. Rankings do not guarantee clicks: Unfortunately, claiming the top spot in SERPs might not be as great as it seems. This is because, despite your page being at the pinnacle, there’s no assurance users are clicking through. Turning glances into clicks poses a distinct challenge, and that’s where Click-Through Rate (CTR) becomes fundamental. Often overlooked in SEO discussions, CTR highlights that achieving a high ranking is only part of the journey. Prioritising CTR involves fine-tuning your search result’s presentation, including meta descriptions, relevant titles, and rich snippets. It’s not just about being at the top – it’s about captivating your audience and turning those top positions into tangible engagement.
  2. Alignment with business goals: The ultimate goal of SEO is not just to secure a prime spot on SERPs; it’s about aligning with broader business objectives. Whether it’s increasing revenue, generating leads, or enhancing brand visibility, success metrics like conversions and ROI play a pivotal role in gauging the impact of your SEO efforts.
  3. Adaptability to algorithm changes: Search engine algorithms are notorious for their unpredictability. Relying solely on rankings may lead to disappointment when algorithms change. By diversifying the metrics you track, you can adapt your strategy based on a more comprehensive understanding of your site’s performance, making your SEO efforts more resilient to algorithmic shifts.
  4. ROI assessment: Understanding the return on investment is not just a financial metric; it’s about justifying SEO expenses and making informed decisions about resource allocation. ROI metrics go beyond rankings and showcase the tangible impact of SEO efforts on the bottom line, making the business case for continued investment with a dedicated SEO agency.

53.3% of all website traffic comes from organic search- BrightEdge

Organic traffic is the lifeblood of a successful website. It’s more than just numbers.

It represents users actively seeking information relevant to your content, products, or services.

Let’s explore why monitoring organic traffic is crucial for a holistic view of your website’s performance.

Why is it important?

  1. User intent and quality traffic: Unlike other sources of traffic, organic visitors often have a specific intent. Monitoring organic traffic allows you to gauge the effectiveness of your SEO efforts in attracting high-quality, relevant users who are more likely to engage with your content and convert.
  2. Keyword effectiveness: Organic traffic metrics provide insights into how well your target keywords are performing. By examining the traffic generated by specific keywords, you can refine your keyword strategy, focusing your efforts on optimising content for terms that resonate with your audience and drive valuable traffic.
  3. Conversion rate optimisation: While attracting visitors is crucial, the ultimate goal is to convert them into customers or achieve other desired actions. Analysing organic traffic alongside conversion data allows you to measure the effectiveness of your landing pages and user journeys.

In Google Analytics, two vital metrics, engagement rate, and bounce rate, provide insights into user interaction with your website or app.

These metrics revolve around the concept of engaged sessions. A session is a period when a user interacts with your site or app. An engaged session is a session which lasts over 10 seconds, involves a conversion event or includes at least 2 pageviews or screenviews.

Engagement rate represents the percentage of engaged sessions, showcasing the active involvement of users. Conversely, the bounce rate, its counterpart, signifies the percentage of sessions lacking engagement.

How to measure?

By default, most reports in GA4 do not include the engagement rate and bounce rate metrics. To view these metrics in your reports, you need to customise the report.

  1. Sign in to Google Analytics.
  2. From the left menu, select Reports.
  3. Go to the report you want to customise, such as the Pages and screens report.
  4. In Report data, click Metrics.
  5. Click Add metric (near the bottom of the right menu).
  6. Type “Engagement rate”. If the metric doesn’t appear, it’s already included in the report.
  7. Type “Bounce rate”. If the metric doesn’t appear, it’s already included in the report.
  8. Click Apply


  • Don’t rely solely on bounce rate metrics, they’re important… but not everything!

Bounce rate holds significance, especially for websites aiming to convert interest into sales. A low average bounce rate suggests users are progressing through the multi-stage sales funnel. However, interpreting a 100% bounce rate can be misleading.

For instance, someone reading a blog post or seeking contact details may accomplish their goals on a single page, resulting in a 100% bounce rate. So, tracking user return visits or subsequent actions is super important in understanding effective engagement.

While a low bounce rate is generally positive, its significance varies at different stages of the buying decision process.

  • Keep users on the page to improve average session duration!

Things like incorporating interactive elements on your site, adding videos, and inputting internal links are great ways to keep a user engaged on your website, thus increasing your average session duration.

Conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form. It measures the effectiveness of your website in turning visitors into customers.

Why is it important?

SEO isn’t just about attracting visitors; it’s about turning them into customers or achieving other desired actions. Monitoring conversion rates provides insights into the effectiveness of your SEO efforts in driving user actions.

How to measure?

Up until last year, website tracking was set up by creating “Goals”. In GA4, however, there are no goals—everything is measured as “Events”.

To set up a new event in GA4:

  1. “Admin” > select your Property > “Events” > “Create event” > “Create”
  2. Give your new event a name (it needs to begin with a letter, only use letters, numbers, and underscores), for example, thank_you_page.
  3. Proceed to set up the ‘Matching conditions’ to determine when the event should be triggered by specifying a parameter that characterises the event. This parameter could include details such as page_title, page_location, item_category, or success.

Inform GA which ones to treat as “Conversion events”- you can have up to 30 conversion events:

  1. Admin panel in the bottom left. Under your property, click “Events”
  2. Under the “Mark as conversion” column, click to turn any event into a conversion event.
  3. Once GA has collected some conversion events for you, you can generate conversion reports.
  4. Navigate to “Reports” > “Life cycle” > “Engagement” > “Conversions” to view the conversion event overview report.

Local SEO ensures visibility to nearby consumers searching for products or services. Measuring local SEO effectiveness is paramount to understand market reach, optimise local listings, and capitalise on local search trends.

Why is it important?

If your business has a local presence, tracking local SEO metrics such as local rankings, Google Business Profile performance, and local citations is vital. Learn how to maximise the optimisation of your Google Business Profile in detail here.

How to measure?

Utilise tools like Google Business Profile Insights and other local SEO tools to monitor your local performance.

SEO rankings are just the beginning when it comes to measuring your website’s success online. Embracing a comprehensive measurement approach is essential for delving deeper than surface-level results. Through a thorough analysis of your website’s overall performance, you not only give yourself the best chance of increasing visibility in search results but also attract the right audience using targeted keywords, offering a positive user experience, and ultimately transforming visitors into loyal, satisfied customers.

Talk to our experts at Click Consult about improving your mobile site speed today.

We can help!
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