Do you feel like you’re drowning in data? Here are 12 SEO data points you should not overlook because they are critical to your strategy.
A good place to start is by optimising a website according to best practises. Once a site is published, the process of monitoring performance and improving based on data begins. Choosing the best SEO data points is the key to success.
Here is a list of 12 data points to consider in order to improve all aspects of your SEO.
1. Web Essentials
Core Web Vitals (CWV) are metrics that represent the page loading experience for site visitors. The CWV metrics are a (minor) ranking factor as well. The significance of CWV goes beyond its role as a ranking factor. It aids in the optimisation of a site for speed, which has been shown to influence factors such as conversions and earnings.
2. Server Performance
The speed of a website server influences how quickly pages are served and how many pages can be served at the same time. It’s one of the few conversion and sales-related variables that are easy to manipulate. On shared servers, hundreds or even thousands of websites may compete for the same limited resources.
While shared hosting is fine for now, be prepared to scale up to a faster host once the site gains traction and begins to succeed. In some cases, 500 error response messages indicate that the server has exhausted its resources and that it is time to upgrade. Managed WordPress hosting can be somewhat restrictive in terms of which plugins can be installed.
However, because resource-hogging or unnecessary plugins are no longer an issue, there is more server power available for everyone. Web hosting comes in a variety of flavours, ranging from Shared and Shared Premium to VPS, Cloud, and Dedicated. There is almost always someone who can say something positive about a web host and someone who can say something negative. It can sometimes come down to matching your willingness to pay with the level of server control you can handle. If you have no experience with server administration, a simple control panel is the best option.
3. Publication Frequency
People want a lot of high-quality content all the time. The more content published on a daily basis, the better. It’s tempting to publish a large amount of content and then declare that the website is complete. A website is never finished for many types of sites, especially those that publish articles.
In terms of content, there is no “set it and forget it.” That is, the path to success is created by constantly creating more content, always more and as frequently as possible. It’s also not about creating content that’s ten times better than the competition. It’s simply a matter of producing quality content on a regular basis and doing your best to provide readers with what you believe they want. Almost always, the best way to achieve success is to publish as much high-quality content as possible.
4. The number of pages that have been indexed
If Google isn’t indexing your pages, it could indicate that something is wrong with your content or the entire website. The Search Console Index Coverage Report displays information about indexed pages, as well as discovered but unindexed pages. If you notice that your content is frequently not being indexed, this is an opportunity to improve. This isn’t a case of bad luck, and it’s not always a simple technical problem. Because it is difficult to see one’s own content objectively, content problems can be difficult to identify.
Examples of Content Issues:
- The content is similar to what has already been published.
- The content is thin (Screaming Frog provides Word Count data).
- The content is illegible.
- The topic is not sufficiently addressed in the content.
- Overall, the site’s quality is subpar.
5. Search Console Impressions
Search Console displays how frequently your site appeared in search results for various keyword phrases. This data point is known as impressions in Google Search Console. It’s tempting to open up the Search Console to see which keywords are performing the best and bask in the glory of a job well done.
But that would be a waste of time. Lower-ranking keyword phrases are where you should focus your efforts. Always concentrate on your lower keywords because this is where you will find areas for improvement. Some of these opportunities are quick wins, which means that improving rankings for these terms is simple. For more competitive phrases, there may be nothing wrong with the content except that it requires more links.
6. Excessive Scrolling
Microsoft Clarity provides a user experience data point called excessive scrolling. Clarity is a low-impact, GDPR-compliant free user experience analytics programme. It includes machine learning, which can alert publishers to problems, as well as a variety of metrics that show user behaviour on a website.
Your most important ranking factor is content. Excessive scrolling is a red flag indicating that content needs to be improved. SEO benefits from anything that improves your content.
7. Reading Behavior
Another Microsoft Clarity data point is Reading Behavior. This metric indicates how many readers are engaged and how many leave the page after reading the headline. Pages with unusually high abandonment rates require improvement. The Reading Behavior data point indicates which pages require improvement. This is useful information. The way Microsoft Clarity flags content for improvement is akin to hiring a junior SEO to work full-time creating site audits on a shoestring budget.
8. Data Scroll
The Scroll Information The Microsoft Clarity metric is critical because it shows how far down the page users are scrolling. Identifying where on a webpage visitors abandon a page can aid in the debugging of a technical issue or a problem with the content itself.
9. Metadata Is Missing Or Duplicate
It’s all too easy to drop the ball and launch a website with inadequate meta description or title tags. Title tags and meta descriptions that are duplicated or missing are especially bad and surprisingly common on websites. Screaming Frog provides the data point Missing/Duplicate Meta Description and Title Tag.
Screaming Frog has a free version that crawls about 500 pages. So, if you’re just getting started, give Screaming Frog a shot.
10. Image Dimensions
This is a speed-related data point. Mobile data bandwidth is often insufficient. Even if a website is hosted on a fast web server, large images will pile up like cars on a one-lane freeway exit ramp when they reach a site visitor’s mobile browser. Image size is one of the simplest variables to control, yet it is one that many sites overlook when optimising.
According to HTTP Archive data, the median average of images per page for the top 1 million websites over a one-year period between 2021 and 2022 is 751 KB. For the same time period, the amount of images per page for WordPress sites is a whopping 1,116.0 KB – that’s more than a megabyte of images per page!
WordPress site image size median per page
What size should your image be? They should be as small as possible.
Remember these pointers:
- Photographic images should be saved as JPEGs.
- Save illustrative images as PNG.
- Avoid superimposing text on top of photographs.
- Images with a lot of details, such as trees with thousands of leaves, should be avoided.
- Avoid using gradients in illustration images.
- Serving images in the new WebP format is a simple way to reduce image size.
Screaming Frog provides image size information for each image on your website. The tool can be configured to flag any target size you deem appropriate.
While backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors, they are not always the deciding factor in today’s search algorithms. Links are increasingly being used as part of a ranking algorithm to generate a set of candidate pages to list in search results.
However, another layer of relevance can be applied that re-ranks search results based on factors such as relevance, user intent, geolocation, and user expectations, to name a few. The use of a modification factor or engine is not new; it has been around for at least ten years. So, while links are an important ranking factor, they are not always the deciding factor.
This is not intended to diminish the importance of links, but rather to clarify where they stand in terms of importance. Google Search Console includes backlink data.
Earnings may not appear to be an SEO data point at first glance, but they are. While earnings are the entire point of SEO, earnings are a data point that can be used in conjunction with other metrics, such as traffic and keyword rankings, to tell the complete story of what’s going on. This allows a publisher to make more informed decisions.
Earnings Indicate Topic Profitability
Earnings indicate whether or not your topic is profitable. Some topics receive a lot of traffic.
However, some of those same topics may have low profit margins, which can impact affiliate commision rates and ad revenue. Keyword phrases with less traffic can sometimes be more profitable.
Earnings Correspond to SEO Metrics
Earnings can indicate if something has changed in traffic or rankings and help to determine what those changes are. It’s not uncommon, for example, for traffic to fall while earnings remain stable or improve. This could imply that less relevant traffic is reaching the site, leaving the most relevant (and profitable) traffic behind. Should you be concerned? Perhaps not.
It’s possible that the page wasn’t actually relevant for the query, in which case you should create a new page to target the lost keyword/s. This can happen to pages that rank for multiple, distinct but related keywords, such as plumbing, bathroom installations, and kitchen fixtures, and then loses all keyword traffic except for plumbing.
Earnings and Consumption
Earnings can help indicate whether or not consumer demand has changed. Keyword rankings can remain stable while traffic steadily declines, resulting in lower earnings. What has happened in this scenario is that consumer demand has shifted. This is common when new product models are introduced, as well as when a disruptive new product or service is introduced.
There are numerous SEO data points, but the 12 listed here are the most important in my opinion. There are numerous other data points that may be more relevant to your situation. What matters is that you start thinking about what can indicate areas for improvement, identify the causes, and then make changes.