SEO Tracking: How to Track & Monitor Your SEO Progress
One of the benefits of running an SEO campaign over a traditional, offline marketing campaign is the fact that every detail is tracked and waiting to be analyzed.
SEO tracking allows you to objectively identify what’s working with a campaign and what needs improvement.
On top of helping you track the progress of a campaign internally, it allows you to clearly demonstrate the value of your services to clients, which ultimately increases client retention.
With all this data at your fingertips, however, it can be challenging to figure out exactly which metrics to track, how often to review your data, and how to present the data to your clients in the most efficient way possible.
In this guide we’re going review the entire SEO tracking process by discussing the following topics:
- What is SEO Tracking?
- SEO Tracking with the Google Suite
- SEO Tracking & Reporting with AgencyAnalytics
Let’s get started.
What is SEO Tracking?
Regardless of the type of business you’re trying to rank in search engines, SEO tracking is an essential part of evaluating a campaigns success. To put it simply, SEO tracking is the process of measuring the performance and progress of a campaign.
Ideally, you want to put your SEO strategy in place before you start the campaign. To do so, it’s generally good practice to ask your clients a set of questions that will help direct your efforts.
For example, in Moz’s guide on tracking SEO performance, they suggest the following client questions:
- Can you give us a brief history of your company?
- What is the monetary value of a newly qualified lead?
- What are your most profitable services/products (in order)?
The next step is to set goals for the campaign that are specific, measurable, and shared with the client. In terms of SEO tracking, in the step you want to define exactly which metrics you’re going to track, how often you’re going to review these metrics, and how you’re going to report the performance to clients.
Before we get to the specific tracing tools, let’s review a few of the essential SEO metrics that every campaign should monitor.
Essential SEO Metrics to Track
We won’t cover every single SEO metric that you should track in this guide, instead we’ll review a few of the most important metrics. If you want to learn more about this subject, check out our guide on 11 Critical SEO Metrics Your Agency Needs To Track:
Organic Traffic: As you probably know, one of the strongest indicators that your SEO campaign is performing well is how much organic traffic it's bringing to your client. We’ll discuss how exactly you can track organic traffic with Google Analytics and in the next section, but for now just know that it’s a high priority in terms of SEO tracking.
Organic Conversions: Getting organic traffic is one thing, but making sure the quality of that traffic is equally important. One of the best ways to measure the quality of organic traffic is by tracking how many conversions it’s driving. Keep in mind that a “conversion” could be different for each client: for one client it could be making an online purchase, and for another it could be a phone call to the business. In order to track conversions and the conversion rate from organic traffic, you’ll need to set up a relevant “Goal” in Google Analytics, which we’ll also show you exactly how to do in the next section.
Keyword Rankings: Search engines are changing constantly, which means that the target keywords rankings for your clients also change often. To stay on top of this, a keyword tracking tool will monitor keyword rank each day in search engines like Google, Google Maps, and Bing. Daily keyword tracking is an excellent way to stay on top of the overall direction of your SEO efforts, and also provides a clear snapshot of which areas can be improved.
Competitor Analysis: In addition to tracking your clients own metrics, tracking competitors is another valuable indicator for any SEO campaign. By tracking the keywords your competitors are ranking for, their domain authority, and other SEO metrics, you can identify new opportunities to rank your own clients.
Now that we have an idea of a few of the essential metrics to track, let’s review a few SEO tracking tools from the Google Suite.
SEO Tracking with the Google Suite
In this section we’ll review how to set up the right tracking SEO tracking tools: in particular, we’ll look at Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
As discussed in our SEO Analytics guide, since we’re generally trying to use SEO to rank on Google, it makes sense that the first tool to set up is Google Analytics.
Google Analytics can be thought of as an SEO tracking tool for everything that occurs after someone has landed on your website. This includes SEO metrics like the time on site, bounce rate, exit rate, and many more. We won’t cover how to set up an Google Analytics account in this article, but instead let’s focus on the next steps in terms of SEO tracking: setting up “Goals” and tracking organic traffic.
Setting up Goals in Google Analytics allows you important events that happen on a website including purchases, email signups, trial signups, and any other event you want to track.
To find the different goal types, after you click on “Goals” inside of your Admin, simply click “+New Goal” as shown below:
Now we have to decide what type of goal we want to build. As you can see below, you can either choose to use a template or a custom goal. For this example we’ll use a custom goal, of which there are 4 types:
- Destination: This type of goal treats a pageview or screenview as a conversion.
- Duration: This measures user engagement by treating a conversion as a minimum session duration.
- Pages/screens per session: This measures user engagement by treating conversions as users who view more than a specified number of pages or screens per session.
- Event: This treats a particular user interaction with your site or app as a conversion.
How to Track Organic Traffic with Google Analytics
To give you an example of tracking one of the essential SEO metrics mentioned in the previous section, let’s look at how to track organic traffic in Analytics. To do so, first click on “Acquisition” and then “Overview ”in the left side bar of the homepage:
From within the “Acquisition > Overview” tab you’ll then find a link for “Organic Search” as shown below:
On the “Organic Search” page you’ll find more granular data about the performance of each keyword in search engines including metrics like bounce rate, pages per session, and goal completions.
Now that we’ve reviewed the various types of Goals and how to track organic search traffic, let’s look at how you can use Google Search Console for SEO tracking.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console (GSC) is another free SEO tracking tool that allows you to monitor your sites search traffic and performance, fix issues, and optimize it for search results. The platform tracks SEO-related metrics including which queries, keywords, and the specific pages that are driving the most traffic to your clients website.
Again, if you want to learn how to set up GSC you can check out our article on SEO Analytics, but in this article let’s review a few of the essential SEO metrics every website owner should be tracking, these include:
- Top Queries: In order to find the top search terms that are driving traffic to a website, simply click on “Performance” in the left tab. From there the first tab below your performance chart is called “Queries”. It’s generally recommended that you toggle “Average CTR” and “Average Position” on so that you can review all the data for each query at once.
- Top Pages: The next tab over from “Queries” is called “Pages”. Here you’ll be able to sort by the highest performing pages in terms of Impressions and Clicks so that you know which ones to prioritize when it comes to optimizing the user experience.
- Click-Through-Rate (CTR): CTR is another useful metric to track over time as it can often allow you to identify “quick wins”. For example, if one of your pages is ranking on the first page and has a high number of impressions but a low CTR, often by simply changing the title and/or meta description can lead to a significant increase in traffic.
Here's what the founder and CEO of GetVOIP had to say about tracking CTR in Search Console:
If you're looking for low-hanging fruit, one of the easiest things you can do in Google Search Console is to look for queries where you're ranking in the top 3 spots, but your click through rate is less than 10%. In those situations, often you can optimize your meta description and start getting a much bigger percentage of the traffic for that search term.
Now that we’ve reviewed two useful tools from the Google Suite for SEO tracking, let’s look at how you can tie them both together with AgencyAnalytics.
SEO Tracking & Reporting with AgencyAnalytics
While AgencyAnalytics is known as an all-in-one reporting platform, another one of the features that digital marketing agencies use it for are the builtin SEO tools. By combining a reporting platform with the tracking capabilities of the Google Suite, this allows you to offer your clients a much more comprehensive service.
Let’s review a few of the search engine optimization tracking tools that are built in to AgencyAnalytics.
Keyword Rank Tracking
One of the best ways to monitor how your SEO efforts are paying off over time is with a keyword rank tracker. Since search engines are constantly changing due to a huge number of factors, this is not something that you want to undertake manually.
Instead, using a rank tracker allows you to automatically pull data from various SERPs like Google, Google Maps, and Bing on a daily basis. By displaying a chart with exactly how keyword ranking are changing over time, this allows you to easily demonstrate the value of your services to clients. In addition, if your clients have physical locations and you’re running a local SEO campaign, the rank tracker allows you to track keywords based on multiple locations and languages.
Another one of the advantages of using the rank tracker is that you can easily verify the accuracy of the rankings using the “SERP link”. This link provides an interactive screenshot of the SERPs as they appeared in our system when the keyword ranking was retrieved so that you know the data is accurate.
Another key metric to track in any link building campaign are new and lost links to your clients website. To automate this tracking process, AgencyAnalytics pulls data from the SEO backlink checker Majestic, which gives you a detailed profile of each client. On top of just tracking changes in backinks, this tool can also help you discover which links are the most valuable by tracking more advanced metrics like Trust and Citation flow. As soon as you’ve set up the backlink monitoring tool, you can then add these metrics to an automated SEO report that can be delivered to your clients daily, weekly, or monthly.
How to Monitor Backlinks in AgencyAnalytics
In order to monitor backlinks with AgencyAnalytics, first you need to enable it from within a campaign by clicking on the “Integrations” tab:
Next, you can choose “Backlink Manager” and simply click the “Enable” button:
Site audits are one of the best ways to find early SEO wins that you can deliver to your clients. A site audit tool allows you simply enter a URL, and then it analyzes, discovers, and eliminates some of the most common issues that affect rankings. In particular, a few of the most common website issues that a site audit tool can help with include:
- 404 errors
- Duplicate images
- Broken links
- And many more
In fact, the Agency Analytics site audit tools automatically checks over 40 issues that affect website performance. These audits can either be done on a one off basis or scheduled regularly to ensure you’re always on top of the important SEO metrics that influence organic search results.
How to Run a Site Audit with AgencyAnalytics
To give you an idea of how this tool works, here’s how you can run a one time site audit. First, you need to enable to “Site Auditor” from within “Integrations” tab:
Next, you need to go to the “SEO > Site Auditor” tab:
Finally, if you click on “Perform Audit” on the top right and then “Start Crawl” you can run the site audit:
After you’ve set up keyword tracking, backlink monitoring, and performed a site audit, tracking and analyzing competitors is another valuable tool for any SEO campaign. By identifying what your closest competitors are ranking for you can easily identify new opportunities that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. A few examples of how you can use this tool include:
- Comparing the total number of backlinks for each competitor
- Comparing their Trust Flow and Citation Flow
- Crawling competitor sites in order to make recommendations for your clients site modifications
How to Analyze Competitors to AgencyAnalytics
In order to analze competitors for a campaign, first you need to enable it from within “Integrations”:
Next, if you go to the “Competition” module under the SEO heading you can click “Add Competitors”:
From there you can either choose from our suggested competitors or manually add them in the Competitors box on the left:
Summary: SEO Tracking
As we’ve discussed, one of the best ways to demonstrate the value of your agencies SEO success is by tracking and reporting the performance over time. SEO tracking gives you an objective view of the performance of your campaign, so that you know what’s working and what needs improvement.
To get started with SEO tracking, it’s generally recommended to start with the Google Suite including Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
After you’ve set up all these tracking tools, combining them with a reporting tool like AgencyAnalytics allows you to simplify and automate many of the daily tasks involved with running an agency. In particular, by adding the key metrics discussed in this article to a custom report or dashboard you can automate your entire SEO tracking process.
Have any questions about SEO tracking?
Let us know in the comments below.
Written by Peter Foy
Peter Foy is a content marketer with a focus on SaaS companies. Based in Montreal, QC, when he’s not writing he’s usually studying data science and machine learning, you can learn more about him at mlq.ai.