SEO Analytics 101: Use the Power of Analytics to Dominate Search (2024)

Everything you need to know about SEO analytics is compiled into this post. We'll show you which metrics, tools, and practices you need to leverage the power of data and dominate search results.

SEO Analytics 101: Use the Power of Analytics to Dominate Search (2024)

Whether you like it or not, SEO is a numbers game. 

Keywords, backlinks, traffic, conversions — there are dozens of SEO metrics you should look out for if you want to successfully outrank your competitors. 

The good news is, everything you need to know about SEO analytics is compiled into this post. We'll show you which metrics, tools, and practices you need to leverage the power of data and dominate search results. 

Let's roll. 

What is SEO Analytics?

SEO analytics is the practice of collecting, processing, and analyzing performance data to refine your on-page and off-page efforts. 

Picture it as a tour guide or annotated map — helping you navigate the dynamic and (to some people) intimidating SEO landscape. 

With the help of SEO tracking and Business Intelligence (BI) platforms, you can dial in on essential SEO metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that can guide your optimization strategies. 

What are the benefits of tracking SEO analytics?

  • Maximize user engagement. User experience and search engine rankings have a symbiotic relationship, and it's up to you to tap into that connection through data analysis. If this sounds confusing, just remember that some on-page SEO tactics are tied to improving engagement metrics like session duration, pages per visit, and click-through rate.
  • Figure out which keywords actually generate paying customers. SEO analytics lets you identify target keywords that actually pump potential customers into your sales and marketing funnel. This allows you to double down on keywords that work or make adjustments to capitalize on keywords that should be generating sales but aren't.
  • Build a healthy backlink profile. SEO analytics will help you evaluate the quality of your backlinks to keep your website looking authoritative and rank-worthy in the eyes of Google. Some tools also let you analyze the backlink profile of competitors, which can reveal link building opportunities from untapped referring domains or link sources. 
  • Improve your SEO content strategy. With SEO analytics, you can also evaluate user engagement on a page-level basis. You'll be able to look at metrics like time on page, assisted conversions, bounce rate, and conversion rate. 
  • Reduce costs. Experienced marketing folk will know that SEO can be very expensive, and nothing hurts more than spending thousands pursuing keywords, content, or backlink opportunities that don't lead to profitable results. SEO analytics can help you reduce your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) by dropping or avoiding these dead-ends while shifting your focus to the right targets. 

Examples of SEO metrics you should track

Ready to get started with SEO analytics? 

Before you get excited, you need to learn about the different metrics and KPIs you should track and why they matter. 

1. Core Web Vitals 

Let's start with Core Web Vitals — a collection of metrics designed by Google to gauge the user experience on websites. 

Here's a quick rundown of the Core Web Vitals metrics: 

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) — How long it takes to load the biggest or most prominent content element on your page (e.g., video, hero image, or content block). Ideally, your LCP should take less than 2.5 seconds to load — anything over four seconds could substantially diminish the user experience. 
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) — The total layout shift scores of unstable elements on your page, which are disruptive to the user experience. Your CLS score should be as close to zero as possible, whereas a CLS score of 0.25 or higher can lead to user misclicks and other inconveniences. 
  • Interaction to Next Paint (INP) — How long it takes for your page to respond to user interactions measured in milliseconds. A good INP is anywhere below 200ms, while an INP of 500ms or higher inadvertently makes users think that your site is unresponsive.

Some SEO analytics tools score Core Web Vitals metrics as a whole. But they're also able to drill down into the individual metrics to help you identify the optimizations you need.

2. User Engagement Metrics

Core Web Vitals metrics can give you an idea of how the user experience would go in theory. However, user experience metrics — like average engagement time and bounce rate — track how people actually engage your website. 

The types of user engagement metrics you can monitor depend on the analytics platform you're using. Here are some examples: 

  • Average Engagement Time — The amount of time your web page is open and actively focused on in web browsers. 
  • Bounce Rate — The percentage of users who leave your website right after arriving and without clicking on anything else. 
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR) — The likelihood of users clicking on your website whenever it appears in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). 

3. Overall Authority Score

Different SEO tools call it different names, like Domain Authority (Moz), Domain Rating (Ahrefs), and just Authority Score (Semrush). These metrics reflect the overall SEO ranking power of your website, which is often measured on a scale of 1 to 100.

Keep in mind that authority score is not a Google metric and, therefore, isn't a 100% accurate representation of your website's ranking power. But it is undeniably useful for benchmarking the performance of your SEO campaigns.

Looking at authority score is also useful when assessing potential backlink sources. That's why virtually every SEO platform has their own authority score metric highlighted in their SEO analytics reports

4. Total Impressions and Clicks

Your total impressions and web search clicks are straightforward metrics that help assess your SEO results. 

Impressions are the number of times users see your website in search engine results. Clicks, on the other hand, are counted whenever someone actually clicks on your site and visits your page. 

5. Organic Keywords

Next up, the organic keywords metric is the number of keywords your website ranks for within Google's top 100 results. 

Tracking the growth of your organic keyword pool is a reliable way to weigh up your website's overall visibility in search engines. Most SEO analytics platforms also log changes in your organic keywords, helping you determine the impact of a recent change or Google algorithm update on your site. 

Just take note that this doesn't only include the keywords you're actively optimizing for. In many cases, especially if you do a good job at producing long-form content, search engines will automatically list your site for related queries. 

6. Average Position

Your average position is exactly what it sounds like — your website's average search engine rankings. 

Bear in mind that SEO analytics tools calculate your average position differently. 

For example, on Semrush, this is calculated based only on the keywords you're tracking in your project. However, on Google Search Console, the average position metric only tracks your website's highest positions whenever it appears on SERPs. 

7. Referring Domains

In SEO, referring domains pertain to the sites that send you a backlink — the lifeblood of SEO campaigns. 

While quality is more important than quantity as far as backlinks go, there's a clear correlation between a website's rankings and its collection of referring domains. Put simply, the more domains that link to you, the higher your rankings tend to climb.

Just keep in mind that referring domains doesn't equal the number of backlinks your website has. That's because a single referring domain can send you multiple backlinks, which is why the total "backlinks" metric should always be higher than your referring domains. 

Top SEO Analytics Tools for Marketers

Now that you know the essential SEO metrics, it's time to cover the tools that track them. 

Let's dive right in: 

1. Polymer

Polymer is a BI platform that can consolidate and convert your SEO data into more digestible, interactive visualizations. While the platform doesn't directly pull SEO campaign data, it supports a handful of convenient integrations you can use to import all the data you need, including Google Analytics 4, Google Sheets, and Google Search Console (coming soon). 

Polymer also takes in CSV reports, so you don't have to worry if it doesn't have a native data connector for your preferred SEO analytics tool. 

To make your SEO data more readable, use Polymer's drag-and-drop dashboard builder to easily turn numbers into interactive charts. Or, you can use Polymer's AI tools to skip a few steps. 

For example, with PolyAI, all you need to do is enter your questions or prompts to instantly generate the visualizations you need. 

If you need to pick up the pace even more, Polymer also offers a ready-to-use, customizable SEO dashboard template with all the visuals you need — be it for tracking keyword metrics or analyzing the competition.

2. Semrush

Semrush is a comprehensive online visibility management platform that offers all the SEO tracking features you need — from keyword research to rank tracking. It covers almost every dataset you need to incorporate data-driven decision making into your SEO strategy, including authority score, Core Web Vitals, organic keywords, referring domains, and more. 

If you want to push your SEO data elsewhere, Semrush lets you export datasets in PDF or CSV form. 

3. Ahrefs

Ahrefs, along with Semrush, make two of the most prominent SEO analytics platforms on the web. It can match pretty much everything in Semrush's robust lineup of tools, including Core Web Vitals tracking, keyword research, backlink analysis, and rank tracking. 

It's also worth noting that Ahrefs includes one of the top SERP tracking tools in the business. You'll be able to track everything — from the list of SERP features (or "rich results") to the word count of keyword-relevant pages. 

4. Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 is a free and flexible traffic analytics tool that focuses on measuring website performance. While it's not designed purely as an SEO analytics platform, it can give you deep insights into the user experience via metrics like average engagement time, bounce rate, and visitors. 

5. Google Search Console

Google Search Console might as well be called the other, SEO-centered half of Google Analytics 4. Not only does it monitor important SEO metrics like clicks, impressions, and average position, but it also provides useful tools like sitemap submission, URL inspection, and manual removal of indexed pages.  

How to Use SEO Analytics to Win More Customers

Picked an SEO analytics tool to guide you through the complicated SEO landscape? 

It's tricky out there — don't leave this guide without taking the following tips with you:

  • Set up proper attribution to find pages essential to conversions. Use SEO attribution reporting and tracking to make sure every piece of content that contributed to a sale or subscription is highlighted in your analysis. 
  • Reclaim lost links. Whenever you notice a drop in your referring domains or total backlinks, check if they're from authoritative sources and be sure to reclaim them before Google catches on.
  • Track existing users as well as new users. SEO analytics tools often measure new customers or users onboarded via search separately, which helps evaluate the effectiveness of your SEO efforts along with any coinciding marketing tactics you've launched.
  • Uncover gaps in your strategy. Analyze your competitors' SEO strategies to reveal content topics, potential keywords, and must-have backlink sources you haven't leveraged yet. 
  • Dial down spending on non-profitable keywords. Lower your CAC by omitting low-intent keywords that don't bring in paying customers. 
  • Analyze your audience demographics. Most SEO analytics tools also include user demographic data, allowing you to tailor your optimizations to your target audience's preferences and attract more Marketing-Qualified Leads (MQLs).
  • Incorporate SEO data into your Marketing Mix Modeling. Blend your SEO analytics data with other variables like total revenue and site conversions to formulate predictive models for your strategic decisions and OKRs.
  • Compile everything into a single source of truth. Avoid analysis paralysis by combining, standardizing, managing, and visualizing all your SEO analytics data into a single dashboard. 

Build Your SEO Analytics Dashboard with Polymer Today

Traditional SEO analytics tools are great, but most of them lack advanced visualization and reporting features to turn data into actionable insights.

That's why Polymer should be in every SEO professional's toolkit. With the help of DIY dashboarding tools and AI capabilities, extracting useful and meaningful insights from your SEO data is a walk in the park. 

Get started with a 7-day free trial now!

Posted on
June 7, 2024
under Blog
June 7, 2024
Written by
Saif Akhtar
Growth Manager @ Polymer Search. Passionate about all things Startup, RevOps, and Go-to-Market. Ex-VC and startup accelerator who loves hacking MVPs.

Explore Our Pre-Made Templates & Related Articles:

Browse All Templates

Start using Polymer right now. Free for 7 days.

See for yourself how fast and easy it is to uncover profitable insights hidden in your data. Get started today, free for 7 days.

Try Polymer For Free