How To Measure SEO Performance For Clients

Aaron Haynes
Apr 13, 2024
measure seo performance

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Your clients care little for vanity metrics that don’t pay the bills. They care about results. So forget that noise—here’s how to measure SEO performance and deliver the type of data-driven insights that build long-term relationships and job security.

How to Measure SEO Success

Ten ways to measure ten metrics that actually demonstrate real value, driving traffic, leads, and sales for your clients’ businesses.

1. Organic Traffic

Think of organic traffic as a measure of your clients’ website’s “findability” in search results. It’s the number of potential customers who discover them without the help of paid ads.

Clicking on the “Performance” report in Google Search Console (GSC) is the easiest way to see how much organic traffic a website receives (you can, of course, use other SEO tools like Ahrefs or Semrush for this, but why not go straight to the horse’s mouth?).

If you’d like to see incoming organic traffic for a specific time period, use the date range box, click on custom, and set which period you’d like to scope out.

Click on any search term within the report to see detailed information like clicks, impressions, click-through rate (CTR), and average position for that specific keyword. This granularity helps you understand which keywords are driving the most organic traffic and identify areas for improvement.

2. Keyword Rankings

Keyword rankings tell you where your client’s website appears in search results for a specific word or phrase. The higher a web page ranks, the more traffic it will potentially drive to a website.

Just keep in mind that while tracking individual ranking positions can be insightful, search results are sometimes personalized for individual searchers (based on their search history) and will fluctuate for many different reasons—algorithm updates, newly published or updated content being prioritized…that sort thing.

Let’s turn to Ahrefs to help us keep track of your clients’ keyword rankings:

  1. The first step, create a new project by entering your client’s domain URL.
  2. Verify ownership using GSC, a DNS record, or an HTML file.
  3. Schedule the site audits.
  4. Add keywords to track.
  5. Add the competitors you’d like to keep an eye on and finalize by hitting “Finish.”

3. Organic Conversions

Organic conversions are the moment your clients’ SEO investment truly pays off. This is when a website visitor, who arrives through search results, takes a valuable action like making a purchase, filling out a contact form, or signing up for a newsletter.

To track organic conversions accurately, you’ll need to set up specific goals within Google Analytics to track the actions that matter most to the client’s business.

To do so, in Google Analytics 4, head to Reports > Engagement > Conversions:

If your client has yet to secure any conversions, it’s also a good idea to set up an assisted conversion. Head to Advertising > Attribution > Conversion Paths and designate with conversion event you’d like to track.

4. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who see your client’s website in search results and actually click on it. It’s like a measure of how enticing their listing looks to potential customers.

Even if a page doesn’t rank at the very top, a strong CTR shows you’re capturing attention with well-written title tags and meta descriptions.

Here’s how to find CTR data:

  1. Head back to Google Search Console and once again navigate to the “Performance” report.
  2. Then, filter by “Average CTR.” This will show the CTR for different search queries and pages.

5. Referring Domains

When reputable sites link to your client’s site, it signals to search engines that their content is valuable and trustworthy. Just keep in mind that a few links from high-profile sites are worth far more than a bunch from spammy directories.

SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz are all excellent options for tracking your client’s backlinks. They provide detailed information on which sites are linking and the strength of those links.

For the sake of demonstration, we’ll use Ahrefs again. Plug in your client’s domain and, from the Site Explore menu option, click the Overview report. Then, deselect every metric aside from the “Referring domains” checkbox:

Learn more: backlinks vs. referring domains.

6. Page Speed

Page speed is how quickly your client’s website loads for visitors. Slow load times cause frustration and will turn them to one of your client’s competitors.

Google also wants to deliver fast-loading sites to its users. So much so that page speed is a ranking factor.

To measure this metric, head to Google PageSpeed Insights, enter your client’s website URL, and click “Analyze.” You’ll get a score and, more importantly, specific recommendations to address any speed issues. Easy-peasy.

7. Website Authority

Website authority scores attempt to quantify how likely a website is to rank well. Different SEO tools have their own versions (like Ahrefs Domain Rating or Moz’s Domain Authority).

These metrics aren’t used by Google and aren’t a ranking factor. And to be fair, you could argue website authority is one of those vanity metrics I mentioned earlier. That said, they still hold value. They’re useful for a quick comparison against competitors or for judging if a potential backlink source is reputable; just don’t obsess over them.

To check website authority scores, head to Ahref’s Site Explore menu option again and deselect every metric apart from “Domain Rating”:

8. Engagement Time

Engagement time reveals how long visitors are actually interacting with your client’s website before clicking away. It’s a clue into whether their content is resonating with the target audience.

If people are leaving quickly, it might be a sign that the content isn’t what they were searching for or the page is difficult to read. Conversely, longer engagement times suggest that visitors are finding value.

To track engagement time, head to your Google Analytics dashboard and go to Reports > Engagement > Pages and Screens. The “Average engagement time” metric shows you how long people typically spend on each page:

9. SERP Visibility

Think of SERP visibility as your client’s overall footprint within search results. It goes beyond just their ranking for specific keywords and considers how often their website appears in various SERP features (like image carousels and answer boxes).

A high visibility score means they’re taking up more valuable real estate on the results page, increasing the likelihood that searchers will click through. It’s a good way to gauge their overall SEO progress, even if individual keyword rankings fluctuate.

To track SERP visibility, use Semrush’s free Position Tracking tool. Enter your client’s domain, nominate the keywords you’d like to track and allow Semrush to do the hard work for you:

10. Bounce Rate

Bounce rate reveals the percentage of visitors who hit a page on your clients’ websites and then leave without taking any further action. It’s like a quick temperature check of how engaging their site is.

A high bounce rate can be a red flag. It might mean the content doesn’t match what the visitor was searching for, the website is slow or confusing, or there are broken links.

To track bounce rate, use Semrush’s free tool offers this metric. Enter the domain and look for the “Bounce Rate” within the report.

How to Deliver SEO Reporting That’s Actually Insightful

All the data in the world is useless if it doesn’t help your clients understand the impact of your SEO work. Here’s how to create reports that get both clients and internal teams excited:

  • A client-facing report needs to be clear and focused on the big picture, while an internal report can explore technical details more deeply.
  • Charts, graphs, and visualizations make it easier to grasp trends and see progress over time. Don’t overwhelm people with tables of numbers.
  • Don’t just list metric changes. Explain why they happened. Did a content update boost organic traffic? Did a competitor snag some high-ranking keywords?
  • The ultimate goal of reporting is to inform the next steps. Based on the data, what tactical changes are needed, and how will this translate into better business results for the client?

Conclusion and Next Steps

Getting a handle on the right SEO metrics is the first step toward data-driven success.

Ready to take your clients’ SEO success to the next level?

Loganix will help. Our comprehensive SEO audits provide in-depth analysis of these metrics and more. We don’t just deliver data dumps—we offer actionable strategies tailored to your clients’ unique needs.

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

Explore Services

Written by Aaron Haynes on April 13, 2024

CEO and partner at Loganix, I believe in taking what you do best and sharing it with the world in the most transparent and powerful way possible. If I am not running the business, I am neck deep in client SEO.