Performance marketers have their own Ads metrics but for organic traffic, most SEO marketers and businesses look to the sessions in Google Analytics or clicks, impressions, CTR, and position data in Google Search Console. But the problem of looking at each SEO metric individually across tools is that we miss the relation between two metrics.
TL;DR – If you’re not a novice in SEO, you can skip directly to the new metric that I think would be best for SEO reports.
- Organic Metrics Tracked on Google Analytics
- Organic Metrics Tracked on Google Search Console
- Best SEO Metric for Reporting in 2021 for Agencies & Businesses
Organic Metrics Tracked on Google Analytics
A Session refers to the number of times a visitor is active on your website for a particular duration which is 30 minutes by default on Google Analytics. Active refers to any click or action taken by the visitor in the 30-minute duration. If a visitor opens your website but moves to another tab while keeping your website tab open and after 30 minutes returns to your website tab, it would count as another session as the first session would have timed out. You can change the session timeout duration in Google Analytics through the Admin settings.
A user refers to a visitor who had at least one session on your website for the duration the report is generated. It always refers to unique users visiting the website. A visitor may have multiple sessions but is tracked only once for this metric. Another thing to note that if the same visitor lands on the website from different devices like a desktop and mobile, they will be tracked as different users unless cross-device tracking has been set up in Google Analytics.
Organic Metrics Tracked on Google Search Console
An Impression is the number of times your website was visible for a search query on a search engine. With a better position for a query, the chances of getting an impression are higher and with a relevant search result, the probability of getting clicked is high as well.
A click is when a person searching for a search query views our website link in the search results and takes the action of clicking it.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The rate at which online users have an Impression of our website in the search results page and the users who click our website result is the Click-through Rate.
Best SEO Metric for Reporting in 2021 for Agencies & Businesses
Businesses and clients look at SEO or organic traffic metrics from Google Analytics in silos which means they don’t get the whole picture. Many businesses I’ve seen prefer Sessions in Google Analytics as an absolute metric to measure the organic traffic on their website. Few others look at the Click and Impression data from Google Search Console. Many agencies report all the data which includes Sessions, Clicks, Impressions, CTR, and all other information from Analytics tools which ends up confusing their clients.
Another issue with looking at only the Sessions is identifying the root cause when traffic starts declining. An expert would then look at which pages are losing sessions and also at the Clicks, Impression, CTR, and Position data. All of this data brings us to the realization that somewhere all our organic website visits are linked to the impressions or if our website even appears in search results.
Session to Impression Rate (SI Rate)
This is where the need arose for me to find the best SEO metric that I can use for monthly or quarterly reports. Taking the base metric which decides if a visitor can see my website for their search query, the Impressions, and then taking the absolute metric that businesses love, the Sessions, I arrived at a metric that actually took Impression fluctuations under consideration.
Mathematically it would be the Sessions divided by the Impressions and then multiplied by 100, for a given time period.
Session to Impression Rate (SI Rate) = (Sessions / Impressions) * 100
If the Session to Impression Rate increases over a given period it represents a positive growth in the organic traffic to the website while a decrease in the rate would represent a negative or neutral growth in the organic traffic.
Over a given period, if the Session to Impression Rate is increasing, the following are probable:
- While Impressions remained equal, the Sessions had increased.
- While Sessions remained equal, the Impressions had decreased.
- The number of Sessions increased at a higher rate than the increase in Impressions.
Similarly, the reverse would be true when the Session to Impression Rate decreases over a given period.
Please use this metric for your reports and let me know your thoughts on it. Did it fill the gap of trying to explain to the client why the sessions are low over a given period when the impressions decreased?
Every online business is trying to rank organically on the first page of Google’s search results (SERP). Have a look at my services and reach out if you find any that matches your needs.
If you found this article useful or have any other queries or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment or get in touch.