Steph O'Keefe, SEO strategist checking seo metrics on google search console wearing a white shirt sitting at home office in Raleigh, NC.

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“Is My SEO Working?” Measure these 6 seo metrics to find out!

SEO doesn’t have to be hard, but it does take consistent work. And once you’ve invested time, money, and energy into optimization, you might be wondering, “is my SEO working?” Or, “Is SEO really worth it?”

With the right SEO metrics tools and KPIs, figuring out if SEO is working can be easy. And – spoiler alert – it’s totally worth it. When done well, SEO is the cornerstone of your online presence, driving traffic, increasing visibility, and fostering relationships with more ideal clients. 

So, how can you know if SEO is really worth it? I’ll help you figure it out! 

In this blog, we’ll cover how to know if SEO is working – and how you can track it! 


How to know if SEO is working | SEO Metrics to check

Here are six things to track to know if your SEO is working. I’ve also included instructions on how to track them!


1. Organic traffic increases


Organic traffic is the raw number of visitors who make their way to your website through search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. It’s also the main goal of SEO strategy, so of course, this is the first thing you’ll want to track!


Strong and steady organic traffic rates are a reflection of your website’s overall SEO health. Plainly put, the more organic visitors you’re getting on your website, the more people are finding your website in search results.


And the more your website shows up in search results, the more your website becomes a go-to resource for readers.


Pro-Tip! There are other ways to drive organic traffic, too. Users can also find you via searches or display algorithms on Pinterest, Instagram, and TikTok. You can read more about all the ways to get found online here.


How to measure organic traffic

Google Analytics will give you all the details on the traffic coming into your site – and where it’s coming from! Don’t have Google Analytics set up yet? Read this post!


2. Keyword ranking gains


Keywords are the words and phrases that people type into search engines whenever they’re looking for information or help on the internet.


They’re also at the core of on-page SEO strategy! If you use the words, phrases, and questions that your potential clients use in their search queries, then you are sending signals to Google that your content meets their search intent. 


Short-tail keywords are shorter terms and phrases that you might use on your main website pages to describe what you do. Long-tail keywords are more specific words and phrases that are better for deep-dive content and blog posts.


Watching your keywords climb the rankings is a tangible sign that your SEO efforts are bringing in a return on your effort. 


Pro Tip! Keep in mind that you’re looking for improvement on relevant keywords. Even incremental gains in ranking are worth celebrating, especially at first! Depending on where you are in your SEO journey, it could take a while to rank on the first page, let alone in the first handful of search results. Conversely, if you’re absolutely smashing the rankings on a keyword that doesn’t really apply to your business, that’s a wasted effort.


Need help with keyword research? Learn how to do keyword research in this post.


How to measure keyword ranking


In Google Analytics, navigate to Acquisition → Search Console → Queries. Then, you can sort your keywords by clicks, impressions, click-through rate, or average position.

With The Right Seo Metrics Tools And Kpis, Figuring Out If Seo Is Working Can Be Easy. And – Spoiler Alert – It’s Totally Worth It. When Done Well, Seo Is The Cornerstone Of Your Online Presence, Driving Traffic, Increasing Visibility, And Fostering Relationships With More Ideal Clients. 


3. A boost in website authority


Domain authority was invented by Moz as a way to give search engine ranking scores. It’s a number from 1-100 that predicts how likely a website is to rank in search engine results pages.

Websites with higher authority are more likely to show up in top search results, especially for higher competition topics. So, a higher website authority score is ultimately good for your overall SEO.

That being said, don’t stress out if your website authority ranking is on the lower end at first. Building a higher ranking takes time, publishing lots of useful content, and effort. Even sites with a lower authority ranking can grab top spots in Google search results with high-quality content. 

What you’re looking for is an increase in your score over time, not just a high number.

Here is an example using Moz’s authority checker:

Moz Website Authority Report For One Of Southern Creative'S Seo Clients.


How to measure website authority


You can check your website’s authority ranking on Moz’s website!


3. More natural backlinks


Stress on “natural!” Backlinks are links from other websites to yours. Whenever someone else links to a blog or page on your website that they found useful, that can send traffic to your website. But it also acts as a signal to Google that your website’s content is valuable and relevant.


The more backlinks you have, the more Google starts to treat your website like a trusted resource that’s worthy of higher rankings.


How to get quality backlinks

It’s all about fostering real connections and sharing valuable insights that people can reference as a resource. Here are some ways to get backlinks:


  • Find guest blog opportunities on Facebook, Instagram, or Google
  • Podcast guesting with creators who cater to a similar audience/niche
  • Link directly to your blogs on social media so people can easily repost your content


Pro Tip! There are some opportunities out there to participate in spammy or pay-to-play backlinking schemes…don’t do that! Google is very smart and will figure out if you’ve done this. And that will hurt your SEO.


How to measure backlinks


To see backlinks in your Google Analytics account, navigate to Reports → Acquisition → Traffic Acquisition. In the search bar, type “Referral” and press enter. Now you can see your referral traffic, aka backlink traffic. 

With The Right Seo Metrics Tools And Kpis, Figuring Out If Seo Is Working Can Be Easy. And – Spoiler Alert – It’s Totally Worth It. When Done Well, Seo Is The Cornerstone Of Your Online Presence, Driving Traffic, Increasing Visibility, And Fostering Relationships With More Ideal Clients. 


If you’re looking for another simple way to view backlinks to your site, run a site audit on Ubersuggest. You’ll get a detailed report on your site traffic, including information on backlinks.


5. More time spent and lower bounce rates


Analyzing how long visitors stay on your site offers a look into how site visitors are engaging with your content – and if they find it relevant to their needs.

Bounce rate measures the people who leave your website after viewing only one page and taking no other action. If it’s high, it could mean that your content isn’t engaging or it’s not meeting people’s needs based on their Google search. 


Time spent is exactly what it sounds like: a measure of how much time people are spending on your site. 


Overall, you want your bounce rate to go down and time spent on each page to go up as you fine-tune your SEO strategy. 


Pro Tip! As of 2024, the average bounce rate for websites is between 26-70%, and a bounce rate of 25-40% is viewed as “excellent.”

How to measure bounce rate and time on page

Google Analytics is the place to go! Navigate to Behavior → Site Content → All Pages. Now, take a look at your engagement rates and bounce rates.

Pro tip! Don’t see them there? You can add them to your reports. Select Reports from the left-hand menu. Click Customize Report on the report you want to add the metrics to. In Report Data, click on Metrics. Then, Add Metric. Type in Engagement Rate and Bounce Rate, then click Apply. Voila!



6. Increased conversions and qualified leads


Ultimately, the goal of SEO is not just to attract visitors, but to convert them into engaged followers or customers. A successful SEO strategy = higher conversion rates. It means that your site attracts visitors, meets their needs, and encourages them to take action. 


Now, conversion” doesn’t necessarily mean that someone makes a purchase or signs up for your offer.  It means that they take whichever action you’ve intended for them to take on the page.


Sometimes that is purchasing a product. Sometimes it’s downloading a resource,booking a discovery call, or signing up for your email list. It all depends on what the CTA is on your page.


Pro Tip! Not every lead is qualified. There are things you can do on your website to ensure that people who reach out to you are actually looking for your services (and willing to buy them!) It all starts with ensuring your SEO is on point, and your content brings in the best traffic. Not sure how searchable your website is?? Book our SEO Review Call!


How to measure conversions and leads

One way to measure is by tracking your closing rates from leads booked through your website. If you’re signing more clients after the discovery call, that’s a good sign your website is bringing in the right kinds of leads. Other metrics to track – is your email list growing? Are you booking more discovery calls? And are they with more “perfect fit” clients?


You can also dig into the actual numbers behind conversion rates from blogs, guest blogs, and pages in Google Analytics – just set up conversion tracking based on the ideal action that you want website visitors to take. For example, if the action you want people to take is booking a discovery call, then you can set up tracking that tells Google whenever someone visits the “Thank You” page on your website, which means they’ve completed that action.  Follow Google’s tutorial here to set up custom conversion tracking..


Now you can find out the answer to “is my SEO working?”

Determining the overall effectiveness of your SEO strategy doesn’t have to be a guessing game. You can track everything with your metrics to find the real impact on your traffic, engagement, and conversions.


By focusing on key SEO metrics – from organic traffic and keyword rankings to website authority and backlink quality – you can get the full picture of if your SEO is working. 


Remember: SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Steady progress and growth and tweaking toward optimization are your friend! 


Need support fine-tuning your SEO?

Reach out for an SEO Strategy Session, or download our DIY SEO Starter Guide today

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Steph O'Keefe, SEO strategist and WordPress designer sitting at desk wearing a white shirt in Raleigh, NC.

I'm Steph!

I'm the Founder and creative Director behind Southern Creative, a.k.a. your SEO strategist and web designer.

My passion is crafting websites rooted in strategy so you can put your focus where your heart is while we launch your dream website that shows up online.