April 18


Basic SEO Metrics you should know even if you aren’t doing SEO yourself

By Jason Khoo

April 18, 2020


Hi guys, and welcome to another edition of Zupo's SEO talk and tea.

Today's conversation is about understanding the basic metrics of SEO that you should know, even if you're not going to do SEO yourself, but you just want to be successful in SEO. The reason why this is important, SEO, like any other field, has lots of metrics and data you can be looking at, and I feel like people get lost in the data. I just want to make sure that we understand the basic metrics that you should know. But again, this is Zupo's SEO talk and tea.

Today's tea we have is a special guest, because yes, teas get to be special guests. It's a Pu'Er tea that's wrapped in this cake. I kind of know what this says, but just know it's a Pu'Er tea. If you ever seen these before, this is how the tea looks, it's wrapped in the cake. I already opened it, so I don't want all these I guess crumbs to fly everywhere. But, this is what it looks like. And I already have it prepped in the teapot, so we don't have to watch me prep all this stuff. So again, this is a Pu'Er tea. I drink Pu'Er tea like every morning. They provide a strong kick and they're drunken really hot. So, I really like them in the morning. It's equivalent to a good, nice cup of Joe in the morning.

But, let's go ahead and start talking about SEO. So, what are the basic SEO metrics? So, the basic SEO metrics that I would focus on, come down to about five. The five SEO metrics, you can note them down, I'll try to put them in the show notes for you so that you can reference them there. But, these five are the ones I feel like just to have a basic understanding of what guides you along your SEO route. Number one is backlinks. I think everyone knows about backlinks, but backlinks are important because backlinks are seen as the endorsements of SEO. And what I mean by that is, it's almost like voting. The more links you have to your website, the more Google sees it as endorsements or votes for your website. So, it's important to have as many links as you can get.

Now, I do always like to say, where are you getting the links from or who's giving you those links do you really matter. For example, if you're getting a vote from a really scammy website or a site of ill authority or ill reputation, those links can actually penalize you instead of help you. So, the number of backlinks are important, but where they come from is also a factor. I wouldn't over obsess about it, but the stronger authority that you have of a link from the publication, so a good example, New York Times, or Time Magazine, or Mashable, Buzzfeed, those that have much more weight than Joe Schmoe's blog posts. And Joe Schmo's blog post has more weight than a really scammy websites that once you see it and you just know that you're looking at a scammy website. So, the number of backlinks is important when comparing how your site is doing compared to your competitors.

Second is referring domains. I feel like referring domains is the undervalued I guess SEO metric that nobody talks about very much. Referring domains is very similar to backlinks, but it counts how many domains are sending links to you. So, you can have two domains sending 10 links to you. That would be for your site, 10 backlinks, but two referring domains, right? Or you could have, another example, 10 referring domains, each sending 10 backlinks to you. That's a hundred backlinks, but only 10 referring domains. So, referring domains are much more important to SEO because with every link that a website sends you, it gets progressively weaker and weaker because it's an endorsement from the same website. So, actually it's a little bit more important to have more referring domains. So, it's more important to have different third party websites linking to you and that's actually a more important metric than backlinks. Not to say that backwards aren't important, but referring domains and backlinks, they are good to look at together.

But, referring domains mean much more because everyone understands and it's easy to visualize. It's much more difficult to get a link on a new website than it is to get an additional link on the same website. So, actually it's good to know your referring domains because you could have 10,000 backlinks from one website, it doesn't really move the needle. You need to have more referring domains. So, that's the second metric, back links and referring domains.

Third is content count. So, content count is pretty easy, but actually a lot of people don't even know how to find this. It's just knowing how many pages are on your website. You can do this with a simple site search operator. There's also a lot of different tools out there. The site search operator is site S-I-T-E: and then your website .com, and it'll show you how many pages Google has indexed. This will give you a general view of how many pages of content you have on your website. You can also just look manually on your own CMS or softwares. The reason why constant libraries are important, Google likes to return websites on those search results that are thorough, that they can be sure give users good answers.

The more thorough your content library is, the more content you have addressing a certain topic, the more confident they will be to return your website as a search result. So, the content library is another SEO metric that is very important in my own day to day consulting and I think it's very important for other websites to be mindful of. I feel like that's the one that a lot of websites just ignore, but content library is extremely important. It's also something that you directly control. You can build your own content library bigger without needing anybody else. Just go on your own website and put more content, put more pages on there. So, content library is another really important metric just to know how much content you have.

Fourth, page speed. Page speed is one that you can use Google PageSpeed Insights. There's other tools like GTmetrix. You can talk to page speed experts about which tool is the right one, I'm not really there to do that. I just know that there's a lot of great page speed tools out there and generally it's important to have a good page speed score, but more importantly just sure you have a good page speed. Screw the score, you need to have a good PageSpeed. So, that also entails desktop and mobile. Again, like I said, there's a lot of tools that can measure that. Page speed is important in that if your site is great but it's slow, Google will not return it. They are very mindful of user experience, user interface, and so... Sorry, my dog just ran by.

User interface, user experience, they want to make sure users can navigate through a website. Nothing more frustrating than having a slow website, so I would make sure that page speed is something that you understand. A lot of times you'll see you dominate on every SEO metric, but page speed you are slow. You will be docked for SEO results if your competitors have a superior page speed compared to yours. So, page speed is another metric to know for SEO.

Then, fifth is the average search volume. This one's a curve ball, but average search volume I think is very important because when it comes to SEO, a lot of people really focus on just the keywords they're trying to rank for. I would also focus on the average search volume. I have a consulted and talked with the clients who've worked with other vendors who they have great raking reports and they look amazing but if you actually dig into the details of the keywords they're trying to rank for, they have zero to none searches for those keywords. They're really not worth it. So, average search volume is really important to understand as an SEO metric because you want to make sure you're optimizing your SEO for keywords that actually have a sizeable enough volume so that you're going to get the best return on your investment. So, make sure that whenever you pick keywords you're trying to go for, you have keywords that have a big enough volume that if you rank that you will attain enough leads. And then second, make sure you're prioritizing your efforts towards those that have high search volumes. If not, you might be ranking well but not for keywords that even really matter or move the needle.

So again, those are the five SEO metrics. Again, those are backlinks, referring domains, content count, page speed, and average search volume. Those five basic metrics should pretty much give you a general understanding of where you are at with your own site and its own SEO, and therefore it will help you best understand how to move forward, how to compete, and what to do with your SEO. Of course there's a lot more SEO metrics, but these are just some of the basic ones and hopefully they can guides you along the way. If you guys thought this was valuable, please like and subscribe. I'm making a lot of these videos to help marketers, businesses, and SEOs better understand what they're doing. So again, please like and subscribe, and I hope to see you guys again soon. I'm going to go ahead and pour out my Pu'Er tea, going to go drink some tea, I hope to see you guys again in a future videos. Thanks.

Jason Khoo

About the author

Jason is founder and CEO of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends catching up on reading and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.

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