Thursday, 24 July 2014

The 8 Most Important SEO Data Points of Any Website

Data is the currency of online marketers. If you’re an SEO or digital marketer, you know exactly what I mean. You live in a sea of data — numbers, line graphs, bar graphs, pie graphs, venn diagrams, percentages, proportions, analyses, analytics, and every combination of said metrics.

I get that. I’ve helped to found two analytics companies. Sometimes, though, it’s necessary to get the quick-and-dirty on things — the barebones numbers that provide the core information source on a website.

Those are the numbers that I want to explain in this article. When you’re finished reading this article, you’ll know the eight data points that will give you an accurate read on your website. Then, you can take action based on what you know.

What you’re about to discover will enhance your ability as an SEO, a marketer, and a digital expert.

Domain Authority

The Domain Authority of a website is a number developed by Moz that functions as a comparative metric for how important and powerful your website is.

Domain Authority is Moz’s calculated metric for how well a given domain is likely to rank in Google’s search results. It is based off data from the Mozscape web index and includes link counts, MozRank, and MozTrust scores, and dozens of other factors. It uses a machine learning model to predictively find an algorithm that best correlates with rankings across thousands of search results that we predict against.
Domain Authority is measured on a 100-point scale. If your site is in the 20s, it’s not so hot. If your site is in the 90s, you’re doing really well.

Why It Matters

The Domain Authority metric has proved to be one of the most reliable numbers for determining the success of a website in the SERPs. A higher DA invariably translates into bigger traffic and better search ranking.

I’ve developed a chart to help you understand your DA. Find out your domain authority (“Where to Find It” below), and then find out how you’re doing.

Thankfully, you can improve your Domain Authority through careful and persistent work.

Where to Find It

Domain Authority is publicly available for any website. You can use the following free sources

Site Speed (Load Time)

A website’s speed is basically how fast it appears in a user’s browser.
Technically, site speed is dependent upon load time. Load time calculates the latency from the point at which a user submits a request. The network server time and browser time are both factored into the equation, along with the page size (measured in bytes), and requests.

Though there are a variety of technical factors to load time, the most important issue to take notice of is the number of seconds/milliseconds it takes for your page to appear.

Why It Matters

Site speed is crucial for two related reasons — 1) SEO and 2) user experience. From an SEO standpoint, it’s apparent that Google devalues sites with long load times. This may be tied to the user experience issue. Pages that take a long time to load have higher bounce rates and lower levels of engagement.

You know this experientially. If a page takes a long time to load, you probably become impatient. You may click off to a new tab to pass the time while the slow-loading page comes into view. Or, you may just forget about it altogether.

Where to Find It

There are a variety of helpful places you can get site speed metrics. Here are the top three free places:

Quicksprout – (full disclosure, this my company) My analysis tool gives you both a basic speed score, and a full report. The “speed score” is a handy number for determining how you rank, along with load time (in seconds), page size, and requests.

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A more advanced report (also free) provides a full graphical readout of speed metrics based on content analysis, page type/file/size/load time, scoring performance, along with a series of recommendations.

Google’s pagespeed tool is another handy and freely available source of speed insights.

Their analysis provides desktop and mobile displays for your site, along with scores, images, and recommendations.

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A quick and easy analysis of site speed is provided by Pingdom Tools. The Pingdom readout displays the performance score, and load time in milliseconds.

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A backlink is any link to your site from an external site. There are entire companies devoted to analyzing this set of data alone. There are an infinite number of ways you can slice, dice, analyze, parse, interpret, and view this data, but the simple metric that I want to point out is the number of backlinks.

Why It Matters

It’s an undisputed fact in the SEO world that backlinks are the most crucial component of a website’s health and wellbeing. Without strong backlinks, you have no search engine optimization, no authority, no traffic, and very little in the way of digital marketing success.

It is still extremely important that your site have a variety of strong backlinks to show the search engines that your site is valuable, useful, and worthy of high rankings.

Backlinks, or more comprehensively, a site’s link profile as a whole, is the most important factor Google considers when it analyzes a site for ranking.

It’s dangerous to rely on the number of backlinks alone as a determinative metric for taking action. A site could have billions of backlinks, but a huge percentage of these may be spammy, thus compromising the link profile. Another website may have just a small handful of backlinks, but they are all high-authority, reputable, niche sites that lend value. Although this is one of the most important numbers to consider for SEO, it should be considered in conjunction with other factors.

Where to Find It

Quicksprout – Get a quick score of your total backlinks using my analysis tool. There’s no distracting data here — just a simple number and rating (“high,” “medium,” “low,”).

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Open Site Explorer – For a comprehensive yet free analysis of your site’s link profile, you can use Open Site Explorer. They provide some parsing of the data.

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Google Webmaster Tools – GWT allows you to download a selection of links and view the top linking domains, latest links, and sample links.

Number of Indexed Pages

The number of indexed pages is a count of how many pages the searches engines have crawled, and are thus returning in search queries.

Why It Matters

Indexed pages is basically a count of your website’s content. The more blog articles you write, for example, the more indexed pages you have. Besides, the more pages you have, the more opportunity you have to rank for given keywords. In addition, you can strengthen your own internal link profile with more indexed and interlinked pages.

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