Search Engine Optimization – SEO metrics

Search Engine Optimization – SEO metrics

This is Part 4 of the Metrics that matter for bloggers series. In this chapter, we will cover different basic metrics you should follow when it comes to your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts. We will talk about SEO metrics that matter.

You can get most of the metrics described in this chapter from Google Analytics and several other services like Moz Open Site Explorer and Majestic SEO. Here we are:

Metrics that matter for bloggers

You can also download (1) the completely free eBook with all the seven chapters included and (2) a free Excel template for your monthly blogging metrics report and analysis. Plus, (3) a list of potential ways to make money blogging and (4) a list of 170+ affiliate programs and ad networks for bloggers.


List of files available for download:


Search Engines with Search Engine Optimization usually drive the most traffic to your website, therefore they deserve the number one spot among distribution channels. On average, they drive more than 60 % of traffic to websites. But as we said, you don’t want to be too dependent on search traffic, so always make sure you have a healthy distribution. Here are the SEO metrics you should be following:

Keywords Rank

Keywords are the pure basis of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you focus on SEO, you simply have to do your keyword research and know very well for which (long tail) keywords you want to rank well. And after producing content targeting a specific keyword, you have to put all the efforts in “on-site” and “off-site” optimization to rank as high as possible in search engines (so called SERPs).

Since search engine rankings constantly change because of search algorithm updates, thus you want to regularly track how well you rank for the targeted keywords. If you lose your positions, you want to put effort into gaining your positions back again. So you have to know what’s happening with your positions in search engines very well.

Fortunately, you have many tools that can help you with rank tracking. Below, you can download a list of more than 70+ rank trackers to find the one that suits you best.



Here is what you should determine when doing a keyword analysis:

  • Have you kept your high ranking for your top keywords (making sure you don’t lose your positions)
  • Keywords you want rank better for (putting more effort into SEO)
  • Completely new keywords you want to rank for (new content production)

There are many tools that can help you determine which keywords you and your competition rank for (SpyFu, SEMRush etc.) Now enjoy playing with your keywords.

seo metrics

Key SEO Metrics

Now let’s focus on the key SEO metrics you should follow, if you consider search engines to be an important distribution channel for your blog. The key SEO Metrics you should follow are:

  1. Google PageRank
  2. Alexa Score
  3. Moz Domain Authority (DA)
  4. Moz Page Authority (PA)
  5. Number of Referring Domains
  6. Number of Backlinks
  7. Anchor text distribution
  8. Spam score
  9. Majestic Citation Flow (CF)
  10. Majestic Trust Flow (TF)
  11. Trust Flow – Citation Flow Ratio
  12. Number of indexed pages
  13. Number of broken links
  14. Crawl Error Reports
  15. Pages Crawled per day and time spent downloading

Google PageRank

Google PageRank used to be the most important metric in the SEO industry. It indicates the popularity of your blog across the web. Nowadays Google doesn’t relay and update PageRank as frequently as it used to.

First of all, PageRank is a number from 0 to 10 assigned to your blog by Google (as you’ve probably figured out). The higher the number, the more credible and authoritative your site. It’s primarily based on the number of links to your site.

If you’re a new blogger, your PageRank may be N/A which means that your page was not yet evaluated or not publicly disclosed. Since Google isn’t updating the metric as often as it used to, it may even stay N/A for a long time, if not forever. If you have an N/A PageRank, just make sure you were indexed by Google.

Many SEO experts say that you should just forget about it. Today, PageRank is only one of more than 200 signals Google looks (here is a guess what they could be) at when deciding how to rank your blog. You shouldn’t rely too much on this metric, but it can still give you valuable insight.

PageRank may show you if you’ve been (God forbid) penalized by Google. If your PageRank equals zero (not N/A), there’s a great chance that your blog was penalized for whatever reason. Of course on the other hand, a greater number can also give a sense of higher authority and credibility of your website.

But as mentioned, you should know that the importance of PageRank is dropping fast.

  • Calculated by: Google (and outdated)
  • Scale: 0 – 10 (integer numbers)
  • Tool: PRChecker

Alexa Score and SimilarWeb Global Rank is an Amazon company that estimates traffic for a specific website. It’s not very accurate but it gives you a general idea of how popular a website is. Alexa ranks websites, and the more traffic there is to a site, the higher position in the ranking it receives (lower number). Thus the lower the ranking of your blog (you want to be number one), the better the position you’re in according to Alexa.

  • Sites in Alexa’s top 1000 are extremely popular
  • Sites that run in the top 5 million sites usually enjoy a steady flow of traffic

As we mentioned many times, it’s not only about the quantity, but also the quality of your traffic. If you have a really good niche site, you can have less traffic but enjoy a high number of conversions, because of really good targeting. If you plan to build a media blog, things are again quite different.

Similar to the Alexa Rank is the SimilarWeb Global Rank. It’s one more popular ranking site you may want to check.

Moz Domain Authority (DA)

Moz Domain Authority shows a potential to rank for your root domain. It’s calculated for your entire domain based on all the linking metrics. It’s an authority measure ranked on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 100, and the higher the score you have, the better.

Moz Page Authority (PA)

Moz Page Authority measures a specific URL’s relevancy and strength. You can check the PA for every one of your blog posts or any other pages. If you enter your domain, it shows the authority for your first page. It’s also an algorithmic metric based on all kinds of different linking metrics.

Number of Referring Root Domains

Unique (Root) Referring Domains is a Moz metric that tells you how diverse the link profile of your blog is. It shows how many different unique domains are currently linking to your blog. The higher the number your blog has, the more diverse and strong your blog link profile is.

Since all the Google updates (Panda, Penguin), the quantity of (low value) links doesn’t count as much as it used to. Five links from respected and authoritative sites are probably much better for your ranking than 30 links from small new sites without authority. Still, you want to have a diversity of links from authority domains to your blog. If you don’t know what a good score is, compare it to your competitors.

Calculated by: Moz Open Site Explorer

Number of Backlinks

The number of backlinks shows all the links to your blog, including internal, external, follow and no-follow links. It’s important for your blog to have a strong link profile in terms of quality and quantity.

Anchor text distribution

Anchor text (link label, link title) is the visible text in a hyperlink that links to your site. You should analyze your overall anchor text distribution and see how diversified and natural it is, especially in comparison to your competitors in the chosen niche. Here are some of the best practices for anchor text distribution after the Penguin update:

  • You must have a healthy (natural) anchor text distribution (for your niche).
  • Wherever possible, anchor text should be relevant to your blog topic (only a small percentage of generic anchors as part of natural distribution).
  • Don’t aggressively build an exact match anchor text (for the money keywords or the keywords you want your blog to rank), even less so in combination with rich keyword landing pages.
  • No spammy anchor texts (anchor texts with no relevance to your site or shady keywords).
  • Healthy site-wide link distribution for external links pointing to your site and all site links (the majority of links should not point only to your homepage, but also sub-pages).

If you’re asking yourself what a healthy anchor text distribution for a blogger is, below is the general rule (recommended by you should follow (but again, check against your top performing competitors):

  • 45 %: Unique anchor texts
  • 30 %: Brand Match Anchors (BlogBrand) – Search engines want you to build a trusted brand
  • 10 %: URL Match Anchors ( – aka Naked Linked Anchor
  • 10 %: Domain name ( – aka Naked Link Anchor
  • 10 %: Blogger name anchor text (Your Personal Name)
  • 5 %: Generic anchors (click here, check this blog post, find out here, etc.)
  • 1 %: Your money keywords anchor text

Spam score

The spam score shows what percentage of sites with a similar linking structure was penalized by google. This metric can give you a glimpse of how healthy your link structure is.

Majestic Citation Flow (CF)

Citation Flow is a score between 0 and 100 and helps to measure the link equity or “power” the website or page carries. It’s based on the strength of the link pointing to your blog. It analyzes the incoming equity of each link. The more domains that point to your blog, the more influential your blog is. It’s a metric similar to PageRank.

Majestic Trust Flow (TF)

On the other side, Majestics Trust Flow is designed to calculate how trustworthy the links pointing to your blog really are. It’s all about the quality, not quantity of the links.

Blogs closely linked to a trusted seed site can see higher scores, whereas blogs that may have some questionable links would see a much lower score. The score can also be between 0 and 100. A High Trust Flow means a high-quality backlink profile and usually also indicates quality content.

Majestic Trust Ratio

Majestic did a big research of backlinks on millions of websites and found that the top 25 % of domains had CF/TF ratios near 1.09. An average site had a CF/TF ratio near 2.89. But domains with a lot of spammy backlinks had ratios between 6.58 and 9.87!

The closer this value is to zero, the better the position your blog is in. Trust Ratio between 0 – 1.81 is considered okay.

You can also calculate it the other way around, Trust Flow / Citation Flow, which should be around 0.5. The maximum number is 1 and the closer to 1 you are, the better the position of your domain. So your Citation Flow should not be 1.9x higher than Trust Flow.

    • Majestic Trust Ratio = Citation Flow / Trust Flow (0-1.81)
    • Majestic Trust Ratio = Trust Flow / Citation Flow (0,5+)

A good starting point

If you’re a newbie blogger, try to get to the following metrics as soon as possible:

  • Moz Domain Authority (DA): 15+
  • Moz Page Authority (PA): 15+
  • Number of Referring Root Domains: 30+
  • Majestic Citation Flow (CF): 15+
  • Majestic Trust Flow (TF): 15+
  • Majestic Trust Ratio: Below 1.08

Number of broken links

You want to make sure you have no broken links on your website. If there are many broken links, search engines could assume that your site is outdated and the user experience is bad.

Here’s a plugin to check for broken links if you’re using WordPress.

Google Webmaster Tools SEO

Page Crawling – Google Webmaster Tool

Another tool to check if everything is okay with your blog for SEO purposes isGoogle Webmaster Tools. Here’s what you should check in GWT (if you aren’t getting data, make sure you have the right URL in GWT, because for Google, a site with www and one without are two totally different sites):

Number of indexed pages

You want to make sure that you get the highest possible number of indexed pages, depending on how many pages you have on your blog. Make sure the number of your indexed pages isn’t dropping.

Crawl Error Reports

You want to make sure there are no crawl errors on your website and, additionally, that there are no bugs or missed redirects.

Pages Crawled per day and time spent downloading

You want to make sure that Google crawls your site as often as possible. The more frequently that Google crawls your site, the quicker Google notices changes like when you’re publishing a new post.

You follow the goal of having the highest possible number of pages crawled per day and the lowest possible amount of time spent downloading.

A few things you can do to increase your Site Crawl Rate:

  • Make sure your server works correctly
  • Page Speed Matters here again
  • Update your site regularly and publish new posts
  • Increase the number of backlinks
  • Submit a sitemap in GWT

Make sure there are no big differences in your reports.

Bing Webmaster Tools – Second opinion

You may also want to get a second opinion on your crawling status, and Bing Webmaster Tools is probably the best place to go. Things you can check in Bing Webmaster Tools:

  • Crawl Information
  • Index Explorer
  • SEO Reports
  • Link Explorer
  • Page Traffic

This is the end of website and SEO metrics for bloggers. Continue now to the next chapter – Email marketing metrics that matter