So often in SEO, our focus is on knowledge, methods, and processes.

What about post-implementation performance, though?

If you aren’t tracking the performance of all the SEO you’ve done to this point, you could very well be wasting your efforts.

One problem that an in-house SEO team might encounter, though, is finding the time and resources to track its own performance.

In the digital marketing industry, it sometimes seems that we have just enough time to get our daily work done, not to mention tracking our websites’ SEO performance, as well.

Think about SEO performance tracking in a positive light, however. Once you know how your work is affecting your website, you can modify your approach, give your site an organic lift, and become more efficient overall going forward.

If your internal marketing team has been struggling to track its SEO work, hiring an SEO agency to augment it could be the best move. It means you can continue doing what you do best and leave the agency to do the rest in the background.

Here are the SEO performance metrics that an agency such as LSEO can help your team to track.

Organic Traffic

Let’s start with the most basic performance metric in SEO: organic traffic.

If your efforts over a period of months are not raising your website’s profile in the SERPs at the very least, then something is wrong with the strategy.

We can talk about keywords, conversions, and backlinks later. SEO in its most basic form is supposed to help your website generate more organic traffic.

That means organic traffic is the first performance metric your team should be tracking.

Keep in mind at this point that, while more organic traffic in and of itself is usually a good thing, it won’t mean much to your SEO efforts if you don’t know specifically what is driving that traffic or why you’re getting it at all. We’ll come back to that later.

We can easily track a website’s organic traffic in Google Analytics. If you look at your Audience Overview, you can choose to “Add Segment.” Click on “Organic Traffic.”

Your traffic dashboard will then separate the organic traffic from the overall traffic and look like this:

organic traffic segment in Google Analytics

Hover over each part of the graph to see specific numbers and compare organic traffic to total traffic.

Looking at this metric every month, and acting on your findings, is vital to correcting the parts of an SEO strategy that aren’t working. 

As I said above, though, looking at organic traffic doesn’t tell the whole story. Your in-house team should be building on and adding to this data.

Let’s move on to another vital SEO metric that LSEO can help your in-house marketing team to track.

Keyword Rankings

Next up are keyword rankings, another basic SEO metric that, you might be surprised to learn, lots of marketing teams easily forget to track!

A website’s keyword rankings indicate where the site’s pages are falling in the SERPs. Further, keyword movements show whether Google is seeing a web page as more or less relevant in the time since you last checked.

For example, say someone runs a gardening blog. On January 1, the site’s post on how to manage a vegetable garden ranks in position 9 for the keyword “manage a vegetable garden.”

On March 1, the site owner checks the keyword rankings again and sees that the post is now ranking in position 6 for the term.

That’s a position increase of 3 spots, and it has probably corresponded to a jump in organic traffic to that particular post.

organic traffic segment in Google Analytics

This data alone can send site owners off in all kinds of other directions, as they work to capitalize on their keyword position successes or try to correct their failures.

One obstacle that a small in-house marketing team might run into, though, is being able to afford and navigate the SEO tools that are necessary for tracking keyword positions.

As we’ve written about before here at LSEO, paid SEO tools don’t come cheap. If your in-house team doesn’t have access to the tools it needs, or would like access to the perks of a larger plan with the tool, it will benefit you to work with an outside agency that already has these resources.

LSEO can set up your keyword position tracking and even integrate this information seamlessly into a dashboard for you.

Like increased organic traffic, positive keyword movements are another measurable performance result that we can help your in-house SEO team to track.

New and Returning Visitors

The next results-based SEO metric to discuss here is new and returning visitors.

In SEO, we want people to find our websites on the SERPs, click on them, and perform an action.

The visitors that come to a site indicate how well your SEO is working.

New-visitor metrics are always exciting because they tell you that whatever you’ve been doing, it’s attracting brand-new users to click on your site.

Returning visitors are another kind of victory. These are people who have been on your site, left, and then decided that something they saw there was worth checking out in greater detail.

New and returning visitor data should send SEOs along to check their top-performing organic pages so they can see where users are going once on the site.

Just like organic traffic, tracking new and returning visitors is easy with Google Analytics.

From the dashboard, go to Audience>Behavior>New vs Returning.

the reports side menu in Google Analytics

Once you’re there, you’ll want to add a segment to the traffic graph just like we did with organic traffic above. Here, you’ll select New Users and Returning Users.

The graph will then look like this:

new and returning visitor data in Google Analytics

Depending on which pages your site visitors are going to, you may ultimately interpret that your returning visitors fall into the middle of the sales funnel. They’re investigating brands to see who is right for them.

You can then use this data to build out a content marketing funnel for your site visitors to nurture them through the buying process.

This is the kind of SEO analysis and research that an agency can perform in the background to support the efforts of an in-house team.

The two parties can and do work together effectively. LSEO can do the greater part of the analytical legwork to inform the on-page work of the in-house team. It’s a perfect example of the teamwork we like to bring to our SEO services.

Another vital and quite measurable results-based metric that an SEO agency can help you track is your newly acquired backlinks, particularly those from new referring domains.

SEOs know that authoritative, useful, and relevant backlinks increase a website’s domain authority (DA). While DA is a metric developed and used by Moz to gauge a site’s ranking potential, Google does consider backlinks to be a crucial ranking factor.

We’ve written a lot about link building at LSEO. In our 2023 guide to link building, we discussed why link building is so important for SEO and explained some effective strategies for link building in 2022.

Then, in our guide to broken link building, we took a deep dive into replacing websites’ broken external links with content of your own to earn backlinks.

close up of links in a chain

What’s the point of it all?

There are two things you should take away from those posts:

  1. Backlinks matter for your SEO efforts, big time
  2. You could employ an entire team of full-time link builders to build backlinks the right way

The more high-quality backlinks you have from unique referring domains, the better off your website will be in the SERPs (provided other areas of your SEO are healthy, as well!).

Now, as far as measuring the performance of your in-house SEO team on acquiring backlinks, there are a few things to say.

It’s quite easy to document and analyze the backlinks that a domain already has.

However, it can be particularly challenging for a team of three or four SEOs to move the needle in a real way with backlink acquisition. This is especially true when that team divides its time with on-page SEO tasks, as well. Link building can be an intensely time-consuming activity.

So, acquiring useful backlinks often just isn’t feasible for a lot of in-house marketing teams, despite their intentions. They figure they need to put it on the backburner while they tend to more immediate SEO concerns.

That’s where augmenting your in-house team with an SEO agency can be so beneficial. While your team plays to its strengths, we can construct a link building campaign for you and maintain it in the background. We’ll base everything we do on the instructions you give us.

We will also provide you with monthly reports on the links we’ve built so you always know what’s happening.

Organic Conversions

I’ll finish with one of the most vital of all SEO metrics: organic conversions.

Although different parts of SEO have their own unique goals, the purpose of it all is to drum up business for the companies that invest in it.

However, that’s possible only if your efforts have been drawing qualified traffic to your website. One million monthly visitors aren’t as impressive as they sound if only 0.01% of them are converting.

So, what your in-house SEO team should be tracking is organic conversions, as well as your website’s conversion rate.

For this, go into the Goals section of your Google Analytics Admin section and add in custom goals such as the ones below:

custom goals in Google Analytics

Your goals will be whatever actions are most important to your business. Maybe it’s a form-fill. Maybe it’s an email subscription. Think about what you want your users to do.

By having goals set up in Analytics, you’ll be able to tell whether your site content is really doing its job to attract not just traffic, but the right traffic.

Once again, if your in-house team is more used to the “doing” part of an SEO campaign, you can rely on an SEO agency to come in and prop up the backbone of the strategy.

It’s Time to Step Up Your SEO Performance

An in-house SEO team, no matter what vertical it’s in, has to meet certain standards of performance. Doing SEO over a period of months or years with no results, or at the very least with no proper performance reporting, isn’t a recipe for success.

An SEO agency can fill in the gaps of an in-house team that has hit a plateau and need a bit of expert help.

Let LSEO know how we can assist. We’re a results-based agency that has the experience and industry expertise to upgrade your SEO efforts in a serious way.