SEO Reality Check: Five Common Metrics that are Actually Worthless

No one disputes the importance of measuring and analysing metrics relative to SEO efforts. After all, metrics are a sort of road map we use to help guide our marketing strategies and techniques. Some numbers, such as conversion and bounce rates, stand out as being obviously critical to the big picture. However, many metrics that people keep tabs on just aren’t worth the effort. Here are five of the most commonly tracked metrics that are a waste of time.

Keyword Density is Dead

Years ago, the number of times a keyword appeared on a webpage was considered to be a critical component of the success of said webpage. Formulas were concocted to assess how often and where on the page specific keywords should appear. Fast forward to today and, not only has keyword density become a useless metric, but stuffing text with repetitive phrases or words can get your page dinged. Measuring keyword density is a nonviable antiquated practice and is simply a waste of time.

Wrong Approach to Keyword Ranking

On the heels of keyword density comes keyword ranking. Unlike with the futility of measuring density, measuring the ranking of keywords isn’t entirely pointless. It’s obviously important to evaluate data in order to identify trends so you can modify your game plan. The issue is when the singular focus becomes just one or two keywords, because it’s impossible to identify and act on potential issues and trends when you’re not looking at the entire picture. Instead, consider overall keyword rankings, looking for patterns that show a significant shift in position.

Website Traffic the Right Way

Just as with keyword ranking, measuring your website traffic isn’t entirely a waste of time. Of course, you need to know how many visitors you’ve had, and what they do when they get to your site. However, you also need to know how they got there, because that piece of the puzzle will help drive your next move. When analysing web traffic, dig a little deeper. Take a look at the keywords, backlinks, etc. that brought them there in the first place.

Social Media Followers

Businesses engaged in social media strive to build as big a following as possible. Why? The more followers a business has, the more often the blogs, videos, articles and the like that the business posts will be shared by its followers. However, since rankings are not impacted directly by the number of social media followers a business has, that metric is not valuable enough to track for SEO purposes.

Analysing the Competition’s Backlinks

Assessing the volume of your competitor’s backlinks won’t aid you in understanding how well they are doing. Sites with oversized backlink profiles earn unwelcome attention that could potentially lead to penalties. Besides, for all you know, those backlinks could all lead to poorly designed pages of useless web content. In the world of backlinks, quality trumps quantity every time.

In our efforts to improve our SEO success, we naturally lean toward gleaning as much information as we can to enhance our strategies. Sometimes our earnest efforts are in vain, however, because the data we’re studying is useless in helping us reach our goals. Metrics are a critical component of SEO strategy, but don’t waste your time on the numbers that don’t matter.