When a business leverages SEO as part of its digital marketing strategy, it’s easy to get distracted by those all-important rankings.

While chasing positions is your ultimate goal, many other metrics measure the overall condition of your business and the audience it’s attracting. Many of them, directly or indirectly, can act as ranking factors that can help you find success.

Community Engagement

The whole purpose of ranking is to find and foster your audience. That’s why tracking audience engagement and other community metrics is so important. Every business tries to do this, whether they are online or not. However, it’s much easier today thanks to the tools the internet provides entrepreneurs.

Communities, big and small, are behind most online businesses and the industries they come from. One niche but growing example is cryptocurrency, a community filled with programmers, activists and shoppers who like the idea of a digital currency replacement.

They’ve found more relevance over the years thanks to big names like Bitcoin and Ethereum going mainstream. This growing popularity was helped by online businesses like the crypto casino for digital currencies, where cryptocurrency replaces chips as an alternative to real money.

By catering to a community, online businesses get value from them while helping them grow, forming a mutually beneficial relationship.

In SEO, community building is advised by creating mailing lists and/or maintaining an active social media presence. This doesn’t just enhance discoverability, it also gives you a reliable pool of customers to perform market research on.

By running a forum or social media page all about your industry, or even your business explicitly, you’ll get a direct line into what they’re saying, what trends are popular and what they think you’re doing better (and worse) than competitors. It’s an automatic feed of keywords that you can snatch and test for viability.

As for the metrics to follow here – forum users, mailing list subscribers and social media likes/follows are key. They’ll show you how many people are in the community and, through likes, what they want to see. You can find more tips about business here, including understanding communities and other SEO insights.

User Behaviour Metrics

With SEO, you’ll be tracking click-through rates to see how many users are clicking your links and accessing your site.

Now, you should ask how they are interacting with it now that they’ve arrived. If you want more conversions, you’ll need to maximize user engagement by limiting bounce rate, expanding dwell time and optimizing page design to fit where users are clicking.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is a commonly discussed SEO metric – it’s the percentage of visitors to your site who leave quickly and without interacting with anything on-page. Nothing grabbed them, so they left.

This can indicate a user experience issue and can harm rankings if Google suspects you’re not giving audiences what they want. Divide single-page visits to your site by the total visit figure – that’s your bounce rate.

Dwell Time

Dwell time is how long somebody spends on your site. Consider this the opposite of bounce rate; it’s a generally positive metric that indicates how interested visitors are. Naturally, longer, written content has more dwell time than an e-commerce page, so it should always be judged within the proper context.

It’s not a ranking factor but it definitely benefits your business and its content, which can help. However, you shouldn’t artificially pad out pages to try and game dwell time – you’ll chase people away instead.

Click Heatmaps

Lastly, see where users are clicking through heatmaps. These apply a thermal blur around the most clicked parts of your page. It can indicate where a user’s eyes are drawn due to the layout of your site. Sometimes, a layout goes against the natural habits of a user, drawing their eyes away from conversion buttons and important text.

Using heatmaps, you can adjust to fit audience habits and place the most crucial information right where it needs to be. Find an example of heatmaps in action below from a web analytics firm.

Richard is an experienced tech journalist and blogger who is passionate about new and emerging technologies. He provides insightful and engaging content for Connection Cafe and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.