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Technical SEO Metrics: What Are They & Why You Want to Track Them

Do you find technical SEO metrics intimidating? This guide breaks down how technical aspects of your website impact your site’s search visibility and how a handful of improvements can boost your organic traffic.

Apr 15, 2024

7 m read

You’ve set your SMART SEO goals and implemented an SEO strategy. You’ve figured out how to measure search visibilitySEO conversions, and website traffic. Now nothing’s standing in your way to first page Google Search domination, right?

Unfortunately, there might be a silent SEO killer lurking in the shadows that you haven’t even thought of — technical issues that could render your site difficult or downright impossible to find and use.

technical seo explained

Now’s the time to get serious about technical SEO metrics. Let’s walk through what you’ll want to measure, why it matters, and how to improve the technical aspects of your site for search.

Technical SEO Basics

Technical SEO is an umbrella term for various site and server optimizations that help search engines index your web pages more efficiently and create a better user experience — directly impacting your ability to drive organic traffic.

how to measure seo ebook image

How To Measure SEO

Download this guide to the concepts and tools to help you track your SEO success. 

Why Does Technical SEO Matter?

Google prefers websites that adhere to specific technical standards — such as using a secure connection protocol, having a fast load time, and offering a mobile-responsive design — and rewards them with better rankings in search results. Plus, having your technical SEO house in order means google can easily and quickly crawl the pages on your site without hitting noindex roadblocks or redirect loops.

Many marketers are surprised at how vital good technical SEO is to search success. The fact of the matter is, it’s table stakes to even get into the search game.

And, of course, a better position in search results can help you meet marketing goals like:

  • Increasing traffic to your website
  • Improving brand awareness
  • Enhancing user experience
  • Increasing engagement
  • Increasing ecommerce sales
  • Boosting lead generation

 Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and helpful. In a broad sense, “universally accessible” could be interpreted as the absence of any technical barriers between searchers and the information they seek.

How Do You Measure Technical SEO?

There are many technical metrics that site administrators need to monitor, but here are some key areas of concern:

1. Page Load Speed

Since faster pages are more efficient and provide a much better on-page user experience, it’s a critical component of attracting and retaining website traffic. Some technical optimizations that can help speed up your site include:

  • Using fast hosting.
  • Adopting a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
  • Minimizing HTTP requests.
  • Using a single CSS stylesheet instead of multiple stylesheets or in-line styles.
  • Optimizing images so they’re as small as possible without sacrificing resolution.
  • Compressing web pages.
  • Reducing redirects.
  • Minifying your site’s code to remove excess indentations, spaces, or line breaks.

Not sure how to measure site speed? Check out our piece on PageSpeed Insights vs Lighthouse.

2. Pages Indexed

Your content isn’t visible in search until it’s been indexed by search engines. Checking on which pages have been indexed will help you spot potential technical issues that might make it difficult (or impossible) for Google to find the pages you want to appear in search results. You can use the Page Indexing Report in Google Search Console to track which pages have been indexed (more on that later).

Keep in mind that you might not want all of the pages on your site to be indexed. For instance, if your site has thin or duplicate content, you might want to use canonical tags to point to the primary pages you do want indexed. You’ll also want to prune low-performing content periodically since index bloat can eat up your crawl budget and reduce your site’s overall search performance.

3. Crawl Errors

When a search engine tries to reach a page on your website but fails, it will produce a crawl error. Crawl errors can result from either site errors or URL errors. Site errors include server errors, DNS errors, and mistakes in your robots.txt file. URL errors include 404s or conflicting information, such as submitting a noindex page for indexing.

When crawl errors pile up, search engines might interpret them as an indication that your site is derelict or in disrepair, which can negatively affect your rankings.

4. Mobile Friendliness

Since 2018, Google has been using the mobile versions of all new pages for ranking and indexing purposes when crawling web pages. This is called mobile-first indexing. So, if your site isn’t mobile-optimized, your search visibility is going to suffer.

5. Other Metrics

Although not technical metrics, the following metrics can point to technical issues that you might otherwise be unaware of.

If you see inexplicable dips in:

  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Average click-through rate
  • Position and average position in search results

Check to see if there are technical issues to blame for a dive in these performance metrics.

How To Track Technical Metrics Using Google Tools

You can use Google Search Console to create reports on core technical metrics, such as page speed, indexed pages, indexing errors, and mobile responsiveness. Use these reports to prioritize improvements that can help optimize your site for search.

If you need a step-by-step guide on how to set up Google Search Console, we’ve got you covered.

Once you’ve got Google Search Console set up, you’re ready to monitor your site’s technical performance:

1. Indexed Pages

Google Search Console’s Page Indexing Report shows which pages have been indexed, as well as any issues Google may have encountered while indexing your website.

indexing report for technical seo metrics

To access, navigate to the ‘Index’ section of the menu and click ‘Pages.’ Learn how to mitigate errors here.

If your site only has up to 500 pages, you can look up which pages Google has indexed by typing “site:your_site” in the search bar, where “your_site” is your homepage URL minus the “HTTPS://” or “HTTP://” prefix. The search results will automatically display all pages that Google has indexed on your site.

pages indexed by Google

If you want to find specific pages, you can do that by adding relevant search terms after the domain, such as site:victoriousseo.com “SEO Content Services.”

find indexed pages on your site


2. Crawl Errors

To check your website for internal errors:

Log in to Search Console and click on ‘Settings’ on the navigation on the left.

    settings

    Click on ‘Open report’ next to ‘Crawl stats.’

    open report

    You can now see how many requests Google has made. If you click on ‘Host status’ you can get more detailed information if issues exist.

    crawl report

    3. Page Speed Insights

    pagespeed insights for help with technical seo kpis

    PageSpeed Insights scans the content of a page and generates suggestions on how to make that page faster.

    When a user accesses a web page, their experience can be described in three “moments.”

    1. Confirmation that page loading has started (First Contentful Paint).
    2. Enough of the page has loaded to indicate that the user can interact with the elements on the page. (Largest Contentful Paint).
    3. The user can interact with the page (Interaction to Next Paint).
    core web vitals

    If the average of the first two metrics is greater than three seconds and INP is greater than 500 milliseconds, your site’s web performance is considered “poor,” which can lead to a higher bounce rate, lower conversion rate, and ultimately lower rankings.

    Learn more about Google PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse and how to optimize page speed here.

    3 Quick Technical Fixes To Improve SEO 

    While technical improvements may often be undetectable to the typical website visitor, some simple fixes can pave the way for improved search visibility and a bigger bottom line.

    1. Use SSL

    A Secure Sockets Layer or SSL creates an encrypted connection between a server and a browser. In 2014, Google announced it would give preference to secure sites over non-secure ones in SERPs.

    2. Create an XML Sitemap

    An XML sitemap is a file that makes the job of search engines easier by telling them exactly where every page on your website is as they crawl it. The file also contains information about each page, such as modifications and updates. Click here to learn how to upload an XML sitemap with Google Search Console.

    3. Find & Fix Broken Links & Images

    Google values a quality user experience, and if you have broken links or images on your website — signaling a poor user experience — it will negatively impact your position in SERPs. I recommend SEO Minion, a free Chrome extension, to easily find broken links that need to be fixed.

    Technical SEO Metrics FAQs

    Below are some of the most commonly asked questions I receive about technical SEO.

    What Is a Technical SEO Audit?

    A technical SEO audit is a process that looks into technical aspects (metadata, keywords, site speed, backlinks, etc.) that affect a website’s SERP performance, checks the health of the site, and recommends potential fixes. (Victorious offers a technical SEO audit service to run and interpret these reports for you.)

    What Are Some Examples of Technical SEO Metrics?

    The most popular technical SEO metrics include page load speed, pages indexed, crawl errors, and mobile-friendliness.

    What Is the Difference Between Technical SEO vs. On-Site SEO?

    Technical SEO focuses on improving the technical aspects of your website to increase its readability for search engines and, by extension, its overall ranking. On-site SEO optimizes selected parts of page content and meta-data to help specific pages rank better.

    Do You Need Help With Technical SEO?

    Many marketers shy away from technical SEO because it seems like a heavy lift to get familiar with the metrics and address any issues they might uncover. Look for an SEO agency that takes the time to get under the hood of your site and make recommendations for improvements. A proactive partner will know to look for minor improvements that could have an outsized impact on your search performance — and be completely transparent with you about everything to do in service to your SEO goals.

    We start every SEO campaign with a comprehensive SEO audit to catch any technical barriers that stand in the way of search success. For customers with limited in-house support, we also offer implementation services to make sure your site is free from technical issues that could impact your digital marketing efforts. Reach out today for a free consultation and learn more about the power of having an SEO partner you can trust.

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