Learn how SEO Pro’s measure the output of their SEO optimisation strategies.
What is Visibility?
Search engines use programs called “crawlers”, these crawlers visit every page they find on your website and extract data from your web pages. This data is stored in the search engines database for later retrieval.
When you perform a search on a search engine, it returns results from its database. So if your site is not in the search engine database, you won’t appear in search results.
If you have any underlying technical issues with your site, this can hinder a search engines ability to crawl your site.
Every site is built differently, ensuring a site is built that is technically sound from an SEO perspective is very different to building a site with a slick front end for users.
Alongside the crawlability of your website, the way your site is coded is also important, so is the speed and various other things that can be configured in your source code.
Technical SEO underpins all areas of SEO, if an underlying technical issue exists, this can cause serious problems with the websites’ ability to rank.
Ahrefs will show the total number of ranking keywords for your site in their keyword database. At the time of writing this web page (June ’22) they had 605 million keywords, which is quite a big number. However big that number is, Google estimate that anywhere up to 20% of searches on Google have never been seen before!
It’s important when using Organic Keywords you don’t use this as an absolute number. There will be keywords that Ahrefs aren’t checking. It’s great to measure trends over time and whether the number of keywords you are ranking for are growing, or reducing.
The team at Ahrefs are quite clever even as they add more keywords to their database they smooth out their graphs so that you won’t see monthly jumps in the number of keywords which could artifically suggest growth.
The number of terms your website ranks for over time is a good indication of your overall websites visibility in search engines.
For more information on how Ahrefs track Organic Keywords they have a useful help file, please see: Organic Keywords
Distince Search Queries
At Bravr we utilise Google Data Studio for client reporting.
One of the advantages of using Google Data Studio is its ability to connect to Google Search Console.
Using Google Data Studio we can run some pretty powerful analysis. For example we’re able to build a graph to measure the number of distinct search queries over time. This is essentially the number of keywords the website has ranked for.
This is shown in the screenshot below.
From this screenshot you can see the number of distinct queries tracked in Google Search Console has been reducing over time.
This would indicate an issue with the site losing its organic visibility over time. Of course, this is only part of the picture, but it illustrates the point.
Frequently asked about Visibility
We’ve been successfully optimising websites since 2001, we’ve added the most frequently asked questions pertaining to measuring the output of your SEO Effot. If you have a burning question we haven’t asked, please let us know and we’ll add it to the list!
An Impression is used to quantify the number of digital views of your website in search engine results pages.
It’s also used in other marketing practices such as Paid Search and Display Advertising. In these cases its related to when you advert has been viewed.
In SEO, you’ll find clicks reported in Google Search Console.
This quantifies the number of people who have clicked on your website from search results pages.
This is not to be confused with views or sessions which are different metrics entirely.
CTR is short for Click Through Rate.
CTR is the ratio of clicks over impressions.
Clicks ÷ Impressions = CTR
If you had 1000 impressions and 50 clicks, then your CTR rate would be 5%.
In SEO the position you appear in search results greatly impacts your CTR, websites positioned high up in search results will attract a higher CTR than websites listed at the bottom.
CTR is used across SEO, Paid, Display Advertising.
A High CTR is a good indication that users find your ads or search listings helpful and relevant.
Average Position is used in Google Search Console and Google Ads.
Average Position is calculated based on the rank (or position) of your site.
An Average Position of 1, would indicate you are ranked in 1st position on Page 1 of Google.
An Average Position of 1.5 would indicate that your site ranks between 1st and 2nd position on Page 1 of Google.
An Average Position of 11 would indicate that your site ranks 11th, i.e. top of Page 2 in Google.
Ranking Terms is measured as the quantity of unique search terms that you website ranks for.
SEO Tools like Ahrefs use this metric and its useful to understand how many unique search terms a website ranks for.
However, its important to note that ranking terms doesn’t account for the position. If you have 1000 ranking terms, but the average position of those ranking terms is on Page 10 of Google, then that isn’t going to drive much traffic vs 10 ranking terms on Page 1 of Google.
Ranking Terms is useful to measure alongside a content strategy as naturally as you create more unique content, your website will increase its visibility on ranking terms.
Search Visibility is a metric used by Ranking Tools.
Ranking Tools measure the performance of your website on a group of terms that you set.
For example you may have hand-picked one hundred important search terms and want to measure how well your site ranks on those terms.
Using a Ranking Tracking Tool like Advanced Web Ranking, Ahrefs, SEMRush (to name a view) all utlisie a visibility metric.
Essentially if you were to be in 1st position on every term that you are tracking, then your search visibility score would be 100%.
Each tool (Ahrefs, Semrush, Advanced Web Ranking) use different formulas to calculate their percentages, but they are all based on teh same principle.
Search visibility is calculated on a number of factors including:
- Number of keywords you rank for
- The positions you hold for the keywords
- The search volume for each of the keywords
- Click through rate on each of the keywords
- The authority you hold on both domain and page
Please note that search visibility is calculated slightly different depending on the SEO reporting tool you use. This is why comparing data from one tool with another isn’t advised as it’s not an apples-for-apples comparison.
It’s recommended to improve your SEO search visibility, work on building your authority as well as creating well-written content with a keyword strategy in place.
A good mixture of links and optimised high-quality content is a sure way to increase visibility.
Featured snippets appear at the top of Google Search Results.
They are also known as Position 0 results.
Featured Snippets are highlighted snippets of content to provide users a quick answer to their search query.
These FAQ questions are examples of questions asked by users and may appear in Google Search Results as Featured Snippets!
Site links are groups of links that appear under the first or second result in Google.
Site links typically appear for brand name searches and provide users with easy access to deeper pages on a website.
For example if you searched for “Amazon” in Google, you’d be presented with Amazon website and a sub listing featuring site links for Prime Video, Books, Wish List etc.
Site links are based on what pages users visit subsequently when arriving on a homepage.
You can’t opt in for Site links, you can only opt out.
Image packs are when a search query results in a set of horizontal images.
For example searching for “Lion Desktop Wallpaper” on Google, I’m presented with a list of websites and thumbnails of images I can find from each site.
Image Packs can appear in any organic position and is based on the search query.
Google Knowledge Card is a great way to get noticed in Google and offers visitors a way to see organisation information
Our five pillars of SEO
With over 200 different ranking signals which influence your visibility in search engines, to make it easier to manage we’ve divided it into five key pillars.
Ensuring your website has a strong foundation, free from technical errors, enabling crawlability, mitigating loss in visibility.
External inbound links, ensuring links are from authorative relevant domains, with optimised anchor text, and a healthly follow/nofollow ratio.
Optimising your websites information architecture, increasing the weighting of key pages. Optimal anchor text and internal link equity distribution.
Ensuring all ranking signals such as page titles, meta data and content is relevant for the target search phrase.
Understanding whats SEO strategies and effective. Visibility is the output of the other four pillars, providing valuable insights and learnings in search engine optimisation.