Google has finally started unveiling its algorithm update, much to many website owners’ dismay. Unfortunately, we don’t have a choice in the matter. Instead, we have to just jump on board and make sure that our websites are in tip-top condition so that the search engine giant can’t find a reason to penalise us or drop us in rankings.
Here’s the 5 website metrics we think you should be focusing on:
1. Page speed
This refers to the average time the page takes to load when a customer clicks onto your website. You might not think that page speed is a big deal but you’ll be surprised at the drop-off rate on pages that are slow.
If you could get your website to load in an equivalent way to Usain Bolt running the 100m back in 2012, that would be the ultimate dream. Unfortunately, getting your page loading speed this quick is a difficult task, even for the most experienced developers and website owners there are.
So how do you manage page speed? There are a few ways to increase the speed so it meets Google’s now (very) high standards:
- Compress all of your images before loading them into your CMS
- Remove any unused add ons and extensions that are being forced to load on your website every time
- Remove any excess code that isn’t doing anything for your website in the background
- Use Google’s Page Insights to see where improvement can be made when it comes to Core Web Vitals
- Use HotJar to see if page speed has a direct impact on conversions and pages per session
- Keep an eye on your bounce rate as this is a great indicator of slow page speed
- Listen to the feedback of your website visitors
- Use a page speed monitoring tool like StatusCake (not tooting our own horn here, but we just happen to fit the criteria…)
It’s very important to monitor page speed regularly and especially if there are any developmental changes that have been made which can affect it. If unmonitored, not only can it lead to a drop in traffic and page interaction but also lower Google rankings and ultimately, revenue. Ouch.
2. Conversion rate
As a broader term, this measures customers that physically do whatever action it is that you want from them. An example would be if you are selling a service you can measure the number of purchases in relation to the number of visitors on the page. This is the same for businesses that have a subscription service where they can measure the number of new sign-ups.
It is important to always check this metric whenever a change has been made or a marketing promotion has gone out to see the impact it’s had on conversions. This can also be an indicator of a poor-performing website that would need work to be done.
3. Bounce rate
The infamous bounce rate. We’d all love to say we have a 0% bounce rate, but unfortunately this is stuff that dreams are made of.
Bounce rate should be monitored with other metrics to help identify how customers interact with your website. If the bounce rate is very high (over 70%), then there’s a real problem that needs fixing. This level of bounce would inevitably have an impact on almost everything including your conversion rate.
Ways to reduce your bounce rate:
- Remove any intrusive instant pop-ups that make visitors click straight off your website
- Keep all relevant and “juicy” content above the fold
- Make sure that your website is fully optimised for mobile (this is especially important for the Google algorithm update as it focused around the “mobile-first” initiative)
- Make sure your website is loading quickly enough for your visitors
4. Error rate
So, an error rate is a little more technical than the previous metrics on this list, but still, a very important one to monitor. Any errors on your website will impact how Google ranks you, as the user experience is greatly affected by on-page errors.
In a nutshell, this measures the request issue from the total number of requests that your website receives. It’s very difficult to prevent errors, but the best thing to do is to use an end-user monitoring tool that can show you what and when things go wrong for a user. What is the biggest error you don’t want to see? That infamous 404 pages.
5. Average time on page
What a great way to measure the interaction of customers on a specific page. This metric allows for Analytics to measure the best-performing pages against the worst so you can see why some pages perform well and why others do not.
Here at StatusCake, we always aim for over 1 minute 30 seconds because with this amount of time, we can safely assume 3 things:
- Visitors are actively engaging with our content and not clicking straight off
- They are scrolling down a page and not clicking off the site
- They have a genuine interest in StatusCake
How have we come to this conclusion?
The simple metric of measuring the time a customer spends on your website, and each page, ultimately shows the levels of interaction they have. For example, pages with a high average page spend might mean that visitors find value in the content or like the page layout so these are things that you can replicate on the poorer performing pages. The aim here is to try and get the visitors to spend as long as possible on the website and hopefully buy into the product or service being offered. So what can you do to keep them on a page?
- Quick page speed
- Interactive content i.e. videos, gifs
- Quick, bite-sized content that is easily digestible
- Easy language that doesn’t exclude people by being “too techie”
- Easy user experience
For the ultimate website performance, use StatusCake’s website monitoring. I’m sure Google would be pleased.
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