SEO metrics you may be misinterpreting

Tracking your SEO metrics is an important part of understanding what resonates with your audience. It allows you to understand what they like (or don’t like) and enables you to plan your future content more accurately. Keeping a record of your metrics will also give you an insight into your audience engagement and return on investment.

However, these SEO metrics are often misinterpreted by website owners. There is a difference between analysing your metrics with traffic in mind versus with content marketing in mind. All too often website owners focus on their traffic and neglect what the metrics mean for their marketing and business.

This means that certain areas of a content marketing strategy could be left unchecked. Here are a few SEO metrics that you may be misinterpreting.

Bounce rate metrics

The bounce rate of your website tells you what percentage of your visitors click off your site after visiting a single page. A high bounce rate means that most of your visitors only view one page of your site and are not interested in the other content on offer.

Bounce rate is often used to determine the success of a website, but it can be misleading. In an SEO and social media-driven world, internet users often do only visit one page of a website. If you see a link on Facebook that interests you, you’ll click on it. Chances are, you exit the website after you’ve read the article or watched the video and return to your Facebook browsing.

It does not necessarily mean that the website is bad in any way – in fact, it could mean that the user found exactly what they were looking for by visiting only a single page. If you are concerned about your website’s high bounce rate, look for the bounce rate of individual pages instead.

You can create an event on pages with a high bounce rate in Google Analytics, such as a time duration. When a visitor stays on the page for a certain amount of time, the event is triggered and it overrides the bounce rate. This can be a good way to turn single page views into a win for your SEO.

Average time on page

When tracking your session durations, you’re likely to look at the average time on page to see how long users are spending on your site. The longer they stay on your page for, the better it is for your SEO.

However, it does not necessarily mean that they are engaging with your content for the entire duration of their stay. Google knows this and so it does not measure the time from when a visitor opens the final page of their visit to when they exit the site. This period of time is not included in the session duration.

This can affect the measurement of average time on page as the time spent on the final page before an exit is not included. To work around this misleading information, look at the session durations for specific pages on your site.

If the sessions on one page are much shorter than other similar pages on your site, then you will be able to examine why in further detail. Perhaps your content needs improving, or there is an error message when someone clicks on the page.

Once again, you can use Google Analytics to create an event that is triggered after a certain time duration. This will increase the accuracy of your time duration metrics.

Page level depth

The page level depth metric is basically a tool used to assess the quality and effectiveness of your content. To accurately measure the engagement rate on your content, you should categorise your content by formats or types in Google Analytics.

Label the content types on your analytics program (called ‘content grouping’ in Google Analytics) and use events to measure when a user scrolls through a certain percentage of each page. This will allow you to see exactly where on the page people leave your content.

You can also see what the users engage with and whether your calls-to-action are placed in the right spot on the page. By tracking how deep your users get on a page, you can assess whether your content is the right length.

These metrics are the three most-commonly misinterpreted of the analytics data. Don’t be alarmed by bad stats on your website, think about individual pages rather than website averages. It will allow you to take more precise action and to fix whatever may not be working for your users.


Sorted Design Agency is a creative company that constantly looks for solutions to other people’s problems. These problems come mostly in the visual format, such as graphic design, logo and illustration, but we’re experts in brand development, website design, and digital SEO campaigns as well.


Based in Pretoria and Cape Town, Sorted has been in the content marketing industry since 2006. We assist your company with its corporate identity by communicating core values through content and articles written for your website, blog and news area. This content is supported by AdWords and social advertising, which facilitates wider reach and audience growth. Turn your website into a business tool.


Sorted also owns two other businesses; InkFish Print Studio – a printing company that handles a range of promotional materials for businesses and other services for individual customers, and Pampiri + Kie – a gifts and stationery store selling online and in-store. Both of these companies operate from Cape Town and Pretoria.


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