How To Measure Your Online Performance Now Ranking Reports Are Dead

Haven’t you heard? Keyword ranking reports are dead. It’s not a joke. They’re dead, kaput. Not only are they unreliable, but they aren’t a sensible way to measure the online performance of your business.

Google has changed a lot over the past few years. Since the Pigeon update, search results have been tailored to the user’s location, search preferences, browsing history, and time of day. This means that no search results are the same.

Rankings fluctuate throughout the day and websites that rank number 1 in a user’s search might be on page 2 or 3 for another.

The examples below are searches for 'arts and crafts'. One search has been performed on a browser with history and one on a fresh browser with no history. As you can see, the results are quite different.

changing search engine result pages

For this reason, the way digital marketers measure a business’ performance has changed dramatically.

These are the KPIs you should always include in your reports.


Traffic to your site is obviously your number one metric - people need to find your site in order to engage with your brand and buy a product or service.

Organic, referral, and social traffic are all important, so include all of them in your reports. Do also take a look at total traffic to find out what the split with PPC is.


Your social performance is one of the key elements to your online visibility. When people share your content and engage with your brand on social, you’ve done half your job.

Include followers, shares, engagements, reach and impressions. If you have carried out any paid social, you’ll also report on conversions and cost per engagement.

Coverage and mentions

One of the best ways to gain referral traffic and increase brand awareness online is gaining PR coverage, brand mentions and write expert opinion pieces for authoritative sites in your industry. This will also help improve your backlink profile as well as your Domain Authority.

It’s important that you measure the success you have with this activity when you report on your online performance.

Measure domain authority, social following, social shares, and referral traffic.


Measuring your site’s content performance is key. You need to understand how users interact with your site - do they spend a long time on the homepage? Are they finding what they’re looking for quickly and effortlessly? Are they taking time to read your blog? What is their navigation path?

Bounce rate, time spent on page, and average pages per session are all important metrics to evaluating your online performance. Don’t forget to analyse them to understand your users’ behaviour better.


This is the metric that matters the most, of course. It will tell if all your other digital marketing efforts are paying out or not. Focus on micro-conversions, leads and conversions - it will allow you to measure the process accurately and spot any issues in it.

After all, conversions are what keep your business going.

Elena Manighetti is Head Of Content Marketing at theEword. You can follow theEword on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with their digital marketing tips.
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