SEO metrics and tools. If you have read all the articles I have published to date, you may start to suspect that this blog has an online SEO course structure. From the first post, my intention is to review all the aspects that I consider relevant to develop a minimal risk and efficient SEO strategy.
I also try to place each article in one of the so far only three categories in which I divide the content: SEO onpage, link building and user response, which correspond to what I consider the three pillars of SEO.
In line with covering every aspect of this discipline, it is essential to talk about how to measure the value of a link, as this will be necessary to do well if we want our link building strategy to give satisfactory results. To be able to evaluate a link, the first thing we need to do is evaluate the page from which it leaves, and for this we need to define a series of SEO metrics and also know the tools that allow us to obtain these metrics.
And this is what this post is about. In this article I will introduce the SEO tools I consider most important and the metrics we need to know to measure the value of a link. There are many more tools and metrics that I will not present in this post, because they would be too many, but I will present enough tools to be able to evaluate in depth the value of a link.
Since these are tools that analyze different aspects of SEO and cover the three pillars, I can not place this post in any of the three usual categories. This serves me to inaugurate the fourth category that will deal with ” Project Development and monetization”, and that when it contains some more posts, I will include in the menu with the name of “projects”.
When evaluating a page, I consider it important to separate the metrics into two types:
If they measure incoming links, we’ll talk about strength metrics. If they measure organic traffic, we’ll talk about visibility metrics.
From the strength of a page, we can also define (in another post) the strength of a link.
Each tool has its own formula for measuring strength, but they always have in common that they take into account the strength of the linking page, and that links have more strength if they come from different domains. Put with an example, the strength is greater if strong links are received from different domains than if weak links are received from a single domain.
Similarly, the different visibility metrics always take into account on the one hand the positions of a page for a keyword in the SERPs, and on the other the estimated traffic that this keyword gives.
Some strength metrics also include in their formulas parameters of visibility through “reliability ” factors. Delving into these formulas is not of particular interest, so we will simply talk about strength and visibility metrics.
SemRush measures visibility. It allows to know the keywords of high and medium traffic for which any domain is positioned in the top 20.
Based on that data, and the estimated traffic that each keyword will share in each position, SemRush provides a visibility metric called traffic, which represents an estimate of the monthly traffic that the page will receive from Google in that country. This metric is absolutely inaccurate, but it allows us to evaluate trends and approximate organic traffic of a page.
This information is available for 28 countries (28 Google search engines) and Bing (USA). For google.com it also provides specific mobile traffic data.
It also provides information for Adwords (SEM) campaigns and a wide variety of other values. It could, for example, be used as a tool for measuring force and incoming links, although in this facet the next option (Ahref) will be better. It would be interesting if, for example, we just wanted to invest in hiring a tool.
In my opinion SemRush is the best SEO tool that exists on the market, not only for the information it offers, but for the price, which in its most popular version does not exceed 70 € per month.
Ahrefs measures strength. It allows to know almost all the incoming links of a page.
All the metrics it offers are based on inbound links. Among all of them, I always use the “Referring Domains”, that is, the number of domains that link you, and always differentiating the follow (or dofollow) from the nofollow.
Ahrefs is the best tool for working on link building. It offers very neat information of incoming and outgoing links, New and lost, grouped by Domains, IPs and subnets, etc. It is also very useful to get a first analysis of the diversity of anchors.
It is 10 $ more expensive than SemRush in its most popular version, which puts it around 70 € per month in price.
DA and PA are strength metrics. They measure the strength of a domain and a page, respectively.
The DA (Domain Authority) and the PA (Page Authority) are based on the incoming links that a domain and Page receives.
These metrics are the ones that have replaced the already obsolete and frozen PR (Page Rank). Its algorithm is complex and tries to measure not only the pure strength of a link but also its “reliability”.
Being a metric of strength should be evaluated with caution, because it is a value that can be increased without this means that Google respects this page. As an extreme example, we would have the case of a network of pages that has made a very aggressive link building and had received a penalty. The DA of such pages could be high but they could have very low consideration by Google.
For these reasons, the DA is advisable to use it together with some visibility metric. If both are high, the page will be respected by Google and your outgoing links will be valuable.
However, if the DA is high but the visibility is not, the possible reasons would be several, so an additional analysis would have to be done (which we will see in the corresponding post) to evaluate a page and its links.
To consult the DA there are several ways:
In its Open Site Explorer tool you can consult it. It allows a minuscule number of free consultations, so I don’t recommend it.
DA Checker is a page to query the DA (and PR) of many pages at once. It fails sometimes, but when it doesn’t, it’s very comfortable for Link building analysis.
It is the most comfortable option. It allows you to see the DA discreetly in your bar (in an icon) or more invasively as a bar of your browser.
You can download it from the following URLs:
Sistrix measures visibility. It allows to know the high traffic keywords for which any domain is positioned in the Top 100.
Unlike SemRush, Sistrix measures only keywords with the highest traffic, but by contrast includes up to the Top 100. Like SemRush it also includes link building and force measurement tools, but they are not its forte.
The great advantages of Sistrix are two. On the one hand it allows you to see the evolution of any page for a keyword over time. The second big advantage is its “little number”. The Sistrix visibility index is your visibility metric. This index is very useful to quickly know the visibility of a page and its evolution. The Sistrix chart also incorporates annotations on changes in the Google algorithm, which sometimes allows you to identify penalties or uploads.
Of course, it is necessarily inaccurate, especially because it does not include many keywords of average traffic. This excludes a large number of brand keywords. This is precisely their big disadvantage with respect to SemRush. Sistrix is used to measure visibility and detect penalties, but its keyword database is too small to be used to define content strategies or keywords.
It also includes fewer countries than SemRush, which is a problem for campaigns in other languages (outside of what it offers), or simply to analyze Latin America.
But above all, the main barrier, and the reason that it is not popular enough in Spain, is its price. The package with all the tools costs 400 € per month. Such is said barrier that they are now offering an exclusive price for Spain of 99 € per month. This rate is still higher than SemRush and only includes google.es they do offer, however, a 15-day free trial with all modules and countries available.
I guess this is the natural question come this point. The answer clearly depends on your investment capacity. If it is very high, the answer is obvious. Let’s look at the other cases:
SemRush and Ahrefs. With these 2 tools you cover everything you need to analyze the two types of metrics, and to define content strategies and link building.
The DA you could also consult it for free, although it would not be essential either.
So just SemRush. This tool already includes a section of inbound links that, although it is worse than that of Ahrefs, allows you to save that investment.
As a force metric you could use the DA and the PA.
The DA is still free, with which you would already have measure of strength. For keyword analysis, you could substitute SemRush with the Google Adwords KeywordPlanner. You will need to register (free of charge) and then make inquiries directly to Google. It is more inefficient than SemRush and does not allow you to analyze domains, but it is free.
For inbound link analysis, but only for your domains, you can use Google Webmaster Tools in their search traffic > links to your site Section.
If you are starting with your first projects, this is a valid option to hold out until you generate the first income.
To analyze links and pages, as well as to develop content SEO strategies and/or link building, it is necessary to use SEO tools. SemRush, Ahrefs, Sistrix and Moz (DA, PA) are the ones I use and recommend. It is useful to classify your metrics between strength and visibility.
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