SEO Metrics Explained: MOZ DA, Ahrefs, SEMRush, Alexa and More


There are a number of SEO tools that can help you achieve better results in search engine queries. Each have their strengths and weaknesses as well as their own metrics. In this video, we will break down a few of the most common metrics created by SEO tools and explain what they mean.

Video Transcript:

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When it comes to SEO or marketing online, there’s a lot of different tools and metrics that we can track and some of them are not fully understood the right way and when they’re not understood, they can lead to bad assumptions and tracking the wrong things. Let’s take a look at some of those different SEO metrics that we get and some that come from tools and then other ones that come from analytics platforms and how can we use those to make better decisions for our business.

So the first metric we want to look at is domain authority from MOZ. It’s usually abbreviated as DA . And what domain authority is really looking at is how many high quality or authoritative backlinks a website has. It’s guessing on how authoritative your site is and it’s out of a score of 100, now 100 being the best site on the web, something like Google, Facebook, and then zero meaning you have no authority whatsoever. Now this is often tracked as one of those end alls, be alls for how authoritative a site is. And really what DA is looking at, it’s trying to mimic what’s known as page rank. Page rank is part of Google’s search algorithm and it’s how they decide how authoritative a site is based on links and a number of other algorithmic features. Now DA is doing its best to mimic that. And it can, over time, give us an idea of if are we moving up in authority or moving down in authority, but it shouldn’t be the end all be all.

If we have a higher domain authority, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to rank. Why? Because MOZ has absolutely nothing to do with the ranking algorithm in Google. Google does not look at your domain authority. They look at their own page rank. MOZ is an indicator of trying to help us better understand how authoritative our site is. It can give us indications, but it’s not the end all be all. You place too much weight on it, you could be pushing yourself in the wrong direction.

The next one we want to look at is the Ahref rank. This is another kind of authoritative rank that’s being used. Ahref has a number of different tools that allow you to see backlinks and keywords and loss backlinks. It’s a really great SEO tool. Even though they’ve moved to a paid version. If you’ve got the time to invest in it, it can be a very, very good tool for you. Now Ahref rank is again, it’s an internal marker for Ahref’s to judge based on what they have in their index, how authoritative your site is. Again, just because one site has a higher Ahref rank than another site, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that site is going to get more links. It doesn’t mean that that site’s going to rank more. It doesn’t mean that that site’s going to get more traffic. It’s an indicator within that tool’s specific database to say how authoritative, how much estimated traffic we think this site is going to specifically have.

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Another site we want to look at is SEMrush and SEMrush has something known as authority score. Now you’re noticing a theme here. Similar to DA and Ahref rank, what authority score is doing, is looking again at how authoritative a site is. It’s trying to mimic Google Page Rank. These are tools. This is a metric that’s going to be more of an indicator. like the other two, that’s going to tell us how authoritative a site is over time. An SEO wants to track that. Are we growing in authority? Are we being seen as a site that has more promise, that has more backing, that has more trust, that has better content, that has a strong link profile. And what these can do is they can indicate are we headed in the right direction or not.

Once again, this has absolutely nothing to do with our Google ranks. It has nothing to do with our keywords, organic traffic, and none of that. It’s specifically something that’s inside of a tool to help us measure progress over time. Again, if you obsess over these tool-based metrics, you can end up heading in the wrong direction. What you really need to do is use these as indicators. Are we moving up or are we moving down? But I would not place all of our time and effort in tracking these to ensure that we’re having a stronger authority rank inside of a tool.

Another one that I would look at is Alexa Rank. This is something that is in a lot of different tools and a lot of people assume that it has something to do with search engine optimization. What Alexa rank is is it’s looking at, based on their own tools, the estimated amount a search or the estimated amount of traffic a specific website has. So Alexa is going to rank them based on web traffic, but it’s not necessarily always looking at a ranking based on organic or paid or direct or social traffic. It’s just looking at the amount of website traffic that comes to a site. So you can push a lot of traffic to a site, get it’s Alexa ranking up and you make it look like it’s this authoritative site but the reality is it has no impact on search results. You can have a site that has no organic presence but has a ton of paid traffic and because of that it’s going to have a higher Alexa rating the site that actually is doing quite well in organic but might not have the amount of volume because they’re not paying for that traffic volume.

So this is a metric, honestly, I don’t track, I don’t really pay much attention to because it doesn’t have much of an impact on the things that we’re doing. We do track traffic, we just don’t base everything we’re doing off of what Alexa sees.

All right, so we’ve talked a little bit about some tools. Now I’m a big believer, I use MOZ, I use Ahref. I use SEMrush. I use those tools every day to help us make better decisions in our search marketing. But the one thing I always want to focus on is my organic traffic and make sure that that’s grabbing and then knowing where that traffic is coming from. So Google allows us to do that, Google Analytics, you can filter out or just segment by organic traffic and see is your organic traffic moving up or is it going backwards? The other things that I’m also looking for are search console terms. What keywords are we ranking for and what keywords are driving traffic. There’s a ton of really powerful metrics inside of search console that can help you see in real time based on what Google is doing, is your site improving its rank, is it not improving its rank? And this is where you can use a tracking like impressions, clicks and then the click through rate to understand how well you’re doing on specific keywords.

Now I know that Google doesn’t give us all the data. They give us partial amounts of data, but what we can extrapolate from that data is trends over time. Then we can use our other tools, whether it be MOZ or SEMrush or Ahref to do rank tracking and make sure that we’re ranking for those terms and then we can match that up with the organic traffic coming in. These are the more actionable metrics that we really should be paying attention to. Yes, we want to see those indicators, make sure that we’re growing in authority, but at the end of the day, we want to be able to track and measure the things that are producing results for the business. Because if a business is going to continue to invest in search, if you as a business owner are going to continue to invest in search, you’ve got to see that it’s producing ROI for your business.

If you have any questions about something we talked about today or you want to learn more about another type of metric that maybe we didn’t mention here, please comment below. We would love to continue the conversation. Again, don’t forget to subscribe and until next time, Happy Marketing.

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