Searchmetrics Essentials: Free tool for measuring SEO, paid and social reach

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Understanding how visible your website is out on the web can help you make decisions on what you do with search engine optimization, paid advertising and social marketing.

Searchmetrics is a new tool for analyzing all that “off site” activity. It has paid and free options. Let’s take a peek at how the free option works.

There are three main sections of the free version, called Searchmetrics Essentials: Domains, Keywords and Social.

Domains

Under the domains tab you can view the “visibility” for a specific domain in the organic, paid and universal search results. Searchmetrics uses it’s own magic formula for determining “visibility” which is based on whatever they think these things should be based on. Which isn’t to say that their concept of “visibility” is faulty, just that we won’t really know what it is or whether it’s right for our business.

Once you’ve made your peace with “visibility” you can then look at some charts that show how your visibility is trending over the past two months. Sections that you could be getting if you upgrade are grayed out and contain an “upgrade to view” link. Even without upgrading there’s some useful stuff though.

One of the interesting aspects of Searchmetrics is that it contains an historical database of search queries and volume so you start getting useful data immediately.

 

For example, the chart that shows you keywords for which you rank well, sorted by the search volumes for those terms. While a useful on-site analytics tool will tell you what terms lead people to your site, on-site analytics doesn’t tell you which terms you’re ranking for. Searchmetrics Essentials does. You might use that information to see if you need to refocus your search efforts or write more compelling headlines and meta-descriptions.

The Domains tab will also give you information on how your different media bits are performing in universal search–video, news, images and so on. Helpful if you’re working on ranking for these types of things.

The Paid analysis is also useful, especially for digging into competitors. Since Searchmetrics is keeping its own database the tool can calculate estimated budgets spread across different keyword and ad strategies. Handy.

 

Keywords

The keywords tab contains some helpful tools for identifying search terms to pursue. Type in a keyword and Searchmetrics Essentials returns a list of similar terms, their search volume and cost for running a PPC campaign on them.

Again, pretty helpful.

Social

The social measurement tab of Searchmetrics Essentials is the most afflicted with the “upgrade to view” buttons. Can’t give them a hard time for trying to make a buck though. Someone has to maintain that database of terms and sites they have.

The social tab also focuses on a magic “visibility” rating. So make your peace with it and then move on to charts and graphs that show things like: Which pages on the site have the highest social “visibility”

The distribution of your social “visibility” across a variety of networks (hilariously afflicted by “upgrade to view” notices but hang on for the next one)

Pages that are more “visible” per network (use this section to decode the mysterious pie chart above it).

 

This section is one I like because it helps to identify the different types of content that are more likely to resonate in the different social networks.

Parting thoughts

The “upgrade to view” thing definitely gets old but Searchmetrics Essentials certainly has a number of useful reports in it for site owners looking to improve the way they reach an audience via search engine optimization, paid advertising and social marketing.

Their proprietary “visibility” score is a little annoying but par for the course. And you can check how meaningful their “visibility” is by seeing what sort of results your on-site analytics package gives you for similar terms and results.

 

Searchmetrics Essentials ties up a handful of data that you would otherwise have to use professional software or visit a dozen different websites to scrape all the data out. If you’re considering making your organization more data driven, this tool might make a useful no-cost start in that direction.