- What is the SEO Visibility?
- How is SEO Visibility calculated?
- SEO Visibility analysis in the Searchmetrics Suite
- The SEO Visibility is decreasing! What now?!
The SEO Visibility is an index created by Searchmetrics to represent the visibility of domains in the search engine result pages.
The calculation is based on the search volume of the keywords, the rankings of the domains for the corresponding keywords, dynamic CTR models for the traffic distribution and the keyword classification.
The SEO Visibility in the Search Experience indicates the visibility of all keywords tracked in the project, while the SEO Visibility in the Research Cloud indicates the visibility based on the entire keyword set of our database for the domain.
What is the SEO Visibility?
The SEO Visibility is a kpi that can be used to map the visibility of a website in the organic serps. It was developed by Searchmetrics in order to:
- Measure the online performance of websites using a single, yet universal index.
- Compare (competitor-) domains on the basis of a reliable key figure in order to discover gaps or optimisation potentials
- Identify general trends and changes in search engine rankings (e.g. after algorithm updates).
How is SEO Visibility calculated?
In order to evaluate the visibility of a website, various data flow into the calculation of the KPI. The SEO visibility is composed of information on the search volume of the corresponding keywords as well as the ranking positions and the ranking frequency of the URLs of a domain in the organic SERPs of Google, Bing & Co. Each position is individually weighted according to a factor determined by Searchmetrics. Furthermore, data from dynamic models for the calculation of the click-through rate (CTR) are also included.
Simplified, the SEO visibility of domains is higher when, for example:
- URLs of the domain rank on the top positions
- Many different URLs of the domain - coupled with good rankings - are listed in the Google Index
- URLs of the domain have good positions for keywords with high search volume
SEO Visibility analysis in the Searchmetrics Suite
The Searchmetrics Suite differs between the Desktop SEO Visibility and the Mobile SEO Visibility, which is the visibility that is achieved on PCs or mobile devices (such as smartphones).
Mobile SEO Visibility
To meet the growing importance of mobile searches, Searchmetrics developed Mobile SEO Visibility as an indicator.
In the Research Cloud, the performance of a website for searches from desktop and mobile can be compared to each other by comparing SEO visibility for desktop and mobile. In this overview of SEO visibility curves, the differences in visibility between mobile and desktop can be compared directly in the chart. To ensure comparability here, we have transferred our dynamic CTR calculation using machine learning algorithms for regular SEO Visibility 1:1 to mobile. This is because we believe it is important to provide a common basis in the form of this comparison as a KPI.
The SEO visibility is constantly recalculated and updated weekly for all domains in the Research Cloud. Of course, we use the past data to represent a trend. This makes the historical course of a domain's visibility in search engines recognizable. The following screenshot shows how the SEO Visibility of amazon.com has developed between 2019 and 2021:
Based on the historical SEO Visibility, it is possible to retrospectively look over several years, depending on the age of the domain. Through this historical analysis, the impact on visibility over time can be shown and recognized. Here you can better understand technical changes (domain transfer/errors), penalties or the consequences of updates. And not only for your own domain, but for all domains in the Searchmetrics database, also internationally.
Why can't SEO Visibility show the real traffic?
The SEO Visibility shows the visibility of a domain based on the entire set of keywords for which the ranking is being determined. Most often criticism is expressed by webmasters when the SEO Visibility of a domain has changed but traffic and conversions may have remained the same. This is due to a misunderstanding: SEO Visibility is not a Traffic Index!
Our visibility is determined using a specific set of keywords, rather than the real traffic data, to make all domains nationally and internationally comparable on a common basis. Even if Searchmetrics uses the world's largest set of keywords from all providers as its database, it will not be possible to include all existing search queries in its SEO Visibility calculation.
Special focus of the website
This set of keywords is dynamic and is constantly expanding, but there are two problems.
- The more specific the focus of a website, the more likely it is that, the SEO Visibility does not reflect overall performance, since long tail keywords that generate relevant traffic are not part of the set of keywords being analysed.
- On the other hand, keyword rankings, which may not be relevant to actual traffic, can negatively affect the SEO Visibility. For example, if a domain ranks on lower positions with irrelevant keywords, the SEO Visibility may be lower than traffic suggests.
One reason is that about 15 percent of daily Google searches have never been done before. And they also generate traffic for the domain, although the relevant keywords are not yet included in the definition of visibility. In addition, there is direct traffic from users who manually enter the URL, traffic from links from other websites, and - not to forget - paid traffic from ads like Google Ads or Product Ads (PLA). Accordingly, there are many factors that can affect traffic; Visits through the regular search results are “only” part of it. In order to be able to analyse the SEO Visibility for individual keyword sets, Searchmetrics offers to create a project with individually selected keywords.
For the mentioned reasons, Searchmetrics offers the ability to create a project. Here you can define your own keywords and keyword sets by which you can determine the SEO Visibility for a particular project (Project Management).
Project SEO Visibility
Project SEO Visibility in the Search Experience provides more detailed information about the performance of a domain, as it is based on the specially created keyword set and the combination of different search engines and search parameters (mobile, local, etc.). This results in a more relevant visibility in the selected market. The database is focused on those keywords that are important for one's own web project from an individual point of view. Again: In contrast to project SEO visibility, SEO visibility in the Research Cloud is based on a general, dynamic and growing keyword set. This can include comparatively unimportant keyword rankings for the domain, which may drag down performance.
Mobile SEO Visibility in the Search Experience
In order to get in-depth analyses and accurate values of mobile SEO visibility, crawls with user agents for different device classes such as smartphones or even tablets can be carried out in the project area of the Searchmetrics Suite, which sometimes differ significantly from desktop search results for the same keywords. Take a look at this article to learn how to add mobile search engines: Project Management.
Searchmetrics also offers the Local Mobile Visibility in the project area as a special mobile index. This determines the visibility of a domain for mobile search queries in different cities.
In this way, differences in the visibility of a domain for search queries in different cities can be analysed. This is important for all businesses that have a local connection.
Paid visibility is used to show the visibility of a domain in Google searches through paid advertising. Ads and PLA ads are taken into account, as well as various metrics such as search volume, CPC, or the distribution of the visibility of this domain for ads in the desktop or mobile search results.
The SEO Visibility is decreasing! What now?!
Check out this workflow to get to the bottom of declining SEO visibility and quickly counteract it: Exploring Declining SEO Traffic.