Search engine optimization (SEO) isn't an exact science. There are many moving parts, and most of what we do is based on educated guesses and best practices.
Thus, making it more difficult to tell whether it works or not. That's why it's crucial to equip yourself with some trusted metrics so that you can measure your SEO efforts.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are among the most vital parts of your SEO strategy. They tell you how well your website is performing and what you need to do to improve your Google search engine ranking.
If you ask ten successful SEO companies, including our SEO marketing Agency, what their KPIs are, you'll probably get different answers. It's because KPIs are situational. That means they depend on your website, goals, and industry.
But in this article, we'll look at some of the most important KPIs you should be using.
Search Engines Keyword Rankings
It's essential that you track how your main keywords rank on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Why? Because if you're not on the first page for your target keywords, you're likely not being found by your potential customers.
This metric is quintessential in SEO as it determines the effectiveness of your site at getting ranked on search engines and attracting organic traffic. In addition, it's extremely helpful in defining the positive and negative impacts of your SEO campaign.
To track your keyword rankings, you can use many tools. Some people prefer to do it manually, but many Rank Tracker tools can automate the process for you and make it a lot easier.
Using a Rank Tracker, you can:
- Set up alerts to notify you of changes in keyword rankings
- Get detailed reports on your progress
- Track local and global keyword rankings
- Monitor your competitors' keyword rankings
There are a few things to keep in mind when tracking your keyword rankings. First, don't obsess over small changes. Search engines are constantly changing their algorithms, which can cause fluctuations in your rankings.
Second, remember to track both global and local keyword rankings. Depending on your business, it may be more important to rank highly in your city or state than to rank globally. It's especially true for local businesses to target local customers.
Finally, don't forget to track your competitors' keyword rankings. This will give you an idea of how you're doing in comparison and where you need to improve.
Nobody knows everything about Google's ranking algorithm. But what we know is that it prefers to rank pages and domains that have been deemed trustworthy and authoritative. The higher the authority of a page or a website, the higher it will rank for specific keywords.
There are a few ways to increase the authority of your website or blog, but one of the most effective is through backlinks. A backlink is when another website links to yours. The higher-quality backlinks you have, the more Google will trust your site, and the higher it will rank in search results pages.
Of course, if you're caught buying or trading backlinks, you could get penalized by Google. But if you're strategic about it and only focus on high-quality links from relevant websites, you can give your website a nice boost in the search engine rankings.
So, how do you check your backlink profile? Well, the best method is to use a backlink checker tool such as Moz's Open Site Explorer. With this tool, you can see the number of backlinks pointing to your website, as well as the quality of those links.
Here are some variables you want to be checking:
- Patterns. You need to focus on the patterns that start to emerge in your link-building strategy. If your links are too predictable, aggressive, and repetitive, Google will catch on and penalize you.
- Spam Indicators. Spammy links are Google's kryptonite. If your link profile has a lot of spammy indicators, you're going to have a hard time ranking on search results pages. Backlink checker tools can help you identify these spammy links so that you can disavow them.
- Strength of your Referring Domains. The higher the authority of the websites linking to you, the better.
- Diversity of your Referring Domains. It's not a smart move to rely on the same few websites for all your backlinks. Google likes to see a diverse link profile, so make sure you're getting links from a variety of places.
- Page and Domain Authority. The higher these numbers are, the higher you will rank for your target phrases and keywords.
- Total Number of Links. Identify the number of links pointing to your website and each of your pages. Ideally, the more links you have, the better. But, as with all things in SEO, quality trumps quantity.
For the best SEO results, conduct a backlink profile analysis regularly. This way, you can catch any new links that have been added, as well as any negative indicators that could be holding you back.
Organic Visibility and Sessions
Organic visibility is one solid SEO metric that you can use to measure your progress. You can measure and report on this KPI in two ways.
- The first is by looking at your website's total impressions in Google Search Console.
- The second way is by looking at keyword trends.
Okay, impressions show you how often your site appears in Google search results. While they don't automatically result in clicks, they are necessary for click-through rates. It's because of an increase in ranked keywords. However, these keywords are not in traffic or conversion positions.
You need to be visible to get clicks! So, the more impressions your website has, the better organic visibility you have.
On the other hand, keyword trends tell you how your organic visibility has changed or is changing over time for all indexed keywords. You can use Semrush's Organic Research tool to find this information. Just enter your domain name, and you'll see a list of all the keywords your site is ranking for, along with their positions.
Moreover, growth in impressions results in increased organic sessions. This SEO metric tells you how often users have visited your site after seeing it in a Google search.
You can find this information in Google Analytics under the Acquisition tab. Just go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. Then, click on Organic Search, and you'll see a report of all the organic sessions your site has had.
The most important thing to focus on when examining organic sessions is seasonality. Ensuring that you're comparing apples to apples is critical here. Look at organic sessions from the same period last year to see if there has been any growth. If not, something may be off.
As the name implies, bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit your website and "bounce" (leave) after viewing only a single page. A high bounce rate is generally a sign that visitors aren't finding what they're looking for on your site or that your content isn't relevant to their needs.
Hence, missed opportunities to convert this traffic into leads or customers. You can see your site's bounce rate in Google Analytics under the "Audience" tab.
While a high bounce rate may seem bad at first, it's not always a cause for alarm. For example, if you have a website that sells products, it's normal for people to land on your product pages and then leave without taking any further action. In this case, a high bounce rate is a good thing!
On the other hand, if most of your traffic is landing on your home page or blog posts and then bouncing, that's a sign that you need to take a closer look at your content and see how you can make it more relevant and useful to your target audience.
There are a few different things that could be causing a high bounce rate on your site:
- Your content isn't relevant to your target audience: Take a look at the topics you're writing about and make sure they're in line with what your target audience is interested in.
- Your website design is confusing or difficult to navigate: If people can't find what they're looking for on your site, they're going to leave. Make sure your navigation is clear and easy to use and that your content is organized in a way that makes sense.
- You're getting a lot of traffic from sources that aren't relevant to your business: If you're getting a lot of traffic from sources like social media or referral sites that aren't related to your business, it's going to result in a high bounce rate. You can solve this problem by adjusting your marketing strategy to focus on driving traffic from more relevant sources.
Sometimes all it takes to fix a high bounce rate is a little bit of tweaking. By taking a closer look at your content, website design, and traffic sources, you can identify the problem and make the necessary changes to improve your site's performance.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
This metric measures the earnings each of your customers bring in during their time being a customer. It's important to track because it will give you an idea of which SEO tactics result in the most positive financial impact.
For example, if you're noticing that a lot of your new customers are coming from a specific blog post, then you know that a blog post is valuable, and you should continue writing similar content. Another example would be if you see that many of your new customers are coming from Twitter, then you know Twitter is a valuable platform for you, and you should continue to engage there.
With this SEO metric, you can:
- pinpoint opportunities to boost CLV over time
- plan how much to spend to get customers
- project revenue
All these things are important to know if you want to be successful in business! And to calculate your customer lifetime value, you need to take into account a few different factors: the average value of the purchase (AVP), the number of times the customer will buy every year (NCB), and the average length of the customer relationship in years (ALCR).
CLV = AVP x NCB x ALCR
Each of the inputs requires calculation, as well. For the AVP, divide the annual revenue by the number of purchases. On the other hand, for the NCB, get the quotient for the total number of purchase transactions per year over the total number of customers who bought from you.
Lastly, for the ALCR, if you operate on a subscription-based business model, divide one by your churn rate. Or, if you operate based on contracts, you can compute the average length of your contracts to get this number.
There are a few things you can do to improve your CLV, including:
- prioritize excellent service after the sale
- provide unique offers
- develop a brand personality
- make transactions smooth and easy
By improving your CLV, you'll be able to improve your business as a whole! So start thinking about how you can increase this metric today.
Measuring and tracking conversions is the best way to demonstrate business success. After all, if a website isn't converting visitors into paying customers, what's the point?
In marketing, a conversion is defined as someone taking the desired action you want them to take. And this could be anything from purchasing on your website to signing up for your email list. Once you know what actions you want people to take, you can start tracking conversions.
Many factors can influence conversion rates, from the design of your website to the effectiveness of your call-to-action. But one of the most important is your unique value proposition(UVP) - what makes your product or service stand out from the competition?
Your UVP should be clear, concise, and easy to understand, and it should be communicated across all of your marketing channels. If you're not sure what your UVP is, or if you think it could be improved, now is the time to take a step back and reassess.
One of the simplest ways to track conversions is with Google Analytics. You can use this tool to see how many people are taking the desired action on your website, and you can also use it to track conversions across different devices and channels.
If you're not already tracking conversions, now is the time to start. By understanding what actions people are taking on your website, you can make changes that will lead to more sales and business success.
Clickthrough Rate (CTR)
While CTR isn't a direct ranking factor, it's still an important metric to pay attention to. A high CTR means that your site is relevant to the user's search, which is a good sign. Conversely, a low CTR could be an indication that your site needs some work.
You should be tracking this SEO KPI both at a query level and page level. By that, we mean you should know not only which of your pages have a high CTR but also which queries result in a click on your site.
The reason why this is important is that you can then take that information and use it to improve your site. For example, if you see that a particular query has a low CTR, you can work on optimizing your site for that query.
You can also use CTR data to inform your keyword strategy. For example, if you see that a specific keyword has a high CTR, you might want to target that keyword more aggressively.
The tools you can use to track your CTR are Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
The ultimate goal of every SEO strategy is to drive ROI. Therefore, tracking and measuring ROI from your SEO activities is integral because it measures the success of your business.
Simply put, the more ROI you generate, the more valuable your SEO strategy is to your organization. There are many different ways to measure ROI from SEO activities. The most common method is to track organic traffic and leads/sales generated from that traffic.
Another way to measure ROI is to look at the cost of your SEO activities compared to the revenue generated from those activities. However, keep in mind that it can take time to see results from SEO activities, so don't expect immediate ROI.
SEO is a long-term strategy that requires patience and consistent effort. But if you stick with it, you will be rewarded with ROI that will continue to grow over time.
New And Returning Users
New users are people who have never been to your site before. But a returning user could be someone who visited your site once and then came back six months later or someone who visits every day.
Knowing these metrics is important because it helps you understand how well you're doing at keeping people engaged with your site or enticed enough to come back in the case of new users.
There are a few different ways to track new and returning users. Google Analytics is one option, and Clicky is another.
Both tools will give you detailed information about the number of new and returning users you have, where they're coming from, what pages they're looking at, and how long they're staying on your site.
This information is vital because it helps you understand what's working and what isn't. For example, if you see that many new users are coming to your site, but not many are returning, that's a sign that you need to work on keeping people engaged.
On the other hand, if you see that most of your traffic is returning users, that's a good sign that people like what they see on your site and are coming back for more.
Average Engagement Time
Average engagement time is an SEO metric that measures the amount of time a user spends interacting with your website: scrolling, reading, watching, or writing.
Why do you need to check your site's average engagement rate? If you want to improve your SEO, you need to know what users are doing on your site. Average engagement time is a good metric to track because it can give you insights into how users interact with your content.
If you see that users are spending a lot of time on your site, then that's a good sign that they're engaged with your content. On the other hand, if you see that users are only spending a few seconds on your site, then that's a sign that you need to improve your content.
There are a few different ways to check your average engagement time. One way is to use Google Analytics. First, go to the "Behavior" section and click on "Site Content." From there, you'll see the average time spent on each page.
Another way to check your average engagement time is through your web server's log files. Look for the "time-taken" field and calculate the average time spent on each page.
Google Search Console makes it much easier for you to monitor the position of your web pages in Google's search engine results pages. For example, the "Average position" metric in Google Search Console tells you the average placement of your web page in Google's search results for a specific query.
This metric is a valuable way to track the progress of your SEO efforts. If you see that your average position is improving, your pages are ranking higher in Google's search results.
Otherwise, if you see your average position declining, it's a sign that your SEO efforts need to be adjusted. Then, you can devise an action plan to improve your website's ranking.
Brand visibility refers to how often and how easily consumers can see or hear your brand. It's the frequency and placement of your brand in front of potential customers. The more visible your brand is, the more likely consumers will think of your brand when they're ready to purchase a product or service.
This SEO metric is vital because it directly impacts your brand awareness and, ultimately, sales. If no one knows your brand exists, they can't buy from you.
The lower value means lower consumer acceptance. On the other hand, a high brand visibility score indicates that your brand is well-known and can convert leads into customers.
There are many ways to increase your brand visibility. One is to create informative blog content and share it across social media platforms. Doing so will help you reach a wider audience and get your brand ahead of potential customers.
Another way to increase brand visibility is to run ads. Ad campaigns on social media or Google can help you reach a larger audience and get your brand ahead of people who might not otherwise know about it.
Investing in brand visibility is essential for any business that wants to succeed long-term. By increasing your brand's visibility, you'll be able to reach more potential customers and grow your business.
Regardless of your goals for SEO, understanding and tracking these key performance indicators (KPIs) is essential to unlocking success. By monitoring these metrics regularly, you can make sure your efforts are moving your business in the right direction.
And if you're not currently using SEO as part of your marketing strategy, now is the time to start. These KPIs will help get you on the right track. So be sure to bookmark this page and come back often; the more informed you are about SEO, the more successful you'll be.
If you need help in your SEO journey, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We are an SEO company, and we offer local SEO services in Los Angeles. Contact our SEO agency today and schedule a call.