Important SEO KPIs & Metrics You Should Track
About the author
Neil is the tutor for our course: 'How to Use SEO to Boost Your PR'. He is also Digital Director, and Co-Founder of digital marketing consultancy, Focus Mode. Neil has over 16 years’ experience with SEO and has provided consultancy to global brands like IBM, Dell, Sony, and Reuters.
There are many challenging aspects of SEO you need to master, but one of the most difficult things is how to measure SEO to get an understanding of whether what you’re doing is actually working.
As SEO can sometimes take months to be really effective and for you to start seeing the fruits of your labour, it’s a hard question to answer.
In this article, I’ll take you through some of the most important SEO KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators), and metrics you should be tracking to see exactly what’s going on with your SEO. These are the data points you should be keeping an eye on, and including in your SEO reports.
Here are a few of the most important SEO metrics you need to monitor.
Arguably, rankings are a lot of people’s favourite SEO metric. Keyword rankings tell you the average position you have in the search engines, for a range of keywords that your website gets found for.
It’s a solid metric, and I won’t lie, winning the number one spot makes you feel pretty damn good!
But, you must be ranking for the right keywords. The keywords you rank can provide you with useful information, such as whether or not your site is actually growing. Over time, you should see your rankings improve, as well as growth in the total number of keywords your site is ranking for. Improvements in these two areas will tell you that your site is gaining authority and that your content is starting to gain more exposure and traffic.
It also tells you whether or not you’re targeting the right keywords. If your site cannot be found for your target keywords, you need to change your approach and focus on less competitive keywords for some time until you can increase those rankings.
Organic traffic is a critical SEO metric, simply because the ultimate goal of SEO is to get more traffic from search engines.
As I said, rankings are important, and you should track your rankings for the main keywords. But, improving your position from #9 to #6 in Google probably won’t make a significant increase in your traffic.
Rankings fluctuate all the time, and if you are monitoring an extensive list of keywords, it can be challenging to draw concrete conclusions. For this reason, you must focus on organic traffic.
If your traffic isn’t growing, you need to revisit your overall SEO strategy and decide what can be improved.
SEO does take time to kick in fully, but with the right approach, you should start to see some improvements within 2-3 months.
Average CTR (Click Through Rate)
Measuring your average CTR tells you how good your search engine listings are at generating clicks to your website. It’s measured by the percentage of people that see your site in Google and click on the result to visit your site.
The higher your CTR, the better. Higher CTR equals more clicks, which equals more traffic.
It’s also likely that Google uses CTR in its algorithm. If your site is getting a lot of clicks, it sends a message to Google that your page is a highly relevant result for the keyword. As a result, you may get ranked higher. And, higher rankings get more clicks, which means more traffic!
A recent ranking study by Backlinko analysed CTR data across 874,929 pages and 5,079,491 search queries. They found that:
- The #1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average CTR of 31.7%.
- The #1 organic result is 10x more likely to receive a click compared to a page in #10 spot.
- Organic CTR for positions 7-10 is virtually the same.
- On average, moving up 1 spot in the search results will increase CTR by 30.8%. However, this depends on where you’re moving from and to. Moving from position #3 to position #2 will usually result in a significant CTR boost. However, moving from #10 #9 doesn’t make a statistically significant difference.
Engagement Metrics provide valuable insights into the user experience on your website. The show how well (or not), visitors are ‘engaging’ with your content once they arrive on your website. Engagement Metrics are an important part of Google’s algorithm, so it’s worth paying attention to the key ones:
- Time on page – quite simply, how long someone spends on a specific page. The longer, the better, which indicates the person read the content and spent time with it.
- Av pages viewed – the average number of pages a person looked at on your website during their session. More pages = more engaged visitor who wants to find out more.
- Bounce Rate – the percentage of visitors that leave a page without taking another action, like clicking on a link, filling out a form, or buying something.
Backlinks and Referring Domains
Backlinks are hyperlinks that go from one website to another. You can have lots of backlinks from the same website or page.
Referring domains are the entire websites from which your website or web page has one or more backlinks.
For example, if a page has a backlink from the Guardian, then it has one referring domain. If it has a link from the Guardian and the BBC, then it has two referring domains. If it has three backlinks from the Guardian, then it still has one referring domain.
But, if that number is going up, then it’s a sign that your content marketing and link building is proving effective. These are important metrics in SEO and PR because they tell you about your reach and coverage – where your content is getting picked up, and shared.
Domain Authority (DA) is a metric developed by Moz that indicates how authoritative a domain is. The more authority a domain has, the more likely it will be to rank well in the search engines, and the more trustworthy you are seen to be in the eyes of Google.
If your DA score is going up, it’s a strong signal that your SEO, content marketing, and PR efforts are working.
When all is said and done, the main objective of SEO is to generate more revenue for a business.
There are many different types of conversions you can track, and they will be unique to you. You may want to track newsletter sign-ups, guide downloads, contact us form completions, as well as purchases and revenue.
And if you want to really want to understand how well your SEO is working, you need to track these types of conversions and make changes to your activity from the data you gain.
ROI (Return on Investment)
Finally, and progressing from the last point around conversions, you’ll want to understand if all of your SEO efforts are bringing you a solid ROI. In short, is your SEO making you more money than you’re spending on it?
The way to calculate your ROI is: [(revenue generated from SEO – SEO spend) ÷ SEO spend] x 100.
For example, you spend £20,000 on your SEO, and it generates £450,000 in revenue for your business.
The calculation would be:
[(£450,000 – £20,000) ÷ £20,000] x 100 = 2,150% ROI
Or, you could just use this handy ROI calculator!
In conclusion, measuring the KPI’s of your SEO PR activity is critical if you want to know if your efforts are paying off. Monitoring SEO metrics is a must, providing you with the vital information that you need to adjust and improve your SEO PR strategy.
Learn how to use SEO to boost your PR: Join our 8-week course
Our upcoming course ‘How to Use SEO to Boost Your PR’ will equip you with the knowledge you need to integrate your PR and SEO work effectively and build high performing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) campaigns with confidence.
During the course you will learn:
- The importance of an integrated SEO and PR strategy
- How to rank more highly in Google, and get more traffic
- How to implement SEO best practice on your website, in your content and link building
- How to set objectives and KPIs and measure performance
- How to pull it all together to create a robust SEO/PR strategy that achieves your goals
- And much more!
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