What are SEO KPIs? They are key performance indicators of your SEO strategy.
In 2018 search engines still dictate at least 50% of online traffic, so it’s important to keep your website optimized.
But with that said, SEO has changed a lot in recent years. Rankings and page views don’t tell the full story anymore.
There are many different SEO KPIs, or metrics, that we must track in order to optimize our websites and stay ahead of competitors on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
And therein lies the challenge – there are many different SEO KPIs we now must keep track of, but not all of them can be directly measured.
In this post, we’ll go over the most important SEO KPIs and how to measure them.
But we know some of you are already asking this question: “if you don’t have an SEO strategy in place yet, then how can you choose the most important SEO KPIs to track? And also, how should you prioritize SEO?”
How can a small business fit SEO into their already busy schedule?
The answer is to first define your marketing goals.
How To Fit SEO Into Your Digital Marketing Strategy
When optimizing your website for SEO, you don’t want to start with SEO goal planning; instead you want to start with your business goals. What is your business trying to accomplish this month or this year?
Your SEO goals should align with your business and marketing goals. For example, are you trying to improve your conversion funnel? Or are you trying to get more traffic to the top of your funnel?
A funnel is the process that you take your visitors through, from their first contact with your business to the sale or conversion.
Your SEO strategy can align with either of these 2 goals, albeit in different ways. You’d be monitoring different SEO KPIs to measure your success.
For instance, if you want more traffic coming into the top of your funnel, then your SEO strategy could be targeting more broadly. As a result, you’d want to focus more on certain metrics.
Why are we mentioning marketing goals in relation to SEO goals? Because all too often, SEO goals are based on what the business knows about SEO, and not based on the business’s focus and priorities.
As a result, SEO often gets de-prioritized because the SEO goals don’t match up with the business’s goals.
But we understand the need for business goals and SEO goals to align. That’s why we help our clients choose intelligent and impactful SEO strategies that will move their business forward.
After you’ve already decided on your business goals, you’ll want to choose the most important SEO KPIs to track.
A study from SEMrush summer 2017 showed the most important SEO ranking factors.
In short, engagement driven ranking factors were very important.
But with that said, it’s still important to optimize the technical parts of your website. If your website is setup correctly, you’ll always reap more benefits from engagement driven content.
So, we’re going to look over some SEO KPIs from both of these categories. The following metrics will help you measure your SEO strategy’s performance, effectiveness, and progress. Knowing which ones to track will make a world of difference for your business.
In Google Analytics
Every business owner should already be familiar with Google Analytics. But most business owners have only scratched the surface of what the freemium service offers. Some of the most important SEO KPIs can be measured right in GA.
- Organic Traffic: Goal Completions And Conversions
Conversions are one of the most important SEO KPIs, because even if you get lots of visitors, it won’t matter if they don’t convert.
To track goal completions, follow these steps:
- Under the Conversions tab, go to Goals > Overview
- Click on “Add Segment”, then choose “Organic Traffic.” (FYI: organic traffic is the traffic that comes in from your own efforts, as opposed to other paid methods.)
- Click Apply. You will then see a report where you can see SEO KPIs including goal completions, goal value, and goal conversion rate. Inorganic traffic should already be filtered out, so what you see is your organic traffic ROI.
Now, don’t take these goals at face value. Organic traffic can just be the customer’s pathway to complete a goal, but the more effective marketing channel could have come earlier in their journey. To find that channel, go to
- Conversions, then
- Multi-channel Funnels, then
- Top Conversion Pathways
Bounce rate refers to the number of visitors who leave a website after viewing one page only. It’s one of the most important SEO KPIs because it illustrates the visitor’s journey. If they leave after only a few seconds, then something is pushing people away from your site. It could be design, content, copy, or something else. Look at your data and determine what could be causing the bounce.
One of the most common causes of bounces is incoherent ad copy or meta description copy. The visitors are lead to believe your page is about one thing based on your meta description only to find it’s about a different topic once they reach your landing page. Disappointment and annoyance leads to them leaving the site right away.
Thankfully, there’s a simple fix: make the information on your website simple, cohesive, and easy to understand.
The next thing to look at is your website design and layout. After all, what’s the point in applying SEO strategies to improve ranking if people are leaving your website anyway because they can’t find what they’re looking for?
- Visit Behavior, then
- Site Content, then
- Landing Pages
- Make sure you have organic traffic segment checked off again.
- You will see the bounce rate report.
If the bounce rate is high and time spent on the site is low, this could indicate that you aren’t meeting your audience’s needs, or you’re attracting the wrong audience.
But on the other hand, if they’re visiting your other pages, it shows that your content was engaging and relevant enough to keep them perusing throughout your site.
- Your Top Bounce Pages
On a similar note, it’s also important to know the top pages where people are leaving your site.
Once again, keep organic traffic segmentation on and go to:
- Behavior, then
- Site Content, then
- Exit Pages
When you have the data on this page, it will be easier for you to fix the things that are making people leave your site.
- The Lifetime Value of Your Users
This SEO KPI lets you see the value of a user based on their lifetime performance.
- click Audience, then
- click Lifetime Value
- Here you can see several different metrics.
These metrics will provide you with a detailed view of the revenue potential of every customer that you gain through organic search. For this to be accurate, you will need to have entered the value you place on the conversion of a customer. If the average customer usually spends $30 per order and you think they will place 10 orders with you in their lifetime, then their customer value would be $300.
In Google Search Console
This is another free service from Google, specifically for webmasters. It allows them to check indexing for their web pages and better optimize their sites. If you’re no webmaster and this is more than your skill level, our experts can help you out with initial SEO services for your site.
- Total Number of Organic Clicks
In the search console, you can also see a report that will tell you how many clicks you got on your website and from what search terms.
You can also see the landing pages generating the most clicks along with the devices that are sending organic traffic your way.
Tip: filter data by search type = web. Or you might see lots of image search based queries!
You can also look at search volume through Google trends, a Google Ads campaign, or the keyword explorer from Moz.
- Mobile Usability Report
Mobile traffic has already surpassed desktop traffic, so it’s even more important now to give mobile users a good experience.
- click Search Traffic, then
- Mobile Usability
- The report will show issues facing users and will also show the URLs that don’t display properly on mobile screens.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages
Aka “amp”, this is one of the most important SEO KPIs in 2018.
- visit Search Appearance, then
- click Accelerated Mobile Pages
- You will see the list of AMP URLs having problems. Be sure to regularly monitor and address these errors!
If these errors are not addressed, it not only can but will definitely have negative effects on your site. Google does not take the use of mobile lightly. They always want to provide a positive user experience, no matter the screen size. If your site isn’t providing that, then Google will make your competitors more visible than you.
This is one of the most overlooked (but crucial) SEO KPIs.
This function will help you to uncover urls that are inaccessible by Googlebot.
- First click Crawl, then
- Crawl Errors
- Monitor this report on a regular basis and fix errors.
What are the other benefits of this function? Simply put, Google will properly cache the pages of your website. This will increase the chance of getting your pages ranked in Google and also raise your organic search traffic.
But is getting indexed really such a big deal? After all, many people think that when they submit a page Google will automatically index it. This isn’t true! Rather, Google just sees it like a suggestion on what to index.
Checking if pages are indexed is one of the most critical SEO KPIs because if they aren’t indexed, you might be losing out big time. Even more so if the pages are important to your business’s success.
Finally, you’ll also want to submit your sitemap on search console and check to see if your most important website pages are being blocked by robots.txt. If they are, then you’ll want to get them unblocked.
Not sure how to do any of this? Our team knows how to do all this and more. Save yourself the headache and contact us to see what we can do for you.
Other SEO KPIs
- Your Target Keywords and Their Organic Ranking
This is one of the most common seo KPIs. For this one, you have to identify the main keywords that are sending most of the traffic to your website.
Considering all of the changes to Google search engine results pages (SERPs), such as PPC ads, local listings, images, news, etc, organic ranking is one of the most important SEO KPIs to track.
So how do you rise to the top of organic rankings for your target keywords?
Start with a clear aim – build your content to answer user questions. You’ll likely rank better than if you were to build content aimed around ranking for keywords.
This SEO KPI became very important in 2017 and will continue to be so in the years to come. In fact, in July of 2018, website speed began to factor into rankings on mobile searches.
Google wants users to have the best experience. Remember that your customers are Google’s customers first. To take this analogy even further, your website is simply a referral by Google.
This is why page speed matters. It matters for SEO because Google will rank the websites that give the best user experiences higher. It also matters for your conversions and the price you pay if you use Google Ads.
Fast loading times will please users (Google’s goal). So, that may be enough for you to rank ahead of a competitor with a slower loading page with similar information.
In simple terms, metadata means data about data. It’s how search engines validate the relevancy of the content on your website.
There are many applications for meta tags, and not all of them are worth including in your SEO strategy, but the length of meta descriptions below page titles in SERPs is.
Previously, 155 character Meta descriptions were the norm on 1st pages. But starting in November 2017, Meta descriptions with over 300 words were seen everywhere on Google’s SERPs.
Now, Meta descriptions aren’t ranking factors, but writing ones to keep up with latest algorithms will make your copy more valuable than competitors.
Time to Get Started
All of the above SEO KPIs should be taken into consideration for your SEO goals.
These SEO KPIs don’t just tell us how we’re doing; they also tell us how we can proactively improve our website. If you’ve looked into some of the KPIs we’ve provided and didn’t see great results, we can help you fix that.
Joining your business goals together with your SEO goals and choosing the right SEO KPIs will define your SEO success into 2018 and further beyond.
Looking for more information about SEO or ready to up your SEO game? Contact us here to find out more and get started.