How do you track SEO performance?
Planning and executing an SEO campaign is neither the trickiest part nor the end of it all. The clincher lies in the ability to track the success of SEO efforts, refine your strategies, and continually improve on the next campaign. How to prove the success of a campaign development to the client?
The answer lies in the tracking of SEO performance through key performance indicators or KPIs.
What is KPI in SEO?
The set of trusted metrics to measure results as well as to identify new optimization opportunities. The most common metrics used in SEO, as well as the tools where these metrics are found measure the effects and track the performance of SEO.
Search engines dictate the flow of online traffic. However, rankings and page views aren’t the sole indicators anymore and there are many different SEO KPIs, or metrics in play. Now, engagement driven ranking factors and the technical parts of a website also matter.
KPIs help to measure an SEO strategy’s performance, effectiveness, and progress but knowing the right ones to track make a world of difference.
What is a good KPI?
Good KPIs are those metrics that turn out to be useful at all stages of a campaign. Some specific KPIs measure the performance of website for organic search results, track changes, and analyse how algorithm updates affect websites.
The good KPI examples are those select individual set of KPIs that are based on your project goals. This has to be the main criteria to consider when choosing KPIs for evaluating your SEO results.
Outline your goals:
For instance, it could be driving more visitors, so specify the goal as ‘30% increase in site visitors by quarter-end or year-end.’
Finalise the budget:
Approve the specified amount to be spent on the SEO campaign goals before beginning.
Decide the tracking tools:
The right monitoring tools should be in place before starting and ideally set on automated tracking to save time and efforts on reports.
How is KPI measured?
SEO requires solid behaviour-tracking and data analytics technology. Over the years a number of tools and services have evolved to extract the most relevant data on user behaviour and to get precise results of SEO efforts. They help to reach SEO goals faster and most companies use them to track KPI’s.
Some of the most important SEO KPIs can be measured in Google Webmasters Tools and Google Analytics. They are still irreplaceable for most webmasters. Recently, the Google Search Console is gaining importance as it allows to check indexing for web pages and channel better site optimisation.
Depending on the goals set, one or more combination of tools can be used. For instance, Ahrefs and Moz tools for measuring specific properties competitor websites, while CrazyEgg and KissMetrics help to improve user experience.
How many types of KPI are there?
There are many different SEO KPIs to keep track of, but not all of them are equal in importance or measuring medium and owe their importance to your goals.
Here are some of the key performance indicators that are widely measured across SEO campaigns.
- Organic Sessions or Organic Traffic
- Keyword Rankings
- Bounce Rate
- Average Session Duration
- Page Load Time
- Lifetime value of users
- Top Exit Pages
- Crawl Errors
- Search visibility
- Organic CTR
- Mobile Usability Report
- Accelerated Mobile Pages
- Branded traffic
- Cost per click
- Domain Authority
Which KPIs are most important and how many KPIs should I track?
The top 8 KPIs to track for SEO success are outlined here. If you want to set better goals for your SEO campaign you should be tracking these in 2020:
Measure them by source such as organic search engines, social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), referral links on other sites, direct browser-typed traffic, and paid search.
Measure them by page to segment and identify exact pages that receive more traffic. It reveals the highest-converting pages and helps to strategize increasing traffic to the right pages for long-term value realisation.
Fluctuations or slightest shifts in keyword rankings could mean thousands of users in gained or lost traffic. Data on current positions and how they are changing, and quick reactions to them can mean higher search positions. This in turn helps to reach other objectives such as traffic, leads, and conversions.
Click-through rate (CTR) is a performance metric measuring the ratio of clicks to the total number of users who viewed your link in search results. Monitoring the CTR can help in fixing problems where high impressions don’t result in significant traffic.
A crucial metric that measures the percentage of site visitors who bounced without taking any action in the website. This affects page ranking hence, tracking the bounce rate will enable more required brainstorming to arrest it.
Average session duration
Monitoring the amount of time visitors usually spend on a website measures the user engagement. Tracking it helps to assess the quality of a site and understand whether changes into site structure are needed like internal linking, breadcrumbs, hamburger menus, etc.
The higher the number of good backlinks from trusted, high-quality websites in your site, the better they perform in organic search. Measuring backlinks and the total number of referring domains help in building them. Website are then deemed more trustworthy and authoritative by search engines.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
With greater mobile traffic, it’s important to give mobile users a good experience. Thus, Google prefers a better performance in mobile devices like faster loading and optimised display. Regular monitoring can remove errors in problematic URLs, user-friendliness, speed, etc.
SEO is a long-term investment, so calculating SEO ROI is a very nuanced process. Potential benefits from content or optimisations added can take years to come. Take stock of your annual SEO revenue and your annual SEO spending or even monthly figures to assess the success of your campaign.
KPIs are not only about measuring but also for proactively improving website efforts. Just remember to combine business goals with SEO goals, and choose the relevant SEO KPIs.