Marketing teams should always have clear goals in mind, but they also need to keep an eye on the methods they’re using to achieve these aims.
That’s where SEO key performance indicators (KPIs) come in. These are the metrics you should track in order to ensure everything is moving in the right direction and to identify areas where things could be tweaked to maximize results.
Once you realize KPIs are an important part of your SEO strategy, there are a lot of other questions that follow. These include identifying which ones to track and how to measure them. While many SEO KPIs are situational and will be more relevant for some types of business over others, there are some essential KPIs every marketing team should be aware of.
1. Search rankings
Chances are you’re already tracking your search rankings because it’s the KPI marketers associate with SEO the most. The higher your website comes in search results the more likely you’ll meet your targets in terms of leads, traffic and conversion. Do keep an eye on your keyword rankings, but remember there are other elements that contribute to SEO success.
2. Customer lifetime value
If you only track one KPI then it should be customer lifetime value. That’s because it’s a unifying metric that looks at all stages of the funnel to give you a much wider picture than many of the other KPIs out there. It encourages all departments to work together to ensure that new customers are retained and don’t become more expensive to acquire than the amount they spend with your business.
3. Content efficiency
Ask any marketer why they publish content and the answer will probably be to rank in search or attract visitors to their site and they wouldn’t be wrong. But the overall objective of this activity is to meet your company goals and the content efficiency KPI will help you to understand how much of what you’re publishing is achieving these aims. Armed with this data, you can decide what’s best to create going forward and which pieces should be updated and improved.
4. Search visibility
Being visible in search for specific keywords is an important part of the SEO process and tracking this KPI can help you understand the impact your content is making. It’s particularly useful for the early stages of an SEO strategy implementation when you might not have started attracting visitors. It can also highlight if there’s a lack of users clicking on your pages despite being visible in search.
5. Branded traffic
Brand awareness is a common objective of various SEO activities, but it can be hard to quantify. Determining how much of your traffic is coming from search terms that include your company name is one way to do it. Branded traffic also has the highest conversion rates because users have already decided which business they’re looking for prior to seeing the results.
6. Cost per click
Working out how much it costs to obtain each click on your website from organic search results in relation to your SEO practices can have a powerful impact on your actions. This should be tracked and compared each month, with the trajectory for cost per click going down every month if you’re getting your SEO right. Plot this metric on a graph and show it to any stakeholders that need convincing.
7. Return on investment
The bottom line in business is return on investment (ROI). It doesn’t matter how much traffic you’re attracting or the level of your brand awareness, companies want to see money in the bank. ROI takes time - six or 12 months in some cases - to be detected, so it’s a long-term KPI to track, but one that can prove the viability of your business.
8. Coverage issues
Tracking KPIs works at its best when it alerts you to something earlier than you’d have realized otherwise. Coverage issues are a good example of this, as you’re more likely to notice the symptoms before the cause. Crawling and indexing errors on your site can limit your SEO success, so don’t overlook this crucial KPI.
9. Page speed score
Your page speed score is among the KPIs that many marketers mistakenly dismiss as a one-time thing to measure. Even if it starts out well, your site’s speed can be affected by a myriad of issues from an underperforming server to images being added to your blog without having them optimized. Check your speed regularly to avoid putting users off your site.
10. Number of new and returning users
Understanding a user’s intent is vital in designing an effective conversion journey and one of the most definitive segments is whether a visitor is new or returning. These two demographics will use your website completely differently, so arm yourself with the data and maximize their experience based on this information.
To learn more about the most important content metrics and best practices, listen to our interview with Marco Giordano on The Strategic Marketing Show:
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