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  • SEO KPIs: Critical Key Performance Indicators to Measure Your Online Marketing Success

    SEO KPIs: Critical Key Performance Indicators for SEO Reporting

    Did you know that, on average, 53.3% of visitors on a website come from organic search?

    We all know SEO and keyword rankings matter, but what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) KPIs (key performance indicators) are the best representation of SEO success and which are simply vanity metrics?

    With critical information, marketing teams decide if their SEO initiatives did them justice or not.

    And these KPIs can help determine the right target keywords for your website along with the most-visited pages and improvements needed on your website.

    Keep in mind that digital marketing strategies differ from site to site: what may suffice on one website may not be as fruitful on another.

    Therefore, experimentation is essential in finding out what works for you!

    And you can validate that by referring to several SEO performance indicators.

    Let’s dig in!

    Organic Sessions

    Organic Sessions

    These sessions highlight the amount of traffic coming in from search engines like Bing and Google. In addition, you will gain an in-depth understanding of a user’s journey, from landing on your website to the actions that follow, and finally, the exit.

    Furthermore, each session is time-sensitive; if no activity prevails for 30 minutes, the session expires. Also, a single user can open multiple sessions.

    You can gain all insights via Google Analytics or other reporting tools like Agency Analytics, which allows you to work with many parameters.

    One of the most crucial key performance indicators in organic traffic is growth — seeing more website visits than before. And this increase is made apparent by how well you rank for your targeted keywords.

    Suppose that your website stood on the 55th position for a particular keyword, and the said keyword has a decent following. Fast forward three months, thanks to your solid SEO initiatives, you now rank on the 5th position, i.e., the first page. As a result, your site would be visible to all potential leads; consequently, you will see a significant spike in traffic.

    And this has been authenticated by a study claiming that the first five results see 67.60% of clicks, whereas the remaining five on the first page only account for 3.73% of visits.

    When you begin ranking well for most targeted keywords, you start being considered an authoritative source by potential leads. In turn, you enjoy heightened brand awareness, which eventually leads to direct searches for your brand, products, or services.

    To reap all these benefits, you have to carry out extensive on-page and off-page optimization, which would eventually lead to a rise in SERPs for targeted and untargeted keywords.

    You can form more organic sessions by meticulously crafting relevant and compelling page titles and a meta-description with an enticing and clear call-to-action.

    Increase In Keyword Ranking

    Keyword rankings are where all your specified keywords are placed in major search engines. The closer they are to number one, the better it is.

    Search ranking is a critical KPI since it directly correlates with the success of your digital marketing efforts. Once you are in better search positions, you can reach other objectives like leads, traffic, and conversions.

    Typically, you will rank rather quickly for long-tail, brand-specific, and location-specific keywords, whereas high difficulty keywords will take relatively much longer.

    Keyword ranking is an important KPI since client’s base SEO success on it. Additionally, they are the entry point to attain various objectives: higher traffic, higher leads, and higher sales. Therefore, you must keep a close eye on your keyword positions.

    Yes, fluctuations are common due to competition and frequent Google Algorithm updates; despite that, you will enjoy considerable growth in the long run.

    Ideally, you should be monitoring daily; however, check every week if you can’t manage that. If you see a drop in ranking, find the issue and resolve it.

    Remember, minimal drops are pretty common, so don’t fret and go overboard when optimizing off-page and on-page SEO.

    Because Over-optimizing content is as harmful as under-optimizing it.

    Everything from speed optimizations to high-quality content additions to developing an excellent social following to link building will help you improve your rankings.

    Leads And Conversions

    Primary Lead Source by Company Type

    The factors above talk about bringing people to your site, attracting visitors to your website from various search engines. Next, we talk about how to direct people to what your intent is from their visit.

    Basically, random traffic won’t be of much help; the aim is to gain leads that will easily convert into sales. To put it simply, a lead is any contact you have with your potential customer. It can be in the form of a:

    • Phone Call
    • Completed Purchase
    • Newsletter signup
    • Registration for a webinar
    • Contact form submission for additional information

    Thanks to Google Analytics and other dedicated platforms, tracking leads is now a seamless process, now you can tell

    • Whether you have a higher conversion rate on desktop vs. mobile?
    • Which page content drives the highest leads?
    • And what demographic is ideal for you: Men vs. women, young vs. old, etc.

    Furthermore, you can create stellar sales funnels that direct visitors towards the call to action. Also, inspect the bounce rate; if high, devise a plan to bring it down.

    All these improvements will enhance the customer’s experience, which will entice more leads to finish what they started — clicking add to cart or any other CTA.

    To further improve results for this particular KPI, focus on user experience (UX) and conversion rate optimization (CRO) by monitoring if:

    • Your call-to-action clear and prominent?
    • Is your website easy to access and navigable?
    • Is your content persuasive and trustworthy?
    • Can your users easily move through the conversion funnel?

    Organic Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

    Position and Click-Through Rate

    CTR measures the frequency of clicks on your website when it shows up on the search engine page.

    If you have a very high organic CTR, Bravo!. But keep in mind, just having exceptional search visibility and keyword ranking won’t just cut it; you need to entice people to click via Meta-titles and Meta-descriptions (the caption that appears under your link.)

    Within 160 characters, you need to captivate them, so they end up choosing you over others.

    Bounce Rate

    Bounce rate is another KPI metric that measures how long a user stays on a page, from when it fully loads until the user exits.

    It is calculated by dividing non-interactive sessions by total sessions. Usually, a bounce rate is around 40 to 60 percent for any website. Therefore, about half of all the sessions are expected to end with no action. However, this varies greatly depending on your niche/industry.

    It is a critical KPI because the crucial priority for any search engine algorithm is to satisfy its user’s search query. Thus, the search engine wants to resolve the issue with the highest quality and most relevant result whenever anyone searches a keyword.

    However, when the user bounces back to the search result page, it indicates that the ranked page was irrelevant, might not be trustworthy, or was frustrating to navigate.

    On the other hand, a lower bounce rate shows that your website is relevant, has a stellar UI leading to an exceptional user experience (UX), and is easy to navigate.

    Website Engagement

    Your website is the face of your brand to the customers. Thanks to your online presence, customers come to know about your values, services, and products.

    The primary purpose of a website is to increase the number of visits and conversions. Following are some parameters to augments your website’s engagement.

    • How many new prospects are constantly discovering your website? Unique website visitors are significant to your brand’s presence. Yes, you want conversions and revisits, but you also need to engage new prospects to increase your brand’s presence continuously.
    • The second engagement parameter is opt-in registrations. How many of those new prospects are signing up? Provide compelling and engaging gated and non-gated content to website visitors in exchange for their contact information. Content types include white papers, newsfeeds, free e-books, and so on
    • To increase conversions, focus on encouraging people to revisit. This is made possible by constantly updating your website with valuable content and notifying past users about it. Not only will the overall traffic increase, but the revenue potential of each user also improves.
    • Another key engagement parameter is the time spent by users on your website. A more extended stay means that your website has gained their interest by providing adequate information. Make sure that all page’s load quickly, and the provided menu is easy to navigate.

    Pages Per Session

    The page per session is a straightforward metric that measures the number of visits of any user during a session. Furthermore, it also counts all the repeated views on a single page.

    Pages Per Session
    “Pages per session” helps indicate how readily users enjoy and engage with your site.

    It all depends on how you have mapped your site and how good your sales funnel is. So, if you have a single-page website, one page per session is a perfect choice. However, if your website is content-heavy, In that case, you can expect to see many pages during a single session on average.

    Like other metrics that track user behavior, this is also an important KPI since it indicates the quality and value of your site and how users navigate through it.

    To direct users deeper into your sales funnel, ensure that all CTAs are clear and prominent, even in deep inner pages.

    Backlinks

    The Relationships Between Google Rankings and Backlinks

    Link building for SEO has always been considered one of the most critical SEO metrics by SEO experts and content marketers. Among those, the essential factor behind rankings these days is backlinks. All of this comes down to a single thing; your SEO strategy must be revolving around acquiring various links.

    So the equation is simple, right? More quality backlinks lead to better-earning potentials; not exactly. If you acquire low-quality links, you will fail to improve your website’s authority. Instead, your website’s spam score may increase, resulting in a lower trust flow.

    Page Load Speed

    Page Load Speed

    Another factor contributing to the highly discussed metric is the page load speed. To understand this metric, think about how you behave as a user. If any website takes longer to load, you may move to the next best alternative.

    If a site is slow to load, users tend to avoid visiting deeper pages. Furthermore, the conversion rate suffers because of a lousy first interaction.

    An ideal page loading time depends on your user’s patience and content complexity; however, most users will leave the page if it takes more than three seconds to load. Therefore, with every extra loading second, you can expect the bounce rate to increase.

    Also, the bounce rate increases by 90 percent if a page takes five seconds to load. Therefore, whenever you consider making changes to your site, whether uploading a new picture or redesigning the page layout, always consider how much loading time may increase.

    Luckily, optimizing speed is relatively easy, thanks to popular platforms like GTMetrix, Pingdom Tools, and Google PageSpeed Insights.

    Crawl Errors

    The Googlebot and various crawlers must access and observe site content to assess its relevance and value. If crawl errors exist, crawlers aren’t able to properly access all the published pages.

    You can find crawl errors in Google Search Console. Plus, you can test your page’s crawlability any time using the ‘Fetch as Google’ tool within the console and then selecting the ‘fetch and render’ option.

    Suppose you see an increase in crawl errors. In that case, you must take immediate action, especially if they are at the server level or if the URL errors are affecting your core pages.

    Key Takeaway

    Putting these actions at the center of your SEO online marketing strategy can genuinely help you retain a positive ROI for your online business.

    Additionally, measuring and setting SEO KPIs (typically by following a stringent SEO auditing process) to assist you in keeping your efforts focused and constantly increasing your campaign’s performance.

    While almost every marketer has their unique set of KPIs that they follow and report to key stakeholders, the bottom line is that you must analyze your site’s performance regularly against them.

    KPIs help keep your growth on track while also acting as an indicator to observe progression against long-term goals.

    Chief Marketing Officer at SEO Company
    In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International. As a technical SEO strategist, Sam leads all paid and organic operations teams for client SEO services, link building services and white label SEO partnerships. He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building. Connect with Sam on Linkedin.
    Samuel Edwards