Coming up with a great product catalog and a killer brand identity to match is only part of the process of making a stunning success of your business.
The rest is all about making sure your target audience knows you’re out there and that you’ve got the solution they’ve been looking for.
That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
Your SEO strategy is the key to ensuring your website achieves the high search engine results page (SERP) rankings it needs to stand out.
But without keeping track of the right key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge your progress, even the best SEO campaign is nothing more than a shot in the dark.
Here are a few SEO KPIs every web admin, business owner, and marketing expert should be watching.
1. SERP Ranking
Take a moment and think about the last Google search you performed.
How far into your SERP results were you willing to dig in search of a viable answer? According to key Google statistics, it likely wasn’t very far, and you’re not alone there.
- Between 26 and 32 percent of clicks go to the very first result.
- Just under 4 percent of clicks on a SERP go to paid ads.
- Approximately 50 percent of search results never attract any clicks at all.
That said, it’s not enough for your website to simply appear on a SERP. The further it falls from the top of a searcher’s results, the fewer clicks it will ultimately attract.
Higher rankings mean more traffic and ultimately higher conversion rates, so keep track of how you’re measuring up in regards to important keywords and search terms.
2. Search Visibility
Some SEO KPIs aren’t just useful in and of themselves. They also provide excellent data to work from as you brainstorm other aspects of your ongoing SEO campaign.
Search visibility is one of those metrics, as it can prove you’re making progress even before you’ve reached the stage where you’re also driving lots of high-value traffic to your site.
Search visibility refers to how often your website appears in search results for various keywords it ranks for.
Each time this happens, whether the appearance results in a click or not, an impression is recorded. Impressions are easily tracked via Google Search Console, so keep your eye on yours.
3. Organic Traffic
Your organic traffic refers to the number of visitors that land on your website via a natural search, as opposed to a PPC ad or other paid tactic.
It’s also perhaps one of the most critical SEO KPIs to keep your eye on, as it directly relates to how well you’re doing overall with your optimization efforts.
Every last one of your organic visitors represents someone with high conversation potential, as each came to you in search of a solution or answer you’re equipped to provide.
There’s no universal number of visitors a site needs to have before it can be considered an SEO success, so be sure to set reasonable goals of your own to shoot for.
Then review your numbers monthly via a tool like Google Analytics to see how you’re measuring up.
Keep an eye out for connections between traffic rates and seasonality, current events, and other vital factors.
4. Page Load Time
The average amount of time it takes for a landing page on your site to load has an immense impact on your SEO, so it’s among the more crucial SEO KPIs to be aware of.
According to research, today’s average web user expects a web page to load within 2-3 seconds, and 25 percent of web users will abandon a site altogether if load times exceed 4 seconds.
Furthermore, nearly half of all web users won’t revisit a website after even one poor experience, so first impressions definitely matter.
That said, Google is in the business of delivering the best solutions possible to its users, so a high-ranking website needs to be more than just informative.
It also needs to offer a user experience in step with Google’s high standards. Lengthy page load times and high bounce rates tell Google that a site isn’t up to snuff, so don’t let yours fall by the wayside.
5. Average Session Duration
Your average session duration is the median amount of time your visitors spend on your site after landing there.
As with organic traffic, the numbers you’re shooting for here depend entirely on your current goals and site map. However, this is a great KPI to assess how effective your content is overall.
Longer session times suggest unique, in-depth content that’s laid out in a way that intuitively leads users from one relevant page to another.
You can increase the average time a visitor spends on your site by providing an optimal user experience on several levels.
Dress up your written content by adding images, videos, and other visuals when it makes sense to do so. Format it with headings and lists so it’s easy to read and skim.
Add both internal and external links to your content to make it easy for users to find even more information relevant to their needs, as well.
6. Backlink Catalog
Your backlink catalog is among the most crucial factors Google looks at when deciding how to rank your domain, so don’t forget to pay close attention to yours.
Backlinks are powerful social proof that your content is helpful, informative, and worth paying attention to.
Think of each one as a vote of confidence from someone else in your niche who knows what’s good and wants to recommend it to their following as a result.
More is usually better when it comes to backlinks, but it’s also important to understand backlink quality matters.
Helpful, high-quality backlinks that are good for your SEO come from relevant, respected authority sites in your industry or niche.
However, toxic backlinks can actually hurt your SEO efforts, so use a link analytics tool to keep an eye on things.
7. Branded Traffic
If building brand awareness is part of your company’s current marketing campaign, then branded traffic should definitely make your running list of important SEO KPIs.
Branded traffic is traffic that comes to your site via searches for terms containing your company’s name.
Users who find you this way are highly likely to convert, as they already know they want your products as opposed to someone else’s.
Again, you can check and monitor your branded traffic via a tool like Google Search Console.
Just load any keywords connected to your company or brand name into the filter, and get an in-depth look at how your associated impressions and clicks have evolved over various periods.
Don’t forget to analyze common keyword misspellings, as well. After all, nobody’s perfect, especially when they’re in a hurry.
8. Bounce Rate
Your bounce rate speaks to the number of visitors who land on one of your web pages but promptly leave again without further interacting with your site.
An unusually high bounce rate doesn’t just hurt your bottom line. It also negatively impacts your SEO, as Google will see it as evidence your site may not deliver what its users are looking for when they search specific key terms.
Although typical bounce rates can be as high as 70 percent in certain industries, 50 percent is much closer to the expected average.
Reasons for an unusually high bounce rate can vary from site to site, but common examples include:
- Slow load speeds
- Poor site design
- Overabundance of ads
- Underwhelming content
You can monitor bounce rates for your site by adding tracking tags to your pages in Google Analytics.
If bounce rates for specific pages seem unusually high, it’s essential to determine why and promptly address any potential usability issues.
9. Conversion Rate
When you’re running a business and looking to turn a profit, success is about more than driving traffic to your site and making sure your content answers all of your visitors’ questions.
You also need to focus on whether those high CTRs and all that content you work so hard on are actually giving you a return on your investment.
That said, anyone who runs an eCommerce site should add conversion rate to their list of essential SEO KPIs to keep track of.
Use Google Analytics conversion tracking tags to collect and organize data on where your conversions are really coming from.
Which web pages are doing the best job of generating actual leads instead of just attracting visits? What does your data tell you about how to better focus your efforts in the future?
At the end of the day, mastering SEO isn’t something you do just once.
Factors like technology, social values, the economy, and the expectations of your target audience are constantly changing, so the world of solid search engine optimization is ever-evolving, as well.
Staying ahead of the curve and beating your competition does mean monitoring key SEO KPIs to keep track of your progress.
But it also means staying knowledgeable about current SEO trends on an ongoing basis, so you know where to take your strategy next.
Take the next step with our report on this year’s most important SEO trends to know!
You’ll learn all about how to effectively improve page speeds, engage an audience with dynamic interactive content, master first-party data collection, and more!