Search engine optimization (SEO) is vital for any business in order to be visible on the web and attract more leads. Sometimes you need proof to upper management that all of the time you spent trying to please Google is paying off, and in a quantitative way. You should also know which tactics are working and which ones aren’t so you know how to allocate your resources.
We’ve talked about key performance indicators (KPIs) for inbound marketing before; this time around, we’re going to take a look at the KPIs you need to be looking at for SEO. A quantitative understanding of your SEO performance will allow you to understand what sort of impact SEO is having on your brand.
Organic Search Traffic Volume
The ultimate goal of SEO is to attract visitors to your site organically via search. This is a metric that should be tracked monthly. Don’t worry about tracking individual search terms, since Google recently made that information unavailable. Instead, focus on the month-over-month organic traffic to your site. You should see steady growth of at least 5%-7% every month once you’ve implemented inbound marketing strategies, including SEO.
Organic & Referral Traffic Conversions
Your site isn’t online just for fun, it’s a sales tool that should be converting visitors into leads. In general, more conversions will mean higher revenues down the road for your business. That’s why you should closely track conversions on your site. The number and quality of organic and referral traffic conversions will indicate the impact your SEO is having.
Wait, did I say referral traffic up there?! You bet I did. Your SEO focus shouldn’t be limited to your on-page efforts. Your off-page SEO work on social media and links from other sites to your high-quality content must be included in your SEO measurement.
Avoid looking strictly at the quantity of organic and referral traffic conversions, though. Ignoring quality will give you an inflated number of conversions from your SEO work. For example, let’s say that you’re a bank targeting businesses currently looking for loan information. These are low-quality leads just looking for information and won’t be a revenue stream since they’re competitors or your own workers. Your SEO may not be targeting your personas accurately if there’s high volume of low-quality leads.
1st Page Keyword Ranking
It’s true: Google recently encrypted keyword traffic information. Fear not! Marketing systems such as HubSpot still allow you to track where your keywords are ranking on search engine results pages (SERPS). If you’re not a HubSpot customer yet there are other free or paid online tools that work.
Without getting into a keyword theory debate, I’m just going to say that your business should have an identified set of keywords that you’re trying to rank for; use the ranking of these keywords as a KPI for your SEO. I recommend taking a bi-weekly or monthly look at your SERP ranking for your identified keywords due to the volatility of some search terms.
Keep a pulse on the terms that are ranking in the #1 position of a SERP for your business. This is a great indication of the results of your SEO work. It’s difficult to have a keyword rank on the first page of a SERP without some crafty SEO work behind the scenes.
Start Measuring And Keep At It
Stick with the three KPIs I’ve identified as you start out. The key is to start measuring these KPIs and keep doing it consistently. You’ll start to get better insights on how your SEO efforts are paying off after three to four months worth of reporting. Now you have some solid metrics that can be brought to upper management when they question all of those hours you’ve spent working on SEO. Just remember, SEO success doesn’t happen overnight. It usually takes a dedicated effort over a period of months.