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13 SEO KPIs You Should (And Shouldn’t) Track

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SEO KPIs (key performance indicators) are a crucial part of marketing strategy.

KPIs allow you to effectively measure your campaign’s progress to determine whether you’re on the path to getting the desired results.

However, not all SEO KPIs are the same, and some agencies and businesses don’t target the right ones.

Besides, these qualifiable values change with time, meaning you need to track them monthly to ensure you’re on the right track.

This post looks at the SEO KPIs you should track and those that you shouldn’t.

SEO KPIs You Should Track

Below are the crucial SEO KPIs you should track: 

Search Visibility

Search visibility refers to a website’s visibility from its organic keyword rankings.

For instance, if you rank for a certain keyword, get searched 200 times, and get 10 clicks, then the search visibility for that keyword is 10 percent.

Search visibility or SERP visibility is a crucial SEO KPI you should track. Although search visibility is a non-conversion metric, it plays a crucial part in your business growth. Generally, the higher your keyword ranks, the higher the search visibility.

And since about 75% of searchers don’t go past the first page of search results, these present a better opportunity for a higher share of voice (SOV)—the market size a brand owns compared to its competitors. The higher the SOV, the bigger your market share, and vice versa.

How to Track Search Visibility

There’s no single way to track or calculate search visibility for your website.

Different tools can help track search visibility in different ways. However, no matter the tool you use, keep these things in mind:

  • Ranking positions for your target keyword(s)
  • The estimated amount of impressions
  • Click-through-rate for each keyword

One of the best tools we use to calculate search visibility for our clients’ websites is Google Search Console (GSC). This is a free tool but more accurate than other SEO visibility tools because it shows real data from Google’s search engine.

Although GSC won’t provide the exact search visibility score, it gives the exact number of impressions your site receives from a ranking keyword. And as you know, more impressions mean more visibility.

Other tools that can help track your search visibility include Ahrefs Rank Tracker and SEMRush Visibility Trend Score.

These tools help us get a report of how a website is performing in search results, including:

  • The total number of impressions
  • Total clicks
  • Average ranking position
  • Average CTR

This report helps understand a website’s position in search visibility and the steps you should take to improve visibility.

Search Rankings

Every website, no matter the industry, wants to rank for relevant keywords. That indicates that search rankings are an essential KPI directly related to your SEO success.

Once your website ranks higher for relevant keywords in search engine results pages (SERPs), it increases your chances of achieving your other objectives, including increased traffic, leads, and conversions.

Generally, this metric measures how well your content ranks in search results, and its results are different depending on the page, search term, and day.

For instance, a page on your website may rank higher for a certain keyword but lower for another. Also, you may rank for a specific keyword in one day, but then the rankings drop significantly in a few days.

This explains why tracking your search rankings is crucial to identify this variability. However, you should only track your rankings for relevant keywords when doing this. The goal is to ensure that your web pages rank for the right keyword, so you can drive quality traffic and qualified leads.

We use tools like Ahrefs to monitor your target keywords to see how they perform in search rankings. But we don’t just track rankings; we consider whether those high rankings lead to other valuable results like leads and conversions.

If a website is ranking poorly for target keywords, we analyze what could be the cause and reoptimize it to boost its rankings.

Organic Traffic Conversions

Conversion from organic traffic happens when a visitor visits your website through an organic search and takes the expected step.

For instance, suppose you created your website to help get more subscribers to your fitness program. In that case, if a visitor finds the content you’ve published online when performing a search and subscribes to your program, that qualifies to be a conversion from organic traffic.

This is a crucial SEO KPI that businesses should track. This information helps determine the return on investment (ROI) and conversion rates for specific keywords.

It helps identify high-value keywords that can help propel business success. It also gives more information about visitors and what they are looking for, which helps with budget management for better conversions.

While the primary goal of creating content is to grow traffic, it makes more economic sense if that traffic will lead to more organic conversions.

Of course, conversions are not a ranking factor, but you increase your chances of conversions if you rank better in search results.

How to Track Conversions from Organic Traffic

The best tool to track conversion is Google Analytics 4. This tool helps track different conversion elements depending on the type of business you run.

For instance, if you’re in eCommerce, you should track the number of conversions and their value.

On the other hand, tracking leads, paid subscriptions, and trial sign-ups will come in handy if you offer subscription-based services.

If you aren’t sure how to use Google Analytics 4 to track your conversion, contact us, and our high-qualified SEO experts will be happy to help.

New and Lost Backlinks

We cannot overstate how crucial backlinks are for your SEO rankings. Having more quality backlinks pointing to your site is a positive sign for your content marketing, SEO, and PR efforts. However, when tracking your backlinks, you shouldn’t just focus on new backlinks; you should also focus on the backlinks you’ve lost over time.

Tracking new backlinks is crucial for your SEO strategy. The more high-quality backlinks a site has, the higher it will rank on the search engine results page, making it an essential SEO KPI to track.

Like new backlinks, it’s crucial to measure lost backlinks on your website, as this can negatively impact your rankings and search visibility.

One of the tools we use to track new and lost backlinks is Ahrefs.

SEO ROI

Measuring ROI (Return On Investment) on all your marketing campaigns, including your SEO efforts, is essential. SEO ROI measures the business value from all your SEO efforts in relation to their cost.

ROI percentage = Gain from SEO investment – Cost of the investment divided by the cost of investment multiplied by 100.

This is a great SEO KPI to track, especially if a client wants it. However, this KPI isn’t easy to track and may give negative initial results.

As you know, SEO is a long-term game and will take months before it can achieve the desired results. Even after that, it will take a lot of time and effort to determine the exact results it brought.

To track SEO ROI, you need to get as detailed as possible. That can mean measuring SEO ROI at the keyword, page, or category level.

For instance, you can calculate the amount of money you paid a content marketing writer to create a blog post and then add the amount you spent on link building and the amount spent on editors and designers.

After several months, check Google Analytics to see how much the page drove to your account in conversions.

The difference between the amount you spent on your content strategy and the conversion driven by your landing page will help estimate your SEO ROI.

SEO KPIs that You Can Track But Not a Must

Depending on your SEO situation and what you want to track, you may want to track the below KPIs: 

Branded Vs. Non-Branded Traffic

Branded traffic refers to traffic that comes from branded keywords or traffic driven from the previous knowledge of your business.

In most cases, a searcher may have seen your ads, the latest PR campaign, or you’ve met at an event before. Whichever the case, the searcher already knew about your business existence.

On the other hand, non-branded traffic is traffic that comes from non-branded keywords or keywords with your company name but are relevant to your business.

In this case, searchers probably didn’t know about your business, but because your page is well-optimized for SEO, it appears on top of relevant search query results.

Both branded and non-branded traffic is crucial for your business growth. Having a higher branded traffic means that your brand awareness efforts are working.

On the other hand, higher non-branded traffic suggests that your content is reaching a wider audience and you’re building authority.

That said, you may want to track the split of branded vs. non-branded traffic to understand the true impact of your SEO efforts. Fortunately, SEMrush’s Organic Research tool can help in this regard.

Qualified Organic User Growth

Another key SEO KPI is qualified organic user growth. However, to make this metric worth tracking, you should combine it with other metrics like user engagement and revenue-related KPIs. Ideally, these metrics will help determine whether the traffic growth is qualified or irrelevant.

Of course, this metric will highlight the number of visits to your page, but it’s also good to look at other metrics.

Google Analytics can help track your traffic sources for your landing pages, website pages, and exit pages.

Organic CTR

CTR (click-through rate) is a performance metric that measures clicks on your links in relation to the number of users who viewed the search result.

While CTR isn’t a direct ranking factor, the more visitors click on your listing on the search results, the more traffic on your pages. In other words, the higher the CTR, the more traffic.

To track this SEO KPL, focus on the query and page levels. Even so, many people ignore CTR when it comes to driving traffic and improving rankings on their sites.

However, tracking your organic CTR will help determine why high impressions don’t always result in significant traffic and what you should do to fix the problem.

It also helps determine whether your title tag and meta description relate to a particular search query.

To analyze the pages’ CTR and queries, head to Google Search Console under the performance report.

Page Load Speed

Your website’s technical performance should form a crucial part of your SEO strategy. These technical metrics ensure that your site meets technical benchmarks for better rankings and visibility.

In fact, analyzing your technical SEO is a great way to improve your organic rankings. One of the technical performance metrics you should track is page loading speed. In other words, how fast does your server process a request, and how long does it take for your page to show those results?

Google prioritizes websites with a fast page loading speed as they provide a better user experience and better visibility. As such, not optimizing your website speed may hurt your rankings.

Many things could impact your page loading speed, including your current web hosting service, crawls errors, and non-optimized images. Tracking this KPI can help ensure that your pages load faster for both desktop and mobile devices.

To access your Site Speed reports, go to Google Analytics > you view > reports > behavior > site speed.

Number of Indexed Pages

This KPI measures the number of pages a search engine has indexed.

Typically, the number of pages a search engine has in its index will increase as you publish new content. If that happens, it means there are no crawling and indexing issues on your website.

That said, you should track this KPI if your content takes longer to be indexed after publishing it. To check the number of your indexed pages, go to your Google Search Console account and select ‘All submitted pages’ to show from your sitemap.

Popular SEO KPIs that You Shouldn’t Track

Not all SEO KPIs are worth tracking. The phrase “less is more” is a golden rule regarding data analytics. That said, here are metrics that you shouldn’t track:

Engagement Metrics

Metrics such as bounce rate, time on page, engagement rate, and exit rate show how visitors engage with your website.

While these metrics are important, they don’t impact your SEO growth, meaning you should not track them as SEO KPIs. Here are some reasons for this:

  • There’s no proper method for calculating some of these engagement metrics
  • These metrics need heavy segmenting to get valuable insights
  • Engagement metrics are skewed by visitors who leave too fast, session timeouts, badly set up Google Analytics, and ad-block users

Most of these engagement metrics are available by default in the Google Analytics report. To analyze them, filter your report to see specific pages from one traffic source.

Keyword Rankings

This metric shows the organic website ranking for certain keywords. However, you shouldn’t track this as an SEO KPI. Instead, track search visibility because it’s a more valuable KPI.

That said, you can track your keyword rankings using Ahrefs Rank Tracker; you only need to paste the keywords you want to track, and the tool will provide the results in seconds.

Organic Traffic

This is search engine traffic from non-paid clicks. While more organic traffic is good, it doesn’t usually translate to more revenue. You may not need to track this metric as an SEO KPI unless you plan to monetize your website using display ads.

To view your organic traffic, go to the Performance tab in Google Search Console (GSC).

So, Which SEO KPIs Should You Track?

Knowing what to track and what not to track is a valuable skill for a successful SEO strategy. Launching a successful SEO campaign involves a lot of data, metrics, and KPIs.

While this data is important in your strategy, having so much to deal with can be overwhelming. That’s why you should work with a reputable SEO agency to help choose valuable KPIs for your business and help track and analyze them.

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