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SEO Starter Pack: Top 10 KPI’s to Track for Growth and Success
Updated on October 2, 2020 by Jerry Little
The top 10 KPI’s for SEO beginners to track
When you're just starting out with SEO, one of the biggest challenges you'll face is getting a good sense of how you're doing. Depending on your site's domain authority, it'll take you anywhere from three to six months for your articles or web page to gain organic traffic.
Obviously, you don't want to wait for six months just to know how your strategy's working out. So how do you keep a watchful eye on how your SEO is faring in the meantime?
Simple: with SEO KPI’s.
10 of the most important KPIs for SEO beginners to track:
- Organic traffic
- Search rankings
- Bounce rate
- Average session duration
- Search visibility
- Organic click-through rate
- Page speed
- Return on investment
What is KPI in SEO?
Key performance indicators or KPI's in SEO are basically values that your marketing team can use to measure the performance of your website regarding organic search results.
In order for your team to truly understand your SEO performance, it's crucial to measure these metrics and track changes month per month. The data you gather through these KPIs will help you determine top converting keywords, top performing pages, and areas of your website that need improvement for search optimization.
Which KPIs are most important to SEO beginners?
There are several factors that influence the success of an SEO campaign and various metrics that can be measured to track these factors. For most beginners, it might be impossible to keep track of all these metrics, but you should have a basic overview of what's going on with your website in order to succeed in the competitive world of Google rankings.
Let's take a look at the top 10 KPI's for SEO beginners to track the success of their strategy.
This refers to the total number of visitors who click on your web page's link from search engines. This doesn't include traffic from paid PPC ads.
High volumes of organic traffic are the ultimate goal of any SEO strategy, so it's good to regularly track this to know whether your efforts are successful or not.
To clearly see your progress, it's best to compare the data week to week, month to month, and year to year. If you experience seasonal traffic, you can compare the data from the same month of the previous year.
Search rankings are a crucial KPI as they directly correlate with the success of the SEO services your firm is performing. Once you reach the first page of search results, you'll reach other KPI’s such as traffic, leads, and conversions.
It's keen to note a keyword won't bring in traffic to your site until it's in the top 10 spots. However, you'll see that keyword start to move in that direction even before it will bring in any noticeable traffic.
You can easily track your keyword rankings on SEO tools like SEMrush or ahrefs.
This SEO metric shows the number of single-page sessions. In simpler terms - how many people left your website without performing any action (such as clicking on an inbound link, signing up for your newsletter, visiting another page, etc.).
Is a high bounce rate a bad thing?
Not necessarily as it will depend on the intent of the page. For instance, a high bounce rate on the About Us page isn't as much of a problem as a high bounce rate of the checkout page.
What you can do is compare the bounce rates of your landing pages and analyze why some perform better than others. You can also compare similar page types: article to article, product page to product page, and so on.
Average session duration
This refers to how much time visitors typically spend on your website. This is a prominent SEO metric as it measures your website's user engagement.
As you continuously monitor session duration, you'll be able to assess your website's quality and understand the changes you need to implement to your site's architecture. To achieve a longer session duration, you can start by building an in-depth content structure:
- Internal linking
- Creating category pages
- Crafting engaging call-to-action buttons
This KPI indicates how often your domain is shown in search engine results for the keywords it's ranking for. When tracking this metric, you'll see the positive dynamics even before your site starts attracting visitors. This is incredibly useful if you want to monitor the early results of your SEO.
To track search engine visibility, head over to “Performance report” on Google Search Console. You'll see your “Total impressions score,” which is a record each time a user sees your link on the search results page. For more information on SEO reporting check out this article.
Links are an essential SEO metric because backlinks are considered one of the most important ranking factors. This basically means that in order to reach the top of Google, your strategy should also revolve around acquiring links.
However, keep in mind that quality of links trumps quantity. Gaining low-quality links will not contribute to your site's authority and hurt your website rankings in the long run.
To ensure you're building a quality link profile, use backlink analysis tools such as ahrefs or Moz. They'll provide you with an authority index that estimates the quality of your link profile based on the quality and number of referring domains.
Organic CTR (click-through rate)
Organic CTR refers to the proportion of clicks in relation to the number of impressions on the search results. Basically, it's how many people see your page link in the SERPs divided by how many people actually clicked on your link.
While this is often an overlooked metric as most people tend to focus on rankings, it has been proven that a high CTR can actually boost your position on Google. To improve the CTRs of your pages, don't be afraid to experiment with your title tags and meta descriptions. Consider all the keywords you want to rank for as it's always best to incorporate them in your meta data.
It's very important to consider this SEO metric as it's a ranking factor for both desktop and mobile searches, including Google Search and Ads. Page speed also influences user experience to a great extent. If a page loads longer than three seconds, visitors may leave the page prematurely.
However, keep in mind that a faster site won't bring you higher rankings unless the content is relevant and optimized for both search engines and users.
You can test your page speed using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights.
Once your site starts gaining a good amount of organic traffic, you can usually track at least one key conversion metric from your website. This varies per site, as it usually depends on what your buyer's journey looks like.
For info product sites, there's typically a clear funnel like Read Page/Post -> Email Sign-up -> Buy Product.
For blog content, it gets a bit trickier to directly convert cold search traffic to sales. In that case, you can focus on an intermediate part of the funnel like an email sign-up, demo request, or product page visit.
ROI (return on investment)
ROI is a KPI you can measure for all your marketing campaigns. When calculating ROI for SEO, you can determine whether the net income is worth the investment you put in optimizing your website.
To calculate your ROI percentage, here's the formula:
(Gain from Investment - Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment
Don't worry if this parameter is negative at the start. You'll begin to see positive dynamics after a few months with a successful strategy.
Start tracking these KPI’s today
While the metrics mentioned in the article are just the tip of the iceberg, it's good to focus on them if you're new to SEO.
If you’re not already tracking at least five of the metrics listed above for your SEO campaign, now is the time to set it up. The sooner you start measuring these KPI’s, the sooner you’ll get a better sense of what works and what doesn’t.