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The 9 Top KPIs to Track for SEO Success

November 2022
key performance indicator SEO meeting in boardroom concept art

If you are new to the world of SEO, then you probably have a lot of questions about how an SEO campaign is measured. After all, if you can’t easily view the results of your campaign, how are you supposed to know whether or not it was successful? To measure the results of your SEO campaign, you’ll need to keep track of several key performance indicators (KPIs). By keeping track of these KPIs you can also identify any potential issues with your site's frontend or backend optimizations.

By following the metrics we’re about to discuss, you’ll easily be able to tell which aspects of your site are working properly and which need improvement. Plus, you’ll be able to identify any areas that may need an extra boost to get the search engine results page (SERP) rankings you want. As SEO experts, the team at Responsival is ready to share how we measure our monthly SEO services to ensure our client’s success. To help you get started, we’re taking a look at some of these metrics and how they can help you improve your site and your site’s content. Let’s go!

1. Conversions

Keep track of how many organic conversions you get over a set period of time

Online shopping during the holiday season creating conversions on mobile
With the right SEO tactics, you can start seeing more customer conversions.

The primary objective of SEO is to increase organic conversion. Whether you are offering your products in an ecommerce store or you want to expand your client base—the number of conversions you receive is the top metric to track. The crucial KPI should be based on your goal as a company. Maybe your company is only searching for high-quality leads and getting two new big clients is a major success. On the other hand, you may be offering a low-cost product that will require several hundred individual conversions to create a profit. If you aren’t sure how to get started, we recommend comparing your year-over-year organic conversion rate throughout your campaign. If you’re not seeing the conversion rate you’re hoping for there are several actions you can take. First, you should make sure the user journey is clean and effective. If you’re ranking for quality keywords that are driving users to the site, but they drop off before converting, you may need to improve the UX to take advantage of the new traffic. If the user journey is clean and performing in other channels, then you’ll want to reanalyze your target keywords. Ranking for keywords that are too broad or not accurate will not only lead to an increased bounce rate but will also hurt your site’s overall rankings—and in turn your organic conversions.

2. Return on Investment (ROI)

No matter the size of your business, it is essential to make sure you are seeing returns from your monthly SEO services

man calculating return on investment after SEO campaign
Your ROI is like the bottom line for your SEO campaign.

One of the most obvious and financially important metrics you need to pay attention to when you launch an SEO campaign is your return on investment (ROI). If you are teaching yourself how to maximize your site’s SEO capabilities or have hired an agency like Responsival for monthly SEO services, then you need to make sure you are targeting keywords that bring in a positive ROI. At the start of a campaign, you’ll want to measure the potential new organic search volume with your expected click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and average order value (AOV) to determine if the new traffic will be worth the investment. Then throughout the campaign, you’ll want to check if the keywords you’re winning are bringing in the intended CTR and conversions. If not, you need to rethink your target keywords. 

3. Site Speed

If your site is slow to load, every aspect of your metrics will be affected

computer, phone, and tablet with best web design site loaded
Make sure your site loads quickly on every type of device.

Hypothetically, you could be implementing every SEO trick in the book and not see any changes due to your site speed. Ranking well for conversion-worthy keywords can bring new traffic to your site, but what they find when they arrive will make or break conversions. Your site’s loading speed is one of the most important factors that can positively or negatively affect your SEO. If your site loads too slowly, there is a high chance that potential customers will leave your site in favor of one that loads immediately. Most users are only prepared to wait 1-2 seconds for your site to load. Anything longer and you can risk them bouncing. Site speed is also one of the many variables indexed in search algorithms. The algorithms are designed to predict how humans will react to your site and they know slow speed will lead to a higher bounce rate. Conversely, the algorithm rewards faster sites with higher rankings.

It is also possible for your site to slow down over time, so you need to be constantly monitoring your speed after any changes are made to your site. Anything from the size of images to additional plugins can slow down your site. So, while you are focusing on improving your SEO, you need to closely monitor your site speed, otherwise, all conversion efforts will be significantly hindered. 

4. Organic Visibility

Though you may not be seeing a rise in conversions, you can see results in your organic impressions

happy couple doing research and online shopping in their kitchen
Find out how visible your site is by tracking organic impressions.

Executing monthly SEO services is all about increasing your digital visibility as a way to grow your business. Organic visibility is a metric you can use to gauge how often people can see your site as a search result. While you may not start on the first page of results for your keywords, you should still be able to see a marked increase in your visibility. SEO takes time to optimize and garner results, so be patient and remember to make sure visibility is increasing month over month.

5. Organic Traffic

When you start to see an uptick in organic impressions, you should also see an upward trend in organic traffic

woman holding mouse clicking icon
The more site traffic you get, the better chances you have of making conversions.

As your organic impressions begin to grow, the goal is to get your site in a position where you begin to see more organic traffic to your site. Organic traffic refers to the number of people that found your website organically on the SERP by searching for specific keywords or for your brand name. Unlike organic impressions, organic traffic is driven by individual users visiting your site. While they may not always convert at first, increasing organic traffic means that more people are interacting with your website which will lead to more conversions in the future. That said, if the conversions never improve, you'll want to go back to the drawing board and rethink your target keywords to assure they are relevant and conversion-worthy. By keeping track of your organic traffic, you can begin to see the results of your increased SERP visibility. 

6. Non-Branded Traffic

Non-branded traffic shows who is finding your site based on search terms alone

busy moving traffic along a highway during the wintertime
A rise in non-branded traffic means that your SEO strategy is working.

When people type in their search queries they will fall into one of two categories—branded and non-branded traffic. If a user is searching for your brand name, it is likely that they have already heard of your brand via another channel and are looking for you specifically. This is not a good measure of the effectiveness of your SEO campaign, as it is much easier to optimize for your brand name. What is a great indicator is non-branded traffic. This type of user traffic shows how many people landed on your site using conversion-worthy keyword searches. When you begin to get an influx of non-branded traffic, it shows that your keyword strategy is working well. For example, if you have a local landscaping company, non-branded traffic will come from search terms like “local landscaping service near me” as opposed to searching the name of your company. 

7. Keyword Rankings

Tracking keyword rankings helps you evaluate your strategy over time

keywords spelled out in wooden letters with a light bulb
Using the right keywords will boost your SERP.

Keywords are the crux of all SEO campaigns. In order to increase organic traffic and in turn organic conversion, you need to rank high on the SERPs for the appropriate keywords. By conducting thoughtful keyword research and choosing words that are highly relevant, you can start creating SEO-optimized content. It becomes important, then, to track how these keywords are performing over time. Each month you should see more and more keywords ranking, and top keywords are ranking higher and higher until you get to the coveted first-page results. As you check your keyword rankings, you also want to take note of the best and worst-performing keywords. For keywords that are not performing well, you may want to consider pivoting your strategy if you do not see any improvement over a long period of time. This is not a mark of a failed SEO keyword strategy, but merely a suggestion that there are better keywords out there that you could be using.

8. Backlinks

Your backlinks are key to getting your content a higher search result placement

backlinking concept art laptop with blue and white chain link
Building a strong network of backlinks affirms your site’s reputation.

Backlinks show the Google algorithm that your site produces high-quality content that other sites want to link to. This is a very important metric for assessing your current SEO campaign. Whether sites are using your content as a source or you are running an extensive link-building campaign, you need to make sure that you have quality backlinks. If low-quality, spammy sites are linking to your content, then you’ll have a much harder time getting strong placement on the SERP. That’s why you need to be constantly monitoring your backlinks to make sure that there aren’t toxic links appearing. While there is not a singular ideal metric for your backlinks, it is important to compare your backlinks to your competitors to make sure that you have enough quality links.

9. Bounce Rate

If people are clicking away from your page, there is likely an issue with your site content

older woman looking at laptop in living room doing research
If your site has insufficient information or is visually unappealing, you may not see improvements in SEO.

The last metric we’ll be discussing is your site’s bounce rate. It is possible that you are implementing some of the best SEO practices, but there are issues with your site that cause people to search for other options. Your keyword strategy can “bring the horse to water, but can’t make them drink.” If your SEO campaign is working properly, then your organic traffic should improve. However, if there are issues with pages loading, broken links, or lackluster/irrelevant content, then visitors are going to be heading elsewhere to find a more comprehensive or accurate source. There could also be an issue with your site design, like a difficult-to-find CTA button or a disjointed user journey. If you are experiencing a high bounce rate then you will likely want to undergo a user experience (UX) audit in an effort to make your site more appealing to visitors.

And there you have it—9 of the top KPIs that you need to track throughout an SEO campaign. If you are feeling a little lost when it comes to SEO and the right metrics to be tracking, you can always contact the team at Responsival. We offer comprehensive monthly SEO services designed to improve your ranking and conversions!

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