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The Best SEO KPIs Guide

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Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are used in almost every company to find out what works and what doesn't. In the case of SEO you can use KPIs to find out how efficient your campaigns and strategies are.

In this article we go through all SEO KPIs: the KPIs that you need to evaluate your SEO strategy. We show you all the tools (most are free, but there are also some paying ones) and processes to follow up on these KPIs. Are you currently struggling with exactly what you need to measure or how you request this data? Or are you doing an SEO audit ? Then this article is for you.

SEO KPIS: AN OVERVIEW, AND: WHERE EXACTLY DO THEY FIT IN THE FUNNEL?

Everyone who is involved in marketing or sales knows the importance of marketing or sales funnel. At any given moment your potential customers are in a certain phase of their journey. They may be busy exploring your products or services or they are ready to buy. In every phase of the funnel you follow that with unique SEO KPIs.

Let us link SEO KPIs to each phase of the funnel so that we can link them to real business objectives.

AWARENESS: PEOPLE FIND YOUR WEBSITE

These SEO KPIs focus on the evolution of your organic traffic. And they check whether your SEO strategy is in line with what your audience is looking for.

INCREASE OF YOUR POSITIONS IN GOOGLE

Your keyword positions are the most important measuring instrument for charting the success of your SEO efforts. No big surprise here: if your website pages rise to the top of Google for certain keywords, you'll receive continuous clicks through Google. Usually also for a longer time. It's therefore best to keep a close eye on the fluctuations of your positions regularly.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Launch your favorite rank tracker software. We use SEMrush ourselves, but in this article we use the more affordable Mangools (also a fantastic SEO tool).

2. Choose the SERPWatcher module and then select the website for which you want to request the keyword rankings.

3. At the top, choose the period for which you want to report. You'll then see in the column 'Change' in how far your website has risen or fallen for the keywords you follow.

TOTAL GROWTH OF YOUR ORGANIC SEARCH TRAFFIC

The ultimate goal of SEO is to get more visitors to your site through Google. The next KPI for your report is the evolution of your organic search traffic. That gives you a helicopter view about the performance of your SEO.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Log in to your Google Analytics account.

2. Then go to Acquisition, All Traffic, Channels and choose Organic Search .

3. Select the period at the top right and choose ' Compare with the previous period '. You can now see the increase or decrease in your organic search traffic at the bottom.

BRANDED VS UNBRANDED TRAFFIC

1,000 visitors through a search for your brand or 500 visitors coming in through an unbranded search such as "inbound marketing", what do you prefer?

Well, they are both important, but you obviously have to put a lot more effort into those unbranded searches. That's why it's important to be able to report on it separately.

How do you check this KPI?

When you request your organic search traffic in Google Analytics, you'll see that a large part of the keywords fall under the "not provided" category. That means that Google doesn't release the keywords in Google Analytics.

Fortunately, there are solutions to get this missing keyword data.

1. Register with Google Search Console .

2. Install the Search Analytics for Sheets add-on .

3. Go to Google Drive and create a blank spreadsheet. It's important that you create this spreadsheet with the same account that gives you access to your search console.

4. In your spreadsheet, go to Add-on, Search Analytics for Sheets, Open Sidebar .

5. In the sidebar, choose the correct search console in the drop-down menu, choose the desired period (for example, the last 3 months).

6. Leave the rest at the default values ​​and click on Request Data. This add-on retrieves all keywords for which your website was found in the selected period and places them together with all figures in your spreadsheet.

7. Filter the Query column in this spreadsheet for the possible variants of your brand so that you can see how large the percentage of branded searches for your website is.

VISIBILITY IN THE SEARCH ENGINES

This KPI measures how well you score for your complete keyword list in the search results. A kind of market share, say, but then for a list of keywords. This gives you a high-level overview of the potential to generate clicks.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Launch your favorite rank tracker software. We use SEMrush ourselves but for the occasion we use the more affordable Mangools, also a fantastic SEO tool.

2. Choose the SERPWatcher module and then select the website for which you want to request the keyword rankings.

3. At ' Dominance Index ' you see your market share for the selected keywords together with the rise or fall.

ORGANIC IMPRESSIONS, CLICKS AND CLICK-THROUGH RATE

Every organic visit starts with a display in the search results and a click. These two figures are - together with the click-through rate (CTR) - the first indicators of the success of your SEO campaign.

What are these indicators exactly?

Organic impressions : the number of users who have encountered a page of your website in Google for a specific keyword.

Organic clicks : the total number of users who have clicked on a search result.

Organic CTR : the percentage of clicks relative to the number of impressions. It indicates how well your search result matches the search and specially how this result looks more relevant or interesting to the competition.

How do you check this KPI?

Sign in to the Google Search Console and on the Performance Report on the left in the navigation. There you can already find the total number of impressions, total number of clicks and average CTR.

REFERRAL TRAFFIC

If you set up SEO campaigns, you're also busy acquiring links through content creation on other sites, reviews, profiles on other sites and so on. These links ensure that you reach a new audience outside of your website. To be clear: referral traffic is traffic through other websites (not through search engines).

It's important to also measure this traffic so that you know which sites your target audience visits so that you can focus even more on such sites.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Log in to your Google Analytics account.

2. Go to Acquisition > All Channels > Channels and click on Referrals .

3. Choose a period and compare with the period before it to investigate whether your referral traffic is also on the rise.

TYPES OF SEARCH RESULTS

There are more and more different types of search results in Google. You have the featured snippet, the local search results with a Google Maps card, images and videos. And not to forget: the standard search results.

It's therefore very important that you also check per keyword which types of results Google shows. Maybe you should focus on a different type of content than text.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Log in to your SEMrush account.

2. Go to your project and choose Position Tracking and then choose Rankings .

3. In the SERP Features column you can see per keyword which types of search results Google shows.

COMMITMENT: THEY INTERACT WITH YOUR CONTENT

Since Google RankBrain, engagement with your content has become more important. This is a group of SEO KPIs that measure the extent to which your visitors interact with your content. If that doesn't happen, then there is something wrong with the content or format of your content. Or the competition offers a better answer and then you should upgrade your content.

BOUNCE RATE

The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your site without clicking on one link. The lower the bounce rate, the better. It's not an official ranking parameter, but there are studies that show that there is a correlation between the bounce rate and your Google rankings. If your bounce rate through organic traffic is lower than 55%, then you may be satisfied.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Log in to Google Analytics and go to Acquisitions > Overview > Organic Search. You'll see that Bounce Rate is one of the columns.

2. Select Landing Page as the primary dimension so that you can evaluate the bounce rate per page.

NUMBER OF UNIQUE PAGES PER SESSION

As with the other signals we use to measure engagement, the number of pages per session is an important KPI, because it indicates how quickly someone navigates through your site.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Log in to Google Analytics and go to Acquisitions > Overview > Organic Search. You'll see that Pages / session is one of the columns.

2. Set your primary dimension on Landing Page. If your average is below 2, you should investigate why your visitors don't click through to other pages.

AVERAGE LENGTH OF A SESSION

The average length of a session is about how long users stay on your site from the moment they land on it. Because it's one of the better ways to measure engagement, this is an essential SEO KPI.

You want to achieve more than 2 minutes on average throughout your website. If you get much more than 2 minutes for a particular landing page, then chances are that Google will give you a top position in the search results.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Log in to Google Analytics and go to Acquisitions > Overview > Organic Search. You'll see that Gem. session duration is one of the columns.

2. Set your primary dimension on landing page so that you can evaluate this for specific pages.

EXIT PERCENTAGE FOR ORGANIC VISITS

Exit pages are the last pages visited before visitors leave your website. Not necessarily a problem. A page can provide the answer to a question where the user leaves your website.

If your user loses interest or can't find the answer, then you must investigate further why. It's therefore useful to take a look at the bounce rate and average session duration. The three numbers together sometimes give a very clear indication that something is wrong.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Log in to Google Analytics and go to Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages .

2. Then set a secondary dimension : Acquisition> Traffic Type .

3. Set a filter on Acquisition> Traffic Type = organic and sort the column Exit points descending.

ACQUISITION: LEADS GENERATED THROUGH SEO

These figures focus on what is really important: leads. These are the visitors who found you through Google and delve deeper into your offer and therefore leave their details. These are all leads that come in through organic traffic or referral traffic (because that's usually part of an SEO campaign).

GOALS ACHIEVED THROUGH ORGANIC TRAFFIC

There are many goals that you can set and measure to get your visitor further into the marketing funnel. Examples are the request for a software trial, subscriptions to your newsletter, a content offer download, a quotation request, a registration for an event or webinar, etc.

It's of course interesting to find out which of these goals comes from organic search traffic.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Log in to Google Analytics and go to Conversions > Goals > Overview .

2. For Goals, choose Source / Medium so that you can see how many conversions are coming from organic traffic.

CONVERSION RATIO FOR ORGANIC TRAFFIC

The conversion ratio for organic traffic is the percentage of organic search visitors that's converted to one of the set goals. It's advisable to compare this ratio with your other channels. If the ratio is lower, then you probably focus primarily on awareness keywords and not enough on decision keywords.

If your conversion rate drops throughout your site, it's also possible that something has changed in your website that has an impact on the conversion.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Log in to Google Analytics and go to Acquisition > Overview > Organic Search .

2. At the far right in the table you choose All Goals in the Conversion drop-down menu.

3. Set the primary dimension on landing page .

4. Evaluate the conversion rate for the different pages.

EVOLUTION OF ORGANIC SEARCH LEADS

Of course you also want to check the evolution of the conversions that come in through organic search. This shows the progress of one of your most important business objectives. The more leads, the more sales.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Log in to Google Analytics and go to Conversions > Goals > Overview .

2. For Goals, choose Source / Medium so that you can see how many conversions are coming from organic traffic.

3. Then click further on google / organic, select a period and compare with the same period a year ago.

SHARE SEO LEADS

The percentage of leads that you generate through organic search helps you determine how well your SEO campaigns work compared to other marketing channels.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Log in to Google Analytics and go to Acquisition > All traffic > Source / medium .

2. At the far right in the table, choose All Goals in the Conversion drop-down menu.

3. Look at the far right to the Achieved goals column and search for the percentage for Organic Search .

CONVERSION: DO SEO LEADS ALSO BECOME CUSTOMERS?

Of course, the ultimate goal is to gain more customers and income. So in a final series of KPIs we look at how we can also link customer acquisition to SEO.

NUMBER OF TRANSACTIONS THROUGH ORGANIC TRAFFIC

This KPI displays the number of transactions (customers) that originally came in through organic search. With this you know immediately whether your SEO efforts are responsible for sales or not.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Log in to Google Analytics and go to Acquisition > Overview > Organic Search .

2. Choose eCommerce (or another name if you have renamed your sales goals) in the Conversions drop-down menu.

3. Set your Primary dimension on Landing Page .

4. Check the number of transactions per landing page.

CONVERSION RATE FOR TRANSACTIONS THROUGH ORGANIC SEARCH

This conversion rate shows how many of your organic search visitors are converted into transactions or customers. This measures the purchase intention of your organic traffic and helps you to understand whether this traffic is relevant to your business objectives.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Log in to Google Analytics and go to Acquisition > Overview > Organic Search .

2. Choose eCommerce (or another name if you have renamed your sales goals) in the Conversions drop-down menu.

3. Set your Primary dimension on Landing Page .

4. Check the conversion rate per landing page.

TURNOVER THROUGH ORGANIC TRAFFIC

Combined with the number of transactions and the conversion rate of your transactions, the turnover through organic traffic is the last element to prove whether your SEO strategy produces business results.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Log in to Google Analytics and go to Acquisition > Overview > Organic Search .

2. Choose eCommerce (or another name if you have renamed your sales goals) in the Conversions drop-down menu.

3. Set your Primary dimension on Landing Page .

4. Check the revenue per landing page.

5. You can then go one step further. Go to Conversions > Multi-channel funnels and choose Organic search .

This is the total number of sales and the corresponding value of all transactions for which SEO assisted in the transaction. If organic search occurs somewhere as a channel, then it's seen as supportive of the conversion. Except as the final final interaction on a conversion path.

EVOLUTION OF SALES THROUGH ORGANIC TRAFFIC

You naturally want to increase sales through organic traffic. This metric gives you a clear picture of how your SEO efforts contribute to the sale of your services or products.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Log in to Google Analytics and go to Acquisition > Overview > Organic Search .

2. Select a period that you want to compare.

3. Choose eCommerce (or another name if you have renamed your sales goals).

4. You can find the percentage in the last columns.

SHARE OF ONLINE SALES THROUGH ORGANIC TRAFFIC

This is the percentage of your online sales that comes from organic traffic (SEO). It gives you a good idea of ​​how organic traffic performs in relation to direct traffic, social traffic, paid search, referral traffic, display traffic and other channels.

How do you check this KPI?

1. Log in to Google Analytics and go to Acquisition > Overview > Organic Search .

2. Choose eCommerce (or another name if you have renamed your sales goals) in the Conversions drop-down menu.

3. You can find the percentage in the last column.

SEO ROI

The ROI of SEO is the revenue generated by SEO campaigns divided by the sum of all SEO costs (including the fee from your SEO agency, wages from in-house SEO specialists, payments for referral traffic and so on).

That's not so easy to calculate. After all, SEO isn't the fastest marketing tactic. You may not see a return on your investment in the first 6 months.

If you have invested heavily in SEO in the past and have stopped investing lately, it's perfectly possible that you'll still be able to generate income that's attributable to your previous efforts. If you then work on your SEO again, you'll again see an increase in organic traffic sales.

REPORTING BASED ON THE RIGHT SEO KPIS

It's easy to lose yourself in the long list of KPIs. In this article, no fewer than 23 were documented and subdivided into the categories of the sales tunnel.

What you report is different for every company. If you're active in eCommerce, you report on the conversion KPIs.

If you're in a business where the sales team is handling the leads, you would prefer to report on the acquisition KPIs (such as an appointment request, a quotation request or downloading an e-book).

If the conversion of leads and sales on your website is good, but you still have work in the field of brand awareness, you may want to report on your awareness and engagement KPIs.

Certainly don't report on everything just to have a nice report. It's important to report on the essential KPIs for your company.

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