What the Heck are KPIs for SEO?Are your SEO efforts being successful? It’s hard to know for sure unless you’re tracking and measuring results. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) measure the success of your SEO efforts and tell you whether your strategies are fruitful, or if they need tweaks to produce the results you want. Just like the stuffed cheeks of a chipmunk tell the other chipmunks that they successfully found food, learning what measurements can help you make decisions to meet your goals faster should be a primary goal for any marketer.

What the Heck are SEO KPIs?

A Key Performance Indicator, or KPI, is an indicator measuring the performance and success of your SEO strategy in light of your organization goals. Track where traffic is coming from, where users are most engaged, how your SEO efforts are working, and where you should spend more time and energy.

Organic traffic is perhaps the most important KPI for a successful SEO strategy. Unlike the quick fix of paid ads, organic traffic is free traffic driven to your website from content containing popular industry keywords or phrases. You may notice an increase in organic traffic as soon as tomorrow and as far out as next year or even longer. If organic traffic is steadily increasing, this in an indicator your SEO is working.

Within organic traffic, it’s important to look closely at visits (sessions), session duration, bounce rate, new users, and pages/sessions which are all KPIs for content performance. Content is important, as it can increase traffic to your site through organic search results, but what if you could track the content on your site to the point that you knew exactly what your audience was looking for. KPI’s can do just that. They will tell you what content was getting the most visits, the high session duration, the lowest bounce rate, and more. Take your best content and product more like it. Stop writing content that sucks, in KPI terms.

How Do KPIs Differ By Industry or Website?

KPIs may vary based on your industry, and your goals may differ from your competitor’s goals. They can be different from site to site. An e-commerce site interested in increasing sales, and revenue, will have different KPIs than an eye doctor searching for fresh, local, leads or phone calls. Here’s how to know the difference.

E-Commerce KPIs

Goals for e-commerce sites are typically to increase traffic (visits), gain more qualified leads, and increase sales (orders & revenue). Organic traffic remains an important measurement as an increase here can relate to an increase in revenue.

Tracking organic traffic is easy, tracking orders and revenue can be more difficult. You’ll want to make sure e-commerce tracking features are enabled in Google Analytics, or in the analytics package your company uses.

Local SEO KPIs

For businesses focused on marketing to a local market, KPIs take a different approach. A successful local SEO strategy can create an increase of traffic to your website, produce more leads and calls, and improve appointments scheduled. Since you’re interested in more clients (conversions), you should measure KPI’s like link clicks, call tracking, form fills, rankings, conversions, and traffic sources.

Universal KPIs Everyone Should Monitor

Whether you’re a blogger, local business, or e-commerce site, there are a few KPIs everyone should monitor.

A few of these include:

  • Visits (Sessions): This is where organic traffic is important once again. Every site should measure how many visits are received and the performance of keywords drawing users to your website.
  • Session Duration and Bounce Rate: How quickly do visitors come and go? These indicators tell you if users are finding what they need on your site quickly, and how long they’re sticking around.
  • Sources: Where are visitors coming from? Segment traffic by specific sources such as organic, direct, referring sites, and email. You can drill further into these metrics like search engines, operating systems, devices, etc. All these metrics can be used as clues to build better content, and increase usability of your site.
  • Subscribe or Contact: Track emails, calls, live chats, and email subscriptions to monitor an increase in audience engagement.
  • Content Consumption: How are consumers engaged with the content on your website? Do they watch videos or read posts? Which posts are shared or commented on more often? This helps you know which content is performing best according to your audience.
  • Impression Data: Interested in knowing how people are finding you in search results? Google Webmasters offers impression data showing keywords people are using to find your content.
  • New vs. Returning User: How loyal is your audience? Analyze your audience behavior by measuring new versus returning users. Maybe all your visitors are current clients looking for a login button, or looking for support. If that’s the case, then you’d know you need to create content to attract new faces to your site.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to KPIs. Though they may differ for each company, measuring your efforts is paramount to your success. After all, if you don’t measure, you have no way of knowing what’s working, and where you can improve. Get the most out of your website. Give us a call and we’ll chat about setting up KPI’s for your site.

Photo credit to Kurt Bauschardt.