“If you can measure it, you can improve it”.
In a long 5 years of journey from an SEO intern to a Professional SEO Strategist, I always asked a question to myself – “how do I know that my SEO campaign has succeeded or not?” Is keyword rankings on 1st page is enough? What are the metrics I should be measuring to make sure that my SEO strategies are directing my search campaign to the success point?
As an SEO analyst, I always know that I am adding value. But I need to prove it. Because proving the value of SEO is essential from the sales pitch presentation to monthly client reporting to land and retain the clients. So, I established a solid strategy that I am going to share with you!
There’s no gold medal for ranking on the top organic spots!
According to me, organic search ranking is not the only, or necessarily the best way to measure your SEO campaign progress. Simply free tools like Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics can help you a lot to maximize your SEO campaign performance!
I would like to tell you guys that – Yes! I got some reasonable answers. So, if you’re ready to learn how to define your SEO campaign’s goal and KPI, keep reading!
Ask Yourself: What am I Trying to Achieve from This SEO Campaign?
Before creating an SEO strategy, it’s really important to find answers of these following 2 questions:
- What is the purpose of the website: Maximum Raw Traffic or Quality Organic Traffic or Conversions?
- Are the SEO goals realistic? Are they measurable in conversions?
Like any other online marketing channels, SEO is also measurable and accountable. But you need to know the right KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators). Tracking these KPI’s, you will be able to measure your SEO campaign performance.
SEO Performance Indicators or Metrics:
Unique and Returning Visitors:
Increasing unique visitors indicates that your website is ranking well for relevant terms and new people are visiting your website from search. This is good for any SEO campaign.
If your website is getting a good percentage of returning visitors, it means they liked your website and searching for branded terms or visiting directly by typing your website URL. If they are coming from searching non-branded keywords, it’s also good for you that your organic search presence is good and people are clicking your website from searches.
Non-Branded Visits from Organic Search:
SEO is the word of mouth of Internet Marketing. It allows people who are searching online for products/services or information to stumble upon your website, viewing it as the recommendation of a trustworthy third party resource – Google. Branded traffic are the visitors that .either directly type your domain name or use exact/ a variation of your business name they already know about.
SEO is about driving potential traffic who finds your website via Google by searching non-branded keywords. An increase in non-branded traffic to your website is a good sign that your website is well-optimized for its keyword searches in the search engine results.
Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits on your website. It tells you that the percentage of people left your website from the landing page without visiting another page.
Generally, a high bounce rate indicates that the landing pages are not relevant to the visitors and your website design and structure is not engaging enough for the users.
User Engagement (Average Session Duration + Pages/Session):
Increasing your Page views/Session metrics for your website is extremely important for any SEO campaign (but yes, you can’t sacrifice quality for quantity). Page views/Session is a very self-explaining metric. If your average page view/session is going down as your total number of traffic is increasing, then there is possibly something wrong.
An increasing Page views/Session metric indicates that: your website traffic is highly targeted and qualified, also the content on your website is optimized well and effectively presented for the users.
Time on site (Average Session Duration) is another great way to measure traffic quality and engagement. This metric shows user engagement and indicates how well your content optimization strategy is going. Engaged users don’t just casually stop by your website, they are active visitors who listen to what you say and eventually take action as well.
Check out here:
Google Analytics -> Audience -> Behaviour -> Engagement
Index Pages on Google and Bing:
As you increase the indexing and crawlability of your website through SEO, you will see the number of pages that are indexed increase. Specially, this metric can be important for Ecommerce or product based websites.
Landing Pages Performance and Conversions:
You spend lots of time, money and resources getting targeted visitors to your website. But a common mistake happens that forgetting about the user experience after a visitor lands on your landing page.
Generally, SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate whereas outbound leads have a 1.7% close rate. (Resource – HubSpot). Conversion rate can make-or-break the ROI (Return on Investment) for an entire SEO campaign. Focus and measure this. Try to understand where people go on the website and from where they leave.
Don’t Depend on Contact Forms, People Prefer Telephones and Email too! When focusing on SEO strategies for conversions, we often forget that people like to use phones and Emails for initial contact method. So keep it in your mind.
SEO Leading Indicators or Metrics:
Backlinks are the lifeblood of SEO process. When another website links to your webpage, it is a counted as vote for your website. You should measure the increase of backlinks over a three, six and twelve month’s period to understand what content on your website helped draw the most inbound links.
Domain Authority and Page Authority:
Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) metrics measure the trust factor of your website. Increasing DA and PA means increasing chances to rank for relevant searches.
Non-Branded Keyword Rankings:
I guess you may have a shortlisted some “money keywords” that you want to rank for. But I want to tell you that those keywords aren’t the only search terms that could be driving organic traffic to your website.
A successful SEO campaign is about driving organic traffic from as many relevant search phrases as possible because every person searches a same thing differently. Take a look at your Google Webmaster Tools account and measure how many times your website is appearing in the search results for non-branded keywords. More non-branded keywords indicates that your website is gaining more organic search presence.
Organic Search Traffic:
Organic traffic is a very straightforward and easy to understand metric. Increasing organic traffic means more people finding your business via organic searches and visiting your website from the search engines. In order to understand if your SEO efforts are making an impact by driving targeted traffic to your website, you need to measure organic traffic from the search engines strategically.
- Track overall organic traffic growth – you should focus on year-over-year and month-to-month organic traffic comparisons.
- Increasing traffic with specific search engines – yes, SEO is a Google-centric world, but also track progress with Yahoo and Bing.
Patience is MUST for SEO Success!
Lastly, I have learned to always remember that SEO takes time. You can’t expect overnight success, but if you track the KPI’s properly, focus on what techniques are rewarding and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly, you can definitely expect success! Tracking and measuring SEO KPI’s also provides the highly precise, granular insights needed to meet your business goals.
Do you measure the performance of your SEO campaigns?
If yes, then how?
Please share in the comments below!