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7 KPIs for Search Engine Optimisation

One of the most frequent questions we get asked here at Varn is “How should I be measuring the success of my SEO efforts?” It is a good question as there are so many different metrics that can be used, and every website or business will find they have different measurements that matter.

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Make sure you are measuring the important data that is linked to bottom line business performance rather than just looking at the overall numbers

Here we will run through seven of the most common key performance indicators (KPIs) that can help you to accurately define and track your SEO progress against your business objectives.

Most important is to set measurable objectives first, in order to build useful reports. While your primary objective might be to increase sales and/or revenue, it is worth bearing in mind that investing in your website’s SEO will impact these both directly and indirectly. When you start to collect a range of data and dig deeper into analysing it, you often see that sales that might not at first glance have been directly attributed to your search marketing campaigns are in fact influenced by your SEO efforts.

1)      Percentage of traffic coming from search engines each month vs. other traffic.
One of the easiest ways to see what effect your SEO work has had is to calculate how many of your visitors have come from search engines such as Google or Bing. Over time this will enable you to build up a general picture of how many people are coming through to your site by using search engines compared to direct visits or referrals.

2)      Percentage of this search engine traffic broken down between each of the search engines.
Not only will you easily be able to spot if you have a problem with one particular search engine but you can also compare your percentages against general market share to see which are under-performing.

3)      Traffic by keywords or phrases over time.
You need to keep track of how your keywords are performing on a regular basis to help identify new trends, gauge your current performance and find keywords that are potentially under-optimised.

4)      Share of search by keywords or phrases.
Comparing yourself to your competitors will give you the external validation you need to accurately measure this area of SEO.

5)      Conversion rate.
Conversions include customers buying online, making an enquiry, signing up for a trial, downloading software – whatever action it is you want visitors to your site to perform – and the conversion rate is a simple calculation of what percentage of the total audience converted. If you delve deeper and break your conversion rate down by keyword traffic you will have a strong KPI for keyword analysis.

6)      Average order/enquiry value.
Never forget value when looking at your metrics as you might have spent a lot of time and money on a particular SEO technique that has a high conversion rate but low order value. This campaign will therefore have a low AOV and may not be worth running in future. It will also have a low ROI…

7)      Return on investment.
ROI can be used to measure the amount of revenue you have made compared to the cost of the initial investment. This is calculated by subtracting the cost of a campaign from the resulting revenue, then dividing this figure by the cost of the investment. You can then turn this result into a percentage by multiplying by 100. ROI is one of the most important metrics as it enables you to compare the success of one campaign against another easily and also measures the net profit of your campaign.

However, ROI does present a simplistic view when comparing the profitability of investments, as it does not take into account the amount of time that they took place over, or the total value of all of the resources used (e.g. web dev time spent building a landing page for your campaign, designers’ time spent creating images for paid search ads etc).

In order to get the full picture of how your SEO strategies and campaigns have impacted your results it is always best to view your KPIs in context with each other. You might decide that a combination of a few of these KPIs is sufficient tracking for your purposes, or you may need to go a lot deeper to work out exactly where you can improve. Often your KPIs will depend on objectives that are individual to your business, so a monthly bespoke SEO report will help you to translate the noise. Contact our SEO team to find out how we can provide these reports for you.

This article was updated on 05/07/2017