Demystifying SEO is not an easy task.
Even veterans rely on extensive research and constant learning to keep their skill sets updated, especially when planning a campaign for a new client.
Keep in mind that in SEO, a different niche is like a whole new ballgame. You need to start from square one every single time — from identifying your keyword targets to figuring out a content strategy that works.
Perhaps the only aspects that remain constant are the metrics or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that can help gauge your results.
If you’re new to SEO or just need a refresher in preparation for a new project, here are the top 4 SEO KPIs that you can’t afford to miss.
1. Search Engine Rankings
First and foremost, you need to be constantly updated regarding your website’s search engine rankings.
Remember, the goal of SEO is not just to get a website or page indexed in position 30, 20, or 10 — it’s to snag the absolute top spot in search engine results.
You either go big or go home.
Realistically speaking, you probably won’t attain any of the top 10 results in weeks or even a couple of months. But by tracking your search engine rankings from day one, you can easily determine if your strategies really work.
The Google Search Console is all you need when it comes to tracking this particular KPI. You start by adding your website as your Google account’s property by clicking “Add Property” from the main dashboard.
On the “Add a property” form, go ahead and enter your website’s complete URL and click “Add.”
This will initiate the verification process that will prove that you have rightful ownership of the website you just entered. Just follow the on-screen instructions to proceed with the rest of the setup.
After successfully adding your property to your Search Console account, you should now be able to view pertinent data regarding your website’s Google rankings — including, of course, your position in the specific keywords you’re ranking for.
To view this information, expand the “Search Traffic” menu from the main dashboard, click “Search Analytics,” and select the “Position” checkbox at the top of the page.
Right off the bat, you’ll get to see your website’s average position across all keywords you currently rank for. What you need to track, however, are your search rankings in target keywords that:
- Have purchase intent (with commercial terms like “buy,” “hire,” “services,” etc.)
- Generate click-throughs
- Related to your website’s value propositions
2. Page Views
What’s more important than your search engine rankings?
The actual page views they generate, of course.
An increase in traffic during your SEO campaign is indicative of two things:
You got some target keywords right
It’s no secret that not all keywords are valued the same.
Some garner hundreds, if not thousands, of search queries per month, while most are virtually impotent in terms of generating traffic.
If your SEO campaign generates quality traffic, you’re definitely in the right direction as far as your keyword strategy is concerned.
You optimized for CTR (Click-Through Rate)
Your organic CTR actually deserves to be included in this list of valuable SEO KPIs.
Put simply, it measures the likelihood of users clicking your page whenever they see it on search engine results.
The CTR is largely affected by your target keywords as well as the optimization of a handful of website elements. This includes your page’s metadata, post title, and structured data implementation — that is, if you know how to utilize them.
To track your website’s page views, the tool of choice would be none other than Google Analytics.
If you haven’t linked your website to your Google Analytics account yet, you should check out this detailed guide that breaks down the entire process into three simple steps.
Once your website is added and verified, your page views can be accessed by going to the “Overview” section under the “Audience” menu.
Google Analytics also tracks the “sessions” metric, which measures the number of times a user visits your page within a 30-minute period. This, along with the “session duration” metric, can be used to scale the performance of your content when it comes to keeping visitors engaged.
3. Bounce Rate
Apart from your traffic, Google Analytics also tracks the number of times a user leaves your site without clicking anywhere else.
This is represented by the KPI known as bounce rate, which is also displayed in the “Audience Overview” page.
A high bounce rate can be a symptom of the following irregularities in your SEO campaign:
- There was a mismatch between your target keywords and the actual information that your content offers
- You have poor-quality content on your site
- Your website’s layout is hard to use
- Visitors are put off by a sluggish performance
The good news is, all of these problems can be remedied with the right strategies.
For instance, targeting the wrong keywords and having poor-quality content can be fixed by revising the page to contain more keyword-oriented information. The same goes for a poorly-designed layout, which should be revamped to focus on usability, content readability, and navigation.
Your website’s performance, on the other hand, may be responsible for nearly half of your site’s bounce rate.
To improve your website’s loading speed, you can optimize page structure, on-page content, or use a CDN (Content Delivery Network), which works by utilizing a network of proxy servers that share the responsibility of storing, managing, and delivering website data.
4. Your Backlinks & Referring Domains
Finally, backlinks in SEO are important because they are the building blocks of an authoritative, rank-worthy site.
It may not be a metric per se, but it’s unquestionably an important KPI if you want to improve your linkbuilding strategy over time.
It becomes a lot easier to manage linkbuilding efforts when you’re making use of a backlink analysis tool. With these, you can get a bird’s-eye view of your website’s entire backlink profile — from the status of your links to the top referring domains. Some of the most powerful platforms to consider include Ahrefs and Monitor Backlinks.
How can you bolster your website’s backlink profile? Well, some of the strategies you should consider are:
- Relentlessly Sharing Your Blog Posts
Manually sharing your content may be tedious, but it can exponentially increase your posts’ chances of being linked. When done on the right websites, this should also supply your site with more organic traffic.
- Use the Skyscraper Technique
The Skyscraper Technique from Brian Dean of Backlinko is a low-risk, high-reward strategy that can help you bag dozens of high-quality links. It involves looking for popular content, creating something better, and then promoting the finished product to influencers who already shared the original source material.
- Clean Up Bad Links
With your backlink analysis tool, you should also be able to view bad links that come from spammy domains, use unnatural anchor texts, or are posted via dubious means (comments, footer links, etc.). Deleting or “disavowing” these links should improve the overall health of your site’s backlink profile.
That’s it! The top 4 SEO KPIs that every marketer must track.
By keeping a close eye on these KPIs, you are maximizing the chances that your SEO campaign will eventually lead to profitable results.
Your success may not happen overnight, but as long as you use data to make your next crucial decision, rest assured that you’re inching closer to the top position in Google. Cheers!