How to Measure SEO: 6 Core KPIs to Track
Though there is an ever-growing awareness of search engine optimisation and it's importance for ranking results, many are unsure of which factors to consider when looking for ways to measure the success of their SEO campaigns. Which SEO key performance indicators are the best to track for the best campaign outcome?
Below are the six most important KPIs to monitor for success, with an explanation of each particular facet’s significance in terms of SEO.
It almost goes without saying that search engine rankings are an important KPI for SEO. The ultimate goal of search engine optimisation is to tweak websites and online content so that the targets are better ranked in search results, ensuring that there is a higher level of traffic and the resulting benefits from that traffic, such as conversions with sales or social media shares. By tracking rankings as a KPI, you are making sure that your SEO campaign is actually working, and can adjust your technique accordingly with the ranking issues you may face.
Rankings are not considered as significant as they once were, due to the ever-evolving nature of SEO. However, using it as a KPI is important because of internet user behaviour, which consistently indicates that the higher a site’s ranking, the more likely it is to be visited.
For SEO campaigns, it is vital not only to ask yourself or your team how the campaign is performing, but to ask how many people are seeing the campaign. The more people engage with the content, the more favourably search engines will perceive the website in question, and the more achievable the ultimate goal of conversion becomes. The traffic KPI is important because it goes hand in hand with how search engines rank your site, and can be cultivated naturally as rankings increase to encourage conversions.
Obviously, it is not only the volume of traffic that has to be monitored. The quality of traffic, as well as the source, is also a key point to consider when evaluating the effectiveness of an SEO campaign. A good SEO manager will find trends in the data, and use that knowledge to develop website visits into conversions. Learn more about website traffic today with this great article - Get More Website Traffic and Increase Leads and Sales with Effective SEO.
Any experienced SEO practitioner will know that a high search engine ranking was formerly the sole goal of optimisation, but that in today’s world, a more important KPI is conversion. Measuring the conversation rate of a page or website is vital for measuring the success of an SEO campaign, because conversions are the end product of the hard work of an SEO manager.
After all, it is not enough that someone visits a site; they need to engage and interact with the content within for it to be meaningful. Whether that engagement is simply reading content, buying products, or sharing material on social media, conversions are the ultimate KPI for search engine optimisation.
4) Assisted Conversions
An SEO term well-known to those using Google Analytics is “assisted conversions”. This key performance indicator shows more than just the number of conversions an SEO campaign is making, but how the conversion was finally achieved. For example, knowing a customer has purchased a product is useful, but knowing what pages that customer visited on the site first before being led to the final conversion is key for drawing further customers in. The journey of a user is as important as the end result, so monitoring assisted conversions is considered another SEO KPI.
Much like rankings, the number of links a website has is no longer the industry benchmark for a solid SEO campaign, but that does not mean it is no longer an important KPI. Prior to updates such as Google Panda, websites that had a lot of backlinks from other sites ranked highly; now, the worth of a site is determined by the quality of its content, as well as the number of links. Monitoring the source of inbound links is critical for an SEO manager to make sure that the website is not penalised for having spam-like link sources.
Link-building efforts are a core part of an SEO campaign, which makes monitoring the results of efforts a key factor for any worthwhile SEO manager. Learn more about backlink profiles and why you should be checking yours - Why Is It Important To Regularly Check Your Backlink Profile?
6) Domain Authority
Domain authority is the pinnacle of SEO work. This KPI is essentially the “trust factor” of the website in question, and the higher the authority, the more Google and other search engines will refer users to the site in their search results. Domain authority directly relates to link-building, in that the higher quality of links and the number of links establishes the trust that other sites have in the target website, which indicates to search engines that the site is trustworthy. The domain authority KPI is an excellent indication of how successful link-building campaigns are, and authority results should help to shape the ongoing efforts of a wider SEO campaign.
This KPI is one that can actively be measured against competitor websites, as it is likely that there will be shared backlinks and audiences. Ensuring that your target website is at the very least keeping up with competitors is crucial for an SEO campaign to be considered successful.