There are a number of different ways to measure the performance of your SEO campaign – but which are the most important? Whether you are working on a campaign in-house or on behalf of a company, defining KPIs at the start of the campaign is very important so that progression can be monitored and action can be taken if results are not as expected.
KPIs need to relate to the main business objectives and targets should be set which are both achievable and will indicate success. The same KPIs will not work for all companies; however these are some of the most important ones:
This is often one of the most popular metrics which companies are keen to see. It is a good indicator of the health of your SEO campaign, showing how your target keywords are improving or dropping in search engine results pages (SERPs). However, the issue is that it only shows the performance of a short list of target keywords.
The initial selection of keywords at the start of the campaign is therefore very important – ensuring that they have good search volumes, are likely to convert well on-site and be profitable to the company.
Keyword visibility should be measured on a monthly basis to show overall trends, without focusing too closely on smaller fluctuations which are likely. You should also track the key competitor visibility to compare you site’s performance with overall industry trends, identify competitors which are growing in strength and detect newcomers to the market.
Number of Referring Keywords
This is a useful metric to show the overall growth of a site’s longtail visibility. A site which is growing in strength and which is expanding in content should be attracting traffic from a growing number of keywords.
For an SEO campaign, non-brand metrics are the main focus, as this is what the optimisation work will have the most impact on. Sites are likely to be ranking highly for brand keywords already and brand traffic can be affected by other marketing activity (such as TV advertising). Non-brand traffic is a very important KPI for SEO. The more visible your site is, the more traffic you can expect to get.
Traffic should be measured on a monthly basis, but also take into consideration year on year growth and seasonal variance which may affect traffic throughout the year.
However, traffic by itself is not enough to indicate success, as traffic also needs to be relevant. All sites should have a goal – whether this is a sale, an enquiry or completion of a sign up form – which should be measured to indicate performance of the campaign and ensure that the right people are finding your site.
Non-brand Revenue (and other financial KPIs)
Ensuring that the campaign is profitable and contributing to the success of the business should be one of the most important KPIs. Actual revenue generated from non-brand sales should be measured, but ideally other conversions should be given a monetary value too. When reporting on revenue, on-site factors should also be considered – ask whether increases can be attributed to increases in traffic alone or whether conversion rate and average order value improved too. However, they can all be affected by SEO improving the amount of relevant traffic arriving at a site.
Other important financial KPIs include return on investment (ROI) and CPA, to ensure that the campaign is profitable.
Other Less Important Metrics
- Number of links is often requested as a KPI. However link building isn’t just about quantity; other factors such as quality, authority and trust are more important.
- PageRank is a bit of an out-of-date metric, as you may see sites with a low PR ranking above sites with a high PR. Page Rank can be useful for link building to give an indication of the trust/authority of the site but that’s about its only use now.
Let me know which KPIs you think are most important by leaving a comment below.