With so many online software available on the market, if you work in content marketing, there’s no getting around the fact that search engine optimisation (SEO) is a vital digital tool. Knowing what it means is a good starting point, but to use it effectively, you’ll need to learn how to measure the success of your efforts. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are what allow you to do just that.
SEO KPIs are measurable metrics that your company can track to gauge its performance over various marketing activities. In other words, they will tell you what is working in your SEO strategy and what isn’t. It’s no secret that SEO takes time to deliver results, but setting KPIs puts you in a better position to demonstrate the impact that your efforts are having on a business.
With so many KPIs to choose from, you may wonder which are the most important. In this blog post, we’ll help you to identify which KPIs your business should focus on. Here are the top SEO KPIs every marketer should know in 2021:
The fact that organic traffic helps us to reach one of the main goals of SEO – to bring more visitors to our website – makes it a crucial metric to track. Organic traffic indicates how many visitors your website has derived from organic search results (or how many people have landed on your website after searching on Google, for example). Monitor effectively and you’ll not only increase your reach; you’ll improve your brand awareness too.
Using Google Analytics, you can track both organic traffic to specific pages, and to your website as a whole, allowing you to understand which pages perform better and which need improving. You can make improvements through keyword research. By identifying which terms your website visitors search for, you can build better content, refine, and measure it.
Page speed has a huge impact on the SEO performance of a website, making it another important KPI that should be checked regularly. As well as increasing your bounce rate (i.e. the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page) it also affects your search ranking.
Survey says that 1 in 4 visitors would abandon a website that takes more than just four seconds to load. Also, 46 percent of users don’t revisit poorly performing websites and it’s no exaggeration that users who get a negative first impression from your website will be unlikely to return.
Among the main goals for many businesses is to make content appear on the first page of Google. Why? Because the higher your content ranks, the more people you are likely to reach. This not only increases your traffic but your conversions – both in terms of sales and leads – too.
As we mentioned previously, your page load time can impact your search ranking, so can various other factors such as organic click-through rate (CTR), content relevancy, bounce rate, and your website’s domain authority. Google will also rank you on certain keywords against the competition, so make sure the terms used within your content are relevant to your business.
Average session duration tells you how long, on average, users spend browsing your website. This KPI is a good indicator of how effective your content is. The average session duration you aim for will depend on your sitemap. For example, the more in-depth your content and site structure, the longer you can expect this duration to be.
According to our research, average session duration is the fourth-most-tracked Google Analytics metric, having the number of users, sessions, and bounce rate ranked higher. There are plenty of ways you can increase it and keep visitors on your site for longer. That involves creating text with images and videos, formatting your content so it’s easy to read, and linking them to other pages of your site. But also remember to publish content that’s worth reading in the first place. It may be a slower race, but quality trumps quantity.
Bounce rate is a metric that shows you how many users exited your website, or an individual page, without performing any further action on your website. It is usually expressed as a total percentage of visitors who left without interacting.
You may find that your website derives a lot of its traffic from organic search, for example, if you appear high up in search rankings. But if many of those users take one look at your website and leave instantly, you won’t see more conversions. The average bounce rate can range anywhere between 20 and 70 percent depending on the industry, with the most common reasons being slow page speed, too many ads, browser compatibility issues, or poor website design. To help you keep track of your bounce rate, use tracking tags on each of your pages in Google Analytics.
Organic CTR is a metric for how frequently users click through to your website when it appears on Google search results. If we’re getting specific, it is the total number of clicks on your search result, divided by the total number of impressions in the search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher that number is, the better.
SERPs show how effective and relevant your copy is in terms of title tag and meta description (the elements that show on the SERPs). It also tells you whether it matches the intent of the user searching for your keywords. To keep track of this KPI, set up Google Search Console for your website. This enables you to see the keywords that your website ranks for and your total impressions and clicks for each keyword.
You may want to optimise your content to improve your search ranking, get more traffic, and increase your CTR. But the main goal for most businesses is to make other metrics work towards generating new leads and sales, which means improving your conversion rate.
A lead is a person who expresses interest in a company’s product or service, for example, through sharing an email address or phone number. By understanding which web pages help you to generate more leads, you can organise your efforts to focus on the most profitable traffic sources. Using conversion tracking tags in Google Analytics will allow you to collect data on sources of your conversions.
Now that we’ve outlined a few of the most important KPIs, we hope you’ve gained a greater insight into how you can improve your SEO strategy. While you may choose one particular metric to focus on, it’s important that you track it in combination with other KPIs. Any metric in isolation can be misleading. For example, as we mentioned previously, high organic traffic can still result in a high bounce rate.
If you want to learn practical, real-world SEO skills to drive traffic to your website, consider one of our SEO courses, taught by the UK's best digital marketing and SEO experts.
by Emma Gibbins | 17 May 21
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