29 Mar 2016

8 SEO KPIs You Should Know and Act On Right Now

Whether you’re an SEO professional, executive, analyst, or marketing manager, it is necessary to take the time to monitor the performance of your website strategy and update important stakeholders on progress. It’s critical that we are able to grasp how to measure current performance and extol the virtues of our team when things are working, but also to identify and prioritize areas of opportunity and take action to improve at all stages of the conversion process. The following are the 8 SEO key performance indicators that you should know and act on right now.

1. Webpage Rankings

Yes, I said rankings. With the propaganda that has been published over the last few years devaluing the importance of keywords, it can easily be overlooked. However, this should still be an important component of your SEO strategy. Rankings are a valuable indicator that page level optimization is functioning correctly, and pages are positioned to drive traffic for your website.

Actions to take:

  • Find a ranking solution – Many great options exist at various price points. If you have the budget, consider an enterprise level solution. SEO Clarity, Conductor, and SearchMetrics are at the top of the class. Advanced Web Ranking, Moz Rank Checker, or Authority Labs are also good solutions at a more palatable price point. One thing is certain, without understanding of your website’s visibility in the SERPs, your strategy is flying blind.
  • Find the opportunities – When your campaign is up and running, focus on pages that rank on page two. These are low hanging fruit opportunities and may only require minor adjustments to bump up onto page one, where 90% of the clicks happen.

Dell Moz Rank Checker

2. Organic search impressions and clicks

This is a great metric found in Google Analytics that gives you the ability to measure organic search click through rate for your webpages. It can be found in Google Analytics under Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Landing Pages.

Action to take:

  • Prioritize by lowest CTR – Look for pages that have a large amount of Impressions, but low CTR. This may be an indication of poor performing page titles and/or meta descriptions. Review the optimization in the title tags, and be sure that the correct keywords are being targeted to support the page content. Also, consider rewriting the meta description to entice the searcher to click.

Landing page queries

3. Organic search share

The best indicator of overall SEO performance is to monitor the percentage of organic search driven traffic, conversions, and revenue as compared to total website metrics. This is the most important view you can use to demonstrate the importance of SEO to your organization’s overall marketing performance. 

Actions to take:

  • Create and circulate a dashboard –  This should show the monthly year-over-year organic search trend, total visits, conversions, and revenue generated from the website. This will make it easy to show when organic search is outpacing other channels.
  • Provide a holistic view of performance –  Also create a dashboard showing the organic search share against PPC and other online channels. Not only will it provide a holistic view of performance, but can also help dispel any argument that channel shift may have occurred.

4. Landing page metrics

There are many valuable page level metrics that provide insight into performance. However, I want to focus on organic visits and bounce rate. Google wants to reward websites that searchers find useful. Part of the algorithm monitors the clicks from their SERPs that bounce back. This indicates to them that the pages were not an accurate match for the intent of the search, and will likely see a drop in performance.

Action to take:

  • Order your analytics report – Do this by sorting by organic visit and note the pages with a high bounce rate. Two main reasons that a searcher might bounce from the page are that the keywords are incorrectly targeted in the optimization, or the content of the page did not answer the intent of the search. Review the optimization to make sure that the correct keywords are being targeted, as well as to confirm the quality and correct use of semantic phrases in the content itself.

Bounce rate analytics

5. Page Load Speed

Another important factor in search engine algorithms is the milliseconds it takes for a webpage to load. Harry Shum, EVP of Technology & Research at Microsoft recently stated that “two hundred fifty milliseconds, either slower or faster, is close to the magic number now for competitive advantage on the Web.” Simply put: pages that load faster will perform better.

Action to take:

  • Consistently check your page load times – Monitor your homepage and select pages from each different level or section of your website with an online page speed test tool, such as https://gtmetrix.com or http://www.webpagetest.org to identify any critical issues that could impede performance.

Apple pageload speed

6. Pageviews to organic visits ratio

Pageviews show the total number of times that a page has been viewed by internal or external traffic. By comparing the number of pageviews to organic search visits for each landing page, you can identify the pages that visitors find most valuable and are navigating to on the website, but may not be finding in organic search.

Action to take:

  • Divide pageviews by organic search visits, and put in descending order – Review the keywords targeted with the optimization and page content to make sure that the phrases and semantic variants accurately represent the theme of the page content and present the best opportunity for traffic and conversion.

Pageviews divided by organic medium

7. Indexed Pages

This can be a critical troubleshooting tool especially for very large, dynamic websites. Conduct advanced site searches on Google for “site:website.com” at all levels of your website (site:website.com/department, “site: website.com/department/category”, etc) to understand how many pages exist in the Google index and how they are prioritizing pages at all levels of your website.

Action to take:

  • Monitor on a regular basis –  By doing so, you can often alert your team of any issues that may have been introduced. Strange things can happen with dynamic sites. If you already know the approximate number of pages that actually exist on the website, this can alert you of potential issues. If the number found in the index is significantly greater it can be a sign of duplicate content, while a lower number can signify navigational or site indexing issues.
Index Status report Google

Check Google Search Console for your index status report.

8. Revenue per Search Visit

The ultimate goal of any Ecommerce website is revenue. Being aware of landing pages with high organic search traffic and low revenue will highlight the opportunity for improvement with the optimization, content, or user experience.

Action to take:

  • Divide revenue into organic search visits to establish dollars per search visit for each landing page –  For pages with low $/visit, from a SEO perspective, review the keywords targeted in the optimization and be sure that they will drive qualified visitors to the content of the page. Also review the content quality and user experience to discover opportunities to improve conversion.
Revenue per Visit organic search

Source: Megalytic

Understanding how your site is performing at all stages of the organic search conversion funnel –from rankings (opportunity for traffic) to visits, and ultimately to conversions – will arm your team with the ability to continue to prioritize and fine tune the SEO strategy, and ultimately increase total revenue.