SEO Starter Guide: 5 Essential KPIs to Track in Your Campaign

When it comes to achieving success in SEO, there are no better ways to help track down and prove your success than key performance indicators.

To put it simply, KPIs are valuable metrics that give clarity to the efforts you’ve put in fine-tuning your SEO strategy. They allow you to measure performance, assess your efforts, and find ways to improve your campaign.

The question now is: What SEO KPIs should you be tracking as a beginner in SEO? In this article, we list the five more important ones.

Let’s dive right into them.

Search engine ranking

With the changes made within Google’s algorithm (from search engine results, PPC ads, local listings, news, images, and many more), your rankings on organic results is one of the most important SEO KPIs to track.

Some keywords are easy to rank for, such as specific long-tail keywords or your brand name.

On the other hand, relevant short tail keywords, are much harder to rank for as they often have a huge search volume, making them valuable for your competitors too. 

It’s essential that you track your rankings as often as possible. Moreover, your rankings tell you how closely aligned your SEO strategy is with users’ search intent, which is an important ranking factor that many tend to overlook.

It’s good practice to check your keyword rankings every week and monitor for any significant drops in ranking. If you spot any, take a close look as soon as possible at the cause of the dip. You can check them with tools such as Ahrefs and SEMRush.

Organic traffic

One of the primary goals of an SEO campaign is to drive more traffic to a website from organic search. After all, organic search traffic is free and it can turn casual site visitors into paying customers.

So, how can you track how your organic traffic is performing? Head over to Google Analytics. You’ll want to click on Acquisition, then Channels and Organic Search until you land on Sessions, which can be found on the first column. That’s the number you want to track. 

According to Google, sessions are a cluster of interactions that occur on your site within a given period of time.

To measure this KPI, you’ll want to compare the given time frames. It’s typically best practice to look at 3 different time periods when evaluating your campaign’s performance: week over week data, month over month data, and year over year data.

  • Weekly data lets you see the short-term changes in your traffic. It’s good to monitor this when you’re conducting major changes on the website, such as installing HTTPS, launching a major content campaign, or setting up a significant amount of 301 redirects.
  • Monthly data is valuable when you want to view the performance of your SEO campaign over a longer time period. As Google’s algorithms change quite often, only looking at weekly data makes it harder to draw conclusions. SEO is also inherently a slower process compared to other marketing strategies, so most often, you won’t notice the effects of tweaking title tags or publishing a new blog post until a month, or several months, have passed.
  • Year over year data is essential for evaluating your campaign’s long-term trends, especially when your business is impacted strongly by the seasons or changes in trends. For instance, if your business sells summer clothing, comparing your organic traffic in December vs August will make it seem like your SEO campaign experienced a major dive when in reality the search volume for your keywords simply declined.

Bounce rates and click-through rates

Bounce rate is a great way to measure user engagement your site. A low bounce rate usually indicates that users find your website interesting or useful, while a high bounce rate means that they’re not engaged or your page didn’t answer their search query.

If notice that certain key pages on your site have a high bounce rate, such as the homepage, you should further dig into things like changing your content, improving page speed, making navigation easier for users.

Another important KPI to track is your site’s organic click-through-rate (CTR). You can find this information in the Google Search Console’s Search Analytics report. Organic CTR is the percentage of your website’s clicks to impressions in Google Search. For instance, if you had 500 impressions and 50 clicks, you have a CTR of 10%.

What makes CTR important is that if you can improve it, you’ll eventually experience a boost in rankings. Google has confirmed that they use CTR as a metric to determine what type of results users want to see. Once Google sees that more users are clicking on your website for a particular keyword than your competitors, there’s a great possibility they’ll rank your website higher.

Average Page Load Time

This metric is especially crucial for those who are just starting out on SEO. As its name suggests, this metric looks at how quickly your website or web pages load in the browser. Fast loading pages are especially crucial for user experience, which is why website optimisation is also a critical part of SEO.

To monitor this metric, head over to Google Analytics. Go to Behaviour > Site Speed > Page Timings. Afterwards, change the metric in the second column to Avg. Page Load Time (sec). You will then see your average load times for all pages. You can also use the search bar to track individual pages.

In SEO, faster load times are always better, so try and make the page speed as low as possible. A good starting goal is to get it to load under 10 seconds until you can get it to under 5 seconds, especially for important pages such as your home page.

Conversions

Your website should support your business, and for some, it’s even their entire business! Therefore, your website needs to generate conversions and boost sales. 

To track this metric properly, you will have to have to go to Google Analytics and set up goals and events. From there, you’ll be able to track your conversions across various dimensions, such as:

  • men vs women visitors
  • which pages drive more conversions?
  • is your conversion rate better on mobile or desktop
  • what is the traffic source that generates conversions?

If your conversion rate isn’t doing so well, you have issues you need to address. For example, it might be that your call-to-action buttons are poorly displayed or your website isn’t easy to navigate. Sometimes, you’ll also need to evaluate your content as it might not be engaging enough.

 

Conclusion

While there are many various metrics you can track to evaluate the performance of your SEO campaign, the ones listed above are the most important KPIs for those just starting out in SEO.

Google Analytics and other SEO tools such as SEMRush and Ahrefs will help you stay on top of your website’s performance as they let you monitor these KPIs any time you can — preferably once a week. This way, you can react quickly to potential problems and avoid SEO disasters early on, saving you time and effort as you fine-tune your strategy.

essential KPIs

AUTHOR BIO

David Emmerson

A writer and editor, Dave (as his friends call him) loves the printed word and believes writing is the best way to stay sane. He has taught English in many parts of Thailand and Cambodia and says that teaching the language made him a better writer. Currently, Dave is working as a consultant for SEO Services.