8 Ultimate SEO KPIs and the Tools to Measure Them
Fewer people are heading to stores today than ever. Instead, in 2020, people shop online. Almost everything anyone can need is online. And if it isn't online, you can find its location through the Internet. The e-commerce industry has soared in recent years, earning a whopping 3.53 billion US dollars in 2019. That figure is estimated to be nearly doubled by 2023. Many businesses have been taking advantage of the e-commerce boom and selling their goods and services online, and the competition grows stiffer by the day.
So, what's a business owner to do?
You've probably built your website, and it looks fantastic. You've set up your backlinks, used top keywords, and your content has been optimized for your target audience. You've followed every recommendation to increase your SEO ranking. That's all well and good, but that's not all that's needed to run a successful website nowadays. To make your web page rank number one on Google, you need to improve on your improvements continuously. How do you do that? How do you know? With a KPI.
KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator, and it's a metric for measuring specific goals or objectives within defined periods. These measurements allow a company to see how far they're progressing towards one particular predetermined goal. There are hundreds of KPIs, but for those looking to improve their online businesses, SEO KPI s are your answer.
This type of KPI shows you specific details about your website so you can make the necessary changes. While there are many SEO KPIs as well, there are a few that are absolutely necessary if you want to get a head start on improving your website. We've listed the eight most crucial SEO KPIs to achieve your online business goals.
1. Organic Traffic
The first and most crucial SEO KPI is organic traffic. It measures the amount of traffic generated via a search engine. While Google is the leading search engine worldwide, there are others such as Yahoo, Bing, etc. Organic traffic is the sum of all the visitors you earned simply by appearing on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) for the keywords pages on your site rank for. You didn't pay for any placement. The search engine algorithms placed your content there naturally.
This is a great way to measure the results of your SEO strategy. The whole idea of SEO is to make your brand more visible on the Internet, and there's no better way to do that than ranking higher on SERPs. Receiving a steady flow of organic traffic means more visits without the hassle and cost of having to pay for advertisements and promotions.
You can even narrow down your organic traffic and track it locally. If your business has a physical entity, like a building, or it's based in a particular area, you're going to want to track down the organic traffic for that area. Tracking your organic traffic KPI helps you to determine whether or not you're doing very well on the SEO front. If you don't see a boost for a few months, that means you should probably switch things up in your SEO campaign.
2. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate measures the number of people who literally "bounce" away from your page. No visitor will stay on your page forever, but the bounce rate calculates the number of people who click that "return" button faster than you can say "indicators." People who bounce from your page might only view a page for a few seconds before leaving your website. It doesn't really matter how much blood, sweat, and tears you poured into optimizing your page. If it's not fulfilling the needs of your audience, they'll leave. Fast.
All websites have bounce rates, but an increase in this metric can mean that something is wrong somewhere. When users click on a website on a SERP, they expect to see content that'll provide relevant information and help them answer the questions that they have in mind. They want to see content that engages them. Having a high bounce rate means that your website is not answering their questions or satisfying their needs. There can also be other reasons like a site that's hard to navigate, content that doesn't match with the meta description, slow page loading speeds, etc.
You can measure your bounce rate by pages, demographic, topic, and source to try and isolate the problem. But for some industries, a high bounce rate is pretty standard. Different industries have different average bounce rates, and what you think may be high may be entirely normal for your type of website. Before you perform a content audit, we recommend that you find the bounce rate average for your industry.
3. Keyword Ranking
If you're doing SEO, you should know how important keywords are. Choosing the right keywords and placing them correctly can double your organic traffic and boost your SERPs ranking. Keyword rankings change every day, so if you manage a website, you have to keep abreast of what keywords you'll be using to push your content ahead. It's an effort that must be continuously made. Search engine algorithms can cause fluctuations, but you should be able to see some consistency.
To rank high in the search results, you can't just know the keywords; you have to understand how to optimize them within your content. As you maximize your keywords and make your content more relevant to users, you'll probably see a rise in your organic traffic. Improvements in keyword ranking can lead to more conversions and more sales.
The great thing about keywords is that just optimizing your content and making it more useful for users can improve your keyword ranking. Making your website more comfortable to use and mobile-friendly, your pages faster to load, adding more backlinks, creating better titles and descriptions, and building your following on social media also help to boost your ranking.
But because of a change in search engine algorithms or other factors, you may see small drops in your ranking. If you do, it's nothing to worry about. As far as you keep optimizing your content for users, it'll stabilize.
4. Crawl Errors
The Googlebot crawler is vital for every website, whether it's business-related or not. All search engines have crawlers, and these robots go from webpage to webpage through links and index them according to their relevance and value. It's a huge problem when the crawler cannot access your webpage to assess the significance of its contents. If the Googlebot (or any other search engine robot) cannot access your page, it will not be able to index your page, which then directly impact other SEO KPIs such as keyword ranking and organic traffic.
Crawl errors can have many sources. It could be that the page's redirect link is too long, the request has timed-out, your page no longer exists, or your site is down. Crawl errors can be traced back to your sources, the server, or the URL. Problems at the server level are much more challenging to handle than issues at the URL.
This is why it's essential to check for crawl errors continually. You could have a crawl error on your website for weeks and not know about it. You can use Google Search Console to find crawl errors and do something about them before they affect important pages and sabotage other SEO KPIs .
5. Average Session Duration
This metric measures the average amount of time a reader spends on your website. This KPI focuses directly on how engaging your content is. There's a simple principle behind it. The longer your readers spend on your site, the bigger your chances are of making a sale.
In getting more traffic to your website, one of the most critical factors is your content. The average Internet user doesn't really read a lot of the content that's posted. They're looking for key messages, phrases, or words. They skim through to find those few sentences, and if they don't see them or if your content doesn't keep them hooked, leaving is as easy as tapping a button.
The average session duration is a direct reflection of how engaging your content is. If your reader is engaged, they'll spend more time on your website and go from one page to another. As you continue to make changes to your website and try to improve it, the average session duration KPI will give you a pretty direct idea of how your readers feel about it.
There is only one remedy for short average session times for your pages. You have to better optimize your content to improve your users' experience.
6. Pages per Session
Most users only click on the webpage they need, to answer their questions, get information, be entertained, etc., and then, get out. But, some websites entice users to click more, to find more information, and to open more pages. These are the kinds of websites every business owner wants to have because the more pages a user loads, the more engrossed they are with your content, and the higher the likelihood that they'll convert.
Thus, tracking this SEO KPI gives you an idea of the average amount of pages users visit per session. If they only go to one page before heading back to the SERP, you might be doing something wrong. For this KPI to register positive results, there must be good content, but there are also other factors involved.
If your pages don't have good content, users won't be engaged. Also, it might be because you don't do proper internal linking to some of your other related material. Because of this, your users might not feel the need to explore your other pages. If you don't use the right keywords in your headings, topics, anchor texts, or descriptions, you won't be able to get your readers even to open your web pages. And if your pages are slow to load, your users probably won't wait for them.
These are all factors that determine how many pages your users visit during each session. If your users aren't getting more than they bargained for on your website, they won't bother heading on to your next article. The longer users spend on your website, the more it implies that your site offers them more value.
7. Page Loading Speed
There are very few things that are worse than a slow connection. What's even worse is when everything else is working, and this one page simply refuses to load. Most people aren't patient enough to wait a full minute for a page to load. It's the norm nowadays to see pages load in less than a second, five seconds at most. If your pages are slow to load, people won't wait for them. This can lead to a high bounce rate, which, as we've explained before, is very, very bad both in the short and long run.
This KPI is one that every business should track closely. Mobile phones have made outstanding strides in the past few decades. Lots of people access the Internet through their phones these days, but there are still many problems with the mobile versions of many websites. Google has placed so much importance on mobile-friendly websites that mobile version load speeds are now a factor in SEO rankings.
One cause of low loading speeds is a heavy page. You might think that having lots of media on your page will provide better user experience, and you may be right. What it also does is slow down the loading time. Your user might not even get to see those images, GIFs, and videos you set up. There's a considerable chance that they'll just go back to the search page and click on the next option. Your bounce rate goes up, and your average session duration comes down. Now, imagine this for hundreds of users. Down goes your ranking.
You can quickly check your loading speeds with SEO tools. Make checking your page speeds and optimizing them a habit. It'll enhance your user experience, and with better user experience comes better rankings.
8. Exit Pages
Most of us have clicked out of a website without a second thought. We just get what we need and get out. Or we don't understand what we need and angrily click the back button until we leave the webpage. Tracking this SEO KPI keeps you on top of information about where traffic leaves your website. On which page do your prospective customers end their sessions?
It's calculated by the number of exits per page divided by the number of page views. Each page of your website should provide an answer to a question, but this metric shows how satisfactory your answers are to your users. If any of your website's pages have a high exit rate, it could indicate a problem with the content of that page. A high exit rate on a few pages can show that users don't find your answers satisfactory, or there are issues on those pages.
A page's high exit rate is not necessarily a bad thing. Your users could be exiting from the last page of a completed transaction. They could leave after finding the information. There could be several reasons for a high exit rate. Business owners should keep an eye out for their pages' exit rate. The content of their pages and tracking other SEO KPIs like page loading speeds and average time on page give more insight into the reason for high exit pages.
Best Tools to Measure SEO KPIs
Now we've discussed the most important SEO KPIs , their uses, and what they mean. But to actually check these KPIs, we need to use some special software. There are tools to monitor your KPIs quickly and easily. Here are the best of them:
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a tool that displays the progress of up to six KPIs with a function of combining the results. Google Analytics can present statistics about your organic traffic, your keyword ranking, and the different means your web pages are accessed (i.e. from what devices). Apart from displaying your SEO KPIs, there are also many other facilities it provides. There's an audience overview that you can customize to fit your needs. Within it, there are:
- Intelligence Events : These are automatic alerts that you can customize to warn you when something is wrong with your website. You'll usually get an email for these warnings.
- Audience : This information helps you figure out the demographic that's interested in your content.
- Real - time : This shows you what's going on with your website at that instant.
- Acquisition : How did your readers reach your website? Whether it was through a search engine, a link, etc., Google Analytics will display it.
- Within the keyword ranking panel, there are various fields. Here are the headings and the meanings of the numbers beneath them:
- Click-through Rate: If your page is shown when a particular keyword is searched for, this field indicates the number of times it gets clicked on.
- Impressions: It shows how many times a user viewed one of your site's pages on SERPs for a particular keyword.
- Clicks : It shows how many times your website has been clicked on after ranking for a keyword.
- Average Position: The average position of your website when a keyword is searched for.
- Query : The keyword that's searched for.
Google Analytics has many useful features, but the user interface is a little tricky to navigate. However, it does allow you to create Google dashboards .
2. Google Search Console
Google Search Console serves much the same purpose on Google Analytics. You can optimize your content with it by analyzing your impressions, clicks, and positions. You can nip crawl errors by submitting your individual URLs and sitemaps for crawling and indexing. Google Console sends you alerts whenever Google detects anything problems with your website. It'll also help you to achieve a more mobile-friendly website with customized reports.
SEMrush has loads of features in its SEO toolkit. For simplicity, we've listed and explained all its features below:
- Domain Overview: This feature allows you to get a view of your competitors. Get information on what they're doing to overtake them.
- Traffic Analytics : This product helps you to analyze your competitor's traffic sources, bounce rates, and other KPIs.
- Organic Research : You can use this to dig up your competitor's sales strategies and how they get their websites to rank high on SERPs.
- Keyword Gap : Find and compare competitors' websites with yours and discover keywords they target that you don't.
- Backlink Gap: Find the backlink opportunities that you're missing.
- Keyword Overview : Find new keywords to target and the vital metrics for each of them.
- Keyword Magic Tool: Allows you to access millions of keywords and matches along with their metrics.
- Keyword Difficulty : Compare the difficulty of ranking for certain target keywords
- Organic Traffic Insight : Keep track of how changes in ranking affect user behavior. Discover keyword groups not provided by Google Analytics.
- Position Tracking : Keep up with you and your competitors' rankings with PDF reports.
- Site Audit: Allows you to audit your site, then find and fix issues.
- On-Page SEO Checker : Obtain instructions to improve your website.
- SEO Content Template : Quickly and easily create content. You can also use these templates to improve your backlinks, keywords, and structure of your content.
- Sensor : This sensor can be used to stay on top of any changes.
- Backlink Audit : Allows you to review all your backlinks and eliminate toxic ones. You can also integrate with Google Console , Google Analytics, and Majestic data.
- Backlink Analytics: Analyze your competitors' backlinks and benefit from their strategy.
- Link Building Tool: Allows you to build high-quality links.
Apart from these tools, SEMrush also has several other SEO KPI tools.
Klipfolio has several plans that might be a little expensive, but they're well worth it. There are plans for both the large SEO agency and for the individual. It has many features, including organic traffic research, keyword searches, backlink research, page authority, just to name a few. Klipfolio lets you easily create dashboards, and you can connect to other SEO KPI tools like Google Analytics and SEMrush .
Apart from the SEO KPIs mentioned in this article, there are several others that online business owners need to pay attention to. We've listed the best tools that'll let you keep up with the KPIs we've explained amongst several others. Tracking these KPIs and acting on the analysis of the data obtained will definitely lead to visible growth of your online business.