How To Use KPIs to Track Your SEO
When optimizing websites for search, you know monitoring performance is important. You want to get your company website to the top of Google Page One to get as many qualified leads as possible. But with so many SEO metrics and best practices out there, how do you know what to watch. And with algorithms changing all the time, how often do you check things out?
Some of that depends on your marketing and SEO budget, the size of your business, and the recommendations of your marketing team.
But there are some tried and true metrics you need to familiarize yourself with to stay ahead of the game. We recommend these key performance indicators (KPIs) to start. They offer a window into how well your content is doing in search results, and, by extension, with potential customers.
1. SpyFu: Check for Sum of Rank Changes
Among the many tools on SpyFu, our SEO team loves the Sum of Rank change metric. If you’re in the top spot (out of 50), you get a score of 50 points, the second spot gives you a 49 point score, and so on, all the way down to 1 point for the 50th spot on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). These values are added together to get the Sum of Rank, so you can see how rank is changing for your website over time.
Overall, how are you doing? Are you moving up the SERPs, getting bumped down, or holding steady in a highly-visible spot? Knowing this can let you know where to focus your SEO resources going forward.
2. SpyFu: Check Ranking for the Top 50 Search Results
Are your key website pages (products, services, about, etc.) coming up within the first 50 results on Google and other search engines? SpyFu has another tool that can show you.
SpyFu's comprehensive SEO keyword research tools give you data you can use to improve a host of online marketing metrics. To get a bird’s-eye view of your performance, we recommend checking your ranking within the Top 50 results.
Knowing how you’re ranking for your product and service keywords, and for services in your area, means you know whether or not your landing pages are being seen by prospective customers.
While getting your painting services on the first page of Google is ideal, knowing where you are within the Top 50 can give you a sense of how much traction you have. Of course, checking this data regularly can be a way of tracking SEO progress so you know what’s working — and what isn’t.
3. SEMRush: Get Keyword Difficulty Ranking for the Top 100 Results
SEMRush is another great tool for deep-diving into keyword research when developing or improving your brand's website. DodgeballSEO uses this tool because:
- It gives you a broader view, allowing you to look at the top 100 results – the first 10 pages of SERPs.
- You can see how you’re ranking for keywords in 3 tiers of difficulty: low, medium, and high.
The "difficulty" of a keyword refers to how difficult it would be for you to outrank the top competitors for that term. Ranking for high keyword difficulty is a good aspiration when it comes to SEO strategy. But ranking for lower-difficulty keywords is still valuable for your marketing campaigns. And it may be more realistic, depending on your ad spend, link-building, and other factors.
Use this SEO KPI to get a clear understanding of your starting point in terms of keyword ranking. Then set goals (both practical and “stretch”) for your keyword strategy based on that.
4. Google Search Console: Check Your Impressions Data
While impression data won't tell you everything about how business websites are performing, they’re still a valuable digital marketing KPI. They give you a better sense of:
- How often your web pages and content are getting in front of people
- Which pages are most often viewed
- Which pages have the fewest views
You can check your impressions data on Google Search Console. The more familiar you are with this data, the more readily you’ll be able to tell if your campaigns are “landing”: are people looking at the pages that are targeted in your digital advertising campaigns, or are they coming to them with keyword searches? All of this data is good data, and it will only help you tighten your approach.
5. Keep an Eye on Organic Search Visits
Paid Search data is a great way for your marketing team to measure ROI and allocate SEO/ad spending. But organic search data should never be neglected. Organic search results show how many people got to your site based on their own searches, rather than an advertisement. You can be confident, if someone has found you with organic search and explored your site, that other strong leads will use the same terminology to look for you.
Numerous analytics dashboards have this metric, and it is an asset to your keyword research and content marketing strategy. If you notice people are finding you with certain words, phrases, or questions, you can make sure you’ve got content on deck that addresses those concepts and gets their questions.
6. Check the Number of Visits from Within Your Geographic Area
If you’re a painting business with local roots whose services are highly concentrated in one area, people near you need to be able to find you online. One SEO KPI you can use to measure this is to know how many of your site visits and page visits are coming from your target geographic market. Do you need more local keywords? Is something unclear about the services you provide your community? Pinpointing the location of site visits can give you valuable insights like those.
7. Review Your Top Services Pages
What are your top-ranking landing pages for your company's website? Are more people landing on one service page than another? Which product page has the most activity? Knowing your top service page data reveals:
- Which product pages are getting the most traction/which services are most in-demand
- How often people have been looking to contact you or request a consultation
If you’ve been planning website changes, you’ll want to be sure your changes in-step with strong performance marketing. When it comes to SEO, there’s no need to “fix” what’s working well for your users.
8. Notice the Top-Performing Keywords
Successful online marketing has many moving parts. Checking your analytics for top keywords used to find you is a key step that often gets overlooked in the rush to get content approved and campaigns up and running during busy project seasons. You know your business and your products better than anyone. But your ideal customers might be using totally different words to search for what you have to offer.
Are there any surprises in your keyword report? Is there anything you need to add, or something that’s getting lost in translation? Following top keywords and keyword variations can help you get to the bottom of things and determine your next steps.
9. Watch Your Listing in Google My Business
Google My Business is one of your most important marketing assets, especially if you own a brick-and-mortar, or provide highly localized services. Do you know how your listing appears, and for what searches? Check regularly to see how your listing is performing, especially since you rely on the locals to keep the doors open. Check out things like:
- Where are your “Click to Call”s coming from?
- How far is your reach? Where are people located who click for a map/directions?
- What search terms are bringing up your listing?
10. Monitor Inbound Links to Your Site
Inbound links send people to your website from other sites. If you're not the only one linking to your content, your customers know you've built trust in your industry. The more inbound links you have, the better your rankings tend to be, especially if those links are to high-ranking sites. Google and other search engines rank based on inbound links because because they’re seen as a measure of authority and credibility. If others are willing to vouch for you who are respected in their field or industry, you must know a thing or two.
Ask the Pros: How Often Do I Check My SEO Performance?
We get it. It’s tempting to watch your SEO data like a hawk, and it’s good to keep an eye out. But it takes some time to develop an SEO campaign. For starters, we recommend monthly checks across these 10 SEO metrics, adding any others you find relevant to your goals. But don’t just stop at monthly reviews: we recommend examining a trend line.
- Is your marketing campaign performance better than it was a year ago?
- Where do you need support?
If you’re doing marketing in-house, SpyFu and SEMRush are great tools to have.
If you’re a DodgeballSEO client, there’s no need to buy access to these platforms or run your own reports. We offer comprehensive SEO reporting and custom recommendations to help you rank higher and go farther than your competitors.