You put a lot of effort into maximizing your website’s potential through SEO and choosing the best web hosting, and naturally, you want to be able to see the ROI in a meaningful way.
Key performance indicators or KPIs are a great way to do that. A KPI is a metric that measures important data over time.
They can be viewed separately for a drilled down look at an area of success or struggle or in totality to provide a big-picture view of customer engagement through SEO.
The Types of Key Performance Indicators You Should Explore
When setting business goals it’s hard to find to find smart KPI examples you can take onboard right away. Often, the best KPIs will be specific, measurable, and attainable.
You could start by looking at these:
- Keyword performance
- Organic traffic
- Lead generation
- Conversation rates
- Referral traffic
All of these KPIs are smart because they can easily feed into common business goals. They’re easily measurable with the right tools. And, if you have a good strategy, these indicators are attainable.
Remember, indicators are not the final goal. Your business objectives and ultimate purpose are separate from these goals.
Strategic planning means it’s up to you to make sure that these indicators feed into your business objectives.
Measure Your Keyword Performance
While you may have a few KPIs that are specific to your industry or company, there are several that generally apply across the board, especially when it comes to SEO.
First among them is your keyword performance, which is so valuable because it’s so closely tied to your SEO strategy.
Keyword performance tells you which search terms and queries for which your pages rank highly.
Let’s say you’re a dentist. If your pages rank highly for terms related to “gingivitis” then your website has sufficiently represented that phrase. (And, the search engines seem to think your content is solid and worthy of attention.)
But keywords aren’t everything. It depends on your goals. Keywords must be relevant with regard to your goals.
If your dental practice is having trouble getting foot traffic then people reading your gingivitis article in another city will not be of help to your goal. You may need to adjust your keyword strategy for local readers.
If your keyword rankings are going up, it’s likely that your SEO is performing as expected. Strong keyword rankings also drive a lot of subsequent user behavior and engagement.
For example, if your dental practice is getting a lot of local traffic, make sure you’re funneling that traffic into a landing page with a contact form or some other engagement tool. This way you can better convert that traffic.
Website Performance Indicators Are Often Overlooked
Having a solid SEO strategy involves both content concerns (like keywords and written content) and technical concerns (page speed, errors, and more).
Mastering the content side comes easy for some companies while technical considerations might go unchecked. Conversely, people who are good with technical SEO can sometimes let their content needs languish.
You must avoid both extremes. Keep your content game performing well alongside your technical efforts. If you need to hire a local SEO expert, it’s worth the investment.
Make sure to check technical SEO:
- 404 errors
- Page crawling
- Robots.txt file
- Mobile responsiveness
- Page speed
The last thing you want to worry about is server admin issues. You don’t want to be logging into the back end of your server messing with configuration files whenever you have a problem.
That’s why finding a good hosting company is so important. You’ll want to find the right mix of services, pricing, and support.
Can your host affect site speed?
Make sure your site needs match the hosting package. Which content management system are you using? For example, if you use WordPress, having dedicated WordPress hosting makes a big difference in speed and security.
Analyze Organic Traffic Patterns
Organic traffic measures how many people found you by search engine, where they probably entered a keyword that’s part of your SEO research.
Look at subsets of this data, like
- Click-through rate
- Pages per session
- Average session length
- Bounce rate
- Exit pages
These give you more data about your traffic patterns.
These smart KPIs will provide opportunities for improvement in your strategy.
Lead Generation and Conversions
Lead generation and conversions tell you if your SEO and other marketing efforts are successful based on your goals for the website.
A critical step in using this data is first having a clear understanding of what you want people to do on the website.
- Did they sign up for a newsletter?
- Did they follow you on social media?
- Did they book a call?
- Did they make a purchase?
Take a step back and think. Which of these outcomes did you want?
If you don’t know which outcome you’re hoping to achieve then you won’t hit on anything.
Data can also provide insight into who is engaged with your CTA and how. These clues can help you better refine your SEO strategy.
Does your buyer persona align with the data you’re seeing on conversions? Depending on your answer, you may want to revise your SEO strategy.
Find the Referral Traffic
Referral traffic measures the impact of your backlinks and SEO content marketing strategies.
Visitors to your website from referral traffic comes from a third party website aside from a search engine.
When your referral traffic is high, it’s a signal that your backlinks and SEO strategy are connecting with your intended audience.
Finding the Ideal KPI Tracking Tools
Having a list of SEO KPIs doesn’t do you much good if you don’t track them.
Many use Google tools but there are several other analytics suites available.
Look for a KPI tracking solution that measures the KPIs you want, either out of the box or by accepting imported data.
Choose a solution that can be customized or scalable depending on your needs.
The tool’s user dashboard should be clear, easy to read, and simple to navigate.
Ideally, an analytics tool will also give you the ability to export data in raw numbers and as charts and graphs for sharing with other stakeholders.
It should also include user support that is readily available.
No matter which metrics you choose to capitalize on, it’s always good to stop and make adjustments based on data as you go along.