Search engine optimization is your website’s ability to remain visible on the web and attract organic traffic. There is a good chance that visibility and organic traffic do not sound quantifiable to most site owners and admins.
Indeed, there was a time when SEO was not a quantifiable effort. In fact, SEO was a qualitative change that only reflected in the resulting surge or drop in traffic and sales. There was no way to ensure that the changes in the site’s performance would return the SEO investment’s net worth.
Measuring the success of your SEO campaign is no longer as challenging as it used to be. Apart from ready to use analytics tools like the kind from Google, you can take help from your digital marketing team and SEO team for monitoring your site’s performance.
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What are the measures of website SEO performance?
The only factor that makes the measurement challenging is the staggering number of constituents of SEO. There are literally hundreds of variables you can be tracking right now to measure the progress of your SEO campaign. Besides, Google considers over 200 ranking factors. Therefore, you have no reason to be lazy! You need to begin tracking your SEO factors before Google decides to push your site down the rankings.
Here are the seven key performance indicators (KPIs) you should be tracking for measuring your SEO efforts –
i. The average organic sessions
Organic traffic refers to the visitors who come to your site directly from the search engines. It is the most rewarding kind of traffic, and you can monitor organic sessions directly from Google Analytics.
If you have a dedicated SEO and digital marketing team, you can always cross-reference the GA data with the session’s data from another reporting tool. Growing organic traffic is one of the most prominent signifiers of good SEO practice.
It should coincide with a higher click-through rate (CTR) and average dwell duration. In most observed cases, an increase in organic traffic coincides with better branding and marketing efforts.
ii. Keyword ranking
When your target keywords find a position in leading search engines like Bing and Google, you can finally heave a small sigh of relief.
Tracking keyword performance is incredibly easy nowadays with tools like SEMrush and SE Ranking. Keyword performance is a critical KPI since it directly points towards better leads, increased traffic, and boosted sales.
Keeping an eye on keyword performance is critical since Google algorithm changes cause fluctuations in keyword rankings quite frequently. Moreover, search trends shift quite rapidly, and these tools can identify outdated keywords readily.
iii. Leads and conversions
Lead generation and conversion rate are the two significant KPIs that every website owner needs to monitor for determining the performance of his/her website. Using Google Analytics is one of the most straightforward ways to track your leads and conversions.
Setting up goals in Google Analytics will allow you to track the leads in almost every way possible. For example, – you can compare the conversion rate of your site on mobile devices. Or, you can find out if your products/services are more popular among millennials or Baby Boomers.
iv. Bounce rate
Higher bounce rates signify that your visitors are not happy! It is a simple relationship. Now, it is your responsibility to find out what improvements your website needs to entice your target consumers.
The typical bounce rate oscillates between 40% and 60%. Anything higher than that should raise red flags. Your digital team should be able to figure out the factors reading to the higher than usual bounce.
It can be poor navigation options, lack of optimization for mobile devices, lack of relevant information, or misleading metadata on the Google SERP.
v. Page loading speed
The modern website visitors are anything but patient. If a webpage takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you can kiss your high organic traffic and dreams of record sales goodbye.
Ideally, all your webpages should take lesser than 3 seconds to load. You can lose as much as 70% of your potential buyers per extra second your page takes to load. So, it is easy to understand why a page with 5 seconds of loading time loses 90% of its potential traffic.
You can use paid and free tools to check the current loading time of each of your webpages. Get rid of unoptimized images or use a compressed version of the same to cut down on loading time. At the same time, use videos that only load upon request by the user. Get rid of all the fluff to optimize your page-loading speed.
vi. Individual page performance
Google does not rank a website as a whole. When a site features in a search engine results page (SERP), it does so depend upon the user’s query, targeted keywords, and featured content on the particular page.
Therefore, you should pay attention to which pages are performing well and which ones are repelling people. The ones with bounce rates higher than 70% demand added focus.
You can check the top exit pages on your site by visiting Behavior Reports on Google Analytics and checking out the Exit Page subsection under Site Content. Any page (that doesn’t intend to be an exit page) with a high exit rate needs emergency optimization!
vii Crawl errors
Even Google bots can make mistakes. When you are updating new content, always check the crawlability of the page using the “Fetch as Google” tool on the search console. A sudden surge in crawl errors can signify mistakes in the URL or at the server level.
Either of the errors demands immediate resolution. If you leave these error notifications unattended, you might end up with a lower-than-average CTR and unexpectedly low traffic flow.
The only factor that makes a business successful and profitable is the customers. All the seven KPIs we have mentioned above help small and large enterprises become more visible and accessible to the target customers despite rising competition levels. At the same time, they help business investors quantify the effects of their SEO investments in terms of traffic, leads, conversion rates, and sales over specific periods.