Having reports and dashboards configured with the best metrics and KPIs is the best way to monitor the evolution of an SEO positioning strategy in real-time. This type of visual chart shows relevant information about different objectives to be achieved, in a compact and visual way that allows us to understand their meaning at a glance, facilitating decision-making.
The KPIs for SEO are fundamental metrics that must be selected appropriately, to carry out a good follow-up of the strategies and techniques implemented, being able to make immediate corrections if there are deviations from the objectives set.
What are KPIs?
A key performance indicator or KPI is a metric that is associated with a specific objective, allowing monitoring over time to assess whether it is being met.
What is the difference between a metric and a KPI?
A metric presents a value of a specific aspect of the business, which by itself has no value or meaning related to an implemented strategy or a specific objective. The KPI is a metric that is directly related to an objective o or goal and can be evaluated to control a company, a strategy, a campaign or a department, for example.
A metric can be, for example, the number of customers that the company has, while a KPI can be the number of customers that a company has gained in a period of time thanks to a certain strategy.
What is an SEO KPI?
An SEO KPI is a metric that allows knowing the status of the positioning of a web page or online store in Google, being able to monitor the effect of the strategies and techniques that are being applied.
To create a report or dashboard with the aim of monitoring the web positioning of a site, it is necessary to select a series of key KPIs, since it is about being able to recognize the situation from a simple view (include too many metrics It would make it confusing or complex to understand the state of SEO positioning or the strategies that are being carried out).
Depending on the type of website and its objectives, the selection of the best KPIs to monitor its positioning variation, since a virtual store for the sale of technological products is not the same as a corporate website that tries to capture new leads or contacts.
SEO KPIs most used by agencies and consultants
There is a wide variety of metrics and KPIs that can be used in SEO to monitor the campaigns, actions and strategies that are implemented. Selecting the appropriate ones for each case is key to being able to efficiently evaluate the objective results.
Within the different KPIs, SEO agencies and consultancies usually use some of them because they are the most important and the ones that offer the most valuable information.
Let’s look at the seven most popular SEO KPIs:
1. Return on investment (ROI)
The ROI ( Return On Investment ) is used to measure the economic performance offered by a certain campaign or positioning strategy.
To calculate the return on investment in SEO, the following mathematical formula must be applied:
ROI = ((benefits – investment cost) / investment cost) .
ROI calculation example
Let’s imagine an eCommerce that invests € 1,000 in an email marketing strategy to increase sales at the launch of its product during the first month of market launch. In that period, the benefits produced by these sales amount to € 5,000, so to obtain the ROI, the following operation would have to be carried out:
ROI = (5,000 -1000) / 1,000 = 4.
The economic return or ROI obtained by this email marketing campaign for sales is 4, which means that for each euro invested, € 4 has been generated, being able to establish whether or not this investment is profitable for the business.
2. Conversions (sales and leads)
One of the most interesting and used KPIs in SEO is the conversion rate. A conversion occurs when the user performs an action that the website wants and for which it has guided him, usually a subscription or a purchase.
The conversion rate value can be used in a dashboard or report to evaluate two important factors:
- If the expected conversions are being achieved after implementing a strategy to attract leads or sales.
- If users are interested in the products and services, or the content offered by the web.
3. Organic visibility
Knowing the number of visits is interesting in many SEO strategies to measure if the strategies are being successful. From Google Analytics you can obtain the number of visits to a website or any of its URLs during a certain period of time.
For example, to evaluate whether a social media strategy is attracting the desired traffic to the web, the KPI of visits received during the strategy’s execution time period can be monitored from that social network. In Google Analytics we can access that number of visits, specifically from each social network.
4. Keyword positions
Keywords are essential in a good web positioning strategy so monitoring which keywords are being positioned and the volume of traffic that is generated is essential.
In Google Analytics you can access metrics on keywords and their traffic volume to use these values as KPIs in a scorecard or reports, and thus evaluate if the positioning strategies are having an effect when it comes to positioning. the page or site by the keywords selected.
5. Organic CTR
Another SEO metric that should not be missing to monitor a strategy is the click-through rate or CTR. It measures the percentage of people who click on a link in relation to the number of times it has been shown. With this metric, you can evaluate if the ads or links are attracting the attention of users (they clicked on them).
It is a metric that is presented in percentages and is calculated from the following mathematical formula:
CTR = (Click-throughs / Impressions) x 100 .
In Google Analytics you can monitor this KPI, which is very interesting to evaluate the results of the different conversion strategies that are carried out.
6. Page speed
Web speed is one of the key factors to achieve a good user experience and thus improve Google positioning. Although different KPIs are often used to monitor page speed such as the Time to first byte (TTBF), the DOM content loaded, the First Paint (FP) or the First Meaningful Paint (FMP), with the appearance of Google’s new Core Web Vitals metrics, these new values are often used to measure web speed and user experience.
The Core Web Vitals are composed of three metrics:
- Largest Contentful Paint ( LCP ). The time it takes to load the largest content (usually an image) and should take less than 2.5 seconds.
- First Input Delay ( FID ). The time it takes for the web to react when the user interacts with it (performs some action). This metric should be kept below 100 milliseconds, according to Google.
- Cumulative Layout Shift ( CLS ). It measures the number of changes in the location of the different elements of a page, while it is loading (the recommended rate is less than 0.1)
7. Bounce rate and dwell time
Two very important KPIs for SEO that is often confused are the bounce rate and dwell time. Although they are directly related, they measure different things within a web.
The bounce rate or bounce rate measures the percentage of users who leave a website before interacting with its content. This bounce or abandonment can be due to different causes, such as a too slow loading time or access to content that is not what you were looking for, among others.
To calculate the bounce rate, the following formula is used:
Bounce rate = (visits from a single page / total visits) x 100 .
The bounce rate is usually presented in percentage (that is why it is multiplied by 100 in its formula) to facilitate the understanding of this data. Both the visits of a single page and the total of visits must refer to the same period of time for the value of the bounce rate to be reliable.
Tools such as Google Analytics allow you to obtain information about the bounce rate of a website through its options and reports.
Different bounce rate KPIs can be used for SEO:
- Third-party bounce rate. It measures the percentage of bounces from the different sources that users use to access the website. This KPI makes it possible to identify from which sources the most premature abandonments of the web are being generated and to analyze the causes of them.
- Keyword bounce rate. It measures the bounces that are produced by each keyword that generates a visit. It is a very interesting metric to evaluate the success of a content strategy.
- Bounce rate by volume of visits. Measuring the bounce rate of the URLs with the most visits of a website allows discovering pages that, despite generating a lot of traffic, are not getting value from it.
- Blog bounce rate. When analyzing this bounce rate, it is important to consider other metrics, such as meantime. Blog users usually access to read a specific article, then abandon the blog, which could be understood as a bounce for Google, although it really is a visit that generates value.
The dwell time measures the time a user spends during a visit or session to a web page or online store. This KPI, analyzed together with the bounce rate, provides information about the value of each visitor session on the website.
Search engines give special importance to this metric since it indicates that the user has found a website where there is information of interest to them, and where they can navigate easily and comfortably enjoying a good user experience.
Websites with a high dwell time tend to occupy better positions in the SERPs, and in an eCommerce, a high dwell time will be a sign that their conversion rate will also be high.
We have seen what is a KPI for SEO and how metrics associated with specific objectives are very useful to monitor and assess web positioning. By selecting the best KPIs for each strategy, it is possible to quickly and easily know what its evolution is, taking corrective measures in case of not reaching the set objectives.