Asad Kausar is CEO at Dabaran, a premier Chicago-based SEO agency helping businesses grow their online presence and expand their audience.
Search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns are a powerful way to generate more traffic to your website. In fact, SEO drives 10 times more traffic than organic social media. However, it also comes with a slight problem: How can you tell if your SEO strategies are working? It’s not like an email or social media campaign where you can see the success immediately. You’ll need to track these important key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine the success of your SEO campaigns.
• Conversion rate. What is campaign success? Yes, you want more people to visit your website, but page views don’t really help your bottom line. At the end of the day, it’s all about conversions.
Conversions aren’t how many people visit your website; they’re how many people make it to the end of the sales process and actually click on the “Buy Now” button. Both the total number of conversions and the conversion rate (the percentage of new site visitors who become conversions) are very important metrics to track during an SEO campaign. If you see both those numbers creeping up over the course of your campaign, you know it’s really working.
• Organic traffic and organic sessions. SEO strategies are ultimately designed to attract more organic traffic to your website. To determine your campaign’s success, you should also track organic traffic and organic sessions.
Organic traffic is the total number of new visitors who visit your site from a search engine or type in your URL directly into the address bar. In other words, they’re not coming to your site through another marketing campaign like social media or paid search. It’s all organic.
You can also track average session duration, which is how much time users are spending on your site. Typically, the longer, the better. It means you’re holding their interest long enough to (hopefully) drive them to a sale.
• Click-through rate (CTR). Tons of people might see your link on search engines, but how many of them actually click it? That’s the essence of CTR.
CTR is the number of users who visit your website by clicking a search engine link compared to the number of people who saw your link. It’s typically displayed as a percentage. For example, if 10,000 people saw your link but only 1,000 people clicked on it, your CTR would be 10%.
• Search rankings and keyword rankings. Search engine rankings are all about keywords. You want your website to show up for specific search queries, so it’s important to see where you stand for each search. For example, if your company sells funny T-shirts, you’ll want to be at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) for the key phrase “funny T-shirts for sale,” among others.
Keeping track of where your website ranks for specific keywords and the total search volume for those keywords can help you judge SEO campaign success and direct your marketing efforts. If you see one keyword generating more and more searches, you’ll know that’s where you need to focus your resources.
• Domain authority. Domain authority is a rating that predicts how likely your website is to rank on a SERP out of 100. For example, a 97 domain authority is incredibly strong and will likely consistently rank at the top of the SERPs, while a 2 domain authority probably won’t land you on the first (or even second) page.
Domain authority is very industry-centric, meaning a “good” domain authority in the automotive industry might not be considered as strong for a digital marketing business. It all depends on how your competition ranks.
You can use domain authority almost as an SEO success score, but take it with a grain of salt. You should still track other KPIs to find areas of improvement.
• Number of backlinks. Backlinks are simply links to your website from other sites. While that might not sound very impressive, backlinks are actually one of the most important factors Google uses to determine where to put a website on the SERPs.
If another website uses yours as a source, it tells Google that your website is trustworthy. Google wants to provide the best information to its users, so it boosts websites with the most backlinks. In other words, backlinks are incredibly important for any SEO campaign. Just make sure that your backlinks aren’t spammy or built in an automated manner.
Keep track of your total number of backlinks and try to generate as many as you can if you want to watch your website climb the SERPs.
• Page views. Page views are exactly as they sound: They’re the total number of pages viewed by users. Naturally, the more pages users visit, the more engaged they are and the better for your SEO campaign. You want your total page views to be as high as they possibly can be. The higher, the better.
Track your SEO success with top KPIs.
SEO campaigns take time and effort, so it’s important to ensure all of that effort goes to good use. By tracking these essential KPIs, you can determine whether your campaign is a success or if it needs some work.