Monitoring parameters is key in any project regardless of the industry. Tracking parameters allow you to know whether your strategy is successful or you are wasting time and needlessly incurring costs. In that regard digital marketing is no exception. On the contrary, it is the rule!
Unlike traditional marketing channels such as TV, Radio, News papers, digital marketing channels allow you to properly analyze your data in order to gain insights and quickly adjust your campaigns. Tracking data is even more important when you are promoting a website across search engines, or doing what we in industry refer to as SEO.
But how can one know what to track? The SEO world is filled with various tools which give you various insights, and arguably all of them are important. But still, how do you seperate the main parameters from the secondary KPI? To that end, we have compiled a list of KPI that every striving SEO professional should pay attention to when conducting an SEO campaign
Every campaign on the internet is aimed at buying traffic to your digital assets as cheaply as possible. This is true when you are doing a PPC campaign or conducting an SEO process. The difference is that during PPC campaigns you are buying traffic for money, while SEO allows you to get more traffic to your website organically.
Of course, ceach campaign has its own predetermined set of goals, be it leads, sales etc. But all goals have one thing in common. They all require traffic. Hence, measuring organic traffic is key when judging the effectiveness of your actions.
Looking at your organic traffic is relatively easy, and can be done using Google Analytics. In order to do that simply go to Audiences > Overview’ report, press “Add Segment” and select the “Organic Traffic” option.
Simple and straightforward.
In the window that will appear you will be able to see all the organic traffic to your website and judge whether your strategy is successful or not.
Rankings on Search Engines
Almost every goal of any SEO campaign is to rank a website's pages as high as possible. It is a known fact that almost all users on the internet don’t go beyond the first page on search engine results page ( A.K.A SERP ) To that end, knowing where your pages are ranked is key
It is equally important to track your pages and make sure that they are ranked for the right keyword. You wouldn't want your section of men's jeans to appear when someone searches for women's jeans.
In the past, tracking search results used to be a hard task. However, with tools such as HREF, it became easier and can be done almost with a click of a button.
If you are using HREF, simply enter your domain, select the proper SERP (P.S - you need the organic results ), import the keywords and that's it.
The program will give you all the data on your current ranks and how they changed over a selected period.
HREF can also be used to track the ranks of your competitors, see who ranks first and analyze their strategies.
Page Load Time
Page loading speed is one of the most significant factors when it comes to optimization for search engines. It should be constantly monitored and should the website begin to slow down and humper user experience, it should be dealt with immediately.
There are several tools that can measure websites loading time. We recommend Pingdom and Googles’ PageSpeed Insights.
PageSpeed insights is a bit more strict when it comes to measuring the websites speed and provides an in-depth analysis of the website, the resources that are preventing the website from loading properly and concrete explanations of what needs to be modified.
When we need to measure one of our clients websites, PageSpeed insights is the tool to go
Another important indicator of the website's performance is the users bounce rate. This indicator lets you know the percentage of the visitors who entered your website and left it almost immediately without taking any action.
Normally, this parameter should be between 40% and 60% depending on the industry. If the percentage is higher than that, it could mean several things1. The specific page doesn’t match the search query - which could mean that the page is optimized for the wrong keyword
2. There is a problem with the user experience which prevents the users from properly navigating the website
Whatever the problem is, maintaining a high bounce rate for a long period of time is bad for your website. Thus it should be dealt with as soon as possible.
To monitor this metric, visit the overview report in google analytics
Average session duration
As the name suggests, this metric allows you to know how much time users spend on your website. It is important to keep in mind that this metric isn’t obligatory to everyone and its importance totally depends on the goal of the website.
Nethertheless, keeping an eye on this metric might yield some interesting insights as to the overall quality of the website. If users are spending a lot of time on specific pages, you can use this information to later create more relevant content for your target audience.
The general rule of thumb of maintaining a high session duration is making sure that your website is structured properly, has proper internal link building and that your content is relevant and accessible.
Crawling is when a tool or a google bot is scanning your website. The scanning usually happens by going from page to page and indexing the process, or in other words, crawling the website.
When a crawling error occurs, it means that either the tool you are using or the bot hit some sort of a brick wall which prevents it from scanning the website further in the specific path it was scanning.
This is bad because should google bot hit the same wall, it wouldn’t be able to properly index the website, which means some pages might not show during search. And this is bad because you might be losing relevant traffic for your website.
The best way to check if your website has any crawling errors is to use Google Search Console
CTR - Click Through Rate
The measure of success of almost any campaign online depends on the number of times your pages are shown in search results and the number of times they are clicked on, otherwise known as CTR.
To properly access your CTR first you need to know the standard in the industry you are targeting. Then what you want to do is to compare your Click Through Rate to the industry standard and see which of your pages is under performing.
To see your organic CTR, Go to Google Search Console. Under performance you will see Search results bar. Click on it.
In the window that will open, activate CTR and Average position. You can deactivate all the remaining options.
Filter the lower table and view only the search quarries for which you are ranked. The ranking positions are usually ranked from 1 through 10.
Once you are done, scroll through the list and see which of your pages have a click through rate lower than what is considered the industry standard.
Once you find your trouble making pages, it's time to investigate what causes the low CTR. Go to their SERP, and see what you get in the search results. In the case that the search result page is filled with Ads or other panels taking away your clicks. If that's the case, there isn’t much that you can do.
If the page is devoid of any ads or anything else that might be taking the attention from your page, it means that your meta tags (mainly Title and Meta Description) aren’t attractive in which case you will need to edit them.
You can also consider using structured data to try and make your snippets more attractive.
As we mentioned above, one of the key benefits of using organic promotion campaigns is the fact that you don’t have to pay for any clicks. However, that doesn’t mean that SEO doesn’t incur costs.
Knowing the costs of your organic clicks can help you calculate the cost of each visitor on your website from organic sources.
Inorder to calculate your CPC, use the following simple formula: ( Your overall budget / website traffic )
The overall budget should include all the money spent on the SEO process such as tools (Href, SEMrush etc ) necessary experts like content writers etc
If what you are doing is effective, the CPC should decrease on a monthly basis
ROI stands for Return on Investment. Like CPC, it is also measured across all campaigns, be it organic or paid. This metric helps you understand whether the income generated from the optimization process is greater than the costs.
As above, there is a simple formula that you can use to calculate this metric:
(Gain from Investment - Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment
Unlike paid promotions, SEO is a process that requires patience and time. Depending on the industry, it can take up to a year to start seeing proper results. Because of that, it is not uncommon to see negative ROI in the beginning of the SEO campaign. If your strategy is successful, you should start seeing a positive ROI within a period of several months
If you are unsure how to properly measure your gains, you can always use Google Analytics. Simply go to Acquisitions -> Overview -> Organic Search
You will see a conversions drop down menu, choose eCommerce and you will see all your organic gains.
Alternatively, you can access the “Multi-Channel Funnels” - > assisted Conversions -> Organic Search. In the report that will open, you will see all the revenue which was gained with assistance from organic search. Keep in mind that the revenue you see in this window also came from other sources, So in essence it is not fully organic.
The decision which of the reports to use is purely up to you.
Ask any SEO professional what are the two main things for any SEO campaign, and the answer that you almost always most likely to hear is “Content and Backlinks”.
Backlinks are the cornerstone of any successful SEO campaign, which is why you should keep a close eye on them and monitor them on a daily basis. Losing good backlinks and gaining bad ones might instantly kill your website's rankings.
There are several tools that allow you to properly track backlinks, however we recommend using href.
The entire point of tracking your links is to give you heads up and allow you to respond should some of your quality backlinks suddenly get deleted or you suddenly gain bad backlinks.
If you see that some of your quality links are missing, you can quickly contact the webmaster and try to recover them. Also if you gained some bad ones, you can disavow them and prevent receiving penalties by google.
SEO is a long and meticulous optimization process that can get overwhelming quite quickly. For that reason it is important to know how to separate the main from the secondary and focus solely on what matters.
We hope that everything we discussed above will help you with your day to day SEO operations and help you achieve better results.
What metrics do you track in your daily search optimization? Let me know in the comment section below