Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works to drive a higher volume of more qualified visitors to your website to buy your product or service. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the most important data points you want to look at to gauge the overall success of your SEO program. So, you’re going to want to look at three primary numbers:
All your other data sources are great, but they aren’t part of your KPI. In order to judge the success of your SEO, you have to know what your goals are. Is it just seeing an increase in your search-driven visits? If so, by what percentage? Or, are you looking more for an increase in revenue and if so how much? Make your goals clear and as specific as possible. Follow the SMART acronym to get started:
- Specific. What areas do you want to focus on? Number of visits, revenue, product line, content offers, etc. Once you know, you have your specific KPI that needs to be measured.
- Measurable. Whatever your KPI, it has to be able to be measured. If it cannot be measured, then it’s not a KPI.
- Assignable. Someone in your organization has to be in charge of monitoring and reporting on your KPI.
- Realistic. Keep your goals realistic. While SEO is highly effective, it isn’t a magic bullet. I see lots of clients have unrealistic goals. Use historical data and where you want to be to guide your goals. Remember, goals can be achieved in phases.
- Time-Relevant.Give yourself a deadline to complete your goal.
How to Collect the Data for SEO KPIs
Here’s where you’re going to need to look at your web analytics. Calculating the number of visitors to your site is pretty basic and straightforward. Tracking orders and revenue is a bit trickier.
To track revenue, you must enable the ecommerce tracking features in your analytics package. This will enable you to track online orders and sales. This gives you valuable insight into your SEO and what’s working for you. You may use third-party vendors for pay-per-click, affiliate marketing, and e-mail marketing, and they will likely provide their own analytics tools. That’s fine, but make sure you continue to track your KPI in your own web analytics package so you’ll have a good comparison.
What the Numbers Mean
Let’s take a look at how you can best use your monthly data to create informative reports that track where you are in relation to your goals.
- Do a comparison for each month over the same month last year, creating separate reports for visits, orders, and revenue. This is smart because it removes seasonality and gives you a real gauge of what you can expect in the coming months for each category.
- Chart your data out in Excel or your web analytics package so you can easily spot trends for each category.
- Combine the findings of all three categories into one report to see how they relate to one another.
By tracking visits, orders, and revenue data you are better equipped to judge the success of your SEO.
What have you done that has successfully impacted your SEO? Share your ideas with us.