August 17, 2016

Understanding and Devising Key Performance Indicators to Measure SEO Success

performance indicator

The most critical aspect of any SEO campaign, if you are aiming at business promotion online, is to keep a track of the results achieved through it. Unlike the traditional promotion avenues, there are a lot of variables coming into play as far as the success of SEO is concerned, so the effectiveness of it largely relies on a proper control mechanism in place to ensure that the strategies deliver results.

For this, you should have a good hold on the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), which act as a control system by letting you to infer which approach is effective and which goes wrong. If you are an SEO service provider, then the KPIs will act as a directive to illustrate your success to the clients.

In fact, in SEO, what your clients actually want to see is an increase in business or leads and not just the position enhancement. Keeping the above points in mind, we will have an overview of how to devise and use the KPIs to effectively draw out the value of SEO campaigns you run.

Defining business objectives and tying it to KPIs

  • Insight – “KPIs are the connective tissues linking business objectives to the SEO work done”

To measure the SEO success precisely, a business along with the SEO administrator should know what they are trying through the variuos steps involved in it. If this groundwork is done properly, then one may have already pinpointed the specific objectives and goals to be achieved. These objectives can in turn be mapped to the KPIs to effectively demonstrate how the SEO campaign is performing at each point by meeting these objectives.

Analytical approach

  • Insight – “Confusing your customers means losing them”

Once if the link between the objectives and the KPIs are effectively woven, next it is vital to ensure that there is enough data available. One can make use of the analytic software like Google Analytics, but delivering it to the clients or the board in technical terms of bounce rate or frequency may simply go over the heads.

The analysis has to be simplified and understandable to the stakeholders by making it less data and more clear statements. This should help a business to better focus on budget allocation and to validate their spending in line with optimum ROI.

KPIs for SEO providers

  • Insight – “There is no one size fits all”

For a provider, the vitality of KPIs is to make sure that the work you accomplish is perfectly in line with the nature of your client’s business. As stated above, SEO is hugely complex when compared to other promotional modalities and something, which works well for a particular business, may not be apt for another.

  • Insight – “A stitch in time saves nine”

To ensure success, a provider must consider all variables and critically analyse the results of each in light of the nature of the business, market, and target group. The KPIs you devise should also be capable of alerting you at the early stages itself if an SEO campaign is failing to deliver.

If you don’t see the expected results, it is vital to understand why and communicate with the client immediately than waiting for another six months to identify some historical problems and suffering penalties. One should also effectively use the KPIs for internal process audit, review, and refinement to advance in the right track.

KPIs for the businesses

  • Insight – “Reassure the stakeholders about effectiveness of your approach.”

If you run a business, so it is important to make the stakeholders, investors, and clients understand the effectiveness of a particular SEO strategy you administer as digital PR or blog. As we already said, ranking cannot be directly equate to more results, but one must effectively make use of the KPIs as the connective tissue to directly relate it to the business goals to be served.

Your business beneficiaries are happy once if they understand in the simplest terms that something is working in everyone’s favour. When we say the simplest terms, it is all about reassuring it in terms of;

  • More leads
  • Better sales
  • Better customer engagement
  • Enhanced acquisition costs etc.

While into a review meeting, ensure that you clearly communicate these it in terms of the SEO KPIs directly mapped to business objectives.

  • KPI Categorisation

If you are the one responsible for communicating the key performance metrics, then you should also have a better understanding of the KPI categorisations too in light of different business objectives as generating more customers, more leads, effective engagement, building email list and so on. However, to generalise, three major categorizations of the objectives linked to KPIs are;

  • Brand awareness – To build a prospective audience for the product or service.
  • Customer engagement – Make more people engage with the product or service.
  • Conversion – Generate leads and sales.

SEO providers and service takers need to sit together and discuss all these in detail to devise the exact KPIs before launching any campaign, and should refine it on the go.

  • VQVC – A sophisticated approach

Another effective way for KPI categorization for easy understanding is VQVC (Volume – Quality – Value –Cost) model. This will make you more equipped to focus directly on the quantifiable measures as;

  • Volume – Covers the number of visitors, page views etc.
  • Quality – Measures of the duration of individual visits, bounce rate, pages per visit.
  • Value – The financial value of a lead, visit, or sales.
  • Cost – How much is the spending for acquiring a lead or sales through SEO.
  • Referral traffic and other advanced KPIs

An effective SEO campaign should be able to go beyond succeeding organic traffic and to drive in more referral traffic too. Even though it can be excluded at the initial phase, referral traffic must be included as an advanced SEO KPI by measuring the percentage of increase in referral traffic, referral conversions, and also the engagement metrics as bounce rage, pages visited, time spent etc. In the same manner, one can also devise the KPIs for link building, lead generation, and other business objective specific KPIs.

All in all, the major point here that even with all SEO KPIs defined properly, one should remember that you have to frame these properly around the actual business objectives in order to move forward and effectively build the bottom line. Properly accomplishing this can not only ensure meeting the objectives business development, but also can reduce the marketing overheads and help build the brand in a much effective way.

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