Shimon Sandler

Measuring SEO Success Metrics

Successfully On top There are several metrics to measure an SEO campaign. It’s important to identify your KPI’s (key performance indicators) before you start working on a client site. Sometimes, the only metric that’s important to the client is keyword rankings. But clients are becoming more and more sophisticated. They want to see multiple metrics measured to determine the value of SEO.

It’s important as an SEO Consultant to be able to measure the results of all your analysis and recommendations that get implemented. I find that regardless of the type of client, they success metrics are usually three things.

1) Increasing overall website visitor traffic.
2) Better Keyword Rankings.
3) Increasing Revenue generated (and ROI).

Hopefully, your client already has web analytics installed on their website. If they use Google Analytics, make sure it is configured correctly so you can see the conversion funnel. Here is a previous post on Google Analytics configuring goals and funnels.

Baseline Reporting:
First thing you’ll need to do is take Baseline Reports to see the current level of visitor traffic from search engines. Export the reports for 30 days, 90 days, 6 months, and 1 year.

Baseline metrics should also be taken for the Keyword Rankings, so that you can measure improvement over time.

Measuring Visitor Traffic:
Using web analytics, run a report that is broken down by, Visitors by Keyword by Search Engine. This is fairly straightforward.

If “engagement” is important, then include Page Views. But, engagement cant really be a success metric of SEO. We can drive traffic to the site all day long. But, if there is an unually high bounce rate, or low conversion rates, that could be indicative of a deeper problem, such as the website usability.

Measuring Keyword Ranking:
Next measurement you need to take is for the keywords. I suggest you choose a list of keywords that are especially important to your client. These keywords should all be on your Keyword Analysis. Perhaps specify 20 keywords that your objective is to “champion” the keyword rankings.

When I say “champion” a keyword, I mean get in the top 1st through 3rd positions. Sometimes getting into the 1st position is especially difficult. An example of this would be for a reseller trying to optimize for the brand term of the manufacturer that they resell. Pretty tough indeed. But, getting into the #2 spot could be championing that term.

There are several SEO tools that can measure and track keyword rankings. The one that I like to use is WebPosition.

Measuring ROI:
The third success metric is increasing revenue. Once again, you’ll need to take baseline reporting. This could all be on one report. Or, seperate reports. It depends on how you want to present it to the client. If you want a consolidated report, then just export Visitors by Keyword by Search Engine with Revenue from your web analytics.

Additional Reading:
Branding Strategy for Search
Metrics to Measure SEO Success
Stop Paying Google! SEO vs PPC
Turn to SEO to help beat a bad economy.

Photo credit: sweetcaroline♥♥♥’s

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  1. Having benchmarks for your site is key. Without them, it’s impossible to know what is working positively, and what you should work on next.

  2. Its funny how the responsibility of an SEO professional is not about optimising only for the search engines but ensuring that a visitor converts into a leads/sale. The responsibilities of the different types of Internet Marketing people are overlapping.

    As for tracking how keywords are performing we usually look at the words that are converting for paid and then target those as oppose to relying on clients.

    I have 10 tabs open above, of you website, I love the way that you write, simple, informative, honest.

  3. This is a great article. Thanks.

    But, can you tell me the best way to measure SEO ROI? I know you can use the Google goal reporting but that function is limited to a few goals. What is the best way to report on say, 25 keywords?



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