How to report on SEO KPIs without hassle.
Ever wondered why you need search optimization at all? One day or another, any SEO professional faces the challenge to evaluate SEO expenses and prove their SEO strategy is viable. Here are a few quick notes on how to select the right SEO KPIs and what tools can help you leverage your SEO data effectively.
Where to find data about your SEO performance
A feasible SEO strategy presupposes that you set your goals correctly and support them with tangible results. You needn’t go far to measure your SEO performance, you have most of the tools right at hand. You will need:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- SEO reporting tools
Google Analytics is a user-oriented tool that provides insights into user behavior, user’ profiles, and general stats about the sales funnel. Google Search Console is more about search engine optimization. There you will find all those technical errors, URL issues, load optimization clues, etc. The tools are complementary and need to be handled both for a full and clear picture. There is a free reporting tool from Google Data Studio that merges them both into comprehensive and informative reports.
While these two sources are great for SEO analysis, they will be incomplete without external SEO reporting tools. First, there is a bunch of other important search engines to monitor, like Bing or Yahoo. It might be a bit cumbersome to manage many webmaster tools all at once. Second, you will need tools for measuring your SEO efforts that go beyond a single operated site. A typical task for an SEO is to measure keyword rankings, do competitor research on keywords or backlinks, or run a site crawler for SEO errors.
Finally, at some point SEOs badly need a convenient reporting tool that would free them from the necessity to explain every SEO indicator to their manager. Below, I’ll mention a few tools that help tackle this routine with no pains.
What are the right KPIs to measure your SEO efforts?
Nobody is eager to sift through hundreds of pages of SEO reports with SEO terms that don’t ring a bell. If you are an SEO professional seeking to report on your progress, it is convenient to have a custom template with major SEO KPIs outlined understandably. Here are the main SEO metrics and dashboards that help solve this task.
The number of visitors you get from the organic search is the first figure you see in Google Analytics, although it’s not a standalone indicator. You may have thousands of visitors per day, but only a few of them could be your target audience. So, just having lots of traffic is not a goal in itself, there are plenty of other stats to include. Go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Organic Search and see what happens there.
You’d want to know the profile of your long-term audience: users’ location, top viewing hours, and level of engagement, and all this you can view in the Google Analytics > User Behavior dashboard. Pay attention to the number of returning visitors, page views, and the bounce rate you have on your landing pages.
Conversions happen when visitors perform some valuable actions on your site, so they convert into customers. You define the actions (or the Goals) on your landing pages by yourself: this can be filling out a subscription form, buying or ordering something. This is the purpose of your site and all SEO activities. You will find conversions, and carry out the analysis of your sales funnel in Google Analytics, in the Conversions module. These metrics speak volumes of your business activities in general.
Visibility tells how noticeable your website is for the selection of keywords aimed at your target audience. That’s where you will need a rank tracker to measure keyword rankings, do a bit of keyword research, and observe your optimization activities by arranging a keyword map. It’s crucial to monitor SERPs and your site visibility because moving even one position up or down may cost you hundreds and thousands of organic users.
An example of such keyword tracking tools is the Rank Tracker. Here you can generate a keyword ranking report to measure the visibility and ranks on SERPs. The great thing about the tool is that you can select any search engine for different user agents (desktop or mobile). What is more, you can customize the search engine settings to track your local SEO results. The reporting tool offers segmentation and filtering keywords to estimate their value. For professionals, the tool sends ranking reports and automatized alerts once your keyword enters the top ten or moves positions.
It is crucial to monitor the backlink profile since links are a ranking factor for search engines that affect the authority of your site. It is advisable to control what backlinks you get from the web and mind your outgoing links as well.
First, it’s not recommended to manipulate PageRank through purchased links. And beware of spammy links coming from grey-hat link-building schemes (or from malicious attacks that also may happen sometimes). In general, you’ve got to promote your site organically and through content marketing to earn more quality backlinks that strengthen your domain authority.
If you do link building for your own site (or offer it as a service), you might find it handy to use some SEO reporting tool to review your backlink profile and check on that of your competitors.
You won’t need this one to be considered pretty often. Sometimes, an SEO agency may offer a free site audit while pitching an SEO client, and then suggest improvements that should be implemented. Usually, neglected sites will have tons of SEO-unfriendly titles, broken links, etc. So, you will show the bad SEO report once, and then another time a clean and neat report telling what work you’ve done on the site. It’s pretty handy to have a technical SEO checklist and make sure once per quarter that all technical issues are fixed.
Besides, there are constant technical issues that SEOs track to stay up to date with Google algorithm changes. For example, you should audit mobile usability, load speed, and performance of your site. In 2021, Google shifts completely to mobile-first indexing and Web Core Vitals. Anyway, have an SEO spider or a bunch of plugins at hand, because sites with good technical SEO will have the upper hand on the SERPs.
And that’s it! These are the basic metrics you need to monitor and review each time you analyze your SEO activities. Having positive results in these key indicators means you do your SEO right.