Tracking the performance of marketing is fundamental for every business. Organic search is an ever-growing performance marketing channel for most websites; however, it is measured inconsistently at best. While ROAS and CTR universally measure paid search, it isn’t as straightforward for organic. A 2019 John Mueller interview suggests that as many as 65% of leads that result in revenue or pipeline come from organic search. However, the most commonly tracked goals for SEO across all verticals and business types include SERP monitoring, the number of Universal Search results, and Share of Voice. While this can be useful to know, it doesn’t help you actionably make improvements to your SEO program or show the big picture value of organic search to your organization.
Below are five KPIs you can use to evaluate how your website is currently performing. This will give you the baseline from which you can improve. As you work to grow these stats, you can also work with other internal stakeholders to align your SEO efforts to more meaningful metrics that can show the true power of your search program.
For any website, the most important KPI of all is the number of organic visits your site receives within a given period. Monitoring the evolution of organic traffic over time and responding to structural changes is the first step towards making strategic organic optimizations to boost traffic to your most important pages and segments.
Inside Google Analytics, go to the ‘Audience > Overview’ report, click on the ‘Add Segment,’ and select the ‘Organic Traffic’ icon. You’ll want to monitor this at all key time frames for your business—some standard timeframes to look at include month-over-month, year-over-year, and current YTD performance.
There are likely other timeframes that are important to monitor due to the nature of your website. For example, e-commerce websites that see a considerable boost during the holiday season may want to compare the holiday season against another solid month for benchmarking.
Some marketers like to track ROI as a sign that your business is succeeding – but that shouldn’t be the only KPI you track. Measuring and monitoring your organic conversions (sales, leads, or both) is a reliable way to determine how successful you are in your SEO efforts.
You can track conversions in Google Analytics by measuring goals for lead conversions. While Google Analytics is initially set up for an e-commerce website, you can also create custom conversion goals for things like content downloads, scroll depth on a page, or clicks on CTAs. You may also want to investigate how much source information is passed to your CRM or leads database. This will help you down the line better align to more traditional KPIs like pipeline or average cart value.
Your bounce rate is the number of people who visited your site but then left without taking any further action. It varies by industry, but an acceptable bounce rate should hover around 40% to 60%. If your bounce rate is too high, it will cause search engines to think that your content is irrelevant and severely affect your ranking. With Core Web Vitals launching in June 2021 to measure what the user experience on your website is like, the importance of creating pages that users can easily navigate becomes that much more valuable.
Google Analytics allows you to measure all your pages’ bounce rate and ensure you’re keeping that percentage in a healthy range. Just go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. If you notice certain pages clocking in above the 60% mark, it’s time to reassess their content and relevance.
Average time on page is also valuable to how a user experiences your website. TOS is a measure of how long visitors spend on your page before clicking away. Do you have enough on the page to keep them engaged and scrolling through your site? Remember, the more customers are engaged, the more likely they will follow through with a conversion. Tracking the average time visitors spend on your pages is an excellent way to make sure you’re doing the best possible job capturing and keeping their attention.
You can track this in Google Analytics under Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. As well as monitoring each business-critical page, you should also measure it on a site-wide basis.
While organic traffic volume is what matters in the end, that specific metric can’t tell you what proportion of your site is receiving that traffic – and whether you have the potential for more.
Ranking pages are URLs that are crawled and indexed by Google and that send traffic to your site. This valuable metric can show you which areas of your site are driving organic visits and which are not, providing clear opportunities for optimization and growth. For a page to send traffic to your website, the URL must have been crawled, rendered, indexed, and ranked by Google or another search engine. This process is vital to a full-funnel approach to SEO. Suppose you’re not generating traffic from organic for a specific URL. In that case, you can investigate numerous potential issues to see what’s stopping these pages from driving traffic – and some problems can occur at any of those prior stages!
Looking at what pages might be unknown to search engines can also be an excellent way to clean up excess pages on your site tied to tags, author bios, feeds, or other breadcrumbs that could potentially cause issues with page depth.
Page depth is the number of clicks it takes to reach a page from the home page (Depth 0), using the shortest route. The deeper a page appears in your site structure, the more difficult it is for search engine bots to reach and crawl it. This can be a reason that a page isn’t generating traffic from Google. This is also important in terms of Core Web Vitals as a user’s ability to navigate and find what they’re looking for on your website continues to become more critical.
Keeping an eye on the Page Depth of strategic pages and segments is critical to ensure that no structural error occurs, creating excessive depth. This is common for content websites where pagination or categories can unintentionally move key pages down a level – or more.
Improving page depth is a crucial factor in enhancing content accessibility for search engine robots. This KPI is square one to uncover the causes of depth and optimize your site structure for the crawl.
If you’re trying to boost your website’s SEO ranking and see some substantial increases in traffic and conversion, it’s a good idea to get an expert’s opinion. Reach out to our team now for help in scaling and measuring your organic search program!