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Key Performance Indicators For SEO

If your business is investing time and money into search engine optimization, there’s a huge question that needs an answer:

How do I know if SEO is working?

That’s where the idea of having key performance indicators as a measurement of the success of your SEO is essential.

By now, most business owners understand that SEO enhances the visibility of a website and drives more visitors to your website. More traffic naturally means more conversions which means more money.

SEO KPI Basics

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) provide a factual illustration of the achieved targets, allowing a comprehensive performance analysis. KPIs encapsulating SEO roles vary across different business models and aim to track diverse metrics, depending mostly on specific goals.

With all the changes to the algorithm and all that it takes to understand what really moves your site up in the search results, it’s a daunting task for any business owner to try and keep up with the process of actually doing search engine optimization. Few people can stay on top of all of that and run their business at the same time.

Even if you’re hiring an SEO agency to do all the heavy lifting for you (which is a more effective way of getting it all done), it’s imperative to identify specific metrics that help you understand whether or not SEO is a good marketing investment.

Here are some KPIs to consider tracking:

Suggested KPIs For Your SEO


Admittedly, this is our favorite one. We enjoy making our clients more money. It’s our entire “why”.

For SEO nerds, this one gets forgotten more than all the rest. To us, it’s kind of a no-brainer. If everything we’re doing to get your business website to page one of the results and keep you there isn’t adding more money to your bottom line, then what good is it?

Keep in mind though, SEO Is an open loop. This means that your SEO agency can establish all the metrics they like. They can watch them daily and everything can look great, but one thing they can’t measure is your profit margins. Very few business owners would share their accounting software with their SEO agency as part of measuring how effective search engine optimization is (but it would certainly be nice!).

The bottom line here is that SEO, like all marketing tools, needs to make you more money. That’s why it’s important to provide consistent feedback to any SEO professionals you work with. This kind of collaboration will maximize your marketing dollars, and frankly, it’s the only metric that matters. The rest are simply indicators that this measure is improving.

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic plays a crucial role as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The organic traffic metric provides invaluable insight into the number of visitors arriving at your website through unpaid results.

The overall impact of the source of organic traffic, including variables such as time spent on a website, bounce rate, and conversion rate, can be thoroughly analyzed. This in-depth evaluation, especially observing patterns and changes in organic traffic over time, yields insights into the effectiveness of SEO tactics and sheds light on consumer behavior.

Keyword Rankings

Another significant KPI in SEO is keyword rankings. This facet of SEO strategy aims to maximize your online visibility via effective keyword selection.

Tracking keyword rankings provides crucial insight into your website’s performance. As search engine updates can have vast implications on keyword rankings, routine review and adjustment are essential. Monitoring a competitor’s keyword rankings can also be a valuable strategy, equipping you with knowledge to enhance your SEO campaign.

Number of CTAs

Every website needs some form of “call to action” or CTA. It can be a phone call, fill out a form, email or text the business, etc. It’s the conversion point where a website visitor becomes a prospect for the business. It’s the final thing you want your website visitors to do as they leave your site.

It’s an option to install a call tracking number on your site that will track the calls you get from your website, but there are some inherent issues with using these such as expense and whether or not call tracking numbers negatively impact your SEO, etc.

One clear indicator of how your website is doing is the number of contact forms you get every month from prospects. There are some issues with this as well, but it comes down to sifting through which forms are genuine prospects and which are spam. Otherwise, this is a fine way to measure how things are going with your marketing.

Other Essential KPIs for SEO

Here are some other KPIs that can be helpful to measure how things are going with your search engine optimization:

Page Load Time

Your page speed time is more than just a ranking factor. The speed at which your webpage loads plays a critical role as a KPI in SEO.

It directly impacts the user’s experience and the ranking of your website on search engines. The faster your website loads, the more likely users are to stay and interact. Slow-loading webpages can negatively affect your SEO rankings and user satisfaction.

Optimizing your website for faster load times is crucial. Strategies for reducing page load time include image optimization and leveraging browser caching.

You can use tools like GTmetrix, Pingdom, or PageSpeed Insights

Measuring and improving your site’s page load speed not only improves your SEO but your visitor’s user experience as well.

Domain Authority

Domain Authority serves as a significant KPI in SEO. It represents the credibility and ranking of your website. The higher your domain authority, the more likely search engines will prioritize your site. An effective strategy to improve your domain authority includes focusing on quality content and acquiring backlinks from high-authority websites.

While this can be one of the things you measure on occasion, some SEO nerds put more emphasis on this than necessary. Your site’s domain authority is an artificial metric that should never be the main focus of your SEO efforts.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

The Click Through Rate is another KPI in SEO that’s worth considering. A high CTR means users find your listings attractive and relevant. This means that your visitors are clicking “through” to get to the content that meets your prospect’s needs.

Monitoring your CTR can help you assess the effectiveness of your meta description and title tags. A healthy CTR positively impacts your website’s ranking on SERPs. Consequently, focusing on improving your CTR is crucial.

Monitoring and Leveraging SEO KPIs

Using Analytics Tools

With SEO, analytics tools play a pivotal role in monitoring KPIs. These instruments offer a splendid bird’s-eye view into a website’s performance, serving as invaluable allies in tracking your SEO indicators. There is a wide array of analytics tools available on the market, each boasting unique features tailored to various needs.

Some popular tools include Google Analytics, Moz, and SEMRush, and each brings something different to the table. Google Analytics excels in providing detailed user metrics like the amount of traffic your site is getting, where it’s coming from, and much, much more. Moz is revered for its SEO-specific reporting, and SEMRush shines in competitive analysis and rank tracking. Interpreting data from these tools can be daunting for beginners but becomes a second language with practice.

At a minimum, your site should be connected to Google Analytics. Think of it as a dashboard to measure how your site is performing. Setting up this tool effectively is crucial in extracting the optimal data. These tools will provide insights into organic traffic, bounce rate, keyword rankings, page load time, domain authority, and click-through rate, among other KPIs that significantly impact your SEO strategy.

Optimization Strategies Based on KPIs

Optimization is at the heart of SEO, and understanding KPI data allows for the timely realignment of SEO strategies. By gauging the effectiveness of your current SEO strategies, you can adjust delivery, content emphasis, and targeting methods. A/B testing also plays a crucial role in SEO improvement, providing tangible data on what works and what doesn’t in reaching your audience.

Significantly, the digital landscape is ever-evolving, demanding continuous learning and adaptation in SEO. Over time, your data can reveal emerging trends, enabling predictive analysis that provides a rough forecast of your website’s SEO future. This insight, although merely an estimation, allows you to pivot and adapt your strategy ahead of time, streamlining your approach and ensuring the relevance of your content.

Long-term Planning

Long-term planning forms a cornerstone in advancing your digital presence, and KPIs hold immense value in shaping these plans. They not only provide a historical perspective but also highlight potential opportunities and challenges, enabling a comprehensive evaluation of your SEO efforts.

However, it’s crucial to recognize that achieving SEO goals is often a lengthy process demanding consistency and patience. Rapid improvements are rare; it’s the continuous, calculated effort that helps a website gain and retain a high rank in the SERPs. The use of KPI data comes in primarily at this juncture, guiding long-term planning efforts.

For instance, if your website has seen steady growth in organic traffic, it’s essential to identify the factors contributing to this growth. Equally, if keyword rankings are fluctuating, it could be a signal to review your keyword strategy. Observing these KPIs over an extended period reveals trends and patterns instrumental in charting the course for future SEO efforts.

Importantly, KPIs play a robust role in predictive analysis, guiding the setting of future targets. While KPIs provide a glimpse into past and current performance, combining this data with predictive analytics allows businesses to forecast future performance. Through evaluating historical data and identifying trends, predictive analytics can highlight potential opportunities and threats, enabling businesses to proactively tailor their SEO strategy.

In essence, the thoughtful analysis of KPIs enables businesses to turn insights into strategic actions for future growth. As the digital landscape keeps evolving, these metrics provide essential clues towards understanding the ongoing changes and fine-tuning your SEO strategies accordingly. They serve as a compass, guiding businesses toward SEO success. The accuracy and relevance of these metrics will significantly determine the effectiveness of your SEO undertaking, making the constant monitoring, understanding, and leveraging of SEO KPIs an indispensable practice in the digital marketing realm.

Encapsulating Vital Takeaways

KPIs as SEO Beacon

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) serve as the guiding light for a successful SEO strategy. With the ever-evolving nature of online marketing, it is crucial to consistently track your KPIs and remain flexible to new SEO trends. The KPI data itself influences the success of your SEO campaign, hence the importance of embracing changes based on it cannot be overstated.

While there may be some variance to KPIs for SEO, the main point of all of this is to figure out the best way for your company to determine if your SEO is working….or not.

Measuring, adjusting, and optimizing your KPIs is an iterative process that builds a solid foundation for your SEO plan. Far from just a measurement tool, KPIs play a critical role in analyzing the overall results of your digital marketing efforts and guiding strategic decision-making.

Understanding this allows you to leverage KPIs to their full potential. By maintaining a continuous learning loop, business owners can harness the insightful power of KPI data. This dynamic approach forms the very bedrock of long-term strategic planning, driving growth in today’s digital landscape.

For help figuring out if your SEO is working or to get started with effective search engine optimization, call 678.325.4007 today.

Cliff Tillery, MBA is the Chief Operating Officer and SEO Director at Make It Loud which is a digital marketing firm located outside of Atlanta Georgia. More than 14 years ago, he started search engine optimization at this award-winning agency and has taught digital marketing skills to business owners at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center, and other groups.

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Cliff Tillery COO
Cliff Tillery, MBA is the Chief Operating Officer and SEO Director at Make It Loud which is a digital marketing firm located outside of Atlanta Georgia. More than 15 years ago, he started search engine optimization at this award-winning agency and has taught digital marketing skills to interns and new employees, business owners at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center, and other groups.
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