Key Performance Indicators to Measure SEO Success

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Key performance indicators (KPIs) act as the control system that ensures your SEO campaign will deliver results and allow you to identify what’s working — and, more importantly, provide the SEO with an early warning system if something’s not going as expected. In this blog, you’ll find out how you can use KPIs to better track the success and improve the results of your SEO campaign.

1. Categorise your SEO KPIs.

If you’re a local business, your SEO campaign may be designed to generate more visitors to your store. If you’re a service business, you may be looking to generate more leads. Whatever your business is, categorise and communicate your KPIs in a way that makes the most sense to your customers.

You can easily categorise your objectives and KPIs in this way.

  • Awareness: Build an audience for your product or service.
  • Engagement: Drive engagement with your product or service.
  • Conversion: Drive leads and sales.

The specific goals of your SEO campaign and sales process will often dictate what’s important here. Ask your customers what’s the most important for them, and make sure you’ll illustrate how your SEO campaign will deliver on these stated objectives with clear, categorised KPIs.

Another suitable way to categorise your KPIs is using the “Volume, Quality, Value and Cost” model.

  • Volume: Unique visitors, visits, page views, etc.
  • Quality: Bounce rate, visit duration, pages per visit
  • Value: Financial value of a visit/lead/conversion
  • Cost: Cost of acquiring a lead or sale from SEO

2. Identify your SEO metrics.

These are the traditional KPIs you can use to gauge progress. Often, these should be compared to competitor values to provide real context. An increase in the perceived trust and authority of your site typically correlates with an increase in the rank of your main search terms and the amount of organic traffic you receive.

These metrics are important but their prioritisation in your reports will depend on your client’s understanding of SEO.

  • Rank for main (local/organic) converting keywords
  • Rank for secondary (local/organic) benchmark keywords
  • Majestic Citation Flow
  • Majestic Trust Flow
  • Majestic Trust & Citation Balance
  • Moz Domain Authority
  • Moz Page Authority
  • Moz Spam Score

Real-world KPIs

  • Increase in organic traffic
  • Increase in the number of pages on your site that generate traffic
  • Increase in non-branded search traffic
  • Percentage increase in organic conversions
  • Percentage increase in traffic from certain geographic regions
  • Organic impressions (Search Console)
  • Organic click-through rate (CTR) (Search Console)

Referral traffic

Often, solid referral traffic can convert at a higher rate than organic search traffic.

  • Percentage increase in referral traffic
  • Percentage increase in referral conversions
  • Percentage increase in engagement metrics (in terms of bounce, pages, time)

Brand impact

Improved search visibility is equal to improved overall visibility — advertising by another name. So, you should also look at the percentage increase in branded search traffic and brand mentions and how this correlates to the work you’re doing.

Link-building KPIs

Links are still one of the big three SEO metrics for improving search engine visibility and are often the main tangible element of a long-term SEO campaign (along with content). Therefore, we must still report on the total amount of links, and the number of links from authority sites and highly relevant sites. These will be pulled from your link wishlist generally and should be customised to your client’s industry.

Lead generation KPIs

Leads are an essential component of your digital marketing, yet the classification of leads and the sales funnel is getting more complex. As such, you should look to measure the impact your SEO efforts have on your lead generation.

  • Percentage increase in newsletter signups
  • Percentage increase in social followers/likes, etc.
  • Business-specific lead generation goals (data sheets, white papers, etc.)

Business objective-specific KPIs

If your goal is to build awareness of a new product, then you want to focus on awareness metrics: impressions, average position, keywords, clicks, etc. If you want to drive more signups, then you want to track the number of users looking at the signup and pricing pages. If you’re looking at more traditional conversions, then you need to look at the total number of sales/leads/inquiries.


You already have the SEO KPIs, but you should frame them around your customer’s business objectives and shine a light on the fact that you’re helping them move forward and build the bottom line. Connect the dots clearly between your client’s objectives and your SEO strategy with your mutually agreed upon KPIs.

For more SEO tips, connect with Australian digital marketing experts via Top4.

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