31 Oct Top KPIs for Search Engine Marketing You Need to Know
Analytic tracking codes allow you to collect large amounts of information about your website visitors — who they are, how they come to land on your site and what they do once there. The volume of data available can be overwhelming, and will only be useful to the extent the information gives insights into how well your digital marketing efforts are achieving your marketing goals. Key performance indicators (KPIs) will correspond to specific goals and provide useful and timely data to inform marketing decisions going forward.
Your digital marketing strategy will have multiple campaigns, each targeting prospects at different points along the marketing funnel, and each campaign will have a specific goal. Top-of-the-funnel campaigns are aimed at creating awareness and building a subscribers list. Mid-funnel marketing seeks to convert website visitors into qualified leads. The bottom of the funnel is where you hand off leads to the sales department. The metrics used to measure the success at each stage will depend on what you want to achieve.
- Page views – This provides a look at traffic volume and quickly shows which content is attracting visitors to your site. New User volume illustrates how well an awareness campaign is working. The Time on Page metric provides more insight. You know your content is meeting a need when visitors stay long enough to read the text. If visitors are quickly clicking away, you may need to revise the content title and metadata to better reflect the text.
- Direct traffic – This is the number of visitors who typed your URL directly into their browser. A large volume of direct traffic indicates a successful branding campaign. People know your name well enough to enter it into a search bar.
- Organic traffic volume – Where does your site land on a Search Engine Result Page (SERP)? Organic traffic measures the number of visitors that found you as a search result. Most users do not get much further than the top three results on the first page when conducting a search. A high volume of organic traffic indicates your content marketing strategy is paying off by putting your website near the top.
- Social Traffic – Social media platforms provide insights into the performance of each post. This lets you know what type of content attracts, excites and retains followers. However, are your social media campaigns furthering goals? Are your posts, pins, and tweets driving traffic to your website?
- Bounce rate – Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that view one page on your site and then leave. They are not exploring and interacting, which is what you want them to do as part of your awareness campaign. A high bounce rate means you need to make adjustments on the landing pages to encourage visitor engagement.
- Returning Users – This metric tells you the percentage of new users who found useful information on your site and came back for more. Which content are they consuming and what do you need to do to nudge them along to the next stage of the buyer’s journey?
- Keyword rank – Refined search engines’ algorithms have put an end to keyword-stuffing tactics, but keywords are still critical to being found online. Determining how your content ranks for specific keywords is a measure of how well you are doing at incorporating search terms into your content. Keyword ranking tools are also useful for monitoring the competition. What is the competition doing that you may want to imitate?
- Links to Your Site (backlinks) – Quality, relevant backlinks give authority to a site and indicate that content creation strategies are having the desired effect. The content is attracting attention. Social media shares provide similar information. Which content is most popular with your target market?
- Conversion percentage – Although conversion is most often thought of as sales, a conversion can be thought of as any event or campaign goal that is met, such as a website visitor downloading a PDF or subscribing to a newsletter. Tracking these conversions, as well as the Dropout Points along the way (for example, abandoned shopping carts), will provide critical data for adjusting a marketing campaign.
- Click-Through Rate (CTR) – What percentage of your followers are excited enough about an offer to follow a hyperlink? Use A/B testing to identify the factors that influence this rate.
Key metrics can tell you what is working, and they can help you identify downward trends. The best metrics are ones that align with marketing goals. However, these numbers must be reviewed in context. What is causing a sharp increase in traffic? Searches for fitness gear spike each January with New Year’s resolutions. This is information that will not be found on an analytics dashboard. It requires marketing acumen to identify what is driving data outliers. Keep this in mind as you review KPIs and adjust campaigns.