We are cooperating with one marketing agency in terms of our website SEO. This week they are going to send us a report with actions and KPIs. I want to understand how usually SEO KPIs are measured and what kind of report I shall expect from them.

Is it only keyword search and ranking higher? Or is it about some traffic numbers or any other factors?

  • This is a question you should be asking the marketing agency. How are we supposed to now what they are going to give you? – John Conde Aug 3 '17 at 12:53
  • @JohnConde Of course I will be asking them. But I want to get also other opinions so that to have something to compare. – lucykay Aug 3 '17 at 13:11
  • What area of SEO are they working on? Crawlability? Content optimization? Content creation? Link building and outreach? – Stephen Ostermiller Aug 3 '17 at 14:24
  • Firstly, i think the question is very generic and not quite related to webmasters but happy to answer with own experience. – TopQnA Aug 4 '17 at 0:22

When it comes to marketing agencies, there are some common KPI's that you see on proposals. Generally, they lean less toward technical SEO and more into the content territory; that means anything from keyword rankings to social media success. (Social media management is obviously a different beast than SEO, but lines blur a bit when we're talking digital marketing in general.)

Here's a list that isn't exhaustive but something you can expect to see or request:

  1. Keyword rankings. This will involve content optimization, keyword research, and other activities that will result in tracking metrics for keyword-based rankings in the SERPs.

  2. Organic traffic numbers.

  3. Inbound link metrics. While the agency certainly should not engage in black hat backlink acquisition tactics, they should be able to come up with a good link building campaign for you that will naturally build off your content.

  4. Due to #3 and #5 below, referral traffic numbers can also be a KPI.

  5. Local SEO metrics such as Google My Business and Bing Places data, including how many times people have engaged with those profiles. You can also measure call metrics - if you set up a dedicated phone number for directories like GMB and track it with a service like DialogTech.

  6. Conversions that can be traced to organic or referral traffic. (Just make sure it's referrals that arrived as part of link building campaigns or other SEO activity.)

Now, if the marketing agency has SEO engineers, we will be talking a different set of KPI's: improved indexation, decreased 404's and broken links, decreased number of issues in Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools as well as in SEO software reports like Moz or Screaming Frog... These should be in addition to the content SEO KPI's listed above, because ultimately, you're looking for higher positions and better representation in SERPs, and more qualified traffic.

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SEO is very different in comparison to other marketing campaigns like SEM.

I have slightly different take on this.

How to assess SEO work?

  1. Firstly, forget about keywords, ranking, backlink etc for a minute.

  2. Ask a question to yourself. Did you hire an agency to do long term SEO or just get ranking by whatever means.

  3. Don't expect anything (NO KPIs etc) if you just needed ranking in whatever means as it will not work in long run in anyways.

  4. Now, assuming you have an agreement to do long term SEO then first thing in your SEO deliverables should be the SEO plan - It's a big one.

    SEO Planning: Many website fails due to poor SEO planning and implementation. There should be short term and long term planning. Planning involves many things like Assessing current website vs possible future change if so redirection planning. Spending a significant amount of time finding current issues on the website and working towards building quality content and better user experience. Agency should be able to come up with a very strong plan about quality content building with the expectation that user will love the content and info and possibility of getting natural backlinks. Planning and implementation should be divided into different phases and it should be assessed accordingly.

  5. Understanding the plan and implementation is more important and these should be the main deliverables in SEO.

What should be included in SEO deliverables?

  1. SEO Plan

    • The plan about making the website more accessible.
    • A very strong plan to build quality content.
    • Creativity: Finding the point of difference, things which your competition may not have or they can't even imagine.
    • Technical plan: Any proposed changes in the current website to make it more accessible and future planning for easy transition.
    • UI Planning: If you may get a signal about the success of certain pages then you may have a plan in place to boost UI further.
    • Backlink planning: Backlink is the hardest to plan but if done well reward is there.
    • Etc.
    • Note: It is a time-consuming and costly process.
  2. Monthly key implementation task without going too much into detail.

  3. Competition research - a big one.

  4. Creativity brings success in SEO, once achieved it should be highlighted strongly in deliverables.

  5. Once SEO is done for a significantly long time then report on website traffic and revenue (goals/conversions).

  6. Report on ranking consistency rather than fluctuation (Suddenly gone up and dropped). Meaning if the ranking was maintained (Not top position always but some consistency).

  7. Creative planning document - before implementation, worth including in deliverables and having a discussion.

  8. Be happy with creative implementation than ranking. SEO is not always about ranking. Value unique out of the box ideas and implementation.

  9. Authority: This is another major one. Deliverables should include plan/implementation about building authority.

  10. Believe on data & statistics. Ranking/revenue gone up data and statistics is a good one to see. But at times in very competitive environment maintaining position should be also considered as good data.

  11. Small on the point report data is better than getting too many pages with irrelevant data like bounce rate etc. which might not make sense to you.

The list could go on but it should be good enough to understand. I wrote a blog about a month ago and it has some relevant info about quality SEO. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/seo-why-quality-only-way-go-pankaj-yadav

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There are only 2 KPI's for every campaign 1. Traffic 2. Keywords Ranking

I am doing SEO of a website for a client where we only on focus on 2 things traffic and keywords ranking.

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Every SEO agencies have some common KPI's for all customers. It actually depends on your contractual agreement or condition which guideline follow the agencies. There are some common KPI's like Keywords Rank, Organic visitors, Bounce Rate, Conversion, Social Media Activities etc.

Here is a list about SEO KPI's that you can expect from Agencies:

  1. Keywords Rank: Before starting SEO where was your Keywords position & Present Position at SERPs.
  2. Traffic Sources: You have to check traffic sources like Search Engine, Social Media or others websites.
  3. Organic Traffic: You have to check about organic traffic. Day by day is it increasing or reducing?
  4. Bounce Rate: You also check about your website Bounce Rate from Google Analytics.
  5. Internal Site Link Structures: You have to check also about your websites internal link structures. Because it's a good sign in front of Google.
  6. On-page SEO: You have to check also about all of On-page SEO have it done or not yet.
  7. Backlinks: You have to check about your Backlinks profile from Google Webmaster Tools/ Search Console that how much is improvement.
  8. Local SEO Signal: You can check about your Local SEO Signal from Google Business page, Google Knowledge Graph & also from Moz.
  9. Conversion: You also know about your conversion rate.

I think that above these condition can be SEO KPI's for your website.

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I've been a part of many large companies that do a lot of SEO. What you DO NOT want to do is track a vanity metric. You don't want 1MM visitors coming to your website and a 0.001% conversion rate.

At the end of the day NO OTHER KPI matters other than SALES.

  1. Are you getting sales? yes/no (Conversions)

  2. How much are those sales costing you? (Cost per Acquisition)

  3. How much are you spending and how much are you getting in return? (Return on Ad Spend, ROAS)

These are the KPIs you should monitor and in this order. When companies look to monitor other KPIs such as traffic, ranking, backlinks, etc.. They've really only built a fence around the actual KPIs.

It's assumed that more traffic, higher ranking and more backlinks will lead to more sales. But it's too easy to lose focus on SALES when you're focusing on these other KPIs.

All other KPIs that you monitor are only a secondary indicator to sales.

Pulled from source: https://www.byrdziak.com/kpi

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