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KPIs or, to give them their full title, Key Performance Indicators can help you to understand how well your business is moving towards achieving its goals.
Although there are many metrics that are sometimes referred to as KPIs, there are only three that are particularly useful and that need to be got right. We’ll take a closer look at them here.
The marketing KPI known as SOV or Share Of Voice has an SEO version, and this is known as SERP visibility. It shows how visible within the market your brand is. This is something that’s important since there’s a deep correlation between market share and SOV. A higher SOV will usually give you a greater market share.
How can you get an idea of your SERP visibility? You can achieve this by weighing up your own estimated organic search traffic against that of your competitors. You can do this by pasting both your own and your competitor’s domain into the Ahrefs’ Batch Analysis Tool. You can then take a look at the traffic column which will give you some figures to compare.
Bear in mind that these figures will typically be skewed since they also include traffic that comes from branded keywords as well as those that competitors are ranking for which don’t hold any business value for your organization.
To get a better sense of your SERP visibility, you should paste your most important keywords into the Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker. When you’ve done this, click on the tab for Competitors Overview and look at the Visibility column.
SERP visibility represents an excellent KPI for all kinds of businesses since every company has its own direct competitors, whatever their business model.
Most businesses typically already measure their organic conversions. However, when you use this data you need to wisely select your conversion goals. While most companies check actions such as going through the checkout process or signing up for a service, these don’t actually reflect the true value for the business when people purchase several items in a single transaction.
Therefore, if you’re running an e-commerce store, for example, a better KPI could be an increase to the organic traffic segment’s Average Order Value. Alternatively, tracking the net profit per organic search visitor or the gross margin could be ideal for you.
You also need to ensure that you’ve set up Google Analytics correctly and be prepared to take the results you receive with a pinch of salt. Remember that data will always be skewed by ad blockers and how attribution is handled by default by Google.
However, it’s important to note that you’ll usually be comparing data that has been skewed in the same way so relative changes in conversions will typically correspond with the reality. Take care if your company has sales swings in different seasons, though as you’ll need to compare your year-over-year results in such cases.
This KPI is only useful if you already use conversion KPIs. Effectively, it’s a supporting metric to help deal with attribution that is flawed. This is important as the “last non-direct click” default attribution model used by Google Analytics isn’t ideal. Attributing all the credit to a single channel is never a good idea. Your website is probably driving organic traffic at every stage of customers’ journeys so, as an example, someone may land on several of your blog posts from Google, then converts after they click on a retargeting ad. In such cases, you need to view the initial contribution to the organic search.
You can do this by going to Conversions, then Multi-Channel Funnels, then Assisted Conversions and choosing the main conversion first. When you’ve done this, select an attribution (look back) window that represents the number of days you need to bear in mind before the customer converted. Adjust it to a length that suits your business sales cycle.
So, if you’re running a B2B business, you need a long attribution window since the decision-making process is longer before conversion than in other types of purchasing.
Next, compare that data across two periods. This will give you an overview of the way in which every channel contributes to your conversions as well as a comparison of both set periods.
Once you’ve done this, it’s possible to play about with the remainder of your Multi-Channel Funnels reports. The Model Comparison Tool can be found there and this enables the application of other attribution models to give you an even better understanding of the way each channel works in the customers’ journey.
Although there are many different metrics that can be measured and that can be termed as KPIs, these three are certainly the most important for your business. Nevertheless, that doesn’t necessarily mean that other things aren’t worth measuring too. It’s a good idea to keep track of some other meaningful metrics which correlate with your KPIs to assess your SEO work on a day-to-day basis. For example, it’s virtually impossible to boost your KPIs for SEO if your pages can’t be properly indexed by search engines.
Google Analytics can give you a host of actionable insights and it can allow you to establish thresholds that allow you to run SEO technical audits and determine the link building campaigns that are successful.
It’s also important to remember that, while being data-driven is important, it’s still important to understand why things happen, and determining the reasons for occurrences from just Google Search Console or Google Analytics data can be challenging since it is primarily quantitative data.
While you’re remembering this, also take into account that data will never be a good substitute for common sense, gut instincts and, most importantly, talking effectively to customers, so all of this must be borne in mind when using those KPIs to get an overview of how well your business is progressing towards meeting its goals overall.
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