There’s a common joke among digital marketers who work with business websites: there’s no safer place to keep something hidden than the second page of Google search results.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is an essential aspect of any digital marketing strategy. For the most part, search engines are how anyone finds content online, and you want your content to rank on the first page with your targeted keywords. SEO is the only way to make that happen, so knowing the SEO KPIs your business should be tracking is key.

What Is SEO Marketing?

Before we learn what key performance indicators (KPIs) to track, we have to establish a firm understanding of SEO marketing itself. Brands get made on search results pages, and the only way to claw your way to the first page is with SEO. Implementing effective SEO takes a lot of work, however, so you need to know exactly what you must do.

Keywords remain the most important aspect of SEO, but they work much differently now than in the past. A few years ago, online content would rank for keywords based largely on the sheer number of occurrences the keyword had in the content. This lead to digital marketers practicing keyword stuffing, which is exactly what it sounds like. As search engine algorithms evolved, keyword-stuffed content pieces were explicitly filtered out of search results since that content rarely provided a good experience for users.

Instead of keyword stuffing, modern SEO relies on the strategic use of keywords combined with genuinely engaging content. Search engines will track how many people actually click through your site, how long they spend on the content, and how much it’s shared. Getting backlinks for your content is one of the best ways to improve your search engine rankings.

Local SEO Is Key

For small businesses, localization might be the most important factor in your SEO. You need to make sure your local community knows all about your business, as that’s where you’ll find your biggest audience. Make sure to include keywords that rank high for businesses in your unique area. Additionally, create content or make social media posts that are specific to your community. Formulating locally optimized content that’s relevant to your business is a good way to draw in potential customers.

Geolocation keywords throughout your site are essential for ranking high among your community. That’s just the beginning, however, as you need to take advantage of all methods people use to search. Cultivate some positive local reviews for your business, and make sure your business phone number uses a local area code. Embed a Google map snippet as well, as this will assure users that your business is local to their search area.

Measuring Your SEO: Traffic, Backlinks, Keywords & Sales

Measuring success for something so seemingly simple isn’t that easy, however, as SEO takes time and affects your digital marketing as a whole in several different ways. Fortunately, there are some metrics you can track to see if your SEO efforts are bearing fruit.

Measure SEO - tape measurement

Putting SEO best practices into place is a lot of work in its own right, but you’ll need to keep monitoring them to make sure you’re getting the best results possible. Keyword effectiveness is constantly changing, and you have to adapt accordingly. That’s why it’s so important to keep tracking your results. KPIs are a great way to see just how well your campaign is doing.

  • Sales: The goal of all digital marketing is essentially to boost sales in the long term. Otherwise, it’d be a waste of money. One of the best ways to measure your SEO performance, then, is to measure your sales growth. You can track purchase activity using standard e-commerce tracking, but enhanced e-commerce tracking can get really specific, noting when customers start the checkout process, complete a purchase, add items to their cart, etc. This data can help you discover where you need to focus efforts in your shopping funnel.
  • Organic Traffic: Measuring organic traffic to your website may seem pretty obvious, but the time periods measured can vary quite a bit. Google’s algorithm is constantly changing and evolving, so measuring solely on a week-to-week basis may not provide the most helpful information. Instead, longer terms can provide better insight into the effectiveness of your campaign. Remember, SEO takes a long time to produce the desired effect, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be changing it when necessary.
  • Backlinks: Backlinks are external links to your website.  They are essentially for your website’s trustworthiness, quality, and coolness. They show the transition from one site to another or from one page to another. They also help Google to index your website’s pages correctly. You want as many of these inbound links as possible, but unfortunately, backlinks are not free and their creation takes a lot of time and effort (and sometimes money). To measure the number of links to your site, try the free version of Ahrefs’ backlink checker.
  • Keywords: Keywords are the first KPI that most people go to when measuring results. Taking a look at how the relevant keywords for your company rank can provide valuable insight into how your SEO is improving traffic. You can even discover which keywords the majority of your current traffic is using to get to your site. If the most-used keyword is different than the keyword you’re optimizing for, it might be time to change things.

SEO KPIs With Symphonic Digital

At Symphonic Digital, using performance data in our digital marketing approach is our specialty. If you want your business to get the most out of SEO efforts, our team is always happy to lend a hand. Contact us today to get started on transforming your SEO KPIs into the foundation for even greater digital marketing performance.