How To Measure SEO Success (KPI's for SEO)

Last updated


Daniel Wade


July 28, 2022

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Depending on the nature of your website and your target audience, different KPIs can be used, often together, to see if your current SEO techniques are working.

Being on top of the SERP is perhaps the easiest way to check your SEO success, but there are also other methods such as social media shares, conversion rate, click-through rate, bounce rate, session duration, pages per session, and top exit pages.

SEO should be a continuous technique that you should update whenever necessary. An estimated 547,200 websites are created daily, and it’s hard to compete for the top page of the search engine results page (SERP) if you have an outdated SEO technique. To stay on the top, you need to watch your numbers closely and optimize where necessary. This is where SEO KPIs will help. By finding the areas that need improvement, you can adjust your plans to increase your audience base or sales.


Table of contents

1. Keyword Ranking

SEO revolves around keywords. Knowing the right keywords for your website will allow you to show up on the SERP so the right audience can discover your website.

Search engines such as Google ranks websites depending on their relevance to the keyword. Website owners aim to be on top of the SERP as it offers the most visibility.

Why are keyword rankings important?

The main goal of SEO is to put your website as the top result in the SERP. This is the easiest way to gauge if your SEO efforts are paying off.

Being on top of the SERP requires a high domain authority on more than one related keyword. This will open your website to more visitors who might find the information on your website useful.

How to measure keyword rankings?

You have to note that the ads on the top of the SERP in most search engines are not included in the rankings. The straightforward way is to type the relevant keywords on the search bar of a search engine. If your keyword ranking is high, you should at least be featured on the first page.

Another method is to use services focused on optimizing your keyword rankings. SEMRush, Moz, and Google’s Webmaster Tools are among the most popular ones.

Aside from checking if you rank high on the keywords you’ve chosen, you can also discover other keywords that your website is already ranking in. You can optimize certain web pages on these keywords to further improve your domain authority.

2. Social Media Shares

Another important factor to check is the number of your social media shares on your blogs. When a reader likes what they’ve read, they might post it on their own social media accounts to share with their friends and followers.

Why are social media shares important in SEO success?

The number of social media shares on your blogs can show that your website is ranking high on relevant keywords. Your target audience is discovering your website, which is a great thing in terms of SEO success.

A high number of social might also mean that a big blog or website has shared your page on their accounts. They usually share websites that they deem have useful information in their feeds. This means, among other websites they’ve found, yours have the most helpful information that is written in aN audience-friendly manner.

How to measure social media shares?

There are four things you should focus on when measuring your social media metrics. All of them can be used to gauge how effective your SEO is. The first one is volume. It’s the easiest to measure, as you only need to see how many people are talking about your brand.

The second one is the social media reach of your blog. This measures how many accounts have seen or viewed your post, even if they did not interact with it. Social media reach can show how big your potential audience is.

Social media engagement is the third metric you should check. People who actually engage in the posts relating to your brand can show how many people are interested in it. This can be shown through the number of shares, likes, reacts, retweets, and replies.

Regarding social media engagement, you have to be careful that you are not getting negative engagement. If you post a controversial opinion that netizens don’t like, it is extremely bad for your brand.

The last metrics you should check is influence or the number of influential brands and companies that share your blogs. News sites or magazine websites have the best credibility when it comes to influence, but you can also get shared by other bloggers with high domain authority.

3. Conversion Rate

Typically, the conversion rate is calculated by sales. But in online marketing, it is defined by how many visitors have completed the desired action. This can be the typical amount of sales for eCommerce websites. But for other types of websites, an email subscription or an ad click can also be the defining factors of a conversion rate.

Here’s a quick list of common types of conversions.

  1. Buying a product
  2. Engaging with online chat
  3. Submitting a form
  4. Clicking an ad
  5. Signing up for an email subscription
  6. Signing up on the website
  7. Downloading resources

Why are conversion rates important in SEO success?

You’ll know you have an effective optimization on your SEO is a high conversion rate. Like other KPI measurements for SEO, it signifies that your website is ranking high on relevant keywords. Having a high conversion rate is extremely useful when your main goal is to earn money on your website.

How to measure conversion rates?

Depending on the platform you are using, you can check conversion rates in various ways. It also varies depending on what type of conversion you want. eCommerce websites would prefer to check their sales when checking the conversion rate. On the other hand, bloggers would prefer an email subscription from their users.

4. Click-Through Rate

Being on top of the SERP is not enough. Your blog might be discovered by more people, but they not everyone necessarily clicks on it. The click-through rate measures how many people you’ve enticed enough to click on your website.

Why are click-through rates important in SEO success?

Being on top of the SERP does not only mean being on top of the SERP. It does not matter if you are the highest rank on a certain keyword if you people are not clicking on your website.

This simply means that you are on the top of SERP for the wrong keywords.

How to measure click-through rates?

Click-through rate is simply the number of users who clicked your link divided by the number of impressions your link received. This link can be from an organic search, ad, email subscription, or even a social media share. The standard click-through rate for all industries is at 2%. However, this can be higher or lower, depending on the nature of your industry and your target audience.

5. Bounce Rate

While having a high click-through rate is great for SEO, you also have to watch out for users who bounce on your website.

Simply put, the term “bouncing” means a user clicked on your website but they exited in a short period of time. This can be due to multiple reasons. Maybe your webpage took too long to load, or they simply did not see the information they needed.

Checking out one page and leaving before clicking other pages within your website can also be defined as bouncing. Since you want your users to engage further, you need to optimize your website if people leave after visiting one page.

Why is bounce rate important in SEO success?

While a high click-through rate is good, a high bounce rate, on the other hand, is bad for your website. It is an indicator that your website is ranked high on the wrong keywords.

If your bounce rate is also high, it shows that your content is not engaging enough to keep your audience interested. These are the things you need to take into account when optimizing your website further.

How to measure bounce rates?

There is a simple formula to check your bounce rate. It is calculated by getting the total number of one-page visits and dividing that by the total number of blogs or entries on your website.

6. Session Duration and Pages Per Session

How long your audience stays on your website to read your content is also a useful way to see if you are reaching the right audience.

When a user visits your websites, they might click around for more information. This is why it’s highly advisable to keep your audience engaged by recommending other related topics at the end of blogs. For eCommerce websites, adding related products is also a good idea to increase engagement.

Why are session durations important in SEO success?

Your target is to get the right audience who will stay on your website for long periods of time. This is an indicator that your website is high on the results of the right keywords. The longer the people stay, the better.

However, since it’s possible that a person stays idle on a page without interacting with it, a session duration typically ends after 30 minutes of inactivity.

How to measure session durations?

You can use Google Analytics to help you check the session durations of your audience. Session durations from the moment your audience clicked on your website. Since most websites have multiple users, average session duration is computed instead, to see how long people stay and read your content.

It is computed as the total length of duration of all sessions divided by the number of sessions. It’s usually counted in seconds.

However, you need to watch out for a high page per session with a low session duration. This means that visitors did not see what they needed to on the first page, so they clicked around to find the information they needed. If they still didn’t see the information they’re looking for, they will exit your website, thus resulting in a short session.

7. Top Exit Pages

An exit page exists on your website as designed to be the last page your visitors will visit before they completely leave your website. For example, in an eCommerce website, a visitor will click through your website as follows:

Homepage » Product Listing » Product Page » Checkout Page » Thank You Page

In this scenario, the Thank You page is your exit page. Your audience does not need to automatically exit your website whenever they reach the exit page. They can choose to browse around your website further, especially if they still have other information they need.

Why is checking your top exit pages in SEO success?

In the given example above, if the Thank You Page is your exit page, then it can indicate a successful SEO. Since it is designed to be the last page a visitor should end, it means your website design is successful.

Reaching the exit page means you probably have a successful conversion, which is one of the goals of having SEO.

However, if other pages, such as your Product Page, are your top exit page, there is either something wrong with your SEO techniques or marketing plan. Depending on which page your customers exit, you can adjust certain designs in your plans.

How to check top exit pages?

Other services dedicated to checking which pages have a high exit rate are available online, but Google Analytics is the most accessible one, especially if you want a free service. It does require a bit of coding, but you can use plugins to make it easier for you.

Exit Rate vs. Bounce Rate

Not to be confused with each other, the exit rate and bounce rate are measured differently. Although both measures the number of people exiting your website, a high bounce rate is typically bad. Having a high exit rate on a certain page can either be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on whether it is designed to be an exit page or not.

Tips to Measure KPI for SEO

Focus on Important SEO KPI

Based on your website, you have to pick the important SEO KPI indicators. Focusing on KPIs that are not that important in your field can lead to a waste of time and effort. If you are a blogger, you don’t necessarily need to focus on your exit pages if you rely on your ads to keep your business going. However, if you are aiming to build your subscription list, you might want to optimize your website if people are not reaching the designated Thank You page after signing up on the list.

Hire Professionals to Measure SEO KPI

Managing a business and ensuring your website’s success can be difficult, especially for small businesses and bloggers.

You can hire a professional to manage your website’s SEO. This can make your work extremely easier, as you are sure that you are in the hands of experts who know what the market currently wants.

Remember that SEO Takes Time

You will not reach the top of the SERP overnight. It will take time, effort, and for some, money. If you are not an expert in SEO, it might take you a long time. But as long as you are doing the right things, and you keep on checking the metrics mentioned above, you will see success down the road.

How To Measure SEO Success (KPI's for SEO)


Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts and spending millions of dollars via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Native Ads and Direct Media Buying, I took things out on my own and started SparrowBoost. Now, my tight-knit team and I continue to get smarter and more efficient at running our own campaigns and we share our knowledge with you.

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