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More visibility by measuring, monitoring and evaluating the appropriate SEO metrics!

SEO KPIs (Key Performance Indicator) are used in controlling to determine how your website or online store is "received" and performs by users and search engines. 

In this article you will learn which SEO KPIs are relevant for measuring your SEO measures. In addition, we give you an overview of the most important key performance indicators for your SEO strategy.


What are SEO KPIs?

KPI is the abbreviation for Key Performance Indikator and denotes various key figures, which are set for a defined goal. In search engine optimization (SEO) you need these metrics to measure the success of your previously defined SEO measures, to monitor and to evaluate.

Also your entrepreneurial success or the achievement of an Conversion (purchase, lead, download, newsletter subscription,...) depends on it. 

The more clearly the objectives are defined and the more appropriate the SEO measures are, the more satisfied your visitors and customers will be.


Why you need SEO KPIs and why they are essential for your SEO success!

What key performance indicators you need, depends on your target plans and who (target groups) or what (industries, topics, products, services) you want to address. The data of the KPIs provide information about where and to what extent you need to adjust your optimization.

Search engine optimization is constantly changing, so it is necessary to define your target goals and KPIs on a regular basis and monitor them and adjust if necessary. Of course, this also has an impact on your business success. Because of the constantly changing Google algorithm, it is absolutely necessary to keep an eye on the KPIs and, if necessary, to readjust your SEO strategy.

Through targeted SEO measures you achieve more visibility in search engines, generate more traffic (users on your website) and get closer to your actual goal - conversion. In the best case, your user becomes your customer.

By controlling and monitoring the KPIs, you steer and control your SEO measures and can in a timely manner on unwanted changes react. For an online store you will need different metrics than for an info blog. As I said, it always depends on what goals you are pursuing.

With KPIs you can make goals and results of your actions visible and offer your users a good user experience (UX). You also increase your business success by offering your users what they are looking for and need. Always keep in mind the added value of your content for the users and with the right SEO measures you will bring your website or your company further forward.

Info Icon Komma99Lots of traffic and a high CTR (Click Through Rate) are all well and good, but they are of no use if no conversion takes place!

Therefore, set priorities for your individually, relevant SEO KPIs for your SEO project and make sure that they are based on your tailored targets !


How do you choose the right SEO KPIs?

Before implementation, think about your strategy and what you want to achieve with it. Then decide which SEO measures you want to implement and which relevant KPIs you need. Based on the KPIs, you analyze and evaluate your data and see whether your measures have worked or not.

Finding the right KPIs for your business (website, blog, online store) and the right tools to evaluate them requires the investment of enough time, money, expertise, patience and a well-prepared SEO strategy. The reward for your efforts is success and satisfied users who like to come back.


A distinction is made between Onpage SEO KPIs, which you can actively influence, and Offpage SEO KPIs, that affect your metrics from external sources.

To be able to measure, monitor and evaluate the SEO KPIs you need Analysis tools. Some tools are provided by Google for free, such as Google Search Console, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. But also use other paid tools (e.g. Xovi, Ahrefs, Sistrix, ...) for your SEO strategy and the implementation of your goals.


The 12 most important SEO KPIs in online marketing

  • Organic traffic
  • Keyword Ranking
  • CTR – Click Through Rate
  • Number of impressions
  • Conversion Rate
  • Bounce Rate
  • Average length of stay (session duration)
  • Page speed and display problems
  • Core Web Vitals
  • Visibility index
  • Number and power of backlinks
  • Trust Rank


Onpage SEO KPIs

These metrics help you measure, review and analyze your web presence. You can actively influence the values and improve the position of your website. This way, your website will achieve more visibility in the non-paid organic search results (SERPs).

Subsequent analytics tools will help you with your marketing strategy to measure, monitor and evaluate your set KPIs.

  • Google Search Console
  • Google Analytics
  • Matomo
  • Google Tag Manager
  • Xovi
  • Ahrefs
  • Seobility
  • Linkresearchtool
  • PageSpeed Insights
  • GT Metrix
  • rankingCoach
  • Semrush
  • Sistrix
  • Majestic
  • Moz

1) Organic traffic

With the KPI "organic traffic", the number of visitors to a page is measured, which get to the website through organic search results . As one of the most important key figures, this KPI should not be considered alone. For an online store, it is also important to look at the KPI "Conversion Rate". Useful questions about this KPI:

  • When (days/months) are the most visitors on the site?
  • How has the traffic changed in comparison from period A to period B?
  • Which subpages have the most visitors?
  • From where (country of origin/end devices) do visitors come and generate via the organic search Traffic?
  • Which keyword generates the most visitors?

Additionally, this key performance indicator can be further refined by sorting by origin and landing page. 

The organic traffic can be analyzed for example with the analysis tools Google Analytics or Matomo as well as determined and evaluated.

2) Keyword Ranking

The "Keyword Ranking" is another important metric that shows you how well (or poorly) your relevant Keyword ranks with the search engine. The better the ranking is, the more visitors come to the website. This brings you much closer to your other goals such as traffic, conversions or leads.

This key performance indicator is directly related to your SEO success and provides information about whether your relevant main keyword is ranking or not. The goal should be to rank with the keyword on the first page (best on position 1-3).

For analysis you can use the following tools: Google Search Console, Keyword Planer (from Google Ads), Xovi, Seobility, RankingCoach or Semrush.

3) CTR – Click Through Rate

The KPI "CTR" shows you in which ratio the actual clicks on the website link to the entire impressions displayed i.e. how often does a user click on the link and how often is the link displayed in the search results.

The ratio is always given as a percentage and can be calculated using the following formula:

Info Icon Komma99CTR = number of clicks / total number of impressions displayed

The click-through rate is usually neglected, but should always be kept in mind. The higher the CTR, the better your ranking in the search engine. If this value falls, then you should improve your SERP-Snippet and make the title and meta description more appealing. The SERP snippet is the first thing the user sees on the search results pages.

It may also be that the search intention was not met or other search results are more relevant and the value therefore decreases. Then you should revise your content and your SEO strategy.

To monitor the CTR you can use the Google Search Console . If Google Search Console is linked to Google Analytics, you can also view the click-through rate in Google Analytics.

Consider the CTR also in connection with the bounce rate. This way you can see if your visitors expected something different in terms of content or if your content was not appealing.

4) Number of impressions

This KPI is a measure of visibility in search engines and measures how often your website shown in the non-paid, organic search results . Every time a user requests a search and your website appears in the search results, an impression is created and recorded. In the performance report of the Google Search Console the evaluation of this key performance indicator is displayed.

If the number of impressions increases, then you have placed your content well and the organic visibility increases. This is a good indicator for continuous organic growth. If no one searches for your content or your content is not visible, then high-quality content is of no use to you.

To analyze the number of impressions, use the Google Search Console or Google Analytics tool, as well as Matomo.

5) Conversion Rate

The "Conversion Rate" shows you, what percentage of visitors performed a particular action on your site. With the "Conversion Rate" you monitor your predefined goals.

 Possible conversions can be:

  • Completion of purchase
  • Sign up for a newsletter
  • Filling out a form
  • Download a document, audio or video file
  • Sharing a content via social media channels
  • Booking a service
  • Contact for consultation appointment or course registration

With this KPI you recognize instantly, whether your content is appealing enough for your users and led to an action. Along with the conversion rate, look at the KPIs for organic traffic, CTR, and dwell time to see how your content is engaging your users.

Formula for calculating the conversion rate:

Info Icon Komma99Conversion rate (%) = (number of actions achieved / number of all visits) x 100

With this formula each visit to the page is counted (also repeated visits) - i.e. if a visitor calls up the website 3 times, then 3 visits are also counted. This can dilute the result, because automatic bots can also visit the page multiple times.

If you want a more accurate result, it is recommended to use the Unique Visitor (tracked by a cookie). The Unique Visitor is used only once counted as a visitor within a fixed period of time, no matter how many times he visits the page during this time.

Formula for calculating the conversion rate with Unique Visitor:

Info Icon Komma99Conversion rate (%) = (number of actions achieved / number of unique visitors) x 100

Note that with a Landingpage just one Conversion should be possible, as this pursues a specific goal (e.g. registration for a newsletter or course, conclusion of a purchase, ...).

For measurement and monitoring use the tools Google Analytics, Matomo and Google Tag Manager.

6) Bounce Rate

The "Bounce Rate" indicates, what percentage of users left your Website , without a single click on the page. As one of the most important SEO KPIs, Google uses this metric as a ranking factor. If the bounce rate is high, it can mean that the user's search intention was not met.

The type of your website plays a big role. If you run an informative website (blog, guidebook), a high bounce rate with a long dwell time can mean that users have found what they were looking for (positive signal). With an online store, on the other hand, a high bounce rate without making a purchase is a negative signal.

Possible reasons why a user leaves the website without interaction can vary depending on the industry, product, country, end device or type of website:

  • Search intention was not met
  • inappropriate web design
  • Too much advertising
  • Content is not engaging
  • unclear/confusing navigation
  • too long loading times

Try to optimize your website so that your users find what they are looking for and have a pleasant user experience (UX). Use the tool Google Analytics or Matomo to analyze the bounce rate.

7) Average length of stay (session duration)

The "average dwell time" shows you, how long users stay on your site. The important thing here is how appealing and targeted your content is for your optimized keywords. Your visitors should stay on your Website as long as possible. With this key performance indicator, you can keep an eye on the user experience (UX) and adjust and optimize your content as dwell time decreases.

To make users spend more time on your site, you can take the following measures to positively influence dwell time:

  • High quality, high value unique content
  • Internal linking and linking of interesting content
  • provided with infographics, images, screenshots, videos, helpful information
  • Breadcrumb navigation
  • Add content that encourages the user to interact (downloads, templates, surveys, quizzes, voting, ...)

Based on the average dwell time, you compare how the traffic from organic search results relates to other online marketing channels (SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, banner & display advertising, ...). You also recognize which subpages should be revised and what effects your optimization measures have on the user experience (UX).

With the Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Matomo ans the use of Google Tag Manager you can monitor, measure and analyze this SEO KPI.

8) Page speed and display problems

The SEO KPI "Page Speed" belongs to the technical optimization. Not only the content has to be optimized, but also the technology has to be considered for your SEO strategy. Loading time should be as low as possible . Users who wait too long for the page to load will quickly leave the site.

Nowadays, many users are mobile on the sites, so you need to make your website responsive and optimized as well and alter your Webdesign for smartphone and tablet. If the website has display problems, you will lose many potential customers. Therefore, always pay attention to a modern and appealing design for the most important devices. Because Google now also includes the mobile version in the algorithm and thus influences the ranking in the search results.

The ideal loading time for the construction of your website is between 2 and 3 seconds. A longer loading time has a negative impact on the bounce rate, conversion rate and finally on your ranking. The faster the website builds up, the better for your SEO, the users and the Googlebot.

With the tools PageSpeed Insights, GT Metrix and Xovi you can check the pagespeed. These tools tell you where there is a need for optimization on the website. Most of the time, the images are incorrectly embedded on the page (wrong format, different image sizes, no compression) or other technical aspects (JS, CSS) need to be optimized.

Technical improvement opportunities for your website:

  • Optimize images - convert to PNG, WebP and size correctly
  • Use Lazy Load for hidden images
  • Minification of JS and CSS
  • Activate or set cache
  • Set text web font visibility on load
  • Enable text compression - using Gzip, Brotli, Deflate
  • Check heading structure (H structure)
  • Use CDN if possible

Do you change anything on your website - e.g. publish new content or you extend existing content - then check the page speed of the page. The change may require you to re-optimize the site for your marketing. 

9) Core Web Vitals

The "Core Web Vitals" KPI from Google is the latest Key Performance Indicator on the market and gives information about the performance of your website. The new ranking signals exist only since mid-June 2021. Since the Core Web Vitals are based on real user data they are not measured by Google.

This is Google's response to the User- und Page-Experience, in that websites should perform better and the bounce rate is kept low as a result. The quality of the website comes to the fore through the necessary optimization measures and the user benefits from better performance. This is about the loading time, interactivity and visual stability of your site.

Die Core Web Vitals setzen sich aus 3 Messwerten zusammen:

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
    This key figure indicates, how long the page from calling the URL until the largest visible element is completely rendered im „Above the fold" area needs. This is usually an image, a video or a large text element at block level. Google rates an LCP value of less than or equal to 2.5 seconds as a Good and greater than 4 seconds as Slow.
  2. First Input Delay (FIP)
    FID is the timespan from the first interaction by the user with the site (Click on a button, button or link) until the reaction of the browser to this interaction - the response speed of the website, so to speak. An FID value with less than or equal to 100 milliseconds is indicated with Good evaluated and greater than 300 milliseconds as Slow.
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
    From the CLS the completely surprising layout shifts of elements as the total value of individual values - i.e. it shows you, how stable your page layout during use of the website is and if page elements move during use. Possible causes for this can be: subsequent insertion of content using Java Script or reloading of advertising that displaces other content. This layout shift can lead to misdirected clicks (button or links) and is extremely annoying for the user. Google rates a value of less than or equal to 0.1 as a Good and a value greater than 0.25 as Slow.


Offpage SEO KPIs

With these SEO-KPIs you measure the external performance of your marketing activities. The values in this area can be difficult to influence directly. These depend on the quality and quantity of external linking, behavior of the competition, the search engine algorithm, but also the search behavior of users.

Offpage SEO KPIs can be indirectly guided by:

  • Content with added value 
  • Satisfied customers
  • High quality products
  • salient USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
  • Implementation of onpage optimization

With targeted Backlink-Building you can directly influence the key figures.

10) Visibility index

The goal of SEO is to increase visibility in the organic search results - therefore use targeted marketing measures to achieve a good position in the organic search results.

With the KPi "Visibility index" you are checking:

  • Where your website is located in the SERPs (search results pages)
  • How it compares to your competitors
  • Whether the website was penalized

For more meaningfulness of the visibility index only one specific keyword set considered. This way, you can accurately observe whether the visibility of the page has improved or worsened based on this keyword set. By using a set, you can get a better comparative value.

If all organic keyword rankings are examined, irrelevant keywords are also included, which provide a distorted result for a comparison.

The optimization in this area you can only partially influence directly. You can target your content to your relevant Keywords and optimize the SERP Snippet (title and meta description). Ultimately, much depends on how the Google algorithm (indirectly) evaluates your page and positions you on the SERPs.

Use to check this key performance indicator analysis tools like Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Matomo, Xovi, Semrush, Ahrefs, rankingCoach or Sistrix.

11) Number and power of backlinks

The "number of backlinks" is one of the most important key figures and a essential factor for the ranking in the non-paid, organic search results on search engines. It indicates how many links from external websites point to your own website. It is important to have high quality Backlinks . From the key figures of this SEO KPI you can see how your website performs compared to the competition (backlink competition analysis).

Those external links (Backlinks) can tell the search engine that it is useful content and give your page more credibility. This in turn affects the ranking of the website, which is then positioned higher. The prerequisite for this is that the referring external website fits the theme of your website and the external page itself has good credibility.

Never look at the number of backlinks alone, but always consider the trustworthiness of the linking websites. Also check which content is linked exactly and whether it is spam links. (Tip: Create a blacklist for bad websites). 

With the help of the analysis tools Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Xovi, Ahrefs, Seobility, Semrush you can also measure how much traffic is directed to your website via which backlink.

With the Linkresearch-Tool you can see at first glance (in the SERPs) how many external backlinks and how many referring domains a page has.

Note the following aspects of the metrics for backlinks:

  • Number of qualitative, high-quality backlinks
  • Number of referring websites to own
  • Number of lost links
  • Number of new links added
  • Backlink profile of the competition (competition analysis)
  • Link attributes (is the backlink counted or not - "follow" or "nofollow")
  • Positive mention on other websites or platforms

12) Trust Rank

The SEO KPI "Trust Rank" evaluates, how trustworthy your website is on a specific topic . The decisive factors here are the quality of the backlink profile, as well as the proximity to the subject area of the content of the link-giving page.

Incoming and outgoing links are evaluated here. Spam links or dubious pages can negatively influence this value and your website will be positioned worse. Therefore, always make sure that your Backlinks come from trusted sites and fit your subject area. Also make sure that you identify spam links (via the Google Search Console) and reduce them in order to increase the Trust Rank.

Since many factors affect the Trust Rank, it cannot be clearly determined how or what influences it.

Not only backlinks are relevant for the Trust Rank, but also Onpage KPIs like:

  • Page Speed
  • Dwell time on individual pages
  • Privacy statements, imprint or cookie notices
  • missing HTTPS certificates
  • young domain age of the website
  • Change of the website owner

The most popular analysis tools to determine your Trust Rank are Moz, Majestic, Linkresearch-Tool, Ahrefs.


SEO KPIs - The Conclusion

First of all, think about your goals and what you want to achieve with your website. Ask yourself questions like: How do more users convert to customers in my online store? How do I get more readers to my site? How big is the potential in my area? How do users stay longer on my website?

Always base the selection of the appropriate SEO KPIs on your goals and your business. Create your own SEO strategy, only then you can react to changes promptly and provide your users with high quality and valuable content.

Stick to an old saying: "The customer is king" then your business success will be on a steep uphill climb. Because satisfied users (customers) always come back.

Always consider the SEO KPIs in context with each other. Individually, they never have the significance that an overall picture of the related KPIs.

Don't forget to adjust your KPIs from time to time, as search engines evolve and online marketing changes due to user behavior.

Also set fixed times for your analysis fest, so that you create an interval for your evaluations and thus a regularity. With this regularity, you can immediately see what is changing and how you need to react to it.

Don't just use Google tools, use other tools to get the data for your marketing strategy and have a better overview.

Analyze your competition and find out what keywords they use, how they rank and how you can outrank them with your strategy.

Keyword rankings and organic traffic are not everything. Also consider that it takes technical know-how and sensitivity for your users to make your site perform well. After all, you want your website to rank high in the organic search results.

I hope I was able to give you a good overview of the most important SEO KPIs and remember that there are tons more KPIs that could be useful for you.

With your newfound knowledge, I wish you much success and good luck with your project!

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