All marketers know SEO is important, but not everyone can be an SEO expert. With so many things to manage in a marketing campaign, defining which metrics are the most important to measure can actually have a significant impact on the success of your campaign.
There are many potential KPIs for SEO. Which ones matter for your digital campaign will depend on what your goals are, but we have a few recommendations for the SEO metrics we think are most impactful.
But first, let’s talk about what SEO is in the first place.
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of tailoring your website to help it rank higher on search engines. The objective of SEO is to improve web visibility for your brand. Search engines want to provide the most updated, relevant, and comprehensive content to their users. Knowing what search queries (i.e., keywords) are most common for your industry can help content marketers tailor copy for those keywords.
Since 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine query, brands should prioritize SEO to increase website traffic, visibility, and, ultimately—sales.
Related Reading: 6 SEO Trends to Keep in Mind in 2023
13 Top SEO Metrics to Measure
Now that we know what B2B SEO is, how do marketers decide what to measure? There are a ton of KPI options, so defining the best for your brand is crucial. Here are our top 13 SEO metrics to measure for B2B marketers.
1. New Referring Domains
A referring domain is a website that links back to your website. Differing from backlinks that describe the relationship between pages, referring domains represent the relationship between whole websites. So how do referring domains get built? Using backlinks, of course! When a website links from one of its pages to your page, a backlink has been created, and that website is now a referring domain. Publishing high quality content, manual outreach, or link building services are all ways of acquiring backlinks
2. Domain Authority
Domain authority is a search engine ranking score that measures how successful a site is with search engine results, including an overview of likely search engine performance. In short, the more backlinks you have from sites with high-authority domains, the better.
3. On-Page Optimization Scores
An on-page optimization score estimates the quality of technical page optimization, taking into consideration critical on-page errors and warnings. Essentially on-page optimization scores show how well the user-facing and technical aspects of a site contribute to SEO, ultimately resulting in higher rankings and organic traffic.
4. Text Readability
Text readability is both an indirect and direct factor contributing to SEO. Readability refers to the reader’s ease of understanding and ability to navigate the page. From a formatting and reading complexity standpoint, text readability indirectly affects your site’s SEO. Think about it: the easier it is to read your text, the easier it is to engage with it, and thus more UX signals are sent to search engines, showing that many users are fully engaging with your B2B content. From the direct perspective, the simpler, more diverse, and more comprehensive your text is, the better ranking it will see in search engines.
Impressions are how many times a user sees your link on a search engine. The more impressions, the more people are seeing the content—the better. On mobile results that aren’t paginated, the general rule of thumb is that a result must come into view to be counted as an impression. On paginated search engine results, however, the impression is sometimes counted when the page is loaded.
6. Click-Through Rate
This metric may surprise those who have engaged with our anti-CTR content, but there is a distinction to be made. While we don’t recommend making your paid ads CTR a key KPI, for instance, in some cases, it is useful to track your CTR as long as it isn’t the only metric you are paying attention to.
Related Reading: Meaningful > Merely Measurable: Break the CTR Cycle and Bring Real Value
Click-Through Rate (CTR) is a metric that measures the users who actually clicked through the hyperlink (versus those impressions of users who just saw the hyperlink). This is an important SEO metric to measure because it helps marketers see the percentage of people who cared enough to click onto your site versus those who weren’t compelled to click. This can help content writers amend headlines, CTAs, and summary copy, and help marketers see where their content or page may be lacking compared to others.
7. Keyword Rankings
Keyword rankings refer to your page’s spot on the search engine results pages (SERPs) for a particular query. Tracking your keyword rankings means you know how your target keywords are ranking on SERPs. Knowing where you rank per keyword can help you identify which keywords to focus on and which long-tail keywords, like common queries searched, you should add to your SEO keyword strategy.
8. Organic Market Share / Share of Search
Organic market share or share of search measures how much a site is ranking on SERPs overall for keywords. It’s a metric for brand visibility and offers insight into how your company compares to others in its industry. To calculate share of search, divide the number of searches for your company by the number of searches for all of your key competitors. (Google Trends offers an easy way to find this rate.)
9. Organic Traffic
Organic traffic measures visitors that land on your website from unpaid sources (search engines, social media, etc.) Organic traffic is a great metric for easy-to-measure, quantifiable proof that your marketing efforts are actually bringing more web visitors, leads, and, ultimately, conversions.
Speaking of conversions, the average conversion rate across industries is about 2.35%. Knowing where your company stands on conversion rates is crucial to understanding where you stand in the marketplace. To calculate your convection rate, first define an action (like “signed up for the newsletter,” “made a purchase,” or “filled out a form”). Then divide the number of users who took that action (or converted) by the total number of visitors to your website during a defined period.
11. Number of Pages Indexed
The more indexed pages you have, the better. Unfortunately, simply submitting a page for indexing does not automatically mean it will be indexed. So tracking the number of indexed pages you have is a critical SEO KPI. Unindexed pages mean you could be missing out on huge SEO opportunities, especially if the unindexed pages are critical to your website’s brand messaging. SEO experts recommend submitting your sitemap to Google Analytics Search Console and ensuring that your most important pages are not blocked by Robots.txt files.
12. Page Speed
Page speed is a direct ranking factor when it comes to SEO. The faster the page loads, the better for SEO. Speed can also indirectly influence rankings by influencing bounce rates and dwell time. Users aren’t going to wait around for your page to load; they will simply find another place to get the information they need.
13. Core Web Vitals
Core web vitals are a subset of web vitals that apply to all web pages. They should be measured by all site owners and will be surfaced across all Google tools. Each core web vital represents a facet of the user experience, is measurable, and reflects real-world experiences of critical user-centric outcomes.
While the metrics that make up core web vitals evolve over time, the current set emphasizes loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability.
A successful SEO strategy must include well-thought-out metric measurements and significant consideration for the end user. After all, SEO’s purpose for companies may be to boost rankings and get in front of more people, but its purpose for search engines is to provide quality content to searchers.
Wondering how to implement the latest SEO tactics and learn to measure and gather insights? Reach out.