SEO analytics can be elusive. Yet SEO demands are not.
Search engine optimizers (also called SEOs) often receive a steady stream of screenshots, sent by coworkers or clients, showing issues in the search results pages. “Why don’t we rank for X?” “Why does our competitor rank for Y?” “Why am I seeing this confidential PDF on Google?!”
Search results can be fickle, with factors like browser personalization or the infrequency of web page indexing to account for. At the same time, organic traffic is one of the largest sources of web traffic – and its growth can be a big indicator of brand health. SEOs are growing in number while marketing organizations are becoming more data-savvy. It’s time for SEO analytics and reporting to become a standard – and with veracity.
This post will cover a few ways to actually report on the elusive science of SEO. Read on for definitions, KPIs, and dashboard examples.
KPIs: Avg. Keyword Rank (#1-100), Net Rank Change (Last – First)
Most searchers are satisfied with results they see on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs). Numerically, this first page typically accounts for the first ten search results. Hence, the coveted rank #1-10. However, even getting to rank #11-20 (Page 2) can be a challenge. Most keyword rank tracking tools will show you when you’ve entered the top 100 results, or top 50. Ranking at all indicates you’re on the road to success – but you may not be getting any website visitors from that search result.
Showing keyword rank improvements over time is a great metric to prove your on and off-page SEO is having an impact. In hyper-competitive industries, like cars or shoes, any movement indicates you know what you’re doing.
Advanced Web Ranking CTR study that shows % of searchers who click on the top 21 search results. Notice that past position 10, CTR tapers to almost none.
KPI: Avg. Search Volume
Spend too long in an industry, and you’ll find yourself using totally obscure terms in everyday conversation. While it’s important to rank for terms that describe exactly what you do or sell, like “flat tappet camshafts”, don’t forget to include average search volume in your keyword analysis– so your efforts even have the potential to result in significant website traffic. Most SEO tools provide this metric, or you can get it through Adwords’ Keyword Planner Tool in your Google AdWords account.
Branded vs. Non-Branded
KPI: Non-Branded % (Non-Branded Clicks / Total Clicks)
Your search traffic can be divided into two buckets: branded and non-branded. Branded terms correspond to your company, including products, features and programs. Non-branded are terms that correspond to your industry. In many cases, certain features or programs take on a non-branded word, like the payment company Square – which makes analysis all the more important to understand how you’re faring in the SERPs. Typically, SEO is concerned with non-branded traffic. Competition for branded terms –including company names– usually goes down in the paid search space, which are typically search results served at the top of the SERP.
The key KPI here is, what is the ratio of non-branded clicks/impressions to total clicks/impressions? Is this number going up?
Impressions & Clicks
KPIs: Impressions, Clicks, CTR (Clicks / Impressions)
Impressions can be even less meaningful in SEO than for most other platforms, because at least platforms like Twitter have people scrolling. Every time your search result is surfaced, you get an impression. Since about 70% of searchers click one of the top 5 search results, if you’re in position 6 this could mean a whole lot of impressions that aren’t actually looked at by human eyes.
Therefore, when analyzing impressions and clicks make sure you show both or CTR in every visualization. A search snippet with high impressions but very low clicks could indicate the need for a punchier page title or meta description, for instance.
Margin of Error in SEO Analytics
SEO is as top-of-the-funnel as it gets. Therefore, great SEO analytics focus on top-of-funnel trends like increasing CTRs or more organic website traffic.
However, it’s becoming increasingly possible to tie SEO to other “harder” metrics – like the conversions and sales you see prominently displayed in paid search analytics. Through combining search engine data (like Google Search Console), data from your SEO tools (like Moz), website data (like Google Analytics), and CRM data (like Hubspot), you can complete the thread and show which SEO efforts drive the conversions that matter most to you.
And finally, here’s an example SEO analytics dashboard:
This SEO dashboard integrates data from Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and Hubspot (Keywords).
Want to get started with serious SEO reporting? Request a demo of Datorama, and learn how you can integrate and visualize your SEO analytics, web analytics and CRM data– and so much more.
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