What are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in SEO?

Discussion 2: What are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in SEO?
What is KPI in SEO?
And how to create?
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KPIs are key performance indicators which are basically what makes money for your clients. KPIs should be decided by your client and are goals mainly in the form of conversions. You may have a internal KPI for your team like Rankings, No cannibalisation, All onpage fixes done etc…
At the end of the day KPIs are your performance indicators as a SEO professional.

It's the point of the websites. To convert visitors into whatever. Leads or sales, or whatever you want people to do.
Chris » Ravi
Do you have any KPIs ready…please DM me if you can…
Ravi » Chris
Mate, Normally the KPIs that we set up as goals in GA are around Call to actions like Calls or Forms filled. There is no template as such, it depends on the client's expectations. Some just want to rank so we setup rank trckers for them and they can just track their Ranking KPIs from there.
Chris » Ravi
Please DM me as an example by giving any demo KPI if you can…
As i said there isn't a Template rather you go to Google analytics and set goals in there like Phone calls or webform filled and then track then via Google analytics reports…or Data studio reports…there are plenty of free data studio templates around that can be used for this.
Chris » Ravi

Man these responses are slightly frustrating.
These KPIs being called out are bad examples imo and what lead to business owners thinking SEO is confusing and make them wonder if what they're getting is even worth it.
Keyword rankings, average position, clicks, time on site and all that means nothing to them, their language is 'how much you charged them and how much they made back.' Also known as ROI
Please set more meaningful KPIs that directly relate to business performance like hard leads or direct revenue.
If you don't want to set those kind of KPIs then don't set KPIs at all. If you have to set KPIs at least make them demonstrate value for money which for most savvy business owners is not organic traffic or keyword rankings.

Boyd » Doyle
True! I guess the disconnect though is that with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) we bring the visitors to the website. That's our job so it's understandable that our metrics revolve around those parameters. Once a visitor is on the site it's then up to the ad copy / product / design / and a multitude of other factors to then convert the visitor into a customer which is where a lot of SEO companies don't focus on the Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Two very different beasts both with there own KPI's. just my 0.02 cents. ✌🏻
Doyle » Boyd
I knew this argument would come up in the comments so let me go a bit further. You say "it's our job as SEO users to bring visitors to the website." I don't know if you've done much sales yourself but I've heard very few say they don't get enough traffic to their site, but I've heard hundreds of people say they're not making enough money. If you think you're getting hired just to get more traffic you'll get fired for not making enough money.
Also you don't need to be a certified CRO expert to be able to find a bottle neck in a websites flow or user experience that's inhibiting leads or sales. You probably already see these problems and think about them but don't take action because it's 'out of scope'.
If everything on the site is all good and it's still not working 'well it has to be the product or their sales team'. Well you're never going to know for sure unless you ask about what happens to a lead, and asking those kind of questions positions you as way more of an expert than someone who doesn't ask. And until you can prove that they are the problem they are going to think you are the problem unfortunately so SEO users have to step up their game to survive.
Ken » Doyle
Agree mostly. There are short-term results (conversions), and then there are long-term results (engagement leading to future sales). You need both, but long-term KPIs establish yourself brand online, versus being an SEO "one-hit wonder."
Doyle » Ken
Yeah fair call on that one, I like the idea of showing lifetime value of SEO via KPIs because there's real value there

KPI is the acronym for "key performance indicator" and it literally means that. In a full business audit or User Experience (UX) or marketing planning, It usually comes after OKR (Objectives and key results).
To put it in simple words: in OKR you define the goals for your strategy (for example, increase income by 10%). Then, KPI is the metrics that shows whether you're on the right track to achieve such goals (traffic, income, campaigns, user behavior, engagement and so on).
OKR is measured quarterly, KPI is measured periodically, even hourly if you're obsessed or in the middle of a huge campaign
I wrote a quite lengthily paper in Spanish about this, will try to translate a brief to English and share it

Harold » Fabio
OKR can be measured on different times, not quarterly only. I assume you are giving an example, but i am clarifying for others
Fabio » Harold
As in any business strategy, it may vary depending on specific needs. But quarterly is the recommended default for this framework. Smaller companies may use less time, bigger companies may use longer periods. We use 1 month because in my country things are too volatile and everything changes on almost a daily basis. But quarterly is what it recommends for most companies.
Harold » Fabio
I know and it was what i told…


Discussion 1: SEOs who are working with Agencies, what KPIs does your company track?
SEO users who are working in Agencies, what Key Performance Indicators (KPI)s does your company track?
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Traffic & Leads (Calls & form fills)

How do you track calls? Are clients 100% transparent who calls and say they found them through search?
I mean you won't be able to track offline work if that's what you are asking. In regards to online assets, you are able to track them.
If you want to track calls on the website, then you can set up Google Tag Manager which does a trigger whenever "tel:XXX-XXX-XXXX" is triggered. This can then be used in Google Analytics and can tell you what page they were on when they clicked on it. This can also be used for forms that you can send them to a "Thank You" page.
On the Google My Business (GMB), Google has analytics so you can use that data from there to see the number of clicks, people who asked for directions & calls.
Migz » Eddy
I see, but clicks ≠ calls right? I mean i could click the call but not proceed. So do you verify that with clients so you can count it as 1?
I count it. Imagine having to go back & forth with the client to see if they actually called. 🤣
Mistakes are bound to happen, but it's very unlikely- unless you are making your buttons not user-friendly or not titling them properly.
I see! I'm just honestly curious, but yea, that's too hassle to track and clients might get annoyed. Haha thanks for the inputs!

While leads & sales are the obvious answer, as an outside agency, there are too many moving parts within the average business to gauge the effectiveness of your team/strategy based solely on these metrics… I've seen too many situations where the sales team simply cant/wont perform or the managing representative has no idea how to properly vet a prospect and transition them to an active lead. As a business owner hiring an outsourced agency, its much easier to just blame the marketing than it is to genuinely evaluate your own team's effectiveness, specially if you have management to answer to.
Every campaign is different hence each need their own Key Performance Indicators (KPI)s… Understanding and getting agreement on what those KPIs are from your customer at the onset of the campaign is paramount.
Committing to goals with variables that fall outside of your control is a recipe for disaster.

You're so right, Some of my campaigns have organic traffic as their goals since they make money through display ads..
It all boils down to what the client is hoping to achieve vs. what is within your control to effectuate… A blog article or social media post will usually look like a failed investment if you evaluate its success purely on its sales and/or first click ROI… However, if the target KPI is impressions or engagement, its a whole different story.
Migz » Gunson
I agree, so KPIs should really be case-to-case basis!
100%. There's nothing wrong with have a toolbox of KPIs you use regularly to assess the success or failure of your campaigns, I just think its important to recognize that its not a one size fits all; Each campaign needs to be assessed individually, openly and with the client prior to engaging.
Migz » Gunson
So true! What if we only track rankings as KPI?
Rankings can be a powerful leading indicator and if visibility is all the client is concerned with, then rankings are a fine KPI.
John » Gunson
"…no idea how to properly vet a prospect and transition them to an active lead".
90% of SEO consultants are making the same mistake. This is demonstrated perfectly right here in this thread.
The struggle is real haha

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Key Performance Indicators (KPI)s from a technical element:
– initially all the classic metrics to know you're doing something: DR, TF, Neil Patels
– Traffic
– Conversions & Sales
KPIs from .. other:
Anyone ever is only paying you to make more money or gain influence nobody cares about you as a person, the way you make them money either depends on:
1) direct sales
2) positioning & leverage
3) maybe they just like you as a person never
Figure out which one you're helping with, then charge according to the end result difference that fits standard business margins & investments etc.

Nice input, i'm curious with the Neil Patel metric. Care to elaborate? Thanks!
Trevor » Migz
Certainly. For every 1x time a prospect mentions to me they read something on Neil Patel I have a policy I stop talking in awkward silence for 1x minutes.
But, for the record, I think Neil is dope he's soo much better than all of us (for now) at business and has made it. Mad props always.
wait I apologize my positing of "Neil Patels" was MY qualification process not a KPI.. ok "Neil Patels" KPIs are showing face and reporting you're doing the proper steps according to surface-level-educated customer who's used big blogs as a baseline, which is totally best practice – the catch is pricing it appropriately: a lot of "Neil Patel-er" clients don't have the appropriate $3k-$5k budget for content and links because they all think they can do it themself because they read Neil Patel.


Revenue. Everything else is insignificant.

Steven » John
Respectfully, revenue doesn't give a full picture.
Best scenario I ran into was: Business was selling a product, ramped up big time with SEO and PPC campaign. Internal issues with fulfillment, quality control and customer service crumbled made for an overall negative outcome. Return % was sky high, warranty work (and repeat work 🤦🏻‍♂️) destroyed the bottom line, bad reviews struck deep and the machine came to a stop.
Another scenario I'm having currently is with a large corporate client. The aren't selling anything, they make money from govt contracts. They're using SEO to help fill major skills gap jobs in machine learning and AI. It's been a fun challenge chock full of some great lessons
Daniel » Steven
That's right however, If you are producing the proper revenue as related to your clients marketing budget than they can say nothing to you if they are not making money. For it means their business model is not sound in has nothing to do with marketing. In other words certain standards are in place and so long as you meet those stats they can have no complaint. Unless and I have had this happen they refused to accept the truth in want to point the fingers instead. O yeah and I just read a little further into your comment in yet you know this. But still I say to you that so long is the revenue is on par as it relates to the marketing budget they spend your gold. Still though sometimes in this case you will have to deal with a client that refuses to see the truth in rather point the finger somewhere else.
Like for instance I had a client b1tching about a $5000 month on adwords. Yet the man had 250 service company appointments in one week on his calendar. Do the math if 5000 is a problem for 250 jobs your business model sucks not your marketing.
Then it became my job to find the real bleeding. It turns out this particular client had a business model that was 100% unscalable and based on the roll of a dice. Because he was giving free service calls just to get recuring incime stream fees. In other words he sold yearly service plans. But in that service plan was included free service calls if you have any issue Well obviously that cannot continually scale as that number increases the amount of trucks you have to have on the road will sink you. It took him a month to realize this and he eliminated that stupid business model.
So it's very much related to how you were talking about how businesses can grow too big too fast. Well not directly talking about it but basically implying as much. That was exactly what happened here and in that we uncovered what I warned him about 4 years ago. That 1 day the unscalable nature of that idea would bite him in the ass.
The majority …if not all of these issues can be prevented by prequalifying correctly. No form of marketing will save a broken business.

I feel like this question has been asked many times.
And I feel like the KPIs just vary depending upon project, ask, or the question you're trying to answer.
Are you looking at user behavior?
– Bounce Rates
– Segmenting for session analysis to see what other pages users are visiting during a session to a specific page.
– Landing page bounce rates
– Average time on page
– Conversion rates or downloads
– Any type of event metrics to see interactions on the page + heatmaps to get a high level
I think it's more, what are you trying to answer?
How are users interacting between content?
How are users finding your content? Are they coming through your home page only, then there's a need to surface the content higher in the directory. It's also then worth looking at why most users are coming through the home page, look at SEO KPI's because that signals to me that the On page isn't set up properly if sub content isn't doing well organically. Look down each subfolder for optimizations.
Are users likely to visit one page, have low interaction/average time on page, then move to another page and have a high exit rate? There may be ways to improve retention on the entry page or previous page path (depending on how users came to the page).
In terms of KPI, it's a combination of SEO and just GA metrics. Then couple that with a user behavior/mouse flow program and you keep a pretty decent picture. It's then being able to transition those KPIs into a story.
The art of story telling with KPI's and metrics…that's key to me.

Daniel » Sirris
Ow now I can reply… brilliant Feedback. And definitely as on point in current times as it gets. Here comes March.
"The art of storytelling with KPI's and metrics…that's key to me." Can with out question mean the difference between keeping a client's trust and faith and losing it, but only at the most crucial precise times. I find that if you send too much of this, or make it a regimented thing, it begins to mean nothing to them. So it's my ace in the hole, the art of storytelling using the metrics … again though only works as a last resort when you feel like you might be losing them. I reserve the power of this only for that otherwise its as I said before just keep the money in their pocket growing and you will have them in the palm of your hand, and storytelling is one way to do it, but not lying; it's just knowing how to present!


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