As with any marketing campaign, establishing clarity on your KPIs is one of the most important things you can do within your SEO strategy so I just want to run through some of the most common KPIs that the SEO strategies will include and also introduce a couple of alternative perspectives.

Now the most common KPI that people will look at is naturally rankings – so what are those top trophy phrases and how are we performing? In the past we would we would track potentially hundreds of different specific rankings because we used to build authority around particular key phrases. That’s no longer the case. Now we build authority around the brand as a whole which means that if the top five or ten priority key phrases are performing well then we can almost certainly assume that all the other key phrases are also performing well, so it’s a slightly different perspective and and I I would therefore encourage you not to waste hours and hours tracking hundreds of different key phrases.

The second thing to look at of course is the organic traffic that comes through the search engines. Now very often this will actually provide a clearer and more comprehensive perspective on your site’s search engine performance, particularly if you operate in a market that has a significantly long tail, which means it’s not dominated by a small number of key of short key phrases but rather it’s it’s it’s full of of quite unpredictable, quite varied, often lengthy phrases and therefore following specific short tail ranking performances doesn’t necessarily give you that much insight. You need to look at the picture as a whole.

This, however, still has a significant shortcoming which is that when you look at that traffic you might see the graph appearing to go up but actually it might be that 99% of that traffic is arriving on pages that are never going to drive your headline objective and this is particularly true when you have a large blog or a large resources section, so what I’d encourage you to do is to create a segment within analytics that isolates the traffic that’s going to the pages that are going to drive that headline objective. Now if this is a service based business then they’re going to be the service pages. If it’s a product website then it’s going to be the product pages or perhaps certain category pages, but isolating that traffic is going to give you a far clearer indication in terms of the the SEO performance from a commercial point of view and what you’ll find is that it probably represents a tiny proportion the tiny fraction of the overall traffic volume, but it’s that number even if it’s just 2% of the overall traffic, that is going to really determine whether or not this thing is a success.

That’s not to say that the other traffic is worthless, it’s just that it’s driving a different kind of KPI so it might be that actually on those pages it’s more about email capture so you want a separate segment that captures what the traffic that’s going to the blog for example, and you’ll just measure that in a slightly different way and assign a far smaller monetary value to each conversion made within analytics.

So that’s how I would encourage you to look at this. Far too often people, particularly within the SEO community, are guilty of focusing on vanity metrics or metrics that don’t really determine commercial success, so yes look at rankings ,yes look at social or total organic traffic, but primarily you want to be focusing on that headline objective and how effectively your SEO strategy is delivering it.