Key performance indicators are important in SEO when measuring success. However, it is essential to know the potential and limitations of each KPI.
B2B companies that want to attract customers via their website would do well to carry out search engine optimization. What is important here is usually clear, at least in basic terms. But how are the successes measured? How can it be assessed whether the measures taken are having an effect?
In many cases, SEO works with key figures that are highly standardized. However, those who only stare at bounce rate, CTR and Co. will not be able to assess the actual success. Rather, a more differentiated view is required here.
No Success without SEO
But why should you deal with SEO key figures at all? Can't the success of search engine optimization already be seen in the good placement in the search results? Indeed, this is a thought that many beginners have. But the impression is deceptive
Even the best ranking is of no use to you if no one comes to your site despite it, or if all visitors leave after three seconds.
Whether the company's website satisfies the search intention sufficiently and whether it can actually reach its goal of achieving conversions must therefore be clarified in this way.
It is therefore obvious to use SEO KPIs to measure success - and that is not a bad idea at first. However, it becomes dangerous when they are made the measure of all things or overestimated. Like everything else in life, you should approach them with a certain critical distance. What exactly this means and why caution is sometimes necessary, you will learn below.
Eight Central SEO Key Figures
The following eight key performance indicators are traditionally listed in search engine optimization as central reference points in the context of measuring success:
Visits via organic search terms
Click-through rate (CTR)
But what can they actually do? Has their importance changed in the course of the refinement of the Google algorithm? How should we deal with them today?
Let's take a closer look.
The indexation or SERP is actually one of the central SEO KPIs: It indicates the ratio of existing pages and pages that can be found on Google. If you keep an eye on this number, you will notice if Google notices anything about your page at all. If this is not the case, you need to revise some basic settings
Is indexing blocked in the source code?
Are working XML sitemaps being sent to Google?
Are there severe technical issues or lots of 404 error messages?
Since all further SEO efforts can only work if the page is known and listed by Google, indexation is indeed a relevant variable to work with - in B2B as well as in all other areas.
Page performance is also one of the SEO key figures that should not be underestimated in any case. Essential technical quality criteria of the examined website are summarized here - such as the loading speed or the number of error messages issued. Since these are ranking factors on the one hand, and on the other hand aspects that could immediately be noticed negatively by users of the site, an optimization is urgently recommended.
Visits via Organic Search Hits
The total number of visits to a page is usually divided into organic visits, visits via social media, visits via other referrer links and direct visits. Organic accesses are defined as those visits that come about via search engines
That the value is meaningful overall is hard to dispute: Anyone who has zero organic search hits has obviously failed in search engine optimization. But the evaluation can only be made really fruitful in the vast majority of cases if it is viewed relationally
An absolute value of 300 organic visits per month is not very meaningful and can hardly be classified in case of doubt. If, on the other hand, around 3,000 or 100 organic visits were recorded in each of the previous months, a development can clearly be read from this SEO key figure. The same applies to the relative share of organic visits in total visits
In principle, the same applies to the total number of page views as to the organic views. Both values are suitable as SEO metrics, especially when their development is considered. Isolated, however, they are meaningful in the fewest cases
Furthermore, total hits are only relevant to a limited extent with regard to search engine optimization, as they also include hits that are not produced via search engines but via Facebook, Instagram or direct entry of the URL, for example. However, this is also where the special potential of this key figure lies: It provides information about which channels visitors use to reach your own page and thus shows specific optimization potential.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The click-through rate indicates how many of those people who are presented with the page as a search result click on it. A high click-through rate should always be your goal, because it means that your page is perceived as relevant for the keyword - at least at first glance
A low click-through rate should therefore always be cause for optimization. It shows that the snippet looks unattractive and other search results are preferred. Optimization for inappropriate keywords can also lead to a low click-through rate.
Conversions are the central SEO metric for online shops and other conversion sites. The conversion rate shows you how many of your website visitors have completed a desired action. It should (almost) always be optimized, even if it is an "informative" page. You can achieve this, for example, with internal links, CTAs or Red Next Widgets, which redirect the reader
You should always pay attention to the bounce rate, but you have to take it with a grain of salt. It indicates how many visitors leave the page without having performed an action there. A bounce rate of 100% is deadly for an online shop, while it has no meaning for a blog - after all, an article can easily be read without clicking through the page. So if your company provides information articles about offered services and products or blog posts about relevant topics from your own field of activity, you should not be frightened by a high bounce rate.
The dwell time is very similar to the bounce rate: The measurement is adventurous and makes the key figure less meaningful in some cases. It is measured on the basis of the actions performed on the page. If an article is read without clicking on a link or leaving a comment, the dwell time is often given as zero seconds - even though a whole hour may have been spent on the page
In addition, you should keep in mind that the dwell time is an average value, so the number can basically never be really meaningful.
The Importance of SEO Metrics Varies
As you can see, some metrics are actually useful measures for determining SEO success, whereas the significance of others is very limited either overall or in specific areas
Optimization should therefore not be stubbornly geared to specific key figures, but should be handled flexibly.
It should also be noted that the importance of individual KPIs can change due to changes in the Google algorithm. It is therefore necessary to constantly adapt your own knowledge to the current state of affairs.
Conclusion: Don't Just Blindly Trust Your SEO Metrics
SEO success should never be measured only by your Google top rankings. Continuously monitoring your SEO metrics is essential for measuring success. However, there are some pitfalls when interpreting KPIs, which is why you always need to question the numbers and put them in context. An optimization practice where you monitor and pay attention to the numbers, but don't declare them the holy grail, is the most promising