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10 SEO KPIs You Can Measure For Optimal Organic Performance

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 6 min read
10 SEO KPIs You Can Measure For Optimal Organic Performance


Having KPIs in marketing is important, and SEO is no different. They need to be the right KPIs, though, otherwise you can easily fall into the trap of chasing vanity metrics & wasting time on reports.

In this article, we’ll be looking at 10 different SEO KPIs you can set for yourself or your team to maximize organic performance.

Let’s start with a definition to clarify what we’re talking about here.

What are SEO KPIs?

A KPI is a key performance indicator. Therefore, an SEO KPI is a performance indicator which helps to measure your organic performance, and how your SEO strategy is working.

They’re quantifiable data points which you can measure using a variety of tools. Setting & monitoring these KPIs gives you valuable information as to the effectiveness of your SEO efforts, so you can adjust according to what works & what doesn’t.

The difference between goals and KPIs

While sometimes used interchangeably, there is a difference between goals and KPIs (although they’re closely linked).

A goal is your intended outcome, while KPI lets you see how well you’re progressing towards that goal.

One useful method for setting goals in marketing is OKRs (objectives and key results). Here’s an example of how an OKR may look in SEO:

Objective: Increase revenue from organic search:

Key result 1: Double the number of page one rankings we have

Key result 2: Build 100 new backlinks from unique referring domains

Key result 3: Reach 100 trial signups per month from organic search

In this example, your KPIs would then be rankings, links built, and organic conversions. You can record your goals in an OKR software, and report on your KPIs on a weekly or monthly basis to track progress.

Here’s 10 SEO KPIs you can monitor in 2022:

1. Ranking positions

To kick things off, one of the best early (and ongoing) indicators of SEO success is keyword positions for your target keywords.

Increases in keyword rankings gives you an early sign to confirm that your SEO strategy is working. If you’ve moved from page 8 to page 2 of Google, it’s unlikely that progress will be visible in traffic or conversions yet. But it will be in your rank tracker.

For your existing traffic, using a rank tracker to make sure your top positions are maintained can be a great goal too.

Ranktracker is one tool that can help you get ranking information. It’s easy to use, and there’s a free trial available to get started.

Ranktracker - Rank tracking tool

2. Organic visibility

Organic visibility is another metric that you can get from your rank tracking tool. It refers, as a percentage, to how often your web pages are being seen in the search results for your target keywords.

It’s a lot more useful than ‘average position’, because it correlates more closely with expected traffic. For example, moving from position 80 to position 11 would lead to a massive increase in average position, while organic visibility wouldn’t move much. Which is good, because realistically, you’re still not getting many clicks in position 11.

On the flip side, moving from position 2 to position 1 would make a notable positive impact on your organic visibility.

You can track this metric over time to summarize your performance for a group of target keywords.

3. Organic traffic

Perhaps the most obvious SEO KPI of all: organic traffic. How many visitors per month your SEO efforts are bringing to your website.

You can track this & set goals that are sitewide, or for a particular subfolder (like your blog), or on a page-by-page basis.

This is one of the most simple KPIs to measure, and it can be done easily with Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and/or your rank tracking tool

4. Organic conversions

While traffic alone might not have much value, conversions are likely to. Organic conversions could refer to a number of different KPIs depending on your business model. For example:

  • In local businesses that could be enquiries, or contact form submissions
  • In SaaS it could be free trial sign ups, MQLs, or SQLs
  • In e-commerce it could be product sales (volume or value)
  • For another website, it might be email subscriber sign ups
  • … and so on

It’s best to align with your team on one primary KPI that you’ll refer to as ‘conversions’, and track it with Google Analytics (or your web analytics tool of choice).

5. Organic conversion rate

On a similar note, conversion rate is equally as important as total conversions.

If your traffic is increasing, but conversions are not, there’s a good chance that you’re either not attracting the right type of user, or those users are not yet ready to buy. Either way, monitoring organic conversion rate to learn this information will inform your strategy.

Typically, this data would be found in Google Analytics.

Remember that you should expect different conversion rates from different types of content. For example, high intent keywords with commercial or transactional intent will convert at a higher rate than low intent keywords with informational intent.

6. Content optimization score

Content optimization score is a metric that would be given when a content optimization software grades your writing. These tools can analyze the current top results, and highlight which keywords should be added, how often, how long the piece should be, and more. All of those things together will be summarized in a score or grade (depending on the tool).

SurferSEO, for example, can perform this function for existing and/or new content. If you implement Surfer, or a similar alternative for content optimization, you would usually set this KPI on a page-by-page basis, rather than sitewide.

In terms of goal setting, then, you could propose a minimum optimization score to hit for newly published content.

7. Organic CTR

In PPC, CTR is often seen as a priority metric. In SEO, less so, but it’s still very important. The more people who choose to click on your result, the more Google will learn that this is what the searcher was looking for.

The best place to measure organic CTR is in the Search Console.

You can head into the Performance report, and toggle CTR on/off alongside clicks, impressions, and positions. You can get this data (and set KPI goals), on a page-by-page basis, sitewide, and for subfolders or any particular file path you choose.

Google Search Console - Organic CTR

Backlinks, and link building, is an essential part of a complete SEO strategy. Without it, you’re limited to lower competition (and therefore lower volume) keywords.

If you need backlinks to rank, then one of your SEO KPIs could definitely relate to link building. Examples of backlink-focused goals could include target numbers of:

  • New live backlinks per month
  • New referring domains
  • New guest blogging opportunities sourced weekly
  • Outreach emails sent weekly
  • … and so on

You can keep track of these using a popular backlink monitoring tool like Ahrefs, and see trends over time to see how you’re doing in relation to competitors.

9. Site audit issues

Technical SEO can be a part of your SEO goal setting too. Some auditing tools would provide an overall Health Score which you can use as a KPI, while others may simply give an overview of how many issues are present on your site.

Ranktracker comes with a Site Audit tool built in that can help you get an understanding of these issues, together with helpful advice on how to fix them, and an overall score to summarize your performance.

If you’re working on a website where there are multiple people or teams making regular updates, you might consider using an SEO monitoring tool too. Tools like ContentKing can offer 24/7 monitoring of your website, and deliver alerts when something changes, or when new site audit issues appear. That means you can react and fix things before search engines recrawl your pages, rather than waiting for the next scheduled audit.

Lastly, one other type of site audit KPI could be to set a target score for each Core Web Vitals factor(or a minimum score to stay above).

10. Brand vs. non-brand traffic

Lastly, another metric you can be reporting on in your SEO KPIs is brand vs non-brand traffic. This is especially important when working on large sites with high brand awareness. Sometimes, your work on non-brand SEO could look like a very minor increase in relation to total traffic, even if it’s a significant percentage growth.

Plus, when traffic drops, separative brand vs non-brand helps you to understand more quickly where the drop is coming from.

To separate these, the easiest way is to create a Google Data Studio dashboard, and add your Search Console data. From there, you can create filters to show traffic from keywords including (and excluding) the brand name in separate charts. If you choose, you can also separate key pages with brand traffic (Home, Pricing, About, etc.).

Felix Rose-Collins

Felix Rose-Collins

is the Co-founder of Ranktracker, With over 10 years SEO Experience. He's in charge of all content on the SEO Guide & Blog, you will also find him managing the support chat on the Ranktracker App.

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