Your Complete Guide To KPIs, ROI, And How To Win Customers

  • 34 min read
Your Complete Guide To KPIs, ROI, And How To Win Customers

Table of Contents

Intro

If you want to manage a successful website, then optimizing it for your target audience is the most important thing that you should be doing. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is the process of optimizing your website’s content so that more visitors in your niche can find your site.

SEO could involve things such as optimizing your site for popular keywords relating to the product or services you sell. It could involve proper use of schema HTML tags to create rich results in Google searches, or it might be as simple as adding some more links to quality sources to your content.

If you do your SEO right, you’ll get results. For most people, results mean more traffic and visitors to your website, more sales and conversions, and more articles linking back to your web page.

You’ll be able to keep track of your results by paying attention to KPIs. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the indicators and signs that your SEO work is paying off. In terms of SEO, some of the most common KPIs would be greater amounts of traffic or visitors staying on your pages for longer amounts of time.

Keeping a close eye on your KPIs and how they relate to your SEO is the best way to track your Return On Investment (ROI). As long as your SEO work is resulting in better KPI results, chances are that it’s a good investment!

In this article, we’re going to provide you with an in-depth guide to understanding the important KPIs of good SEO practices and how to use data-driven marketing tactics to convert more customers and build your brand. You’re going to want to bookmark this one!

KPIs: Understanding Benchmarks and Reports

So, as we mentioned, your KPIs are the key performance indicators that will tell you whether or not your search engine optimization techniques are working or not. Investing in SEO can often be costly.

Whether you’re contracting an outside marketing team or hiring your own in-house SEO experts, the extra payroll needs to pay off. Otherwise, it’ll just be money wasted.

KPIs are the only real way to tell if your SEO team (or just your own personal SEO efforts) are paying off. Now, it can take some time before you start seeing results. However, if you aren’t seeing serious results in 45 to 60 days, then you need to revise your SEO plan.

Keeping track of your KPIs alone won’t necessarily tell you whether you’re getting a return on your investment. This is why it’s necessary to set benchmarks.

Benchmarks are goals that you set as the standard for your KPIs.

For example, one benchmark could be, “For every $1,000 we invest into SEO, it should result in at least 20,000 new visitors and $2,000 in product sales.”

Depending on the goal of your website, your benchmarks may be a bit different and you may end up measuring different KPIs. Moving on, we’ll discuss all of the various KPIs that you may want to consider and explain how to set benchmarks for these KPIs.

Tracking Key Performance Indicators

Tracking key performance indicators on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis is the best way to ensure that you’re keeping track of every small detail and measure of your success. This is known as reporting.

It’s important to understand which KPIs are important to your business so that you can refine your strategy to reflect this. Once you understand which KPIs matter (and why), you’ll be able to generate reports that contain your chosen KPIs, which will allow you to accurately measure your ROI.

Some people choose to see SEO reports on specific pages, while others prefer to view SEO reports on the entirety of their site. We recommend both.

It’s important to track KPIs on your main parent pages just as it’s important to see how individual blog posts, conversion pages, and even your homepage is performing in search engine results.

Below, we’ll show you all of the top KPI’s that you should be aware of so that you can start thinking about which ones you need to measure for your own business.

Website Traffic

Tracking your site traffic is one of the easiest ways to tell whether or not your SEO is working. Simply put, if you’re getting more traffic to your website, then more people are seeing your site and being convinced to check out what you have to offer.

Sometimes, you may want to track the traffic on specific pages of your site as well. This will allow you to optimize the important pages on your site and improve underperforming pages. You’ll be able to take aspects of high-performing pages and apply them to lower-performing pages so that your whole site performs better and gets more traffic.

Overall Impressions

If you’re running a digital marketing or Adwords campaign, then you’ll track impressions rather than site traffic. Impressions are the views that your ad or promotion receives.

For instance, maybe you’re running an ad for your local service-industry business and it receives 10,000 views in the first month of running it. This is a great indicator that your ad was well-written and is performing well!

Conversions and Conversion Rates

While keeping track of website traffic and impressions is important, it doesn't tell you much about your actual return on investment. You could have thousands of people visit your online store, but if nobody ever buys anything, then it won’t matter. For your SEO to have a good ROI, it needs to bring your paying customers!

When it comes to this particular metric, you’ll track two things:

  • Total conversions.

  • Conversion rate.

Your total conversions will track your total sales revenue-resulting actions (it could be a product being sold, a form submitted, or even just a new subscriber on your YouTube page).

Your conversion rate tracks the percentage of your traffic or impressions that actually convert. For example, maybe 20% of everybody who views your ad comes to your site to make a purchase. This is incredibly high for any SEO campaign, but for the sake of the example, this would mean that 1 out of every 5 ad viewers makes a purchase.

Realistically, the average conversion rate on Google Ads is under 4% on a good day.

Click-Through Rate

Your click-through rate is similar to tracking conversions. However, instead of tracking the sales or revenue-generating actions that visitors take on your site, your CTR tracks how many viewers actually click your ad or link and visit your site or page.

Bounce Rate

If you operate a content-driven site, then your bounce rate is a very important metric to keep track of. Bounce rate measures the average amount of time that visitors spend on a page before they “bounce away” to another site.

The lower your bounce rate is, the more time that visitors are spending on your page; the higher your bounce rate is, the less time that visitors are spending on your page. Obviously, if you want to drive more conversions and improve your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking, you want a lower bounce rate.

Track KPIs With Ranktracker’s Web Audit Tool!

One of the best ways to increase your site’s overall ranking is to keep constant track of your site’s ever-changing KPIs. This is where our patented Web Audit tool comes in handy. With it, you’ll be able to track key performance metrics, such as:

  • Bounce rate.

  • Monthly traffic.

  • Site usability.

  • Number of indexed pages on your site.

  • How many backlinks you have.

  • Your XML site map.

  • ...and more!

Most importantly the Web Audit tool will give you a simple, easy-to-understand score between 1 and 100 (with 100 being the highest score). Then, it will categorize each scoring area, letting you know which areas need to be improved first.

How To Set Up Your SEO Dashboard

You’ll keep track of your KPIs and SEO metrics through the use of a dashboard. Like the dashboard in your vehicle, this is a screen that will allow you to track every important metric relating to your site’s overall performance.

A good SEO dashboard will display daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual results for all of your chosen KPIs. This will allow you to track your SEO efforts on a day-by-day basis AND give you important long-term data that you’ll need to present in meetings and strategy sessions.

If you’re just starting to track your SEO, we recommend using Google Data Studio.

For one, Google Data Studio is 100% free to use. Given that it has the power and features offered by many paid data display apps, it’s an obvious choice for beginners and professionals alike. Additionally, Data Studio is compatible with Google’s other SEO tools, including:

  • Google Analytics.

  • Google Adwords.

  • Google Console.

This means that the data generated by Adwords campaigns, console searches, and analytical data obtained directly from your site will automatically be displayed in your Google Data Studio! Pretty handy, right?

If you’re looking for something a little more advanced, then you can use a paid service such as Supermetrics which will correlate with both Google Data Studio and third-party apps and marketing services.

Pro Tips For Setting Up Your Dashboard

Below are some great tips to remember as you’re sitting down to set up your SEO dashboard:

  1. Use as many visual charts and graphs in your dashboard as possible. Not only will this give you a better perspective about what’s going on but it will make sharing reports with your team a lot simpler.

  2. It’s a good idea to track short-term benchmarks as well as long-term benchmarks. This will give you a more accurate picture of how well your site is performing over time.

  3. Be sure to track KPIs and SEO metrics for both your entire site as well as important individual pages.

How To Rank For Keywords

If you’re creating a piece of content for your website, then it needs to be able to “rank” for the primary or secondary keywords in your niche. Eventually, your goal should be to make it to the first page of Google’s search engine results for the given keyword. If possible, you should be in the top-3 results on Google’s first page. This will ensure total domination of the keyword.

How long this takes depends on a number of different factors, such as:

  • The competition (monthly search volume) for the keyword.

  • The relevancy of the keyword.

  • The geographic location of your business or service.

  • The overall algorithmic ranking and authority of your website.

This is what makes it hard to nail down the precise amount of time that it will take your page to rank. That being said, there are a couple of methods that you can use to narrow down how difficult or easy it will be to rank for your chosen keywords. Let’s take a look.

Method 1: What’s The Competition On The Keyword?

When you open Google’s Keyword Planner or your own keyword tool, you should be able to type in specific keywords and search terms to see how many monthly searches the keyword gets. Generally speaking, keywords with more competition take longer to rank for, while keywords with low to moderate levels of monthly searches are easier to rank for.

Another easy way to check how easy a keyword is going to be to rank for is to check the number (and quality) of your top competitors’ backlinks. Backlinks are links back to the page from high-quality sources. The higher the authority of sites that link back to the page, the better the page will rank in SERPs.

Often, it can take time, money, and a considerable amount of reputation to get high-quality backlinks from .gov, .edu, or popular news sites.

If your top competitors on Google results for your keyword have lots of high-quality backlinks, then it will take a lot more effort to rank high for your chosen keywords. Conversely, if your top competitors have little to no quality backlinks, then ranking your page will be far easier.

Estimating Your Return On Investment (ROI)

Since SEO can often take several weeks or months to start generating marked results, you may not be able to tell whether or not you’re making a good ROI for quite some time. By keeping track of your dashboard and ensuring that you understand your key performance indicators, though, you’ll know a lot sooner.

For most websites and businesses, a good ROI typically means positive cash flow. If you invest $100 into something, you want to at least make your money back. Preferably, you want to turn a profit.

However, not all websites are commerce-based. For example, if you’re operating a charity, then your ROI could be measured by donations. If you’re trying to boost a personal brand or a social media page, then a positive ROI could be denoted by more comments, likes, or subscriptions.

This is why it’s important to define your specific KPIs before you start your SEO campaign.

Below, we’ll discuss a few of the best ways to determine whether you’re making a positive return on your investment.

Search Volume and Impressions

You should have a sheet detailing your primary and secondary keywords for your site along with the total monthly search volume for each. Let’s say, for example, that you’re trying to rank for “Bluetooth headphones” and the keyword has 80,000 monthly searches.

If your page is getting 10,000+ impressions, then this means a huge percentage of monthly searches are seeing your website listed, and means your SEO is going great. This is a bit of a high number but would indicate that you have a solid percentage of the market for that keyword.

Conversion Rate

The more visitors convert (buy something, subscribe, complete a form, etc.), the better your conversion rate is. A perfect 100% conversion rate is practically impossible. In fact, the average landing page has a conversion rate between 2% and 4%. However, if you can get your page to convert 10% to 12% of all visitors, then you have an incredibly successful site!

Click-Through Rate By Industry

If you use the Google Search Console, you’ll be able to view the average CTR based on SERP results for specific keywords and industries. This will give you a good idea of the benchmark that you should set for your own sites. Optimally, you’ll want your CTR to match industry standards or do better.

Understanding Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a process that you’ll want to stay on top of throughout the course of your SEO efforts. Essentially, this involves optimizing your website itself to generate more conversions. As we mentioned in the example above, it doesn’t matter how much traffic you get in your store, if everybody walks out empty-handed, it’s simply not profitable.

What’s the difference between SEO and CRO, though?” you might be wondering…

While SEO is the process of optimizing your site to get more visitors, CRO is the process of ensuring that a greater percentage of those visitors actually convert.

Below, we’ll go over a few key topics and strategies relating to CRO for your website.

Conversion Rate Optimization For Click-Through Rate

If you want a better converting site, then you need to start by ensuring that you have a decent click-through rate (CTR). For example, if you notice that certain of your pages are converting more than others, it’s a good indicator that your other pages need better CTR optimization.

If you take a little bit of extra time to improve the CTR of the underperforming pages, then it can result in more total conversions for your site. This is a great strategy for conversion rate optimization.

Make It Easy For Visitors To Convert

One of the biggest mistakes that websites make is that they make it too hard or too complicated for their visitors to convert. The reason why Amazon is the world’s biggest e-commerce platform is that they’ve made the purchasing process incredibly easy.

You can go on the site right now, search for your product, and then buy it with their one-click payment option in less than 60 seconds. The longer that your visitor has to wait to buy your product, the more time you give them to re-think their buying decision, and the higher the chance that they’ll back out.

Making it easy for visitors to buy your product or convert can be accomplished through multiple different tactics, including:

  • Offering fast, easy credit card checkouts.

  • Offering an on-screen chatbox assistant.

  • Creating an engaging sales funnel that draws the visitor in and converts them.

  • Offering Afterpay or financing for your products or services.

  • Offering a free trial for first-time users or buyers.

  • Having clearly outlined buttons that encourage visitors to take action, visit your shop, or add items to their carts.

How To Test For Good CRO Practices

The best way to see how optimized your page is for conversions is simply to test it out in the real world. By now, you should have a good bit of data on your existing pages. Take a snapshot of this data.

Then, work with a marketing professional (or lookup your own best marketing practices) to create a better-optimized version of your website or page. Give your updates a few weeks to generate data.

If the newly-improved site has generated more conversions, then your improvements worked! If not, then go back to the drawing board and work on new CRO procedures. This process is referred to as “split-testing.”

Advanced SEO and Improving CTR

As we’ve mentioned, you could have the most detailed, beautifully laid out website… BUT if it doesn't get any visitors or convert any customers, then all of your hard work goes to waste.

Search engine optimization is crucial given the highly competitive nature of the internet in 2021. There’s a good chance that there’s at least a moderate level of competition in even the most niche-oriented markets and industries. The better your website’s SEO is, the higher your brand will rank, the more traffic you’ll get, and the more sales you’ll convert. Over time, this will lead to your site becoming an “authority site” in the industry, and SEO will get a lot easier.

In this section, we’ll go into greater detail about advanced SEO strategies, how to identify the best keywords for your site, and how to improve your listing’s CTR to get more customers.

Remember, The Algorithm Is Always Changing

Every year, major search engines like Google make tons of small upgrades to their algorithm. Periodically, their dev teams roll out major upgrades with groundbreaking new features and functionality. This means that you’ll constantly need to stay on top of the latest updates, adapting and improving your SEO strategy so that your page continues to rank well.

Improving Your Page Structure With Tag Tools

One of the best things that you can do for both your SEO and to improve your conversion rates is to ensure that your page structure is well-laid out. The easier that your content is to read and digits, the longer visitors will stay, the more they’ll trust your brand, and the higher the algorithm will rank your page.

One of the best ways to start with this is to use header tags. For example, if you look at this article right now, you’ll notice that we’ve used h1 tags to outline major topics, h2 tags to indicate sub-topics, and h3 tags to indicate sub-sub-topics. This ensures that you always know how each header fits into the general topic of the page and makes it easier to absorb.

Another way to incorporate tags is to use anchor text that links to other articles and child pages on your site, as well as linking to high-quality external resources, such as medical journals, authoritative news sites, educational sites, or government agencies.

To get a good idea of how you should be structuring your own pages, the best thing you can do is to analyze your top competitors’ pages. Search for the keyword you’re trying to rank for, and check out the top 5 results on Google.

Take note of how their pages are laid out, how long their articles are, how many headers they use, and the overall keyword density of the article. Then, use this data to create a benchmark standard for how your own web pages should be styled and outlined in accordance with it.

What Should A Page With Good SEO Look Like?

Those of you looking to cut straight to the chase probably jumped directly to this header…

Obviously, your on-page SEO will be different for various web pages and sites. Overall, though, a page with good SEO is the result of a combination of different factors, such as:

  • Use of primary, secondary, and supporting keywords related to the niche you’re in.

  • External links to high-quality, authority sources.

  • Internal links to other related articles and posts on your site.

  • Appropriate usage of header tags (h1, h2, h3, h4) to divide your page’s content.

  • Healthy use of keywords. You don’t want to have too low or high of a keyword density.

  • Use of images and multimedia content throughout your page.

  • Engaging call-to-action statements, page titles, and meta descriptions.

  • No duplicate pages within your site or plagiarised content from other websites.

The more that you work on your page’s SEO, the more you’ll see results in the form of better KPI metrics, higher conversion rates, and a higher click-through rate on your articles.

Low-Cost Or Free SEO Tools To Take Advantage Of

It’s virtually impossible to do quality SEO work without some help from several different tools. There are plenty of expensive SEO tools on the market, but we figured that we’d start by providing you with a list of some of the free or low-cost tools you can take advantage of.

When you’re first starting off with SEO, it’s always best to tread the water with easy, low-cost tools before you go spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on advanced software that you have no idea how to use.

With that being said, here are some great free or low-cost SEO tools you can use to boost your site’s rankings:

  • Grammarly (improves on-page grammar, spellchecking).

  • Copyscape (checks pages for plagiarism).

  • Google Keyword Planner (helps you find keyword search volume).

  • LSIGraph (helps to identify niche keywords).

  • Schema.org (helps you create rich results and interactive SERP results on Google).

  • Google Analytics (keeps track of SEO metrics and KPIs).

  • Google Data Studio (puts SEO metrics into easy-to-read graphs and charts).

  • Ahrefs (useful for backlinking and on-page analysis).

  • Moz (free SEO tools, paid SEO tools, and free trial periods).

If you want your SEO efforts to generate the best results, then you’ll need to use multiple different tools. Some tools will help you write great content, others will ensure that none of your content is plagiarized, and some tools allow you to analyze your own web pages or your competitors’ pages.

Before using any tool, you should verify that it meets several key criteria:

  • It has a cost point that allows you to make a good ROI.

  • It has broad usage and is something that you’ll use regularly.

  • It provides accurate data you can use to generate reports and make improvements.

  • The developer offers support whenever glitches or problems occur.

How To Keep Track Of Word Count

When it comes to writing content pages for an informational site, you should try to ensure that your main parent pages and key articles are between 1,000 and 1,300 words each. Shorter blog posts or social media content should be anywhere between 500 and 800 words long. If you run an e-commerce store, then product descriptions should be between 300 and 700 words long.

Many website creators like WordPress or Squarespace display the word count of an article or page as you’re writing it.

If you’re creating a site from scratch or trying to analyze a competitors’ article, then your best bet is to select all of the text on their page and then past it into Google Docs or your word processor. Then you can press [ctrl+shift+c] to display the total word count of the article.

LSI Tools

You might be wondering, “What the heck is LSI?”

LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. Simply put, these tools help identify keywords that are related to your main keyword (e.g., “natural weight loss” would be an LSI keyword of the primary keyword “weight loss”).

One of the best tips to boost your SERP ranking is to not only include primary keywords but also related keywords and terms. This indicates to the search algorithm that your web page is well-written, covers the topic well, and can help your page get new visitors who are searching for related terms and keywords.

Using LSI tools will help you identify some great secondary keywords or supporting keywords that you can use throughout your website in child pages, main pages, or alongside primary keywords.

The best free or low-cost LSI tools to check out are:

  • LSI graph.

  • Niche Laboratory.

  • KW Finder.

  • Semantic Link Tool.

  • AnswerThePublic.

Use Ranktracker’s Keyword Finder To Identify LSI Keywords

One of the most comprehensive LSI keyword tools on the internet is our patented Keyword Finder tool. With it, you’ll be able to type any keyword you can think of into the console. Within a few seconds, you’ll be presented with hundreds of high-quality LSI keywords related to the main search term.

Unlike many of the free keyword tools on the internet, our Keyword Planner will show you detailed numbers and data about monthly search results. Instead of just seeing “[x keyword] gets 100k-300k monthly searches,” you’ll see an exact number like 187k searches.

Tools For Identifying Primary Keywords

Your primary keywords are the main search terms that you’re trying to rank for. These keywords typically have moderate to higher levels of competition. However, if you’re in a niche market, then they can also have a lower monthly search volume.

When selecting primary keywords for your site, you want to first ensure that they’re terms that people use. Secondly, you want to identify the level of competition that each keyword has, so that you know whether or not you stand a chance to rank for the keyword.

Below are the best free or low-cost keyword tools for identifying primary keywords:

  • Google Correlate.

  • Google Keyword Planner (Adwords Extension).

  • Moz.

  • Soovle Search Engine Aggregator.

How To Use Adwords To Find Key Search Terms

Formerly Google Adwords, Google Ads is one of the largest free SEO tools on the internet. While it’s primarily designed to help create Google and YouTube ads, you can use the same tools to identify primary, secondary, and supporting keywords that you can use for on-page SEO.

In this section, we’re going to show you a few ways that you can use Google Ads to identify keywords for your site. If you’re just getting started with SEO, then this is a great tool to use as it’s 100% free and offers reliable, accurate data.

Google Adwords Keyword Planner

Once you create your Google Ads account, you’ll be able to access the free Keyword Planner tool. This allows you to enter specific keywords into a search console and displays the latest data on the keyword, including:

  • Monthly search volume.

  • Average CPC (cost per click) for Google CPC ads.

  • Click-through rates.

  • The level of competition for the keyword.

  • Top-page bid (how much to get your ad displayed on page 1 SERPs).

One of the best features of the Keyword Planner is that it will display a bunch of secondary and more refined keywords relating to your primary keyword. This is a great way to start researching high-quality keywords that you can use in your SEO efforts.

Google Adwords Campaign For SEO

Although Google Ads campaigns no longer convert as well as they used to in the past, they’re still a decent way of gaining some traffic to your site. They’re also a good way to split-test for specific keywords, page titles, and meta descriptions.

If there’s a specific product, service, or main page that you want to get increased traffic to, you can use your Google Ads dashboard to create customized ads that will appear on YouTube or Google search results. You’ll be able to write a brief title and a brief 2-3 line meta description.

You’ll also be able to target your ad towards certain keywords. The higher the level of competition for a certain keyword, the more you should expect to pay per click.

The key to a good Adwords campaign is to achieve a positive ROI on it. For example, if your CPC for an ad is 50-cents, that means you’ll pay $100 for every 200 clicks you get on your ad. This $100 you invested should optimally result in at least $125 to $200 of sales. If you can double your investment in terms of conversions, then you’ll have made a great Google Ads campaign.

Create Engaging SEO Campaigns With Adwords

Now that you understand how to better use Google Adwords for your keyword research and to create data-driven Google Ads, let’s take some time to discuss how to create engaging campaigns with Google Adwords.

The Importance of Call-To-Action Statements and Good Copy

Whether you simply want your web page to rank organically or you’re paying for Google Ads, your copywriting is everything. Simply put, people click on pages and ads that draw their attention, answer their questions, or provide value.

If your ad or SERP result isn’t doing at least one of these, then chances are that you’re not going to get a good ROI on your SEO efforts!

This is accomplished by:

  • Writing an engaging title.

  • Writing an engaging meta description.

Your title is either the meta title of your webpage or the title of your Google Ad campaign.

Your meta description is the brief 2 to 3-line description that’s posted underneath your main title.

For example, here’s what an engaging title and description might look like in Google search SERP results:

Back Pain Got You Down? Free Consultations And 50% Off Your First Massage!

We’re Fix-Your-Back Chiropractics and our licensed chiropractors have over 20 years of combined experience. Come see why we’re one of NYC’s top-rated chiropractors today and get your FREE consultation!

See how engaging that was? The first thing you’ll notice is that the example above made use of power words, such as:

  • Free.

  • 50% off.

  • X years of combined experience.

  • Top-rated.

These are action words that automatically grab the viewers’ attention and encourage them to read the rest of your call-to-action statement. If you were reading that and you actually needed a back adjustment, there’s a pretty good chance that you would click on it and take advantage of the free consultation and discounted massage.

A good CTA should use simple, effective words as well as brief, powerful, and engaging statements. Basically, you want to convey as much authority, trustworthiness, and information in as short a space as possible. If you can do this, you’ll dramatically increase your click-through rate on your SERPs listings as well as your Google Adwords campaigns.

How To Test Your CTAs

When it comes to your CTAs, SERPs listings, and Adwords campaigns, you don’t want to waste any time or lose any money. Undoubtedly, of course, you’ll lose from time to time. However, you can mitigate your risks and loss by properly testing your CTAs, page titles, and meta descriptions.

The best way to test your CTAs is to split-test your Google Ads campaigns. Targeting the same keywords and niche market, create 2 or 3 different variations of your ads, using differing titles and meta descriptions.

Next, set a limit on the amount of money you want to spend on each variation of the ad and run each one for a week. This should generate enough data to give you an idea of which ad performs the best.

The ad that made the most impressions or had the highest CTR is going to be the best. So, delete the underperforming ads and focus your money on the ad that resulted in the best metrics. This method is also a good way to test for meta titles and descriptions for your web pages.

If your actual Google Ads got good results, there’s a chance that you can use the same title and description in the HTML meta tags for your site’s individual pages to generate higher organic CTR.

Calculating Your Click-Through Rate

As we’ve discussed in-depth so far, your CTR is one of the most vital metrics relating to your site’s SEO. It tells you whether or not people actually care enough about your listing or site to bother clicking it. If you can’t increase your CTR, then there’s no point to even start with conversion rate optimization efforts.

So, with that being said, it’s always good to know how to calculate your exact CTR.

The simple equation for calculating your exact CTR is to divide the total number of clicks by the total number of impressions. Then, multiply that number by 100.

  • (Total Clicks/Total Impressions) * 100 = CTR

This will give you an exact percentage of the number of people who see your site or ad and click-through to the website itself and take action.

How To Calculate Your CTR With Google Adwords

If you’re doing some keyword research and you want to see the average click-through rate for a given keyword, then Google Adwords has a simple, easy-to-use tool for you! Here’s how to use Google Ads to calculate a keyword’s expected CTR (as far as ads go, anyway):

  1. First, log into your Google Ads account.

  2. Click the tab in the upper-right corner of the screen that says ‘Tools and Settings.’

  3. Look on the left-hand side of the screen and select ‘Forecast.’

  4. Here, create an Ad Group and select a keyword you want to research. /

  5. You’ll be presented with important data, including the average number of clicks, impressions, and the pre-calculated CTR, based on recent Google user data.

CTRs: Niche Topics Vs. Broad Topics

Keep in mind that the broader the topic you’re trying to rank for is, the lower the expected CTR will be. This is because there are more competitors in the space, more ads, and therefore your own listing will be watered down and less relevant.

This is why it can be useful to target certain key niche topics and keywords. The reason why is that people who take the time to search for niche topics often are more determined to find a solution or a result.

For example, if you just search for leather boots on Google, the chances are that you’re still trying to figure out what type of boots you even want, in the first place.

Now, let’s say you’ve spent an hour researching the type of boot you want and have narrowed it down and decided that you specifically want a pair of Prada leather boots. By the time you’re searching for niche keywords like “Prada leather boots,” you’re already ready to make a buying decision and will be more likely to click on ads and links for the Prada boots you want.

Traffic Tip: Identify Under-Performing Keywords

Just because you did some research and think that a certain keyword is going to perform well doesn’t necessarily mean that it will. Some of the possible reasons why a particular keyword on your site may not be performing up to part could be:

  • There’s too much competition in the niche.

  • There aren’t enough searches for the keyword.

  • Your keyword-containing content is poor or being down-ranked by the algorithm.

  • The keyword is no longer trending (e.g., “fidget spinners” had huge search volume a few years ago, but now have very low search volume as they’re no longer a trendy toy).

Before you rule your keyword out entirely, it’s a good idea to identify exactly why it’s not performing. This can be achieved by using the Adwords Keyword Planner as well as viewing page-specific SEO metrics that show your traffic and which keywords bring them to your page.

Whatever the case may end up being, you’ll need to do one of two things once you identify those under-performing keywords:

  1. Switch the keyword out for another keyword.

  2. Improve your site and on-page SEO so it will rank for your chosen keyword.

Correlation Does Not Always Equal Causation

There’s an old saying in the scientific community that states that correlation does not equate to causation. For example, just because people who ride trains are more likely to catch a cold doesn’t mean that the train itself is causing people to get sick. The more plausible cause is that the people on the train are causing people to get sick.

The same applies to research data and SEO metrics. Just because a certain tool (or even your own research) shows correlation, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a law.

For example, let’s say there’s a revolutionary new product on the market…

You do your keyword research and see that the product is a low-competition keyword and decide that it must be a bad product. In reality, it could just be that the company hasn’t gone public yet and not many people are aware of the product.

If you had just been patient for a few more weeks, there may have been a huge explosion in searches for that product.

So, that being said, you need to rely on your own intuition and market research as well as correlating data that you get from SEO tools such as Google Keyword Planner.

How To Algorithm-Proof Your Site

One of the largest and most comprehensive updates to Google’s algorithm was performed in 2018 and dubbed the “Medic” update. It was so-called because scores of sites in the medical and health sectors that had previously ranked higher were down-ranked overnight by the algorithm.

This was because Google introduced a new, simplified scoring mechanism known as E-A-T, which grades all search engine results using 3 main tests:

  • Expertise.

  • Authoritativeness.

  • Trustworthiness.

The update was done to stop the growing number of untrustworthy, non-authority sites that were claiming to be “experts” in medical and health-related fields, causing confusion and misinformation to be widely distributed.

Well one thing’s for sure, it caught thousands of top-ranking websites off guard and they had to spend the rest of the year trying to up-rank their sites again.

This is why it’s important to not only keep track of Google’s latest updates (and any chatter surrounding potential updates). For now, though, just keep a few key tips in mind if you want to ensure that your site is as algorithm-proof as possible:

  • Make sure that your site is cross-referenced across the web. If possible, try to link your site to social media business pages, a Google business listing, and reputable third-party review sites.

  • Ensure that whenever you’re giving information (especially if it’s medical or financial data), the article always references authoritative sources such as medical/scientific journals, college studies, or popular news media sites.

  • Make sure that your sites are clean, well-organized, have good grammar and tag structure, and don’t have anything that remotely resembles scammy behavior.

Beyond The Basics: Advanced Keyword Research

Alright, so by now you should have a pretty solid understanding of how keywords work and why they’re important.

To recap, your site should be focused on a few primary keywords that really outline the theme and topic of your site, service, or product. Additionally, you should also identify a list of secondary and support keywords that you can use to attract niche-level traffic and rank for lower-competition terms relating to your primary keywords.

Not only will this increase your chances of being found organically by Google search users, but this will also help with your algorithmic SERP ranking, as it will make your site appear more relevant.

Selecting the best keywords for your site requires a fair amount of research. While the primary keywords may be easier to discover, choosing from the long list of secondary and support keywords that may be displayed on Google’s Keyword Planner and Forecast tools can be a challenge.

You’ll need to analyze factors, such as:

  • Monthly search volume.

  • CPC costs.

  • Average CTR rates.

  • Average number of impressions.

  • Mobile Vs. Computer keyword performance.

  • Locations where the keyword performs the best.

  • … and expected future forecast for the keyword’s performance.

Sounds like a lot, right?

Well, at first it can be. However, once you run some of your own split-tests (as we described above), spend some time doing your research, and run a few successful SEO campaigns, we promise it’ll get a lot easier. Eventually, you’ll be able to nail down important KPIs and use your own intuition to intuitively select the best keywords for your site.

This is one area where practice is everything!

With that being said, there are two advanced keyword topics that we want to cover briefly:

  • Lost keywords.

  • Cannibalized keywords.

These are both problems that commonly arise among webmasters and SEO specialists alike. Knowing how to fix them will serve you well if you want to increase your site’s SERP ranking.

Advanced Keyword Research With Our SERP Checker

One of the best ways to perform advanced keyword research is to use Ranktracker’s high-performance SERP Checker! This tool allows you to check the exact performance metrics of any keyword you can think of. Unlike Google’s free tool that just displays a few average numbers, the SERP Checker tool will show you details, such as:

  • Which sites rank highest for the keyword.

  • Number of backlinks by competing sites.

  • Keyword difficulty ranked 0-100.

  • Top stories and trending topics related to the keyword.

  • The citation flow (CF) which measures the authority of a page from 0-100.

  • … and a whole lot more!

If you want the latest, most accurate data on specific keywords, there are no tools on the market today that can compete with Ranktracker’s SERP Checker tool!

Lost Keywords

The first thing we’ll discuss are “lost” keywords. So, what are lost keywords, to begin with?

Lost keywords are keywords that your page or site previously ranked in the top-100 search engine results for, but no longer does. Once you fall out of the top-100 range of results for that key search term, you have officially “lost” it to your competition.

Many of the same SEO tools that are able to generate lost keyword reports are also able to generate declining keyword reports. These will show you keywords that you’re in danger of losing if improvements aren’t made.

Lost keywords are harmful to your site because they eventually lead to decreased traffic to individual pages and eventually your entire site! Reasons why your site could “lose” keywords include:

  • New competitors with better-ranking sites/pages for the keyword.

  • Loss of relevance for the keyword.

  • Censorship of the keyword.

  • Algorithmic down-ranking of your page/site due to E-A-T factors.

  • Indexing problems or glitches with the main pages of your site.

How To Track Keywords Using Google Analytics

Whenever possible, you want to do your best to catch declining keywords before you lose ranking on the pages that contain them. Once you’ve lost a page’s (or your site’s) ranking, then it can be a tough uphill battle to regain your ranking.

The best way to catch declining keywords or know which new keywords to update your old web pages with is to use Google Analytics and the Google Search Console. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to track keywords with Google’s free SEO tools:

  1. In your Analytics dashboard, find the ‘Acquisition’ filter and set it to [acquisition > source]. This will allow you to filter your keyword results based on Google traffic.

  2. Next, select a specific date range that you want to check keyword performance and ranking over. You can also view comparisons between different date ranges. For this, the best bet is to start by checking how keywords have performed over the past few 30-day periods. This will allow you to identify the exact month that changes started to occur.

  3. Now, assuming that you’ve linked your website to Google Search Console, navigate to the ‘Performance’ tab. Under this select [performance > pages]. This will show you the performance of your pages in Google search results over time.

  4. Go back to Analytics and use it to find the particular page that saw a decrease in traffic.

  5. After identifying the problem page, go back to Google Search Console and find the page in the [performance > pages] results.

  6. Now, you’ll be able to see exactly which keywords have been affecting that particular page and its traffic. You can use this data to implement new keywords, get rid of old keywords, or to create new content based on better-performing keywords.

Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization is a common problem that occurs with larger websites. When you have too many pages that rank for the same keywords, it can confuse the Google algorithm as it’s not sure which keywords and pages to give priority ranking to.

It could have two negative results:

  • An unimportant page gets unexpectedly up-ranked.

  • Important pages (or your entire site) get down-ranked.

Fixing Cannibalization Issues

One of the biggest causes of keyword cannibalization is outdated “keyword stuffing” methods. In the old days, you could rank your site simply by putting as many keywords as possible in your content. Today, the algorithm will red-flag this and down-rank you as it’s considered spammy.

Here are a few tips that you can do to fix keyword cannibalization issues:

  • If you have similar pages with similar keywords, consider merging them into one larger piece that targets those keywords.

  • Try changing the internal linking structure of your posts and pages. Alter the linking to ensure that more of the less important pages link upwards to the higher-priority pages and posts. This gives the algorithm a clear signal as to the hierarchy of your site and which pages should be given priority.

  • Cut down on excessive keyword usage. If you notice “stuffing” anywhere in your articles, replace the excessively used keywords with supporting keywords (or delete them altogether).

All About “Poking”

For those who remember, NO - we’re not talking about Facebook’s old “poke” feature…

Poking refers to the methodology behind testing how “hard” or “soft” a certain keyword, niche, or industry is. Hard keywords are those which are going to be hard to rank for, while soft keywords are those that will be relatively easy and inexpensive to rank for.

Performing some upfront tests (or “pokes”) is a great way to test the waters before you jump in and spend a bunch of money and time on SEO. There are two main types of poking that SEO specialists use:

  • Video poking.

  • Long-tail poking.

Disclaimer: “Poking” methods are considered to be SPAM by Google and its algorithm. A few well-placed pokes here and there won’t cause your site to be flagged. However, if you do it too often, it could cause your site to get down-ranked. It’s a good way to find one or two new primary keywords to rank for here and there, but don’t go crazy with it.

YouTube Test Poking

This is a secret that not many people know about, so use it wisely! Start by going on YouTube and scheduling a live event video on YouTube (don’t go live, just schedule a future event). Your video should contain the primary keyword in the title, description, and a meta tag.

Then, after 30 minutes, go to Google search and type that same keyword. If it’s a “soft” keyword (easy to rank for), then you’ll be able to see the scheduled live video listed in the top 5 pages of SERP results for that keyword. If not, then chances are it’s a “hard” keyword.

Long-Tail Test Poking

This is a more traditional method that involves creating a new silo post on your site and then checking its performance with the Google Search Console tool.

First, create a 750 to 1,300-word blog post or sub-article on your site that’s designed to rank for your desired keyword you’re testing. Then, give it a week or two to rank.

Now, after the time has passed, enter the URL of the testing post into the Search Console and check how it’s been performing. If it’s already ranking on page 5 or above, then it’s a “soft” keyword and one that you can easily rank for. If not, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Dominating Page One Of Google

If you’re a new site trying to dominate the first page of SERPs results in Google, then it can be hard, especially if it’s a competitive industry. However, it’s totally possible to rank for niche keywords within your industry! Here are a few tips to improve your chances of dominating page one results for a keyword on Google.

Branding

Branding is your site’s overall presence across the internet. The more you can cross-reference your various internet real estate and link it back to your main brand the better.

The best way to start is by creating a solid, 100% completed, fully-optimized Google My Business page. Your My Business page should rank for your chosen niche keywords, contain tons of posts, authentic reviews, contact info, business hours, and link back to your main site.

Additionally, you can accomplish this by creating a YouTube channel for your page and adding quality informational content. It also helps to create a Facebook and Instagram business page, linking them both to your main site domain.

Adwords Campaigns

If you’re trying to rank for a niche keyword and there’s not a lot of Adwords competition, then it may be helpful to run a few Adwords campaigns for that specific keyword. If your Adwords campaign dominates (and links back to your main site) for long enough, you’ll be well on your way to page one dominance.

Third-Party Reviews

If you can, try to get your site or brand reviewed by reputable third-party sites. If you can get sites like Glassdoor, Yelp, business listings, and Reddit to link back to your main domain, then it will increase the validity of your site.

Rich Results and Schema Markup

Last but not least, we strongly encourage you to look into using schema HTML tags (freely available to copy/paste at www.shema.org). Inserting these HTML snippets into your pages allows Google to scan them and produce “rich results.”

For example, visitors will be able to view snippets of product listings, answers to direct questions, video snippets, and other key information directly from their Google search results. This makes your site appear to be an authority site and will increase your CTR, thus increasing your ranking.

Final Tips and Tricks For SEO

Before we go, we figured we’d leave you with some final SEO tips that will increase your KPIs and result in a better ROI on your SEO investment. Take a look!

How To Test Your SEO

So far, we’ve gone over a few key methods you can use to test your SEO efforts. So here’s a quick recap, so you can figure out the best testing method for your site.

The most reliable method of testing your SEO is to make use of Google Analytics and Search Console tools. By embedding analytics codes throughout your site, you’ll get accurate real-time data that will display your KPIs. You can use the Search Console to double-check KPIs and search for ranking-related issues.

Poking, as we discussed in the previous header, is a great way to experiment with new keywords and determine if they’ll work in the future or not.

Lastly, you can modify your Adwords or site page’s call-to-action titles and meta description to see if they produce differing results over time. Split-testing with different CTAs, meta titles, and meta descriptions and recording KPIs over a period of a week to a month will indicate what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.

Silo Structure For E-Commerce Sites

As we’ve discussed previously, your silo structure is the way that you organize your site to ensure that the algorithm is able to tell the hierarchy of each page of your site. In normal sites, this is simple: you just have enough child pages that point upwards and link internally to target pages or parent pages.

Since e-comm sites are slightly different and aren’t usually informational in nature, you’ll need to go about this a different way. Here are some quick tips to help you improve the silo structure of your e-commerce site or online retail store:

  • Make sure individual product pages rank for specific keywords.

  • Enable the “similar products” feature on your product page that links to other related products on your site. Double-check to ensure that they’re static links, so your site appears more reliable and steady.

  • Include a navigation aspect to your site.

  • Make sure all product pages are listed and categorized underneath the main parent page, such as “Store” or “Shop.”

  • Reference and make internal links to key products and top-sellers in your blog posts or other information articles on your site.

Ranktracker’s Tools Can Help

If you’ve made it all of the way through this guide, then you are now equipped with some excellent knowledge that you can start applying today to your SEO strategy.

To tell whether or not your SEO strategy is working or not, make sure that you always keep track of your KPIs through the use of a free SEO tool like Google Analytics or using Ranktracker’s Web Audit tool. Always be willing to tweak and adjust your pages, keywords, and content to ensure that everything performs up to your standards.

Ranktracker’s highly advanced toolkit contains all of the specialized SEO tools that you need to perform advanced keyword research, analyze your competitors, audit your site, and track the ranking of individual pages on your site as they move up or down Google’s SERPs ranking.

Having a site that ranks in the top 5 results of Google is worth its weight in gold, and our patented tools can help you get there faster than ever.

The only question is, “Are you ready to rank?”

Sources:

  1. https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2018/08/13/google-ads-mobile-benchmarks

  2. https://datastudio.google.com/u/0/

  3. https://supermetrics.com/start-trial?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=brand-2020&utm_adgroup=exact&utm_category=search-brand&utm_term=supermetrics&location=&gclid=Cj0KCQjwssyJBhDXARIsAK98ITR2C9-T-igoNTe4pZl9pi80tDv0uHkZrSghkVFB8M-LYj3GFHLpeXMaAtc4EALw_wcB

  4. https://www.searchenginejournal.com/recover-lost-seo-keywords-organic-traffic/364362/#close

  5. http://www.shema.org

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