January 18, 2011: It is the beginning of the year and goals need to be established for your 2011 search engine optimization campaigns. As with every year (or campaign kickoff), we have been working with clients to determine how KoMarketing Associates will help them accomplish their internet marketing objectives through search.
Here are eighteen metrics we recommend marketing managers should be looking at for establishing goals and achieving success with their search engine optimization programs. Unless specified otherwise, all metrics are assumed to be tracked on a monthly basis.
Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals
- Organic search engine traffic
The most fundamental of all search engine optimization metrics.
- Percentage of traffic from organic search
This percentage will certainly vary based on the different internet marketing strategies an organization uses.
- Unique keywords sending traffic
If your organization is continually building new content (that is getting indexed by search engines), this number should certainly increase over time.
Search Engine Optimization Campaign Effectiveness
- Conversions from organic search engine traffic
There are various goals an organization may define as a conversion. The most important key is to track them regularly.
- Conversion rate from organic search engine traffic
In particular, in comparison to other internet marketing channels.
- Revenue from organic search engine traffic
Assuming this metric can (or should) be tracked.
- Percentage of search traffic from non-branded keyword search referrals
An important metric especially when working with a known brand or product name.
- Revenue from branded and non-branded keywords
Again, assuming that this metric is appropriate to be tracked.
- Percentage of search traffic from core keyword strategies
If a core set of keyword targets are defined, establishing the overall visibility of those themes (and the traffic and leads from those themes) is important.
- Keyword rank monitoring
Keyword rankings should not be the end-all-be-all, but there is certainly a correlation between a better keyword ranking and likelihood someone will click into your website.
Search Engine Optimization Productivity
While raw numbers do not necessarily translate into SEO success, establishing benchmarks for the creation of links, content, and deliverables executed at least help to provide visibility to a search engine marketers plan of action.
- Inbound links research, requested, and acquired (high quality to the head of the line of course)
- Content generated, pages optimized, content reviewed and optimized (IE, keyword strategy applied)
- Unique domains linking to website (in addition to the overall link imprint, a list of websites linking is important)
SEO Trend Analysis
Trend analysis of key SEO metrics provides insight into how well your search marketing strategy has performed over time, and helps to establish goals and benchmarks for future campaigns.
- Month-to-month improvements (declines) in organic search traffic and unique keyword referrals
- Month-to-month improvements (declines) in organic search conversions and conversion rates
- Year over year improvements (declines) in organic search engine traffic, conversions, unique keyword referrals
- Year over year improvements (declines) in keyword visibility (relative position of website for priority keyword searches)
Joanna Lord of SEOmoz has an excellent post providing additional insight and recommendations on how to leverage year over year data successfully.
Competitive Keyword Visibility
We would be remiss if we did not briefly address the need to benchmark against the competition as well. While it is not likely a competitor will provide you access to their own web analytics tools, tracking the ranks of a strategic set of keyword targets is a first step. In later posts we’ll detail SEO competitive analysis in greater depth.
Final Thoughts on SEO Benchmarks
Have we hit every SEO metric possible? Absolutely not. But the recommendations above provide most of the broad-brush benchmarks marketing managers will want to know. Deeper analysis certainly can be done and SEO’s realize there are finer points that may provide additional support or add value to a campaign.
Do you need to track all of these metrics? Not necessarily as well. Prioritize the information to focus on your most achievable (and sensible) goals and objectives.
What are your thoughts? What have we missed that is important to your own search engine marketing campaign? We’d love to hear your opinions and suggestions via the comments below.