August 26, 2014: Last spring, I had the opportunity to instruct a course for MarketingProfs University’s Search Marketing School 2014. My contribution, “10 Measurement Tips for SEO Content” (now live on MarketingProfs University) focuses on key reports and analysis designed to connect SEO-related content marketing efforts with business performance.
While I’ve based my presentation for MarketingProfs on the performance of SEO-related content marketing assets specifically, there is a much greater range of SEO-related benchmarks B2B marketers should consider.
The following is a list of 20 performance metrics we recommend that B2B marketing managers use to establish goals and achieve success with their search engine optimization programs. Unless specified otherwise, all metrics are assumed to be tracked on a regular (at least monthly) basis.
Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals
These performance metrics form the basis for almost every SEO program, even if they only indirectly impact specific B2B business results.
- Organic search engine traffic
The most fundamental of all search engine optimization performance metrics.
- Percentage of traffic from organic search
This percentage varies based on the different online marketing strategies an organization utilizes in its B2B marketing mix.
- Unique keywords sending traffic
Now pulled through Google Webmaster Tools search query reports. If your organization is continually building new content (that is getting indexed by search engines), this number should increase over time.
- Landing pages receiving traffic
The number of web addresses found in search engine results that received traffic or impressions (if using Webmaster Tools).
Search Engine Optimization Campaign Effectiveness
Once B2B SEO’s have a handle on traffic growth and (potential) opportunity, it’s important to realize the effectiveness of these metrics in an effort to properly align SEO program initiatives.
- Conversions from organic search engine traffic
While there are various types of goals an organization may define as a conversion (white papers, webinar registrations, collateral requests, etc.), it’s important to track them regularly.
- Conversion rate from organic search engine traffic
Measure this in comparison to other online marketing channels to determine quality of traffic from organic search.
- Events created from organic search engine traffic
Event tracking is ideal for less sales-oriented lead generation efforts, like video views, and image or link clicks.
- Revenue from organic search engine traffic
Assuming this metric can (or should) be tracked.
- Percentage of search traffic from non-branded keyword search referrals
If you’ve connected your Webmaster Tools account with Google Analytics, this information is still accessible to evaluate non-branded versus branded keyword percentages.
- Percentage of search traffic from core keyword strategies
If a core set of keyword targets is defined, establishing the overall visibility of those themes, via Webmaster Tools reporting, is important.
- Keyword rank monitoring
Keyword rankings should not be the end-all-be-all, but there is certainly a connection between a better keyword position in search engine results and likelihood someone will click into your website.
Search Engine Optimization Productivity
While raw numbers do not necessarily translate into SEO success, establishing benchmarks (such as the below) for the creation of links, content, and deliverables executed helps to provide visibility to a search engine marketer’s plan of action.
- Inbound links researched, requested, and acquired (high quality given priority, of course)
- Social shares acquired per platform/program
- Contacts researched, contacted, and communicating with/added to network (via social media)
- Content generated, pages optimized, content reviewed and optimized (i.e., 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. Here are few key benchmarks to track:
- Month-to-month improvements (declines) in organic search traffic, keyword referrals, and other performance metrics
- Month-to-month improvements (declines) in organic search conversions and conversion rates
- Year over year improvements (declines) in organic search engine traffic, conversions, keyword referrals, and other performance metrics
- Year over year improvements (declines) in keyword visibility (relative position of website for priority keyword searches)
We would be remiss if we did not briefly address the need to benchmark against the competition. While it’s not likely a competitor will provide you access to their own web analytics tools, consider the following performance benchmarks as a first step:
- Pages indexed in Google (search query: site:domain.com)
- Inbound links created (via link monitoring solution like MajesticSEO or Open Site Explorer)
- SEMrush has a series of free tools (in addition to premium packages) that B2B marketers can use for competitive benchmarking as well, which provide a broad range of scoring criteria and performance metrics (many listed above) for review.
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 should keep track of to establish goals and achieve long-term success for their SEO programs. As SEOs realize there are finer points that may provide additional support or add value to a campaign, deeper analysis can (and should) be done.
Additional Resources From KoMarketing
- Defining Link Metrics that Impact SEO Link Building Development
- How Link Building Management Will Change for B2B Marketers
- How To Extend B2B Marketing With Better Social Media Measurement Tools
Additional Third Party Resources
Detailed resources and essential add-ons and references points for more in-depth website performance tracking.
- (Provided): 10 Ways to Prove SEO Value in Google Analytics
- Advanced Filters: Excel’s Amazing Alternative To Regex
- Guide To Tracking Multiple Subdomains In Google Analytics
- Event Tracking 101 For Google Analytics
- Using Tools & APIs To Track Your Social Media Strategy
- Google Tag Manager: How to track Important Activity on Your Website
Finally, three web analytics (primarily Google Analytics) and performance-related collections of resources and articles worth reviewing for future reference.
- 50+ Google Analytics Resources – The 2014 Edition
- Top 24 Google Analytics Tips, Hacks & Automations
- The Big List of (Not Provided) Search Recommendations for B2B Marketers
About 10 Measurement Tips for SEO Content
With respect to my presentation for MarketingProfs, one of the struggles I’ve seen in B2B online marketing is that there is often limited understand as to where B2B marketers should focus when it pertains to SEO performance evaluation. Hopefully, my presentation will help marketers connect the dots in performance measurement and set themselves up for success. My presentation centers around:
- Diving into reports that that can (and should!) be used on a regular basis to measure and improve SEO-centric content marketing performance.
- Outline exactly what marketers want to look at when developing content that’s optimized for search.
- Drill into both free and paid resources like Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, to better demonstrate what they’re doing and why it matters.
- Walk through the process of uncovering performance benchmarks with details on helpful resources and real-life examples
You can find the complete curriculum, information on instructors, and registration here. Best of all, use “KOMARVIP” and receive $200 off your registration or $50 off the PRO membership.