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7 SEO KPIs You Should Be Tracking in 2021

Joey Randazzo
Joey Randazzo
Written by
Joey Randazzo
Jul 22
Jul 22, 2021

As an SEO professional, you rely on data.

Data to tell you what’s going well, and data to inform you of what needs improvement.

In this guide, we share the top seven SEO KPIs in 2021. We discuss what they are and how to properly track them, including:

  • Organic Traffic

  • Keyword Rankings 

  • Google My Business Metrics

  • Leads / Phone Calls / Sales

  • Bounce Rate

  • High Impression / Low Click Pages

  • Page Load Speed

Let's get started.

SEO KPI #1: Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is undoubtedly one of the most important SEO KPIs to track. 

Let’s start at the foundation – the primary goal of SEO is to:

  1. Rank for high-value keywords so that…

  2. You drive traffic for high-value keywords so that…

  3. You can increase leads / sales / phone calls from organic traffic

Without traffic, the final result of leads / sales / phone calls won’t happen.

For anyone new to the world of SEO, let’s define “organic traffic.” Organic traffic refers to visitors to your website who land there based on a unique search they enter into a search engine. 

Visits to your site that are the result of clicks on paid ads, social media, or other branded outreach are NOT organic traffic. 

Why Is Organic Traffic an Important SEO KPI?

While paid ads may drive traffic to your site quickly, as soon as you turn those ads off, traffic will slow way down. And there’s no long-term return on investment. Organic traffic may take longer to see results, although the ROI can be massive in the long run.

There are two important ways to think about organic traffic as an SEO KPI:

  1. You could be ranking for 100 of your MOST valuable keywords on page four of Google. But those rankings won’t mean anything since you’ll likely receive minimal organic traffic – very few people make it to page four of Google results. 

Sure, you’ve done some things “right” with your SEO since you’re ranking for keywords. But, it’s not enough since it doesn’t result in people visiting your website.

It’s much better to be ranking in the 1st position on page one of Google for two high-value keywords since you know you’ll drive relevant traffic to your website.

  1. Many SEO professionals love seeing increases in traffic. However, additional organic traffic is only valuable if it’s traffic coming from your target audience.

It’s better to have 500 engaged organic visitors who fall within your exact target audience per month than have 5,000 organic visitors per month who don’t fall within your target audience.

Don’t get caught up trying to increase organic traffic for traffic’s sake. Hone in on increasing traffic that you know your target audience is searching for. 

How Do You Easily Track Organic Traffic?

Organic traffic is easily tracked through Google Search Console.

AgencyAnalytics has an integration with Google Search Console that simplifies the process of tracking and analyzing organic performance.

After integrating your campaign with Google Search Console, you can easily navigate to the Google Search Console tab. You’ll then see something like this.

In the upper right corner, you can simply toggle between dates to see how this month, or last month, or last year’s performance looked like.

You can also, in the upper left corner, toggle between:

  • Top Queries

  • Top Pages

  • Countries

  • Devices

If you were to toggle to “Top Pages,” you’d see something like this:

At the bottom of the screenshot above, you can get insight into which pages were your top performers during the time period you specified.

In short, the Google Search Console integration gives you the same abilities to track performance as you would within Google Search Console directly, but with a much simpler and easier-to-understand interface.

SEO KPI #2: Keyword Rankings

Keyword rankings are one of the most important SEO KPIs you can track. These rankings tell you where your website is positioned in the SERPs for a particular keyword. 

When tracking keyword rankings, tools normally track how the keyword rankings change on a daily basis. 

For example, let’s say you’re a naturopathic doctor in Portland, OR. You would likely want to track the following keywords in the Portland area:

  • Naturopath Portland

  • Naturopathic doctor near me

  • Best naturopath in Portland, OR

Your keyword ranking tool might tell you that you’re ranking 2nd in Google for “Naturopath Portland” and 9th in Google for “naturopathic doctor near me.” This data is important.

The goal for keyword rankings? 

Rank at the top of the SERPs for as many high-value industry-related keywords as possible.

Why Are Keyword Rankings an Important SEO KPI?

Keyword rankings are “lead metrics” for organic traffic. The relationship between keyword rankings and organic traffic is pretty straightforward:

  • If you’re ranking well for a keyword that has high search volume, you can expect a lot of organic traffic for that keyword.

  • If you’re not ranking well for a keyword that has high search volume, you can expect minimal organic traffic for that keyword.

Keyword rankings directly correlate with Click Through Rate (CTR) – the higher your website ranks, the higher your CTR will be for that keyword. 

Here’s a breakdown of CTR by ranking position in Google:

SERP Position

CTR (%)

1

43.32

2

37.36

3

29.9

4

19.38

5

10.95

6

10

7

5.28

8

4.13

9

4.13

10

3.11

Let’s use a clear example of just how important keyword rankings are. For this example, we’ll use a software as a service (SaaS) that sells tax-related software.

This SaaS company created a piece of content around the keyword “mistake on tax return already filed.” Seems like an odd keyword, but according to the data, this keyword has 880 people searching each month. That’s roughly 10,560 people searching each year!

If we use the data above, we can conclude that if this SaaS company ranks first for this keyword, they can expect ~43% of clicks. With 10,560 people searching per year, ~43% of clicks equals 4,540 organic visitors each year. 

By tracking the performance of this keyword (and all other important keywords), a brand can gain invaluable insight into what their organic traffic will look like.

How Do You Easily Track Keyword Rankings?

Within AgencyAnalytics, you can easily track keywords rankings with the Rank Tracker tool.

Using this tool, you can track hundreds of high-value keywords your brand should be ranking for. 

You can quickly see how each keyword is performing on:

  • Google desktop

  • Google mobile

  • Google local (maps)

  • Bing

You can also get granular by tracking how keywords are ranking based on location. 

For example, if a brick & mortar business is based in Brooklyn, NY and only serves local clients, then that business should only care about how they’re ranking for their target keywords in the greater Brooklyn area.

The tool allows you to determine how you’re ranking locally – down to the state, county, city, or even zip code – as you can see from the screenshot below:

SEO KPI #3: Google My Business Metrics (Only for Local Businesses)

If you’re a local business with a physical location, such as a dentist, lawyer, or restaurant, then Google My Business is one of your most powerful marketing tools.

The example below will share just how important your Google My Business is:

Let’s say someone in Portland, OR is looking for a dentist. They type in “dentist in Portland” into Google. This keyword has about 3,600 people searching per month. That’s over 40,000 people each year.

The first thing that shows up in Google? Something called the Google Local Pack.

We call the Google Local Pack “beachfront real estate on the internet.” 

Why? 

There are over 40,000 people searching for this exact keyword of “dentist in Portland” each year. The three dentists that rank in this Google Local Pack get the most exposure, the most website visitors, and the most phone calls. 

Since Google My Business is so important for local businesses, it’s critical that certain SEO KPIs are tracked from within Google My Business’s platform.

Why Are Google My Business Metrics an Important SEO KPI?

As we discussed above, ranking locally has a lot to do with your Google My Business.

Therefore, local business owners or marketing managers will want to know how their Google My Business is performing over time. 

There are 5 main metrics you want to measure.

  1. Searches: The number of times your listing was shown in search results.

  2. Views: The number of times your listing was viewed on Google Search or Google Maps.

  3. Clicks: The number of times your website was clicked via your GMB listing.

  4. Direction Requests: The number of times driving directions were requested via your listing.

  5. Calls: The number of times your phone number was clicked via your listing.

Different SEO KPIs within Google My Business matter for different types of businesses:

If you’re an ice cream shop, you really care about “direction requests.” The more direction requests you get, the more people are navigating to your ice cream shop. Nice!

If you’re a lawyer, you care about clicks to your website and phone calls. Since your service is more expensive, people are likely going to call first. You wouldn’t expect someone to request directions and just stop by. 

How Do You Easily Track Google My Business Metrics?

Within AgencyAnalytics, you can track these metrics with the Google My Business integration, which looks like this:

Within this dashboard, you can quickly see how all your key performance indicators for your Google My Business are doing.

You can easily track performance for specific time periods by changing the date in the upper right corner and comparing performance to previous time periods.

With the dashboard, you can track all the same metrics as you could directly from within Google My Business. You can then combine this GMB data with other marketing metrics with a custom SEO dashboard.

SEO KPI #4: Leads / Phone Calls / Sales

As previously discussed, the goal of SEO is to:

  1. Rank for high-value keywords so that…

  2. You drive traffic for high-value keywords so that…

  3. You can increase leads / sales / phone calls from organic traffic

Number three on the list is to increase leads, sales, phone calls, or any other type of conversion from organic traffic.

Organic traffic alone doesn’t make a brand money. Organic traffic that converts to a customer or potential customer is what makes a company money.

Why Are Leads, Calls, and Sales an Important SEO KPI?

As a marketer, early in a campaign, you make assumptions about how people are going to behave.

You assume that:

If we rank for this keyword, then we’ll drive traffic. If we drive traffic for this keyword, then we’ll convert users into customers.

But, you can’t know that for sure. 

By closely tracking conversions as an SEO KPI, you will be running a data-driven experiment to know if your SEO efforts are paying off. 

How Do You Easily Track Leads, Calls, and Sales?

How you track conversions will, of course, depend on the type of business.

Some brands have elaborate and robust Google Analytics goals set up based on conversion type or a particular step of their customer funnel. 

If you leverage Google Analytics to track conversions, you can use our Google Analytics dashboard integration to easily track this SEO key performance indicator. 

This is just one of the SEO KPIs to track with Google Analytics - we’ll get to more later.

Many brands use Hubspot as their CRM to track conversions, leads, sales, and more. AgecnyAnalytics has an easy-to-use Hubspot dashboard integration that gives you insights into your conversion performance.

SEO KPI #5: Bounce Rate

Bounce rate, according to Google, is defined as: 

Single-page sessions divided by all sessions, or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server.

Basically, a “bounce” is when a user lands on a page of your website and leaves your site without visiting another page.

A high bounce rate means that users probably aren’t getting what they need out of your site. Not a good sign.

The goal for any website is to reduce bounce rate so that the user interacts with multiple pages of your website.

Why Is Bounce Rate an Important SEO KPI?

Bounce rate is not a direct ranking factor for SEO.

But, Google clearly cares about a user’s experience on your website. In June 2021, Google released its core update called the Page Experience Update.

Bounce rate was never explicitly mentioned as a major factor during this update, but Google continues to advance its algorithm to take a user’s experience into account.

A high bounce rate indicates that users may be having a bad experience on your site.

By tracking your bounce rate, you can determine if you need to make changes to your site to improve a users’ experience – which can positively affect your SEO performance. 

How Do You Easily Track Bounce Rate?

This SEO key performance indicator rate is easily tracked through Google Analytics.

The AgencyAnalytics Google Analytics dashboard integration makes it easy to see your:

  1. Overall website bounce rate

  2. Individual page bounce rate

You can, in the upper right-hand corner of your dashboard, change the dates to see historical bounce rate performance and current bounce rate.

The goal, over time, is to reduce your bounce rate.

SEO #6: High Impression / Low Click Pages

This is an uncommon KPI that you may not have seen before.

However, it’s where a lot of the magic happens. 

As a quick refresher, here’s how your performance on page one of Google converts to site visits:

SERP Position

CTR (%)

1

43.32

2

37.36

3

29.9

4

19.38

5

10.95

6

10

7

5.28

8

4.13

9

4.13

10

3.11

If you’re ranking on the bottom of page one of Google for a particular keyword, you’re not going to get many clicks. But you’re going to get TONS of impressions.

Impressions are defined by Google as:

How often someone saw a link to your site on Google. Depending on the result type, the link might need to be scrolled or expanded into view.

These high-impression / low-click pages provide incredible opportunities for SEO growth.

Why Are High Impression / Low Click Pages an Important SEO KPI??

As we discussed, the goal of SEO is to:

Rank for valuable keywords → Drive traffic to your website from these valuable keywords → Get more organic leads / phone calls / sales from the additional organic traffic.

SEO goals are never about having high impressions. They’re about having high clicks (organic traffic).

BUT, here’s where the opportunity lies …

By closely monitoring pages that have high impressions and low clicks, you can take action to increase clicks.

For example, let’s say you’re the marketing director for a nationwide yoga studio chain with 100 locations. And you created a piece of content around the high-value keyword of “best yoga poses” which has 1,600 people searching per month.

You discover that you’re ranking in position 9 for this keyword with thousands of impressions but only a handful of clicks.

After looking into your content and the competitor’s content, you see that your article is about the “5 best yoga poses” while all of your competitors’ content includes 10, 15, or even 20+ yoga poses. 

With this knowledge, you optimize your page and add an additional seven yoga poses to make it more comprehensive and valuable to the reader. Two months after optimizing the content, you’re now ranking in position 3 for the high-value keyword of “best yoga poses.” Now your content has high impressions AND high clicks. A huge win!

Without tracking the KPIs of pages with high impressions and low clicks, you would’ve missed this opportunity. 

How Do You Easily Track High Impression / Low Click Pages?

Step 1: Within the AgencyAnalytics dashboard, you’ll navigate to your Google Search Console integration.

Step 2: From there, we recommend you filter the dates to be the last 30-45 days. See the screenshot below:

Why this time period? Naturally, keyword rankings (and therefore impressions and clicks) can change frequently with Google’s algorithm, competition, and other external factors. If you have a wider time period (say the last 90 days or 180 days), then Google Search Console will aggregate the data. 

There’s a good chance that your impressions and clicks from 90 or 180 days ago are much, much different than your impressions and clicks from the last 30 days.

Step 3: Navigate to the “top pages” tab, as seen below:

Step 4: Filter by impressions so that pages with the highest impressions are at the top.

Step 5: Find pages that have high impressions and low clicks. For example, if you look at the screenshot below, you’ll notice that the two pages circled have over 40,000 impressions but only ~200 clicks. That’s a huge opportunity!

Step 6: From there, you can analyze why your content is getting high impressions but low clicks. Is your content dated and in need of an update? Are your pages as comprehensive as your competitors’ pages? Take action to improve your content and you will gradually start to see an increase in clicks.

SEO KPI #7: Page Load Speed

Your page load speed refers to how long the pages on your website take to load. This is more of a technical SEO KPI, but it’s just as important as the rest of them.

There are two different page load speeds for your website:

  1. Desktop page load speed

  2. Mobile page load speed

Generally, most websites have decent desktop page load speed. However, many websites have low mobile page load speed which can affect your SEO.

Why Is Page Load Speed an Important SEO KPI?

Page load speed (especially mobile page load speed) is particularly important as an SEO KPI for a couple of reasons:

  1. Most users interact with websites from their mobile devices

  2. Google has officially switched to a mobile-first index

  3. Google’s June 2021 Page Speed Experience update looks even further into page load speed

How Do You Easily Track Page Load Speed?

There are a couple of ways to track your page load speed.

  1. Google has built a free tool called PageSpeed Insights. 

Step 1: Navigate to PageSpeed Insights

Step 2: Type in your website’s URL

Step 3: Wait approximately 30 seconds

Step 4: Google’s tool will provide a result that looks something like this:

  1. If you’ve set up your Google Search Console, you can find additional data there.

Step 1: Login to your Google Search Console

Step 2: Navigate to the Core Web Vitals tab on the left sidebar

Step 3: You’ll see something like this populate:

Step 4: Click on “Open Report” for either Desktop or Mobile and you’ll see something like this:

Step 5: There are many potential errors that could show up. However, most of the issues that brands experience are related to speed, as you can see from the screenshot above.

Final Thought: These SEO KPIs Are NOT Static

The point of tracking these SEO KPIs is to see how they change over time. Your goal, of course, is to see improvement over time.

  • If these metrics are moving you away from your goals, you can pivot and change them.

  • If these metrics are moving you towards your goals, you can double down on your efforts.

With the AgencyAnalytics platform, you can easily compare these metrics to previous time frames. 

For example, if you’re analyzing how the SEO KPI of “organic traffic” is performing during the month of June 2021, you can choose to compare organic traffic metrics against the previous month of May 2021. Or, you can compare against the previous year to see how year-over-year performance is going.

You simply toggle dates – see the screenshot below. Simple as that!

These SEO KPIs are fluid. They’re constantly changing. 

Therefore, to properly analyze how performance is going over time, you need the flexibility to compare KPIs against historical performance. 

Summary: SEO KPIs 

Successful SEO campaigns are built on a foundation of data. In this way, marketers and SEO professionals, at times, operate more like scientists than creatives.

Diligently tracking and analyzing SEO KPIs allows marketers to make intelligent decisions that lead to results. 

To solve this, AgencyAnalytics gives marketers and SEO professionals access to their data in one place. The data is highly visual, easily manipulated, and tells a compelling story that allows marketers to succeed in reaching their goals.

Joey Randazzo
Joey Randazzo
Written by
Joey Randazzo
Joey Randazzo is the Founder and CEO of Portland SEO Growth Partners. He has a team of 20+ women (mostly military spouses) that produce over 2 million words of SEO-focused content each year. They've worked with enterprise-level clients like Autodesk, WebMD, and NexEra.

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