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September 18, 2008

The Importance of (KPIs) Key Performance Indicators for SEO

When it’s time to determine how effective an SEO, advertising or marketing campaign is, the need to establish KPIs (key performance indicators) as benchmarks to measure goal conversion, time lines and tactical objectives is necessary

Performance benchmarks exist for a very specific purpose, to measure conversion and marketing objectives, but KPIs also allow us to extend beyond one-dimensional thinking and truly develop long-term strategic and pivotal advantages.

Sometimes your website has all the right ingredients, but lacks proper execution. Increasing landing page conversion by 15% for example is one KPI. Improving lead generation, product inquiries or phone calls by 43% within a specific time-line using four new marketing methods.

Such examples of performance are based on gap analysis (from existing performance levels of where you are and where you want to be) however they provide valuable insight into the effectiveness of a campaign.

For example, if it is implied that you will increase traffic, increasing traffic alone is not a (KPI) key performance indicator. If the traffic is not converting into sales, then you need to look beyond the surface level and delve deeper into the root cause (the content and the offer) that produce the effects. Often it resides in usability, how obvious navigation is, how obvious is the conversion objective is, or if the message diffused from too many competing elements.

When looking to fine-tune performance, determining metrics such as time spent on a page, the keywords used to deliver the traffic, which related keywords are relevant and overlapping. Determining the existing bounce rate or engagement metric for the page and what calls to action exists on the landing page in question.

Managing those factors allow you to create a base-level KPI analysis to improve performance individually or across all of these metrics simultaneously. However, without analytics or performance tracking, you are just grasping straws when it comes to delivering or reproducing consistent or future sales volume.

The necessity to specifics is all part of the SMART model:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Result-oriented or Relevant
  • Time-bound

Combine this with the KISS model (keeping it simple) and the who, what, where, when and how factor and you can essentially craft a series of objectives for each landing page in your site by assigning unique, yet attainable benchmarks.

The real value of KPIs are the ability to reproduce the effect, or know which affect your adjustments are having on traffic, conversion and visitor engagement. Without knowing where to look, or how to measure the outcome, you are destined to repeat past performance over an over again.

The only horrible thing about that is, what if that performance (such as an exceptionally high bounce rate) could have been avoided from a simple SEO intervention from installing analytics or testing another offer.

In closing, without key performance indicators, such as a 110% increase in search engine traffic or other distinct objectives, your SEO will not reach its full potential.

Jeffrey Smith is an active internet marketing optimization strategist, consultant and the founder of Seo Design Solutions Seo Company He has actively been involved in internet marketing since 1995 and brings a wealth of collective experiences and fresh marketing strategies to individuals involved in online business.