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Which KPI’s matter most when pursuing SEO for revenue growth?

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To understand the impact SEO has on your gross revenue,

I created an excel that tracks all of the KPIs you should evaluate throughout the course of a 5 month SEO campaign. You can download the excel file by clicking the image below. Adjust it to match the timeframe of your SEO campaign.

How does this excel help you?

As a decision maker, this excel will help you to determine if your content creation endeavors, budget and team are a profit center or cost center, this excel will help you to quickly review and evaluate the impact they’re having on the company’s bottom line.

As a content creator or SEO, this excel is designed to help you communicate the value of your SEO initiatives to various stakeholders and decision makers within the company. While you may love spending 1-5 hours diving into the weeds and looking at endless graphs of data, your CEO, CPO, CMO and VPs may only have a few minutes per month to dedicate to hearing how you and your team are doing and what you’re doing to help the business grow.

How to fill out this KPI excel:


Use SpyFu to fill in the keyword ranking information, backlink information, percent and monetary values of your SEO by clicking on the black hat below:

SpyFu (@spyfu) | Twitter

Have questions? Join the slack channel here & schedule a call with Adi here.

Keyword rankings

What are Keywords?

Keywords are the words and phrases that a user types into a search engine. If you rank at the top of the algorithms 200 – 500 criteria for a keyword your content will appear at the top of the search engine results. But what if you don’t? What if there is a keyword or phrase that your ideal client types into Google that you want to rank for, but don’t? Then you should watch the two embedded videos below.

How to find your best keywords:

The first video will help you to discover which words will be best for your business AND easiest for you to rank for.

The second video will help you to figure out the exact type of content to create to reach your SEO goals faster:

Where & how to track your keyword wins & losses:

Beginner: If you are just getting started, you may want to focus on ranking for five keywords related to variations of your brand name and use each “competitor” column to copy & paste the top three URLs that currently hold the top three spaces for each keyword.

Advanced: This KPI excel only gives you the space to track your current ranking on a few keywords. I have clients who track anywhere from 5 to 30,000 keywords per month. When this is the case we use this section to track the number of keywords they rank for on SERP 1, SERP 2 and SERP 3-5. This is very easy to find in SpyFu

Backlinks

What are backlinks?

When one webpage links to another webpage, it’s called a backlink. When the backlink comes from a website that has high domain authority (basically a website with a high amount of credibility) it can quickly add the amount of credibility your own site has with search engines, thereby leading your rankings to climb quickly.

How to find backlink opportunities:

  1. Apply to be interview on 9×90.co – last year I launched a podcast that gets each guest on the show, 8 high quality backlinks with one simple interview. You can apply to be a guest on the show at 9×90.co
  2. Signup to receive alerts to be a podcast guest at RadioGuestList.com. Here you will receive regular notifications about shows that are looking for new guests. What’s the difference between this and 9×90? Most of the shows on the Radio Guest List only publish to one platform instead of 8, so it will take 8 shows to get the same number of backlinks as you do with one 9×90 interview.
  3. If you signup to be a HARO source you will receive 3 emails each day, 5 days a week from reporters looking to quote a professional in their next publication. Respond to these for a chance to be featured in top tier publications.
  4. If you’d like to know how SpyFu can help you to identify more backlink opportunities watch the video below:

Where & how to track it:

Beginner: If you have zero backlinks, start by using this section to keep track of who you reached out to for a podcast feature or publication each month.

Once you begin to get backlinks you can break this into two sections: the list of backlinks you pitched to win and the backlinks you actually scored this month.

The objective is to show progress month over month.

Advanced: By this point you should have a list of contacts you reach out to for a feature or guest interview request. As an SEO savant you know that it’s best to have these backlinks dispersed evenly throughout the months so you can use this section to drop in who you plan to publish interviews with, when.

The objective is to show that you have a concrete plan in place to grow these month over month.

Organic traffic (as a percentage)

What is organic traffic?

Organic traffic includes all website visitors coming to your website from a search engine, as a result of your amazing content ranking at the top of the results when they typed in their query.

What are the other types of traffic?

Direct traffic includes all website visitors coming to your website through:

  1. Typing your URL into their website browser
  2. Links shared through a private messaging platform (ex: when I sent a contact test links via Telegram Messenger they showed up as “direct traffic” in google analytics).
  3. Existing bookmarks

Referral traffic includes all website visitors coming to your website from links on other websites.

Social traffic includes all website visitors coming to your website from any social media platform.

How to find what percentage of your traffic comes from organic methods:

You can find your organic traffic via Google Analytics or SpyFu (photo example of SpyFu dashboard below)

Using SpyFu you can see how your number compares to that of your top three competitors or business role models and record all of these numbers in your KPI excel. This number usually helps decision makers to see that there is room for growth with your organic traffic acquisitions.

Monetary value of this organic traffic

What is the monetary value of your organic traffic?

This is how much it would cost to purchase the traffic you are currently getting from the keywords you are currently ranking for.

How to find the monetary value of your organic traffic:

You can find this number by typing your URL into SpyFu, it is labeled “EST MONTHLY SEO CLICK VALUE”.

How to track the monetary value of your organic traffic:

This is one of my favorite numbers to track because many of the people responsible for a paid ads channels scoff at SEO until they see this number … unless your monthly click value is less than your monthly AdWords budget. When that’s the case, it’s time to kick it up a notch with your SEO initiatives.

Thanks to SpyFu you’re able to view the monetary value of your traffic as well as your top three competitors and their role models.


NOTE: The rest of the line items in the KPI excel can only be extracted by you for your verified website.


Percentage of traffic that completes a goal

What is the percentage of traffic that completes a goal?

In Google Analytics you can define a goal for your users and then track what percentage of your traffic completes this goal.

How do you find this?

Well, first you have to define your goal. Here is how to create and track a goal in Google Analytics.

Where & how to record goal completion:

You can only track this for your own business, and not your competitors. If you have multiple goals, you may want to create additional rows to keep track of how each of your goals completion rates improve month over month.

Bounce rate

What is a bounce rate?

bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1009409?hl=en

The bounce rate can tell you when your marketing messaging, content descriptions and other pre-website impressions do not align with what a visitor expected to see on the website.

If and when you experience a high bounce rate you want to look at :

  1. What is driving traffic to that page that is misleading people to expect something different?
  2. What is on that page that might be driving people away?

How to find your bounce rate:

You can find the bounce rate by clicking Behavior > Site Content > All Pages

From here, you will see the Bounce Rates of specific pages listed in the 6th column.

Where & how to track your bounce rate:

Beginner: If you’re new to SEO you may want to just keep track of your average bounce rate across the site and drop it into this excel.

Advanced: If you’re a bit more serious about tracking and improving the performance of specific pages, then you will want to create additional rows to keep track of the bounce rate for each of those pages month over month.

Entrance pages (aka landing pages, aka entrances)

What is an entrance page?

An entrance page is the page through which a website visitor entered your website. (If you were a restaurant this would be the doors through which customers enter into the restaurant).

When an entrance page differs from the pages you have ranking organically OR direct traffic to (via ads, social media posts, etc), you can safely conclude that a website visitor either bookmarked that page or sent it directly to one of their connections. This type of information can tell you quite a bit about what your website visitors value most amongst your content.

Where do you find the list of your entrance pages?

These pages can be found under Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages

How do you track entrance pages as a KPI?

If you have multiple entrance pages, you want to add multiple rows to keep track of how this list and the volume of traffic entering through these pages, changes month over month.

Exit Pages

What is an exit page?

An exit page is the page through which a website visitor leaves your website. If it is the confirmation page after they’ve completed their purchase, this is fine. If it is a page that is supposed to be encouraging someone to click through to another page to make a purchase or book a service, this is a problem. It could mean that the page is broken or has something driving potential buyers away scared.

Where do you find your list of exit pages?

These pages can be found under Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages

How do you track exit pages as a KPI?

If you have multiple exit pages, you want to add multiple rows to keep track of how this list and the volume of traffic exiting through these pages, changes month over month.

Session Time

What is session time?

A session is a group of user interactions with your website that take place within a given time frame. For example a single session can contain multiple page views, events, social interactions, and e-commerce transactions.

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2731565?hl=en

How do you find your website’s session times?

To find your average session time go to Audience > Overview

To find your session time per page go to Behavior > Site Content > Content Drill down

Click “Avg. Time on Page” to view the pages that have the longest and shortest time.

What should you do with this information?

Study the pages with the longest time to see what you can extrapolate from the data. Study the pages with the shortest session time and come up with ways to improve the pages to encourage people to spend more time on those pages (or repurpose / delete them).

How & where to track your session time

  1. Keep track of your average session time across the website, in this KPI excel.
  2. Either by adding rows, or creating a new excel, record the session time of your best and worst performing pages. Track how these improve as you make changes to the content on each of these pages.

Page views

What are page views?

Page views can give an indication of how popular a post or page is. But having a high number of page views for a post doesn’t necessarily mean it is popular. Is it a good thing that you have a lot of page views per visit? Does it mean that people like to read a lot of pages on your site? Or does it mean that they can’t find what they’re looking for?

https://yoast.com/what-are-pageviews-in-google-analytics/

Where do you find your page view count?

To find your page views go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages

Then click on Page views to look at the most viewed or least viewed pages.

How to track this data:

Add rows to the excel to track how the page views of your best and worst performing pages, change overtime.

What should you do with this data?

The number of page views increasing month over month will be of interest to executives wanting a high level recap of what you’re doing. But for this data to be useful to you and your content creation team, you will want to look at how the average amount of time on these pages varies. If the page views are high but the “avg. time on page” is low and the bounce rate and exit % are high, this would indicate that people are not finding what they are looking for. Such pages should be revised asap.

Crawl Errors

What is a crawl error?

Crawl errors occur when a search engine tries to reach a page on your website but fails at it. Let’s shed some more light on crawling first. Crawling is the process where a search engine tries to visit every page of your website via a bot. A search engine bot finds a link to your website and starts to find all your public pages from there. The bot crawls the pages and indexes all the contents for use in Google, plus adds all the links on these pages to the pile of pages it still has to crawl. Your main goal as a website owner is to make sure the search engine bot can get to all pages on the site. Failing this process returns what we call crawl errors.

https://yoast.com/crawl-errors/

How do you find your crawl errors?

If you do not have Google Search Console linked with your Google Analytics account yet, follow this guide to get started.

Once these two free tools are linked, follow this guide to identify and fix your crawl errors.

How do you track this number?

This number is recorded month over month to show decision makers how your SEO is improving not only due to data backed decisions with your content creation, but also improving the technical side of your website’s SEO. Ideally this number should be at zero, but you want to keep it in the excel to have an opportunity to consistently remind execs of the importance of your technical SEO team mates.

Financial Impact

Financial impact should be at the forefront of every decision maker’s mind. Listing off these specific numbers at the bottom of your excel will help the key decision makers to see how your SEO initiatives have impacted revenue growth.

Gross Revenue

What is gross revenue?

When gross revenue is recorded, all income from a sale is accounted for on the income statement. There is no consideration for any expenditures from any source.

https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/102714/what-are-difference-between-gross-revenue-reporting-and-net-revenue-reporting.asp

Where do you find your gross revenue?

Depending on how your company is structured this is a number that (at least) the CMO and CFO should both have access to tell you. If they tell you to just focus on CAC, don’t stress. Just leave this blank and when you present it at the next meeting, they’ll realize this is something that should look at.

Why? When decision makers see that SEO has a large and positive impact on revenue growth, they transition from asking “what do you do here?” to “how is my favorite growth machine doing today?”

Where and how to track it:

CAC

What is CAC?

photo source: https://blog.hubspot.com/service/what-does-cac-stand-for

How do you find your CAC?

Depending on how your company is structured this is a number that (at least) the CMO and CFO should both have access to tell you.

Where & how to track it:

Typically as the percentage of traffic coming in organically climbs, the cost of advertising drops. This should lead your CAC to decrease as your SEO improves.

If you are in a larger company it could be fun to add a few rows and track the average monthly CAC of all acquisition channels, to watch how they decrease over time.

Churn

What is churn?

Depending on how your company is structured this is a number that (at least) the CMO and CFO should both have access to tell you.

https://blog.hubspot.com/service/what-is-customer-churn

Where / How do you find ___?

You can calculate churn rate by dividing the number of customers you lost during that time period — say a quarter — by the number of customers you had at the beginning of that time period.

For example, if you start your quarter with 400 customers and end with 380, your churn rate is 5% because you lost 5% of your customers.

Obviously, your company should aim for a churn rate that is as close to 0% as possible. In order to do this, your company has to be on top of its churn rate at all times and treat it as a top priority.

https://blog.hubspot.com/service/what-is-customer-churn

Where / How to track it:

Here I would track churn as a % month over month. As your content develops in a way that is designed to retain customers, this number should go down. Tracking it here allows you to look at how your changes to your content have impacted your customers retention which, in my opinion, is really exciting.

LTV

What is LTV?

Customer lifetime value is the metric that indicates the total revenue a business can reasonably expect from a single customer account. It considers a customer’s revenue value, and compares that number to the company’s predicted customer lifespan. Businesses use this metric to identify significant customer segments that are the most valuable to the company.

https://blog.hubspot.com/service/how-to-calculate-customer-lifetime-value

How do you calculate the LTV?

This is a bit more complicated than CAC, so I suggest following this guide to calculate this number.

Where to track it:

Developing the content on your website typically leads to an increase in the average purchase value, average purchase frequency rate & average customer lifespan. Which ultimately leads to a better LTV.

Tools that my non-tech friends tend to hate:

  1. Screaming Frog SEO Spider

This post was brought to you by Adi Soozin of MD9.co. If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more like this, consider using the affiliate links we include in these posts. They allow us to occasionally earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. This is at no extra cost to you and it supports this website, as well as the composition of future posts, which means we can spend more time writing content. I genuinely recommend everything linked to via this website.

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