SEO Accountability: The Primary KPIs for SEO Campaign Progress and Profitability

May 2, 2022 | SEO

There are endless data points and factors to consider when reviewing the quality of your SEO campaign. Regardless of your knowledge and experience when it comes to SEO, there is always more to learn. That makes it very difficult to understand and monitor the progress of your SEO campaign when it isn’t your primary role. 

So how can you make informed decisions about the quality of your SEO campaign? Challenge the reasons your team is giving for why things are or aren’t working, and hold them accountable for the results you were promised. 

Focus on the Right Details 

Lock in on the tried and true data points that you can fall back on and know that your strategy is pointing towards profitability. Despite the complex nature of an SEO campaign, focusing on the right KPIs will allow you to easily push back on your team and get the results you need for your business. 

Regardless of whether you have an internal team, or are working with a marketing agency, monitoring SEO progress is easy when you focus on the right details. This is called SEO accountability.  

1. All Organic Traffic is Not Created Equal

The first detail to focus on is organic traffic growth. Organic traffic is website traffic that is being referred directly from a Google search to your website. After the first 3 months of an SEO campaign, you should be seeing steady growth in the number of organic users coming to your website. 

However, increasing organic traffic means nothing if it isn’t valuable traffic. Traffic that may convert into a lead and eventually into revenue is the primary goal of most SEO campaigns. 

Ask your team each month: 

  • What pages are increasing in organic traffic? 
  • What pages are decreasing in organic traffic?
  • For the pages driving organic traffic, what keywords and search queries are driving those visitors to the site? 

Ignore organic traffic driven by branded-related keywords and search queries

Those website visitors are already yours from other brand awareness marketing initiatives. It takes very little effort to rank for your brand name. 

Ignore traffic from irrelevant pages 

If a majority of your traffic is not coming from your homepage, and your primary menu pages (programs, services, etc.) this can be a big concern.

To be fair, blogs and other pages can drive relevant, high-quality traffic to your website that will convert into leads and revenue. Just make sure you know what keywords and queries are driving traffic to those pages. 

NOTE: Organic traffic coming to your site in any form is valuable, given that the page topic is at least slightly relevant to your industry or your business. This traffic can gain your website favor with Google, which may help your primary menu pages rank better over time. These pages can also provide value to your main pages through an organized Internal Linking Structure.  

2. Keyword Tracking: Kick the Keyword List and Target a Topic 

Even a few years ago it was very common in SEO to create a list of 10-20 keywords to target, and then track the progress. 

Nowadays, Google rewards websites with well-rounded content that covers a topic comprehensively, rather than writing pages specifically for one or two keywords.

Total keywords indexed and ranked by Google should be steadily increasing throughout your SEO campaign, not just a handpicked setup of 10. Even if keywords are not on page 1, they should be ranking somewhere on the top 10 pages for any given search query. 

Ask your team: 

  • How many non-branded keywords are we ranking for inside the top 100 results? 
  • What are our most valuable pages, and what are the top few keywords on those pages? 

Note: There may be one particular keyword you are focused on. You should be okay not ranking for that keyword, as long as you are ranking for similar keywords and phrases. It isn’t always possible to rank for the exact word you want, but it is always possible to rank for a particular topic.  

3. No Leads, No Revenue, No Bueno: How to Track Revenue from Your SEO Campaign 

SEO specialists tend to point towards a variety of different data points and factors to show progress, or to explain away the lack thereof. 

At the end of the day, your Search Engine Optimization Campaign needs to drive leads and revenue to your business. Period.

Whether it is phone calls, form fills, live chats, or email inquiries, there must be a way to track and see a steady increase in the sales opportunities you’re receiving from your SEO campaign. Determine what types of leads you want to drive with your campaign, and then stick with that KPI throughout the life of your campaign. 

This requires that your leads are tracked properly to weed out leads coming from other sources like Social Media, Paid Ads campaigns, or branded traffic. Leads should be increasing steadily month to month for an SEO campaign. 

Note: In addition to leads from organic website visitors, leads from your Google Business Profile are also considered SEO leads. Just be sure to eliminate branded traffic from your data. 

Note: With a successful SEO campaign, leads will increase dramatically. The difficulty is that you will not be able to choose the quality of your leads coming in. Your sales team will likely have to field more irrelevant leads to find the ones that will convert into sales. 

Ask your team: 

  • How many leads came directly from our SEO campaign? 
  • What different types of leads are we tracking through our SEO campaign? 
  • How are we scoring the value of the SEO leads coming in?  

4. SEO Campaign Life Cycle and Competitor Tracking

A Search Engine Optimization campaign is a long-term marketing strategy. It typically takes at least 3 months to start seeing positive indicators from your organic traffic and keyword growth. 

It is important to establish where your website stands in its SEO life cycle. For a brand new website or a website with no current keyword rankings or organic traffic, tracking progress is very straightforward. Since you aren’t ranking for anything yet, there is tons of opportunity for growth. 

If Your Website is Already Ranking

If your website is already one of the top-ranking websites in your industry or region, maintaining those rankings without growth is still a sign of SEO success. A steady increase is always the expectation, but there are a finite amount of leads that can come from organic search. Once you reach the top of the mountain, your competitors will be constantly trying to knock you off of the first page with their investment in search engine optimization. 

It is important to remember that maintaining your strong rankings is an indicator of SEO success, and constant growth year after year after year is not always possible. 

Tracking your main competitors is key to understanding where you stand in the SEO hierarchy for your industry and region. Using sites like SEMrush.com, Moz.com, and Ahrefs.com can allow you to easily track your competitors and their SEO progress. 

The primary competitor data points to evaluate against your own are:

  • Total Keywords
  • Total Organic Traffic
  • Total Traffic Value

These data points will give you an idea of where you stand in relation to your competition. If you review the historical data around these metrics, you can begin to understand how much they are investing into their SEO campaign, and how successful it has been. Continue to benchmark against them and make decisions based on competitor efforts and growth.

5. Align Expectations with Investment: How much money should I spend on an SEO campaign? 

Well, It depends. 

To determine how much to spend on your search engine optimization campaign, you first need to evaluate the potential revenue it will generate. 

Through keyword research, search query volume, and competition level, you should be able to get a rough idea of the potential number of leads you may be able to generate if you achieve page 1 rankings for quality keywords. 

Establish how many leads you expect to generate from SEO and the value of an organic lead to your business. This potential revenue should help you get an idea of what an appropriate monthly budget should be to achieve the business goals you have for your SEO campaign. 

In the End, You Get What You Pay for 

You can’t have high expectations for leads and revenue generation if you’re only investing a few hundred dollars per month. In a competitive industry, you may need to significantly ramp up your investment to keep pace with the other websites investing heavily into SEO. 

Ultimately, the SEO team should be the one evaluating how much you should spend to achieve the revenue goals you have for your website. When an SEO campaign works, it can drive the highest returns on investment in the digital marketing industry. 

At The Digital Intellect, we pride ourselves on our ability to evaluate this complex landscape, establish a reasonable budget, and set achievable goals that will generate a significant return on investment. 

We would love the opportunity to do a free evaluation of your website, its current SEO standing, and its long-term growth potential. 

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