Key performance indicators (KPIs) are measurable values that demonstrate how effectively you are reaching your targets.
There are a number of KPIs that you should keep track of to gauge the success of your SEO strategy:
The number of people coming to your website is certainly a key performance indicator for SEO. A successful SEO strategy will see a rise in organic traffic – visitors who discover your website from search organically as opposed to coming through a call-to-action from social, email or paid advertising or from typing your brand name directly in a navigational search. Organic traffic can be measured as:
The number of times your website was accessed, regardless of repeat visits. If a user from the same IP address visited your site 100 times this would count as 100 visits.
The number of individuals who visited your website. If a user from the same IP address accessed your website 100 times this would only count as 1 visits.
Quite simply as it sounds. Time on site is the average length of time users spend on your site.
Time on page is also just as it sounds – it's the average length of time users spend on a particular page.
A bounce is when a user visits one page on your site and leaves without navigating to another page. A bounce is counted regardless of how long the user spends on the page. Bounce rate is the percentage of users that bounce on a particular page.
Pages per session is the average number of pages visited in all sessions on your website. A good internal linking structure will encourage people to visit more pages.
In analytics programmes, goals can be set for just about anything. A common example of a goal on an ecommerce site would be a user placing an order. However, goals could be visits to certain pages, a user watching a video, a signup to an email newsletter and so on. You should determine what goals your website is attempting to achieve and track those accordingly.
Conversion rate is the percentage of users that perform a task that you have predetermined to be a goal. An example for a goal would be a user placing an order on an ecommerce website. If half the users on the site place an order the conversion rate would be 50%.
Tracking your websites ranking will give you an idea of how well your pages are performing in search, and how the search engine algorithms value them.
Using tools to measure the number of backlinks - their frequency, where they're coming from, the authority and relevance of the sites they come from, the pages they are linking - is important to properly gauge the effectiveness of your content and outreach strategy. Few and infrequent backlinks will tell you that you need to rethink your strategy and perhaps do a spot of link building.
You should also closely monitor backlinks to make sure no spam links are coming to you. If you are being overwhelmed by spammers you can always disavow the dodgy links.