Whether your Search Engine Marketing is through professional services or in-house, the strategy needs to be accountable to determine its success. In the world of SEM though, the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) can vary greatly, depending on your goals. Some popular indicators include:

Organic Traffic

Essentially, a function of SEO. Any search engine marketing consultant will tell you that overall traffic is an indicator that your website is gaining prominence.

If paid search campaigns don’t benefit from it, you may want to examine your value proposition.

Conversion Rate

The ratio of website visits to conversions. Conversions are your core objective. It can be: purchases, new members, quotations or any action you choose, really.

One of the most common KPIs, as it tells you that the traffic generated from your SEO strategy is your target market or at the very, that your conversion funnel is effective.

Impressions

How often your result or paid advertisement comes up with searches. This is important because it tells you how many who people are seeing the entry and clicking on it.

If this ratio is very negative, your SEO is fine but your anchor text or description text isn’t pulling people in.

Percentage of Branded Keywords

These are long-tail search terms that directly relate to your site or company. An increase in this tells you that your site or products are gaining recognition and preference.

Although this isn’t a function of online SEO (if you’re not the No.1 result for your own brand, something is very wrong), it can be result of it. It tells you the SEM strategy is achieving sustainable results.

Return on Investment

This is the metric a company will likely push for, particularly for PPC campaigns. At the end of the day, if a company puts money into a project, they want to see profit as result.

This can be short-sighted, particularly if the website is new. It could take a few years before a makeable financial gain is realised from SEM.

Entry Pages

Not to be confused with doorway pages, which constitute unethical SEM. Entry pages means the amount of your webpages that have been indexed and how they are ranking.

This will tell you if your optimisation is comprehensive enough. Limiting your SEO to just your homepage won’t yield valuable results.

Keyword Traffic

The amount of traffic being generated by each respective keyword you chose to focus on or that you included in your PPC campaign.

If you keyphrase strategy is off, this will tell you. It’s vital KPI for determining if the fundamentals of your search engine marketing campaign are right.

Stickiness

The time people spend on your page.

If people are finding your domain but not staying very long, it may be an issue with the perceived value of your content. If they’re staying long but not converting, it could be an issue with your conversion funnel or website architecture.

Bounce Rate

This is the percentage of people who visit your site but didn’t travel past the first page.

A poor figure here can mean many things. For example, your keywords are bringing the wrong traffic or the main message or structure of your website isn’t obvious enough.

Rankings Boost Since Starting Search Engine Marketing

Optimization efforts will primarily focus on a website’s place on the SERP.

This should always be a KPI as it’s the objective of SEO. You won’t have a valuable web presence until you get yourself on the first few pages.