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10 SEO KPIs: What Numbers to Watch and How Often

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
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When optimizing for search, you know monitoring performance is important. But with so many SEO metrics and best practices out there, how do you know what to watch, and how often do you check things out?

Some of that will depend on your budget, the size of your business, and the recommendations of your marketing team.

But in general, there are 10 key performance indicators (KPIs) it’s a good idea to watch, since they offer a window into how well your content is doing with search, and, by extension, with your potential customers.


1. SpyFu: Check Ranking for the Top 50 Results

Are your pages coming up within the first 50 results on Google and other search engines?

SpyFu is a comprehensive SEO keyword research tool that gives you data you can use across a host of online marketing metrics. To get a bird’s-eye view, we recommend checking your ranking within the Top 50 results.

Knowing how you’re ranking for your product and service keywords, and for services in your area, means you know if your landing pages are being seen by prospective clients and customers. While getting your brand on the first page of Google is ideal, knowing where you are within the Top 50 can give you a sense of how much traction you have. Of course, checking this data regularly can be a way of tracking SEO progress so you know what’s working — and what isn’t.

2. SpyFu: Check Your Sum of Rank Change

Among SpyFu’s many tools, our clients love the Sum of Rank change metric. If you’re in the top spot (out of 50) on Page 1 of search results, you get a score of 50 points. The second spot gives you a 49 point score, and so on, all the way down to 1 point for the 50th spot on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

These values are added together to get the Sum of Rank, so you can see how that is changing over time. Overall, how are your rankings? Are you moving up the SERPs, getting bumped down, or holding steady in a highly-visible spot? Knowing this can let you know where to focus your SEO resources going forward.

3. SEMRush: See Keyword Ranking by Difficulty in Top 100 Results

SEMRush is another great tool for deep-diving into keyword research. We like to use to see how our clients’ sites rank because:

  • It gives you a broader view, allowing you to look at the top 100 results – the first 10 pages of SERPs.
  • You can see how you’re ranking for keywords in 3 tiers of difficulty: low, medium, and high.

The difficulty of a keyword refers to how difficult it would be for you to outrank the top competitors for that term. Ranking for high keyword difficulty is a good aspiration when it comes to SEO strategy. But ranking for lower-difficulty keywords is still valuable for your marketing campaigns, and may be more realistic, depending on your ad spend, link-building, and other factors. Get a clear understanding of your starting point in terms of keyword ranking. Then set goals (both practical and “stretch”) for your keyword strategy based on that.

4. Google Search Console: Check Impressions Data

While impressions don’t tell you everything, they’re still a valuable digital marketing KPI. They give you a sense of:

  • How often your web pages and content are getting in front of people
  • Which pages are most often viewed
  • Which pages have the fewest views

You can check your impressions data on Google Search Console. The more familiar you are with this data, the more readily you’ll be able to tell if your campaigns are “landing”. Are people looking at the pages that are targeted in your digital advertising campaigns, or are they coming to them with keyword searches? All of this data is good information, and it will only help you tighten your approach.

5. Watch Organic Search Visits

Paid search data is a great way to measure ROI and allocate SEO/ad spending, but organic search data should never be neglected. You need to know how often people are coming to your site as a direct result of them typing in a keyword, hitting “Search”, and clicking on your page.

Numerous analytics dashboards have this metric, and it is an asset to your keyword research and content marketing strategy. If you notice people are finding you with certain words, phrases, or questions, you can make sure you’ve got content on deck that addresses those concepts and gets their questions.

6. Check Visits from your Target Geographic Market

If you’re a business with local roots whose services are concentrated in your area, people near you need to be able to find you online. One SEO KPI you can use to measure this is to know how many of site visits and page visits are coming from your target geographic market. Do you need more local keywords? Is something unclear about the services you provide your community? Pinpointing the location of site visits can give you valuable insights like those.

7. Review Top Landing Pages

What are your top-ranking landing pages? Where are the majority of people “landing” on your site as a result of paid search or organic results? Having these front of mind can show you things like:

  • Which product pages are getting the most traction
  • How often people have been looking to contact you or request a services quote

If you’ve been planning website changes, you’ll want to be sure your changes in-step with strong performance marketing. When it comes to SEO, there’s no need to “fix” what’s working well for your users.

8. Notice Top Keywords

Checking your analytics for top keywords used to find you is a key step that often gets overlooked in the rush to get content approved and campaigns up and running. You know your business and your products better than anyone. But your ideal customers might be using totally different words to search for what you have to offer.

Are there any surprises in your keyword report? Is there anything you need to add, or something that’s getting lost in translation? Following top keywords and keyword variations can help you get to the bottom of things and determine your next steps.

9. Follow Appearance in Google My Business

Google My Business is one of your most important marketing assets. Do you know how your listing appears, and for what searches? Check Google My Business (GMB) regularly to see how your listing is performing, especially if you rely on locals to keep the doors open. Check out things like:

  • Where are your “Click to Call”s coming from?
  • How far is your reach? Where are people located who click for a map/directions?
  • What search terms are bringing up your listing?

10. Monitor Number of Inbound Links

Inbound links send people to your site from other sites. The more inbound links you have, the better your rankings tend to be, especially if those links are to high-ranking sites. Google and other search engines rank based on inbound links because because they’re seen as a measure of authority and credibility. If others are willing to vouch for you who are respected in their field or industry, you must know a thing or two.


It takes some time to test out an SEO campaign. We recommend monthly checks across these metrics and any others you find relevant to your goals. But don’t just stop at monthly reviews: we recommend examining a trend line.

  • Is your marketing campaign performance better than it was a year ago?
  • Where do you need support?

If you’re doing marketing in-house, Google Search Console, SpyFu and SEMRush are great tools to have in your toolkit. If you’re a GoEpps client, there’s no need to buy access to these platforms or run your own reports. We offer comprehensive SEO reporting and recommendations to help you rank higher and go farther than your competitors.

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