The SEO industry will be valued at nearly $80 billion by 2020 and for good reason. Search engine optimization is a necessary practice for any modern business. Who doesn’t want practically free traffic and leads?

However, no matter how great your SEO campaigns are, you still need to measure them to stay on track for success. But what metrics should you track and what are good benchmarks? Keep reading to learn just that.

1. Average time spent on page

How long should people spend on your website? The longer the better. This signals to search engines that your website and its content are useful, helping to boost rankings.

You can check your average time spent on page via a tool like Google Analytics. Ensure that you’ve signed up for an account, created a property, and connected it manually or via a plugin.

Navigate to “Acquisition”, “Traffic Sources”, and “All”. You will then be able to see the average time spent on page, among other metrics, from all of your traffic sources.

Feel free to drill down into specific pages and pieces of content, as well.

This metrics can be improved through a variety of ways, such as:

  1. Producing long-form content which helps users stay on the page for longer durations.
  2. Targeting a buyers persona which means content will be more appealing and relevant, helping them to stay longer on your blog.
  3. Improving the user experience of your website since if it’s poor, users will be likely to leave and spend less time there.

2. Backlinks

Links to your website remain as one of the most important ranking factors. Think of it as a voting system. The more websites that link to yours, the more popular your site is among search engines. This boosts your rankings and ultimately gets you more traffic.

Backlinks are also a very important KPI to measure in your SEO campaigns for this reason. You want to keep tabs on how many links you are receiving, from what resources, and the quality of them.

You can do so with a freemium tool like SEMrush. Simply plug in your URL and navigate to the backlinks section.

It will display all of the latest backlinks you’ve earned along with their trust score, domain score, anchor text, and more.

Use this data to determine which pieces of content acquire the most links and what publications linked out to them

I’d recommend producing similar styles of content to attract more links and to use for future backlink building campaigns since data has proven them effective.

Similarly, you can reach out to websites that have linked to you for more collaborative opportunities like guest posts.

3. Bounce rate

The number of users who visit your website and leave without visiting any other pages are known as bounces. These are very important because it signals to Google whether or not users are navigating to other relevant pages of your site.

Similar to the average time spent on-page, this metric can be measured via Google Analytics under various parts of the dashboard, such as the home page.

It’s been estimated that the average bounce rate is between 56-70%, so if yours is high, don’t feel bad. It’s probably around the average mark and there are many things you can begin doing to improve it.

One of the best ways to improve the bounce rate of a website is via internal linking. This works in two ways. Firstly, it helps push users to other content on your website, improving the actual bounce rate percentage. Furthermore, providing extra resources via links is a ranking factor Google considers.

You should also audit the speed of your website, as it has a direct correlation to how long users will stay and whether or not they go deeper into the site’s structure.

4. Organic sessions

What’s one of the main goals of great SEO? Getting more traffic. It only makes sense to measure how many organic sessions your website is driving with that being said.

Through the use of different tools, you’ll be able to see how much traffic you gain from social media, email marketing, and other channels, but we want to focus solely on organic.

Once again, you can navigate to the acquisition section of Google Analytics and choose a time horizon like one month to see how many users your website had.

Whether it’s every month, quarter, or another time frame, marketers should audit their organic sessions to watch its growth.

5. Keyword rankings

One of the most important steps when producing content is keyword research. You need to strategically find and use search terms within blog posts for them to rank highly in the SERPs. Hence why it’s very important that you analyze how they rank over time, too.

I recommend using a tool like SerpStat. It’s completely free and you can begin by entering in the URL of your website. You will see the organic terms you rank for along with their position and volume on the dashboard.

Clicking “Organic keywords” will allow you to dive deeper into what terms are driving traffic to your website.

Check this data on a regular basis to monitor how your rankings are moving. If they are going great, continue doing what you’re doing. However, if you notice them declining, you may have to build more links to your content or improve the quality.

Final thoughts on SEO KPIs

Search engine optimization is one of the most effective strategies for growing any business. However, you need to keep tabs on KPIs or your progress will be stunted. It’s common for website owners to practice SEO, but neverage track and manage their campaigns.

You can begin measuring your SEO by watching average time spent on page and bounce rate. These metrics signal to search engines how relevant and useful your website is to the users you attract.

Backlinks and keyword rankings should also be tracked to ensure that you are gaining authority and moving up the SERPs.

Finally, analyze how your organic traffic is increasing as a result of your marketing efforts.

Bio: Carmine Mastropierro is a freelance writer who has written for Neil Patel, GoDaddy, SmartInsights, and other popular publications.