Watch a 2 minute demo Watch Now


Avoid SEO Key Performance Indicators That Don’t Matter

All too often, Digital Marketing or SEO Agencies make guarantees to potential clients that seem too good to be true. This is because more often than not, they usually are. This guide will help those embarking on an SEO implementation to determine which SEO KPI’s actually matter – and which do not.

SEO KPI’s That Don’t Matter

To attract potential clients, claims or guarantees from SEO agencies now include promises like “Pay Nothing Until You Rank on Page 1 of Google” or “50 Key Phrases on Page 1 Guaranteed”.

What these SEO agencies do not tell prospective clients, however, is which key phrases will be selected to rank number one, or on the first page of Google – or what the impact of having high rankings for those key phrases will be.

Agencies will tend to select low search volume key phrases (that are easy to rank for because they are not competitive), or branded key phrases and different variations, that will inflate the amount of first page rankings for an organization – but will do nothing to increase the amount of visibility that organization will have for non-branded key phrases.

The primary goal of an effective and targeted SEO campaign should be to drive high amounts of unbranded, or undecided, search traffic to your website. This strategy appeals to relevant audiences, as your site appears on the top of Search Engine result pages (SERP’s) for Search Engine users who are searching for products or services your company offers – without specifically searching for your brand.

The best SEO implementations manage to target and rank for keywords that are both unbranded and have high search volume. Take the below key phrase, “Bangkok to London”, for example. The key phrase has 1,600 searches on average per month globally, while not including any brand name:

It can be reasonably assumed that a Search Engine user inputting the search query above has the intent to travel between the two mentioned cities, meaning airlines and online travel agencies (OTA’s), specifically, would benefit greatly for ranking for the key phrase.

The above is an example of a search result for the key phrase “Bangkok to London’, with a Thai Airways search result returning a high organic listing. To an airline, this is extremely valuable as the website is able to attract Organic, unpaid search engine traffic from visitors who do not already know which airline they were searching for – they just knew what flight route they were seeking. The traffic is additionally highly qualified, and highly likely to convert, which means ranking for this particular key phrase will directly increase the amount of Organic website revenue the website can generate.

Let’s take a look a different key phrase, one that has less search volume than the previous example, but still has a significant amount of search volume globally. The below example is for the key phrase ‘Thai baggage allowance’, which has 260 average monthly searches.

Thai Airways ranks number one organically for this key phrase on Google:

However, this first page ranking, in the sense of generating revenue, is nowhere near as valuable as a first page ranking for a route-based non-branded search (like the ‘Bangkok to London’ example). While the route-based key phrase result directly contributes to organic revenue, the informational key phrase result (baggage allowance), while still important, does not. Not all first page key phrase rankings should be treated equally – this is why it is so important to understand the difference, and to understand what is most important to your business. Many organizations can’t see the forest for the trees – meaning they become too concerned with vanity metrics and key phrase rankings to remember what they set out to accomplish from their SEO strategy: to increase revenue from organic search traffic.

Also, don’t be surprised if SEO agencies proudly report on numerous #1 organic key phrase results like the ‘baggage allowance’ example above, even if the rankings don’t positively impact your primary KPI’s. When considering SEO proposals or agencies, don’t fall for marketing gimmicks or empty promises – focus on what really matters.

Key SEO Deliverables That Actually Matter

No two SEO implementations are ever the same, meaning promising certain numbers of key phrases being ranked on page one is essentially meaningless. Additionally, traffic guarantees are next to impossible (think, “50% more organic traffic guaranteed!”), and remember that not all traffic is created equal. When determining key SEO deliverables, focus on increasing KPI’s in the below areas:

  • Increased Organic Website Revenue
    • Delivering more bookings, orders, or revenue from Organic and Unpaid Search Engine Traffic is the primary KPI for the SEO campaign, comparing pre-SEO implementation to post-SEO implementation results and revenue.
  • Increased High-Quality Organic Website Traffic
    • A successful SEO implementation will lead to increased high-quality Organic website visitors (more is not always better! – focus on quality traffic and search intent) who navigate to your website from Search Engines and are most likely to convert.
  • Increased Valuable Unbranded Key Phrase Traffic
    • Driving website traffic from visitors who already know your brand will not increase revenue. On the other hand, a proper SEO implementation will increase website traffic from undecided visitors – meaning you can increase revenue by attracting site visitors from those not already searching for your brand.

By focusing on KPI’s that will actually benefit your organization, and devaluing vanity metrics like the amount of first page key phrase rankings you have – you will get more out of your SEO engagement, and will be focusing on SEO metrics that actually matter.

Considering an SEO implementation but don’t know where to start? To speak to a member of the Campaign Sherpa professional services team about SEO, contact us here.