Why KPIs are about more than just ‘vanity stats’

by | Feb 25, 2024 | SEO | 0 comments

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I’m a huge fan of stats and figures, and knowing where I’ve been and where I’m going.

But to do that, I need to track what’s happening with a website that I’m optimising, and, as a copywriter, how my blogs or articles for clients are performing.

When it comes to KPIs for SEO, there are a few things you can track.

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Search Engine Rankings

The most obvious one, and why I ask all of my clients to set up either a free SEMrush account* or a trial SERanking account* – while the free and trial versions of both systems are limited, they do help you to track a few things that may be important to you. The hopeful result is that you will see your website, or your articles/blog posts, rise in rankings for the target keyphrases (remember we’re ignoring keywords.). Of course, this doesn’t always happen, and in later weeks we’ll go over what to check when things don’t go as expected

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Website visitors

The logical result of higher search engine rankings is more website visitors, so you may want to track this and see how many visitors your website is getting. You can do this with your Analytics program, Microsoft Clarity, Google Search Control, etc. Now, if you’ve chosen your keyphrases incorrectly, it may be that website visitors don’t increase. And sometimes when they don’t increase, it’s not that you’ve chosen incorrectly, but that you’ve chosen targeted and more focused keyphrases that have fewer searches.

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Average time on website

The average time that someone spends on your website or blog can be a key indicator of whether they are reading your content or just glancing at it then returning to a search or social media site/app. If Wordcounter  tells me that my 1900 word article has a reading time of around 7 minutes, but everyone who visits the page from LinkedIn spends 30 seconds on it, then I know something is wrong, right?

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The above are all valid goals and performance indicators, but they don’t mean anything on their own. They’re what are known as as ‘vanity stats’ – stats that make you feel good, but they’re not goals within themselves.

None of them are real, proper indicators of whether your SEO is working for you (unless your pure aim is just to drive a lot of traffic to your website, in which case, knock yourself out).

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What are the KPIs and Goals that mean something to you and your client’s businesses?

I’d wager that the following matter more to you all:

  • Sales

  • Enquiries

  • Phone calls

  • Newsletter signups

Don’t get caught up in the vanity stats trap – track the things that matter.

You may want to track the other things too, but don’t make them the be all and end all of your strategy.

KPI Tracker is a fantastic KPI tracking tool that costs nothing. You can use it to track all of your KPI data in one place. I’d highly recommend it, and if I weren’t so lazy, would want to create my own version.

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When you write a piece of content, or update your website, think about the things that matter – they’re the things you want to track. No judgement if it’s Likes, Shares and Comments on LinkedIn, or simply being above your competitor in Google, but if those things aren’t bringing in the money, it’s time to start thinking about whether they’re worth tracking closely at all.

Need help working out whether your SEO is actually working for you? My SEO 1:1 could be just what you need.

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