How we approach SEO and hold its performance accountable

SEO and Performance Accountability: Why measurable results, tracking and targeted digital marketing guides our approach to SEO in 2021.

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As a Marketer, you already know the importance of investing in SEO. But here at The Pistol, we see SEO as a performance tool that needs to be held accountable (like everything else in our digital marketing toolkit).

Here’s the thing: you’re not pouring time and energy into SEO for no tangible ROI. That means you need a clear list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track your results and measure your success.

Ready to hold your SEO accountable to performance? Let’s show you how.

What SEO KPIs should you be tracking?

With a decade of experience under our belt, we’ve narrowed down the key metrics businesses should be tracking to assess their SEO performance.

Organic Traffic

As far as SEO metrics go, Organic Traffic is one of the most important. It signals how many visitors reached your site solely from organic search results.

Plus, it’s one of the strongest indicators of SEO performance. Month-on-month increase in organic traffic indicates your search rankings are improving.

Here at TP, we work with our clients to identify their organic traffic opportunities, set clear monthly goals and tailor their SEO strategy to drive sustained growth in their organic search visibility.

Organic Conversions

What happens once organic traffic lands on your site? This next KPI is about assessing the quality of your website traffic and tracking exactly how many of these visitors are converting.

We work with each of our clients to drill down into exactly what conversion goals are most valuable to them, including:

  • Mailing list sign-ups

  • Form submissions

  • App downloads

  • eCommerce sales

By tracking the conversion rate from organic site traffic, we’re able to help our clients refine their site architecture, messaging and creative to optimise the user experience to maximise conversion.

Keyword Rankings

While Google’s algorithm is getting smarter about ranking positions based on search history, location and AI learning, tracking keyword rankings is still valuable as it:

  • Reveals whether you’re current keywords and approach is driving organic traffic

  • Highlights opportunities to adjust your keyword selection to boost your SEO performance

Although keyword rankings don’t equal conversion, this metric does act as one of many KPIs you should be tracking to assess the performance of your SEO strategy.

Clickthrough Rate (CTR) Benchmarks

This metric captures the percentage of searchers who visit your site after spotting your website in the search results. Your site’s CTR is a measure of how effective your content is at grabbing attention and driving action.

By optimising your site’s title tags and meta descriptions to spark interest and address customer pain points, your CTRs are likely to lift.

When it comes to CTR benchmarks, remember this: your search ranking has a significant impact on the likelihood of clicks. Even pages in position one generate only an average of 31.52% of the clicks on desktop (and 24.05% on mobile).

New Backlinks and Referring Domains

When it comes to building site authority, backlinks can be golden. But, there’s more than one metric to have your eye on.

Along with the total number of incoming links, you should be assessing how many referring domains (a.k.a. unique domains) have linked to your site. That’s because links from new domains have the biggest impact on your site’s credibility.

When monitoring your backlinks activity, your tracking tools should include:

  • Update frequency: how often is the tool refreshing and indexing new backlinks?

  • Accuracy: does the tool show follow/no follow links separately? What about anchor text and backlink source authority?

  • Trends: how well does it capture the overall backlinks trend - are you gaining or losing backlinks over time?

User Experience and User Behaviour Goals

Your site content needs to be designed for people, not just Google. That means user experience needs to be at the centre of your content’s design to ensure you grab and retain users’ attention.

When it comes to user experience and behaviour goals, the key metrics we track with our clients include:

  • Bounce rates: how many visitors leave your site without clicking any links?

  • Time on site: how much time do visitors spend on your site?

  • Pages per visit: how many pages do users visit on average before leaving your site?

  • Page load time: how long does it take to display all the content on the page?

Here at TP, we set specific UX goals based on each client’s business goals and objectives. That allows us to hone in on the specifics of their site content and how their SEO accountable for tangible ROI.

Audience Retention

Once you’ve got users to land on your site, what incentive do they have to stick around? That’s where this next KPI comes into play: new vs returning visitors.

If you’re seeing a high volume of users return to your site, you’ll know you’re targeting the right traffic and delivering relevant content.

Brand Awareness and Authority

How does your site stack up in the eyes of Google? When it comes to boosting your search ranking and getting your content in front of new audiences, metrics such as Domain Authority need to be on your agenda.

Your domain name’s authority is tracked on a scale of 0-100, built from the quality of backlinks and brand mentions. The higher this stat, the more trustworthy your domain.

To boost this KPI for our clients, we build a comprehensive content strategy that boosts their site’s credibility and authority. From SEO blog content to an in-depth backlinking strategy, we tailor our approach to each client’s unique business goals.

Core Web Vitals

But it isn’t just backlinks and keywords that impact your SEO performance. Instead, Google looks at how your site’s design stacks up as well.

As the name would suggest, Core Web Vitals are all about page speed and site performance, including:

  • Mobile traffic and load speed

  • Desktop traffic and load speed

That’s why we help our clients optimise their site’s UX and resolve any page speed issues to boost their Core Web Vitals (and lift their overall SEO performance).

SEO ROI

When it comes to tracking marketing performance, every optimisation you make needs to deliver a tangible return for your business.

In the case of SEO, it’s about assessing how well your time and energy is being spent.

By figuring out your annual SEO expenses (time, software costs etc.) and seeing how this stacks up against your annual SEO revenue to create your annual SEO ROI (shown as a percentage).

That’s why we invest in in-depth reporting for our clients to give them total transparency over their SEO ROI and show the tangible value of every minute we spend on their SEO.

What you need to know about the SEO timeline

So, how long does it take to see tangible ROI from your SEO strategy? In short, SEO is a long game.

When a new page usually takes anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to be indexed. However, technical issues can slow Google down.

While there’s no set time frame, there are two actions you can take to speed things up:

  • Prevent server overload and make sure it can handle a reasonable number of requests.

  • Make sure emphasis and prominently display new internal links on your site.

  • Ditch and clean up any unnecessary URLs on your site.

  • Focus on high quality content that Google and users can easily navigate.

Here at TP, we’ve been setting the industry standard for SEO performance for over a decade. We dive deep into the unique business needs of each client we work with to tailor a bespoke strategy that unites our technical and creative expertise to drive tangible ROI.

Cheat Sheet

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SEO Performance Accountability
The Pistol SEO & Performance Accountability Flow

Ready to hold your SEO accountable for performance? Get in touch with us and learn how we can help your business with our SEO performance tools.


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