Major KPIs to Gauge Return On Investment for eCommerce SEO
One of the easiest ways to grow your online brand over the long term is with search engine optimization (SEO). However, this is not exactly a so-called set it and forget it process. Rather, you should consistently pay attention to your results to see where you’ve made gains, where changes are necessary, and how close you are to reaching your goals.
To make this process a little less confusing, we put together a solid list of the most important aspects to track. Here are thirteen major key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge return on investment for eCommerce SEO.
13 Essential eCommerce SEO KPIs
1. Organic Traffic
Perhaps the most important aspect of monitoring your eCommerce SEO data is overall organic traffic. After all, your main goal in optimizing your online store is to bring in more traffic from search engines, so it is important to know if your efforts are actually working.
Getting a lot of visitors to your website and increasing eCommerce sales are two entirely different things. That’s why it is important to pay attention to who is coming to your website, where they are coming from, and why they aren’t making purchases.
2. Referral Traffic
In addition to organic traffic from search engines, you should also pay close attention to your referral traffic. These are visitors that don’t come from just organic search, but other aspects like paid advertising, social media, email marketing, and more.
This is such an important part of your eCommerce SEO strategy because you want to be able to compare the numbers. By understanding where new customers are coming from, you can decide where it makes the most sense to spend more money to scale up your marketing.
3. Organic Goal Conversion
Not every person that comes to your eCommerce website is going to be a paying customer. Rather, a focus on at least getting them into the sales funnel by any other means is still a valuable conversion goal that needs tracking.
For some online brands, this is getting someone to sign up to receive a coupon and join a mailing list. Others might consider a conversion something like sharing a post on social media, posting a comment on a blog post, or whatever makes the most sense for their overall goals. Decide on a factor for your website and track the KPI to see if it is effective.
4. Organic Conversion Rate
Then there’s the number of eCommerce website visitors that actually turn into paying customers. As you probably already know, this is one of the most crucial KPIs you need to track, as it affects your entire digital marketing plan.
A higher conversion rate means that your website is doing a fantastic job taking that incoming traffic and turning those people into buyers. A low conversion rate means that you likely need more fine-tuning for user experience or other factors and should concentrate on this before increasing overall traffic. In most cases, a low conversion rate might mean significant changes, so it could be ideal to bring on an eCommerce SEO agency to help out.
5. Keyword Rankings
A huge part of any eCommerce strategy is keywords. After all, you want to optimize your online store so that people can find you when they are looking for a particular item or type of item. Tracking and optimizing for certain keywords is a great way to boost search ranking and overall traffic.
In addition, Google and Bing sometimes rank you for keywords that you weren’t necessarily trying for. By keeping track of these, you can see where you need to add more content centered around a particular topic or if you should include certain terms in product descriptions, category pages, etc.
One of the most critical ranking factors for an eCommerce website is backlinks. If people are linking to your website, you need to know what these links are and whether they are helping or hurting your page rank. If you have toxic links, disavowing them with Google is critical.
From an eCommerce perspective, tracking your backlinks is also crucial if you have implemented an affiliate program. You want to make sure the content your affiliate team is putting out meets your criteria and the only way to do this is by religiously checking backlinks.
7. Page Speed
For a long time, Google has said that the speed of your page is essential to how well you rank. Unfortunately, some eCommerce site owners sometimes lose track of this as they start to add more and more slow loading features to their page, which eventually hurts rankings and causes a lower user experience.
Checking page speed at least monthly ensures that any small tasks or fine-tuning you need to do is handled quickly before it harms your SERPs. There are tons of great tools on the market, many of which are built into platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce.
8. Number of Words
You know your keywords are important to your SEO traffic. However, so is the number of words you add to a page. Keeping track of this KPI is especially crucial if you’re consistently adding new content, such as expanding product page descriptions or adding category text.
By knowing whether longer pages are converting better than shorter ones, you can start to gauge where you want to expand your copy. Plus, you can decide individually which products need more attention for a higher ROI on sales.
9. Branded vs. Non-Branded Traffic
Another eCommerce SEO metric that you need to watch is your branded versus non-branded traffic. Branded keywords are those that include your business or store name, which signifies that people are looking for your website directly.
This can be a good sign of customers attempting to buy again or find you after researching your past products. By tracking these as KPIs, you can see where you’re successful in terms of brand recognition.
10. Returning Visitors
Another important eCommerce KPI is returning visitors. This is a good thing to track alongside organic traffic to help you understand who is coming back to our website and whether or not they are converting.
By keeping a finger on the pulse of what is happening with your existing customers and those who may have visited without purchasing, you can measure where you need to do more search engine optimization. It can also give you an idea of brand loyalty and if you need to attempt more brand recognition content as part of your overall strategy.
8. Bounce Rates
Do you know how long people are staying on your website before leaving? Your bounce rate is one of the most important eCommerce KPIs you can track in terms of search optimization. The reason for this has to do with relevancy. If your website is optimized for terms that have nothing to do with your actual products, you’re likely to have a fairly high bounce rate.
This is an excellent KPI to track for other reasons, too. Numerous factors can lead someone to leave your page the moment they arrive, so if your keywords are fairly relevant to your website, then it is likely another issue that you’ll need to track down and fix.
9. Cart Abandonment Rate
Finding out how many people are adding products to their carts and then never making a purchase is important for your eCommerce SEO return on investment. Why? Well, if you know your cart abandonment rate, you can compare that to other factors to see if the traffic you’re optimizing for is really your ideal audience.
You can also make adjustments to your user experience, pricing, shipping rates, and more to try to get your abandoned cart rate reduced. In some cases, abandoned carts might be linked to page load speed, or diminishing search ranking. By fixing this, you could see an improvement in both areas.
10. Average Order Value
You’ll also want to keep close tabs on your average order value (AOV). This is the average amount each person is spending per order and is something you should be able to look up on your eCommerce metrics dashboard in the backend of your Shopify or BigCommerce website.
AOV relates to eCommerce SEO in a few ways. One, if you’re optimizing your website for products or search terms that lead to a low order value, you might need to adjust your strategy to bigger ticket items.
11. Product Reviews
It is also super important to pay attention to product reviews, especially if you’re using rich snippets to display these directly on your search listings. If a particular product gets low marks, this could greatly affect your website’s amount of organic traffic.
In turn, you could end up spending more time and money on search engine optimization than you really need to be, as shoppers aren’t going to click on a listing with a low review. Instead, track your reviews and see where you need to make changes for better overall customer satisfaction.
12. Email Subscription Rates
While not specifically tied to eCommerce SEO, you also want to keep a close eye on your email subscription rates. One highly popular eCommerce marketing strategy is to create optimized content for organic traffic, get site visitors to sign up for an email list as the conversion goal, then try to use those emails as a way to turn them into purchasing customers.
This is how the metric ties in with your overall SEO ROI. If you know that your optimization is creating organic traffic that increases subscriptions, you can eventually scale that up to see more sales.
13. Customer Lifetime Value
Although this can be a little more difficult to figure out if you haven’t been tracking KPIs in the past, it is still important to determine customer lifetime value. Before you can really decide on a digital marketing budget, you need to know how much it costs your brand to attract a new paying customer, how much they spend, and where that compares.
Tracking customer lifetime value is an eCommerce KPI that every online store needs to plan for serious long term growth. By understanding this factor, you can make solid decisions on allocating organic and paid traffic.
Wrap Up: Tracking eCommerce KPIs
While that might sound like a ton of eCommerce marketing jargon, the truth is that each of these metrics plays an incredible role in ensuring your online brand is growing. If you know what works and have the numbers to back it up, you can start to increase your efforts and scale your digital marketing.