Optimizing your ecommerce site can be daunting. It’s a long, drawn-out process and it typically takes a while to achieve success.
Your long-term goals for increasing revenue are important, but it’s important to have shorter-term, incremental goals to build visibility in search, drive more traffic, and convert customers, as well.
Monitoring and measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) gives you that high-level view that shows you’re on the right track — or that you need to make adjustments.
Here are 11 of the SEO KPIs that are most relevant to ecommerce websites.
1. Organic Revenue & Transactions
The first and perhaps most obvious KPI for tracking your ecommerce SEO efforts is revenue.
Revenue is the amount of money generated by sales.
To understand the overall success of your SEO efforts, you may want to track how much revenue is attributed to organic traffic.
This KPI can be tracked with many tools, but we suggest tracking it in Google Analytics. This is preferable as you will be able to compare it to the performance of other marketing strategies.
And while the overall goal of your SEO campaign is likely to increase revenue, the next best thing is to increase are the transactions attributed to organic traffic.
Transactions and revenue are not correlated as there may be promotions, cheaper products being launched, or other factors that affect revenue over time. But transactions are still a sign of an effective marketing strategy.
Much like revenue, this KPI may also be helpful when comparing it to the percentage of total transactions.
2. Assisted Organic Conversions
There isn’t truly an attribution setting you can use in Google Analytics that will give you the full picture of how many conversions a traffic source has touched.
In marketing, it often takes multiple visits to get a singular conversion.
Luckily, you can find assisted conversions in Google Analytics under Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions.
This view will give you a better idea of all of the conversions organic traffic has touched and the true effectiveness of your SEO efforts.
You will see the revenue generated by all of the assisted conversions in this view, as well.
3. Conversion Rate
Conversion rates are an indicator of on-page SEO success. Higher conversion rates from any traffic source can indicate a better checkout flow, more relatable copy, or a better on-page/on-site experience for users.
With that said, ideally, you will see your conversion rate increase while working on on-site SEO.
To take things a step further, you may look at the conversion rate for just organic traffic. When comparing it to the conversion rates of other marketing channels, is it on par? Higher? Lower?
This information can help you set benchmarks for the KPI moving forward and make optimizations to keep moving in the right direction.
4. Organic User Lifetime Value
Driving traffic to your site through your SEO efforts is one thing, but driving valuable traffic through search optimization is the true goal.
Google Analytics has had lifetime value tracking in beta for a while now and has proven to be rather… valuable.
Lifetime value is broken down by channels by default, making it easy to see the value of organic search users over time.
A higher lifetime value of organic users over time can be traced back to ranking for more relevant keywords or a better on-site user experience.
Compare the lifetime value of organic traffic to other channels to see how they stack up.
When analyzing this data, consider what information users may have had when coming from other channels. How can you present that information to those coming to the site organically?
5. Number of Non-Branded (But Still Relevant) Keywords
Tracking keywords is second nature for SEO professionals, but something we need to get better at is tracking the split between branded and non-branded keywords.
In ecommerce, this is especially important as we want to rank for keywords related to our products or the issues that our products solve.
Tracking this can be done in a few ways. Obviously, you could use a keyword tracking tool. But for ease, you may also use Google Analytics’ Search Console integration.
You can either export the data from here or use advanced search filters to filter out branded keywords.
6. Keyword Ranking Increases/Decreases
A popular thing to track when working on SEO campaigns is the positions of your target keywords.
There are usually words you want to increase your rankings for, as well as words you want to decrease your rankings for, and both should be tracked.
Remember to take benchmarks before you start working on the SEO campaign.
These will allow you to compare where you were before the SEO efforts went into effect with where you ended up.
7. Click Through Rate
When it comes to SEO, one of the most debated ranking factors is click-through rate (CTR).
Whether or not it is truly a direct ranking factor, it is still important.
If you increase your click-through rate, you are driving more traffic to your website, which means more chances for sales.
CTR can either be tracked at the keyword or landing page level or both. All options can be tracked in Google Analytics through the Search Console integration.
8. Organic New Users
Getting new users to your site is always exciting. It’s a new opportunity to gain a new customer!
So, tracking how many new users come from your SEO efforts is a must.
Obviously, you will want to track the number of new users and increase it over time, but you will also want to make sure you are tracking the interaction of the new users.
This will tell you if the optimizations you’ve completed have attracted the right audience from the search results.
9. Free Listings Orders from Google Merchant Center
If you are using Google Merchant Center (which you should be), there are a few KPIs you will want to track on the platform.
Not only are you able to buy shopping ads using Google Merchant Center, but you now have free listings to promote your products organically.
Track how many orders you’ve received through the Google Merchant center as a result of optimized product listings.
To get a better understanding of the impact of your listing SEO, you can also refer to total sales.
10. Core Web Vitals
It wouldn’t be 2021 if we didn’t talk about Core Web Vitals.
Core Web Vitals is a direct measurement of page experience that Google has explicitly said is a ranking factor.
As an ecommerce site, slow pages can be the difference between making money and bouncing a user. And I think we both know which is better for your business.
Core Web Vitals are tracked in Search Console, and the ideal measurements are as follows from Google:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
- First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of 100 milliseconds or less.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of 0.1. or less.
11. Return on Investment
This KPI may be calculated differently for everyone. Remember, you are always investing in a strategy, even if it isn’t paid.
To have a strategy executed, you will be investing in time or money — or both.
Time might be contained to your time only, but it may involve a team. When calculating your time investment, each person’s time should be accounted for and given a value.
Is your time worth $50/hr? $100/hr? Multiply each person’s time investment by their respective hourly value to calculate their investment.
If you are paying a team to execute SEO for you, that will be part of your investment. However, the price of tools, collateral, etc. should also be calculated and included.
And lastly, the cost of goods sold should also be included in your total investment.
Once you’ve calculated your total investment, divide your revenue by your total investment to get your true ROI.
I live by the mantra, “Track it before you need it.” Grab your benchmark numbers, and get to tracking!
Tracking concrete KPIs that you use to gauge success will help you with your SEO strategy moving forward.
- SEO for Ecommerce Websites: A Step-By-Step Guide
- 15 Mistakes New Ecommerce Sites Make All Too Often
- Ecommerce Marketing: The Definitive Guide
All screenshots taken by author, May 2021