Measuring your SEO Success: Key Metrics and KPIs to Track

| By Hope Bronsky
Measuring your SEO Success: Key Metrics and KPIs to Track

As any good marketer knows, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. SEO is no different. 

It requires regular improvements to existing elements of your website, both technical and non-technical, so it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day SEO tasks and lose sight of the bigger picture. 

Measuring KPIs brings that perspective back to the conversation. You’re finally able to determine what’s working and what’s not, and see your investment in terms of ROI. 

What can be challenging to know, however, is which metrics to track as there are so many — and tracking all of them aimlessly can increase the confusion rather than mitigate it. We have compiled the list of some of the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics you should monitor to get a true sense of the success of your SEO strategy. These are metrics we use for our own clients too.

Most Important SEO KPIs and Metrics 

1. Branded vs. Non-Branded Traffic

First thing you need to know about your SEO strategy is how much traffic it actually drives to your website in comparison to other marketing channels. Is it actually that effective in getting people to your website? 

The way to do that is to look at your branded vs non-branded traffic. 

Branded traffic refers to visits generated by searches that include your business or brand name. This shows brand awareness and loyalty. Non-branded traffic, on the other hand, comes from generic keyword searches related to your industry or products without mentioning your brand specifically.

Branded traffic is a reflection of your overall brand presence in the market and is a result of how your brand is perceived by customers — irrespective of whether the first interaction took place online or offline. Non-branded traffic, on the other hand, is largely made up of SEO and SEM traffic.

What’s a healthy ratio of branded vs non-branded traffic? There’s no correct answer there, but generally, an increasing trend in branded traffic is a good sign as it shows your brand is top of mind for more potential customers. It’s quite possible that your audience may have first learned about your brand via non-branded keywords, and now that they have started trusting it as a source of information — find your brand via branded keywords instead.

An example is SEO publications like B Backlinko and Search Engine Journal — both of which started as websites targeting SEO keywords that consultants look for. Now, they have become the go-to place for a lot of SEO professionals to get their daily dose of SEO knowledge — and probably receive a lot of their traffic from branded search keywords. 

How to track: Google Analytics allows you to differentiate between these two types of traffic with filters. You can see what percentage of your traffic falls into each category and how these numbers change over time.

2. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

One of the most critical metrics for measuring SEO success is your click-through rate (CTR). CTR indicates how often people click on your listing when it appears in search results.

How to track: It’s calculated by taking the number of clicks and dividing it by the number of impressions. You can find both of them in your Google Search Console. 

For example, if your page was viewed 100 times in search results but only received 10 clicks, your CTR would be 10%. Tracking this percentage over time will help you determine how compelling your titles, meta descriptions, and content are in attracting clicks.

The average CTR varies across industries, but a good baseline is around 2-3% for organic clicks.

Some key factors that influence your CTR include:

  • Title tags and meta descriptions: Optimize them for your target keywords.
  • Keyword prominence on pages: Make sure keywords are visible in headings and first paragraphs.
  • Content optimization: Keep content well-written and updated regularly.
  • Site speed: Faster load times lead to higher CTR.
  • Social shares: Shares increase awareness and trust.
  • Backlinks: More and higher quality links boost credibility.
  • Mobile usability: Ensure your pages are mobile-friendly.

To improve your CTR over time, focus on refining these areas through ongoing optimization and analytics. Regularly updating your titles, meta descriptions, and content with user intent in mind can significantly increase the percentage of clicks.

You can also examine which pages perform best and duplicate their practices site-wide. Monitor CTR metrics monthly to identify strengths to maintain or weaknesses to address.

3. Average Page Load Time

When it comes to tracking your SEO performance, one metric that is often overlooked is average page load time. This refers to how long it takes for your web pages to load once a user clicks on them entirely.

Slow load times can seriously hurt your users’ experience and your site’s search engine rankings.

How to track: The best way to measure your average page load time is using Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool. It will test any URL you input and provide metrics for desktop and mobile load speeds.

As a general guideline, aim to keep desktop loads under 2 seconds and mobile loads under 3 seconds. Faster is always better, though – one second or less is the golden standard to aspire to.

Optimizing your page speeds brings several benefits, too:

  • Users are less likely to bounce off slow pages, improving your user experience.
  • It enhances SEO as page speed is a ranking factor for Google.
  • Faster sites mean happier customers who may return more often.
  • Speedier pages can also improve conversion rates.
  • Increased time on site and perceived performance.

4. Number and Quality of Backlinks

Backlinks (or incoming links to your website) from other domains are a significant signal for search engines like Google. The more authority and trust you build through relevant backlinks, the more your rankings are likely to improve. 

Some SEO professionals argue that in a world inundated with too much content, search engines may prioritize the quality of backlinks as a ranking signal even more in the near future. 

How to track: Ahrefs and SEMRush’s backlink overview tools are great for identifying and understanding all aspects of your backlinks. Pay attention to metrics like:

  • Backlink profile
  • Anchor text
  • Number of linking domains
  • Spam score 

These provide insights into your backlink quality and diversity.

Actively working on backlink growth is also essential for success. Some effective strategies include:

  • Guest posting on industry sites.
  • Participating in relevant forums and comment sections.
  • Partnering with influencers in your niche.
  • Pitching well-written stories to news sites, journals, and publications.
  • Network and engage with others in your industry on social platforms.

5. Keyword Rankings

Keyword rankings are the position your website appears in on search engine results pages, or SERPs, for certain keywords.

Tracking your rankings over time gives valuable insights into your content’s suitability for essential search terms. Although it’s best to use the keyword tracker in third-party tools like SEMrush for keeping a daily eye on the most important 100 keywords, Google Search Console is enough for understanding keyword positions over time. 

Inside the GSC dashboard, you can keep an eye on movement. Are you climbing up the SERPs or sliding down? You’ll want to see an overall trend of improvements.

Here are things you can learn based on those patterns:

  • Higher average rankings mean increased visibility and clicks from valuable searches.
  • Strong rankings are also indicative of  your business succeeding in building customer trust and loyalty. The opposite is, of course, true as well.

6. User Engagement

User engagement is a big piece of the puzzle. You’ve got the people on the page, but are you now able to keep them there? 

You also need to know if your content is effective at getting people to take the action that they are supposed to after reading it. For instance, an engaging blog may encourage them to explore other blogs on related topics or direct them to the service page which can solve their problem. 

The trouble here is that user engagement is not as straightforward to measure. You’ll need to consider multiple engagement metrics to get a full picture. Luckily, all the data is available inside your Google Analytics dashboard: 

  • Engaged Sessions

Engaged sessions, GA4s replacement for bounce rate, are when visitors stay on your page for more ten seconds or they view two or more pages on your site. Note that conversions are now referred to as key events. You can use the key events to evaluate your marketing performance so that you know what to adjust for a more optimal performance. 

  • Average Time on Page

The average time on the page shows how long users typically spend consuming each page—you’ll want this to be as high as possible as it shows how long it is able to hold their attention.

Note: A higher number is a good thing as long as you first establish that the time spent is not high because your page is too slow to load.

  • Pages per session

Pages per session reveal whether people are exploring multiple pages of your site or just bouncing after one view. This will help you get a picture of how effectively your pages guide your customers through different stages of the buyer journey with effective CTAs and more.

7. Conversion Rate

One of the primary goals of any marketing effort is getting visitors to take the desired action on your site. Your conversion rate tells you how successful you are at achieving this, whether that’s getting your customers to make a purchase, sign up for your newsletter, or download a resource from your site.

It’s calculated by dividing the number of conversions (actions completed) by the total number of visits to your site.

Most analytics tools can measure conversions. But we recommend sticking to Google Analytics for the most accurate overview.

Make sure you have set up conversion goals or event tracking for the actions you want to measure correctly inside GA4. Then, you can break down conversions by source to focus specifically on organic visits.

Regarding benchmark conversion rates, an average landing page sees around 2-3%. This can vary widely by industry. For example, online retailers often aim for 1-2%, while lead generation sites may see 5-10%.

No matter what you sell, even minor improvements to your conversion rate through better UX or more compelling landing pages can significantly increase your bottom-line results.

Recommended reading: How User Experience Affects SEO

8. Organic Impressions

Organic Impressions tell you how many times search engines show your content in the search results. It’s important to note that it’s not always clear based on search impressions alone whether your pages actually appear in top spots in the SERPS — this is just an overall measure of how many times it does appear for certain search queries overall. 

This can tell you two things: 

  • How big is the pool of actual people who could potentially click on your website pages in the SERPS if you were in the top 3 spots. 
  • Help you estimate the actual search volume of the keyword (aside from the average search volume data you see inside tools.)

How to track: You can track impressions for keywords in Google Search Console’s Performance report. Keep an eye on impressions for your high-volume target keywords.

There are a few factors that influence organic impressions for keywords:

  • Your content quality and relevance
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Backlinks
  • On-page SEO
  • Page speed
  • Engagement metrics like CTR
  • Ongoing algorithm updates from Google

By monitoring impressions, you can see if your efforts to optimize these areas are paying off.

For example, getting more backlinks to a page should increase its impressions. If impressions decline, it’s a sign to investigate if technical issues or content changes may negatively impact search visibility.

9. Google Business Profile Metrics

Tracking your Google Business Profile Metrics is a must for you if you are a local business which receives foot traffic to its physical location.

Google Business Profile (previously known as Google My Business) allows you to create and manage your business listing across Google platforms like Search and Maps. 

This free tool lets potential customers easily find essential information about your business online via “near me”  or location-based search queries such as “home remodeler Santa Monica”. 

Most of the metrics can be found inside the GBP dashboard itself, such as: total profile views and actions on your profile page. You’ll need a local SEO third-party tool to track the number and quality of citations you build for local SEO. Here is what these metrics indicate: 

  • Number of citations refer to the number of third-party sites, such as directories, that link to your Google Business Profile. Accuracy and consistency of information is really important here. More accurate citations typically result in greater local visibility.
  • Profile views indicate how often your listing has been viewed on Google Search and Maps. Optimize your profile to increase views.
  • Total Actions include calls, direction requests, and website clicks made by users directly from your profile. More actions show increased user engagement.

Note: Remember to add and verify your business information, upload photos, and respond to reviews for better optimization.

10. Volume Metrics

Sure, you need to know how much of your traffic is engaged and taking actions on your site. But none of that can be measured without measuring the total volume of traffic you receive with and without SEO. 

A comprehensive overview of your SEO strategy demands that you analyze both your volume and performance metrics together. 

Volume metrics give you a sense of the quantity of organic search traffic coming to your site, while performance metrics provide more quality insights.

Here are three essential volume metrics to include in your tracking:

  • Organic Sessions

Organic sessions represent the number of individual site visits originating from an SERP. Monitor this metric over time to gauge whether your organic search traffic is increasing.

How to track: You can find this under the “Traffic Sources” report in GA4. 

  • Organic CTR

Organic click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of organic search impressions that result in clicks. 

It’s calculated by dividing organic clicks by organic impressions. 

Organic CTR gives you a sense of how compelling your website content and metadata are to searchers.

How to track: Use Google Search Console to gather organic impressions and total organic. Calculate manually. 

  • Organic Traffic

Organic traffic tells you the total number of monthly users reaching your site from organic search results.

How to track: Monitor increases in your monthly organic user and session counts in Google Analytics under “Traffic Sources” to determine if your SEO efforts are paying off.


By benchmarking the key metrics and KPIs we’ve discussed here regularly, you’ll gain insights into what’s working well and where you may need to refine your SEO strategy.

Remember to set defined goals so you can celebrate wins along the way. 

Remember to track both volume and performance metrics in Google Analytics or Google Search Console to get an eagle-eye view of your SEO strengths and opportunities for growth.

In case it gets too daunting, you don’t need to tackle it alone. Our SEO experts at Unframed Digital have helped many businesses improve their organic visibility and lead through strategic, data-driven approaches — and we can help you too. Contact us today to learn how we can help measure and improve your SEO performance.

hello@unframeddigital.com | (315) 430-4609