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7 Tips for Selecting the Right KPI’s for Your Search Marketing Campaign


Although your ultimate goal is to increase conversions and revenue, there are many factors that take place before and after these goals. KPI’s (key performance indicators) are the measures that are happening behind the scenes to aid in increasing conversions and revenue.

When you watch a movie, you’re merely seeing the 1.5-3 hour finished project, but there is so much more happening behind the scenes (writing, acting, producing, casting, etc.) that goes into making that movie a success.

Just like the successful movie in the above example there is a lot of work that goes into making a website successful. This is why KPI’s are so important, when you dig deeper and figure out how you are getting conversions, you’ll find yourself getting conversions more efficiently and affordably.

Some examples of KPI’s include cost per lead, brand equity, rate of return visits, customer retention, conversion rate, referral sources, social networking footprints, page views, impression share, campaign expenses, and many more. With so many possible ways to measure the internal success of your online marketing campaign, how do you know which metrics to optimize in order to ensure your end goal of higher conversions and revenue?

Below are seven ways to approach KPI’s in order to determine which metrics to optimize.

#1: Page Level Measuring

To begin, pick several core landing pages within your website that are visible, reflect your company, and support your overall goals. Make sure the content on those pages are devoted to your potential customers and have a great chance at making them convert.

From there, you’ll want to measure time on page, bounce rate, placement in the conversion funnel, keyword sources, conversion rate and so on. As you study these metrics and optimize to improve each one, you’ll see major growth in your overall page and website goals.


TIP: Make sure the pages you track are some of you most trafficked pages on your website (or pages required to go through in order to convert).

#2: Synchronizing Your Team for the Same Goal

Say you’re measuring total conversions via a handful of pages, and these pages obtain traffic from a variety of sources. You may have a social media team (working on Facebook ads, Twitter tweets, and Google+ groups), a Pay-per-click management team (focusing on adgroups, cost per click/lead and keyword conversion rates), and an SEO team (working on overall search engine presence).

It’s important that all of these teams come together to reach the common goal of generating conversions via your core landing pages. Have your team members’ work together to see the differences in visitor types, which department is sending high bounce rate visitors, and which department is sending the high converting traffic. Ask questions such as why is one department sending visitors that end up spending 20 minutes on your website and never converting while another is obtaining traffic that bookmarks your site and returns later to convert.

Discussing these issues and metrics will shed light on what needs to be done in order to improve each page’s overall conversion rate. Doing this will also help you cut and trim cost if one medium isn’t performing comparably.

#3: Individual Team Goals

Similarly to the last way to approach KPI’s, you’ll want each team to do their best to improve your overall website performance. It’s important to determine specific goals that each team is accountable for.

Allow each team to channel their efforts into what they specialize in, as long as it leads to the greater goal of conversions.

For example; you can let the social media team focus on growing a following that generates enough buzz to share high converting pages or current deals, while the PPC team focuses on cost per lead or per keyword and the SEO team on overall search visibility and referral traffic conversion rates.

Some companies will even find ways to get their teams to compete utilizing their specialties for prizes, time off, or even just bragging rights on which segment is best. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone.

Metric Measuring Approaches

The next group of approaches to KPI’s may seem like actual metrics (and to some degree they are). But keep in mind, these metrics require tasks and management skills to improve. You’ll see that they are metrics that go much deeper than just numbers…

#4: Conversion Funnel Drops Outs

We can’t forget that the overall goal is still conversions. But we must all remember that there are steps toward our conversion goals (before and within the site). Sometimes it’s as simple as visiting the homepage, liking the message and converting. Sometimes it’s a shopping cart process of picking a product, adding to a cart, viewing cart, providing shipping and payment information and confirming the order.

However many steps needed to convert, you must know where (AND WHY) all your visitors continue and or leave. Seeking to improve the percent of visits from one page to the next is perhaps one of the most important measurements in all conversion optimization.

#5: Improving Return Visit Rates

While your goal may be to convert users (new or old) you must always seek to increase the reason to return. Whether it’s an undecided customer or a long-time client, increasing the rate of returns, not only improves performance for better search engine visibility, it also increases branding, likelihood of page shares, bookmarks, etc.

Always try to find ways to get your visitors that didn’t convert to return and ways to get your already paying customers to come back.

#6: Total Keyword Searches

Gone are the days when we try to rank for a handful of terms and where our site’s search position determines the success of an SEO campaign. We need to place more focus on reach and search visibility.

Month after month our sites should be attracting more visitors via more keywords and to do that requires more content, more social shares, more contextual placement on other sites, more keyword research, and competitive emulation. Never sell your site short for just a handful of terms, the more places you can be found organically and via paid search, the better (assuming you’re always measuring conversions).

#7: KPI Agreement (Between Team and/or Clients)

This perhaps should have been the #1 way to handle KPI’s, but we saved the best for last. Before you even start a campaign, before you spend money on ads, before you begin researching your landscape, you, your team, and the client should all come together and agree on what measures you want to use in order to determine the success of your campaign.

If a client only cares about rankings, that’s fine, however make sure they know there’s so much more to it. If they only care about total conversions, make sure they know about cost per conversions and other deeper metrics behind it. It doesn’t matter what you agree on as much as it matters that you all agree. Later down the line, if there’s any conflict you can always refer back to what you all agreed upon, and if needed you can come together again and decide on new metrics to measure.

Some campaigns are as simple as just increasing overall revenue or total organic traffic. Other campaigns require 20 tabs in an excel spreadsheet to measure every little metric down to the granular levels.

Whatever the case may be, your goals must be clear to the whole team and you must always seek to improve those goals. If you don’t pick goals that will improve your company’s bottom line then you’ll be wasting everybody’s time and money. Make sure you put the right amount of thought into what you’re trying to achieve, and then achieve it. There’s nothing more satisfying in the world of internet marketing than knowing you’re improving upon your goals and making your client’s happy or your business money.

Do you have any other suggestions for ways to approach KPI’s? Comment below…


James Harrison HeadshotJames Harrison is a partner and SEO manager at Clear Peach, a search marketing agency dedicated to delivering visible SEO & PPC results. Developing new strategies and providing the most cutting-edge search engine marketing and traffic generating services is his passion. Besides that he loves his family and playing rugby.