As 2020 slowly draws to a close, you might be wondering how you can enhance your SEO strategy for the following year. Mind you, if you have been dishing out top-quality content, stayed on top of your keywords, and if you have built a sound backlink portfolio, you’re on the right track. Now is the time, however, to elevate your SEO efforts in an attempt to rank your website even higher in the SERPs and build stellar brand awareness and recognition in 2021.
After all, your ongoing goal should be to consistently appear at the top of the search results in order to portray a trustworthy brand image to the world and enhance your entire digital presence. This is what builds customer loyalty and boosts your lead generation strategy.
With that in mind, now is the time to reassess your essential SEO KPIs and start tracking the most important performance metrics that will facilitate growth and success. Here are the KPIs you need to track to take your business forward in 2021.
Tracking Google’s new Web Vitals
You might not have heard about the Web Vitals initiative from Google, and that’s okay because it has only been rolled out recently. Web Vitals is a KPI, or rather a group of KPIs, that Google hopes will provide some much-needed insight on how websites are performing, and which should be prioritized based on their relevance to the consumer. Essentially, the aim of Web Vitals is to portray the metrics that influence customer experience the most in the modern online world.
While this is an evolving project from Google that will add different metrics over time, currently Web Vitals include three main SEO factors:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). This metric indicates the website’s loading performance.
- First Input Delay (FID). This is a user-centric metric that measures load responsiveness.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). This important metric measures the visual stability of a website.
Bounce rate and top exit pages
If you want to improve your digital presence and take your website to the next level, you need to know when, why, and where your visitors are deciding that your website is not what they’re looking for and choose to click on the back button. Your site bounce rate and top exit pages are important KPIs and important indicators to Google that something might be wrong with your site. If nothing else, it makes you less relevant in the eyes of the search engines, and your standing in the SERPs begins to fall.
Your bounce rate will tell you that people are opting out without interacting with your site, and typically, the problem will lie with poor UX design, subpar content, and unclear brand messaging. Remember, the visitor needs to find what they’re looking for quickly in order to stick around.
On the other hand, your top exit pages KPI is complementary to your bounce rate because it tells you where your visitors are deciding they’ve had enough and leave. By figuring out the stages at which people are opting out, you can work on improving the performance, design, and on-page SEO of individual pages.
Average session duration and page views per session
The next two KPIs you should keep a watchful eye on in 2021 are your average session duration and pageviews per session. These KPIs along with the aforementioned ones need to be viewed from a centralized location to make sense and for you to connect the dots.
To see how these KPIs are connected with all others and especially the two we just talked about, it’s important to generate detailed reports with comprehensive SEO reporting software that will give you a bird’s eye view of your SEO strategy and performance. Essentially, these two metrics can be extremely valuable in gauging user engagement and experience.
Knowing how much your visitors are sticking around will tell you which pages are engaging, and which fail to keep their attention long enough to lead them further through the pipeline. Mind you, if you have a one-page website, then focusing more on session duration is a better choice.
Organic traffic and its sources
Of course, organic traffic still is and always will be one of your most important KPIs. As you probably already know, organic traffic tells you how many people found your website through search engines like Google or Bing. Be sure to monitor your organic traffic through your Google Analytics tool and combine it with all other KPIs on your reporting dashboard to gain a better understanding of your position in the SERPs and what drives visitors to your website.
Page load time and mobile optimization
Last but not least, if your website is not optimized for mobile devices, you will never be able to rank high in the SERPs in 2021. Google loves websites that perform seamlessly and load quickly, and it prioritizes websites that leverage AMPs (accelerated mobile pages) to make their sites scalable to handheld devices. AMPs improve the loading time of your website as well, which is an essential KPI and SEO factor that can affect the user experience and consequently, your ranking in the search results.
There are many factors that will determine your standing in the search results in the following year, and now is the time to revise your SEO strategy to get a head start. Use these KPIs to ensure the success of your SEO strategy in 2021 and elevate your standing in the competitive online world.