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In automotive SEO, using the right KPIs at the heart of your strategy is fundamental to overall success. Like all marketing channels, different KPIs can tell completely different stories depending on what your marketing goals may be, but by knowing what to look at from the start, you’re in a prime position to hit your targets, build your authority, and increase your revenue all at the same time.
Transactional SEO KPIs
One of the main marketing goals that SEO is used for is to increase sales revenue. Acting as a source of organic traffic, SEO can bring highly relevant audiences at any point in the purchasing funnel. By targeting the bottom of this funnel, the right KPIs can be a big indicator of how well this traffic is performing.
CLV (Customer Lifetime Value)
Although it is not directly a metric related to SEO, CLV is still a metric that SEO contributes to massively. By being a well-rounded SEO and targeting customers throughout every stage of their product journey, from research and purchasing to ownership and brand awareness, CLV shows just how well your SEO strategy performs in keeping your customers satisfied and aware throughout their lives. It also means that when the time comes to change vehicles, in addition to brand loyalty, SEO will keep you in view at all times.
Without a doubt, SEO can contribute massively to a business’s revenue stream. In fact, organic was the primary channel for revenue across most of the automotive industry, including the clients we work with directly. Measuring the impact of this organic revenue paints a picture of how well this is working. It’s more useful still when compared to other revenue sources like paid traffic, email marketing and other such traffic sources, but as a whole, organic revenue from organic goes a long way in demonstrating the success of your SEO for terms related to the end of the purchasing journey. This can also be complemented by looking at how organic traffic has interacted with other traffic sources throughout user journeys dependent on your attribution model preferences, too.
At the heart of any SEO strategy is an average position. While generic overall average positions aren’t always useful (especially for larger brands who will be ranking for all kinds of terms, intentionally and unintentionally), looking at your target keywords and their average positions is the absolute opposite. With almost all the traffic of any given keyword visiting positions 1-3 and with the fierceness of automotive rivals like AutoTrader, Motors and other such sellers usually targeting the same exact keywords, it can be a solid way to check your success.
General SEO KPIs
As well as SEO contributing to sales and revenue (both directly and indirectly), it also impacts practically every other marketing goal that your automotive organisation may be looking toward.
Traffic is of course a good KPI to see the impact of your SEO work. Whether it’s for product keywords, awareness campaigns and content marketing, branded keywords for retailers and OEM’s and practically everything in between, looking at the traffic of your site against similar-sized competitors can help you understand the scope of your SEO efforts. Although what you do with this traffic is often seen as more important than the traffic itself, getting the traffic is still crucial to know about.
Impressions / Awareness
The other side of the coin for SEO KPIs may well come from the more awareness based school of thought. This is where looking to impressions can be helpful, and not just the traffic that comes with it. If you’re trying to bolster yourself as a new brand, an authority in the industry or simply trying to get your name out there and get some high-funnel attention, impressions may be a good way to go about it. They can show you’re moving up the average position scale for your target keywords, demonstrate the impact of your position 0 or similar rich results, image or video results and much more, often being the precursor to traffic later down the line.
CTR (Click Through Rate)
CTR is a great SEO KPI to bridge the gap between traffic and impressions. By understanding the click-through-rate, you’re making it clearer to your team what it is that is and isn’t compelling. That could be about product metadata, the schema markup you have in place, the relevancy of your content, or even the authority of your brand. When it’s correlated against things like your average positions, it can be a huge helper in giving insight into your marketing efforts and showing what you might be doing right or wrong.
Finally, session duration is one SEO KPI in automotive marketing that again shares common ground with user experience but is still fundamentally important for SEO at its heart. Session duration is again a huge indicator again of the success of your content. While dwell time is technically not a ranking factor, it is still pivotal in the success of SEO, as without knowledge of it, it’s impossible to know if your website or content is actually doing the job that it is optimised to do. Not meeting audience expectations or providing value means you will eventually be outranked, and that is of course the worst possible scenario.
All in all, KPIs are fundamentally important to track any success in automotive SEO, from making sure your target market knows where to find you and keeps you in mind, to making sure your products stand out against possibly even the same products from competitors. With over 60% of all online experiences beginning in a search engine, tracking the success of SEO in the automotive industry has never been more important, and whatever your marketing goals may be, these are some great points to consider in your reporting.