How to identify and use a SEO KPI, a performance indicator

When it comes to search engine optimisation, not every indicator is suitable to be a SEO KPI. Please also remember that every KPI is only as good as the intended use case you are trying to measure.

The SISTRIX Visibility Index as KPI

The SISTRIX Visibility Index is a good SEO KPI to measure the unadulterated SEO performance of a website. It is important to note that this indicator is independent of environmental influences, like the weather or elections in the USA.

Explanation of the SISTRIX Visibility Index: the key part of this index value is a domain’s visibility within Google’s search results. It is based on a representative keyword-set and looks at the rankings for which a domain is found within the Top-100 search results on Google.

You can use the SISTRIX Visibility Index to identify, measure and record both a historic timeline (success) as well as possible problems and Google Penalties.


  • Case 1: Recording positive results / successes
SISTRIX Visibility Index graph
SISTRIX Visibility Index as a SEO KPI, used to record successes

The Visibility Index for the domain used to rise continuously over the years. This proves that, during that time, all SEO measures were successful.

  • Case 2: Identifying problems
visibility index example graph
The relaunch had an effect on the Visibility Index

The Visibility Index of the domain fell by over 54 % in the weeks between January 16, 2012 and February 13, 2012 (from 34 to 15.5 points, values rounded). The reason for this crash was a, from an SEO point-of-view, unsuccessful website relaunch.

  • Case 3: Comparing competitors
SISTRIX Visibility Index graph
Competitors: (red) and (blue) were duking it out in close competition

If you plan on comparing yourself to your strongest competitor, then the Visibility Index is also the best choice. In this example we see how (red) and (blue) were duking it out for the throne, all the way to the end of 2012.

More useful indicators

We have to mention it once again: theoretically, any indicator can be a KPI. Whether this is useful or not depends on your perspective or rather the goal you are trying to achieve.