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Conversions Can Be Tracked and Measured in Your SEO Program
One of the things I often hear when discussing SEO is that its results are not measurably linked to the bottom line. I’m just not seeing the conversions, some may say. Ah, there’s that word: conversions… the holy grail of any marketing effort. So what does a conversion mean in SEO? To the business owner, getting a few first time visitors to the company’s site does not necessarily qualify as a conversion. When the President or CEO talks about conversions, what they really want to know is this: how many of my recent leads (or sales) have come from our SEO program? It’s a valid question. But before getting muddled into a conversation about the definition of a conversion, remember this important fact: the Internet is the first place most go to learn about almost everything in today’s world, so your website and its thriving SEO program is your company’s most effective way to reach your customers.
I sit very close to our own new-business guru, and when new calls come in from prospective customers, he always asks the question: “May I ask how you heard of us?” More often than not the answer to that question is: “I found you on the web.” But if you don’t have a new business person from which to get that instant feedback, Google analytics also has a few ways to measure conversions, no matter how you want to define that term.
Keyword Generated Traffic
If you don’t have Google analytics set-up on your website, don’t delay, do it today. Google analytics is full of voluminous detail about how visitors are interacting with your site, including: what keywords are generating the most search traffic, how many new and repeat visitors are hitting the site, what pages on the site are visited most, and how many visits are made to specific pages, just to name a few. To give you an example, in the month of December, 2010, TriComB2B.com was found five times by one of our most prized search terms (insert gratuitous keyword plug here): “b2b marketing agency”. Not surprisingly, “tricomb2b” was the most searched term prompting a whopping 83 visits to our site. We had 250 visits generated from search to our site which accounted for 36% of our total traffic. Out of the 701 total visits to our site, 56% of those were new visitors.
I love digging into the data and the numbers to find out what pages were visited most, whose blog got the most traffic and how long visitors stayed on specific pages that we're tyring to promote. And I could keep digging ad infinitum. But for those of you don’t want to embrace you inner geek and navigate the labyrinth of analytics data, there’s an easier way as well.
Add Goals to Your SEO Analytics
If you’ve ever perused a Google Analytics report, there’s a Dashboard view that gives you an at-a-glance, big picture view of your metrics (visitors, traffic sources, content, etc). One overview report that fits nicely on the Dashboard is the Goals overview. Goals are more commonly associated with AdWords or pay-per-click programs that tie a specific landing page to a paid advertisement. For SEO, Goals allow you to define conversions however you wish and basically keep track of visits to specific pages that you would commonly associate with starting the sales cycles (request for more information, contact form registration, etc.).
Setting up goals is relatively painless. Simply click on the Goals link in the Analytics menu and take a few minutes to set up your Goal Details. You can define your objectives by how many times a specific page is visited, how many pages you want your visitors to view while on your site, or simply by how long your visitors remain on your site. Obviously, the goals of an e-commerce site will be much different than those of a strictly informational site, and the great thing about analytics is that you can define your goals according to your specific objectives. Then, you can check as often as you’d like to see if you’re meeting those objectives.
With proper goal setting in Google analytics, the next time someone asks about conversions in your SEO program, you’ll have actual data to offer up as an answer.