NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – We spend a lot of time at Sinai Marketing discussing SEO, and that’s no surprise since we’re striving to be the best SEO company around. However, the truth is that ranking our clients at the very top of Google is only part of the battle. Businesses want to be number one on Google for one reason only: to increase their sales.
We provide SEO services for many different types of companies, including dental practices, orthodontic practices, e-commerce websites and law firms, and each client has the same goal. Each client wants to know how much their business has grown since they signed up to work with us. Let’s take a law firm as an example. For a lawyer, SEO success may bring him many more inquires than he had before, but how can our lawyer tell if these inquiries are leading to new, paying clients? Does increased traffic always mean increased business? We understand we must not only track how well our customers are ranking on Google for specific keywords, we must also track how much business is being converted because of our SEO campaigns.
“It’s important to have a measuring system to see how many leads and how much business we bring to clients,” says Sinai’s CEO and SEO expert Ali Husayni. “If your site doesn’t convert traffic to leads, or worse, it’s getting the wrong kind of traffic, then ranking well on Google is meaningless.”
Tracking Conversions From the Web
It may be relatively easy to track conversions using Google Analytics if your business is coming only from the web. You can use specific tools to track how many users reach a download page, assuming your business sells something downloadable. For instance, if you’re selling an e-book, you can track how many people reach the download page, therefore conversions are easily monitored. With Google Analytics, you can even see the keywords that eventually led customers to download your e-book.
While this information can be helpful, it doesn’t provide a complete picture of how you’ve converted your customer. He may have searched “mystery e-book” on Google, which could have led him to a forum on Goodreads, a popular social networking site for avid readers. Your buyer could have read about your book there and decided to visit your website to finally purchase your book. He may have visited Facebook or Twitter before his purchase. How can you track this chain of actions that eventually converted him?
Google Analytics shares a fantastic video about the steps it takes to make a final conversion using the analogy of a basketball game. The player who shoots and scores gets credit for the goal, but other players were integral to the entire play. You can use the Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels to see how your customer behaved 30 days before he finally purchased your book. This gives you a complete picture of how your marketing efforts have paid off, and it takes the focus off solely the last “player,” if you will, to score the goal. Last-click conversion isn’t as helpful to marketers as viewing the entire chain that sent a buyer to his final destination.
You want to see how your customer has interacted with social media outlets, organic search results, emails, newsletters and banner ads before they decide to purchase your product. This insight is an invaluable tool that lets you see which marketing channels are most effective for your target market.
Tracking Conversions from Places Other than the Web
Many searches occur online that lead to conversions offline. This happens so often that there’s a term for it: ROPO. This stands for “research online, purchase offline.”
Conversion tracking gets trickier, however, when visitors are finding information on the web and then calling businesses for appointments. New customers could have found your business through Google Maps SEO efforts and then visited the business in person for an appointment.
So how do we effectively track how much business we’re bringing you if customers aren’t necessarily visiting your site? Not many web-marketing companies are able to capture conversion rates effectively and scientifically. Sinai Marketing aims to be one of the best marketing companies for tracking new business conversions.
Jellyfish, a UK digital marketing company, agrees that tracking offline purchases is difficult, but the more online exposure you have, the more likely you are to gain new business.
“Third party reviews for your company or brand provide independent endorsement which may strongly influence their decision to purchase,” say Jellyfish marketers. “You may not be able to track whether or not they have seen the recommendation, but by casting the net wide you will certainly leave an impression with the customer.”
While tracking offline conversions may be hard, it’s not impossible. For businesses that provide services, such as dentistry practices and law firms, we can use contact forms to see how many inquiries are coming from the Internet. From these inquiries, the SEO client will know how many new clients they’ve gained in the past month, the past quarter or the past six months.
However, many of us still like to pick up the phone. It’s not realistic to expect our clients to ask their potential customers how they found their website. Even if they did, this isn’t really an accurate or scientific way to measure results. For instance, if you are running an AdWords campaign along with an SEO campaign, more often than not, your customers cannot tell you whether they found you on the Ads or on the organic results pages. We can provide traceable phone numbers on your website, and these phone numbers allow us to accurately count how many new clients are coming from the Internet, even if they’re picking up the phone for an appointment without visiting your site.
This is a hot topic in the SEO world right now. Keyword reports are becoming less important as clients want to know exactly how much new businesses is generated from their increased rankings on Google. And that makes sense, right?
We are currently using Marchex, which is a very user-friendly phone tracking and phone-recording software used for this sole purpose. We can track and record every single call that goes to our clients’ business and provide them with a back-end administrator panel that they can see all the calls, where they were generated from, how long the call took and even listen or download the call.
We can also monitor where the calls are coming from including organic, direct or pay-per-click advertising. We can even track the success of a specific post.
For now, what methods have you used to track conversions for your SEO clients?