Conversion Tracking is Essential for Effective SEO & SEM in 2016

From my post here in our picturesque Canadian national capital, Ottawa, Ontario, which has an abundance of interesting perspectives, even in the late winter and early spring, SEO and SEM continue to be among the very best online channels for generating significant sums of revenue and increasing business from the web in 2016. Many of the components of search engine optimization, search engine marketing and various forms of PPC advertising seem to be changing at lightning speed as titans such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook and Twitter battle fiercely for online attention and ad revenues… and a stake in the enormous business of our new digital economy.

In 2015, Google (a.k.a Alphabet) was the market leader (Statista) bringing in more than $67B in ad revenue. Facebook was a distant, but growing second (Marketing Land) in terms of revenue generation, bringing in more than $16B in ad revenue in 2015.

National Art Gallery of Canada in Ottawa

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Virtually no city, or culturally rich region, on the planet can ignore the growing phenomenon that is digital marketing, and Ottawa is no exception. We have a vibrant business community offering a host of innovative and high quality products and services, even tech heavyweight, Apple, is getting in on the action (Ottawa Citizen), currently renovating its new 22,000 square-foot digs in Kanata; however, many business owners in the National Capital Region are struggling to find the best methods to maximize their online presence in ways that will bring them a measurable return on their investment. With so many options for digital marketing, many of which seem to change by the week, it can be hard to know which online metrics really matter.

Which Online Marketing Metrics Should You Focus On in 2016?

It’s easy to get sidetracked by focusing on likes, followers, rankings or even traffic levels. Sure, these elements do have their place, providing valuable insights about the health of your site and how it’s viewed and engaged by the world, but the vital signs that matter most for a web-based business, or a bricks-and-mortar business with a strong online presence, are centred around conversions… specifically revenue-related conversions that are the lifeblood of your business.

What is a conversion?

A conversion is any type of outcome on your site that you desire from potential customers for your business. If you have an e-commerce site, conversions are typically counted as online sales. For service businesses, conversions often come in the form of bookings for appointments or inquiries from prospects seeking out your service.

It boils down to how many units are selling, the number of appointments booked or any other type of conversion directly related to revenue generation. Other important and related metrics to monitor are the rate at which these revenue goodies are coming in (conversion rate) and how much each conversion actually costs you, a.k.a. the cost per acquisition (CPA)!

Conversions can also be other desired outcomes directly related to your sales cycle. For example, if you have a monthly newsletter that is proven to pull in sales using special offers or promotions, sign-ups to your newsletter could be considered a type of conversion worth tracking and investing in.

Conversion Funnel in Google Analytics

Conversion (Goal) Funnel in Google Analytics

One of the key components of a conversion-focused web strategy is the ability to track how many conversions you are getting over a given time period, and where your conversions are originating from. Conversion rates and the total number of conversions over a period of time are an excellent indicator of the quality of traffic your SEO and SEM efforts are producing.

How To Increase Your Conversion Rate

So, how do we encourage a prospect, just firing up their favourite digital device, (it’s not a question of mobile or desktop anymore, but rather which device at which time, as most of us now have multiple devices that we seamlessly transition across throughout the day), to quickly find our fabulous website that we’ve invested so much time, energy and hard cash into, and convert into a sale or booking?

Every business is different and the competitive landscape, reflected on the web, is continually changing. There is no standard formula that will result in business success all the time, but there are a variety of SEO and SEM strategies which can generate measurable results. There is an element of trial and error, but with proper conversion tracking in place, the real results of any SEO or SEM tests can be evaluated. We can also compare these results against any efforts in social media or email marketing, to effectively gauge which online channels and corresponding digital marketing strategies will net the highest ROI.

For Best Results: Just Google It

A Google search is currently the gold standard for many of us as consumers to find what we are looking for as quickly as possible. Sure we can ask our Facebook friends where to buy a really decent whatchamacallit, but that takes a bit of time and results will be restricted to a few others who are likely to think a lot like us, which can be valuable, but also limited and time consuming. Or, you can ask Siri, who is now offering more in depth results, drawing from Bing, Youtube, Wikipedia and more, with her iOS 9 update (Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land). And although Siri generally seems to be in a better mood these days, her on-the-fly results still don’t measure up to Google’s fine-tuned search engine machine, especially for prospects closer to a buying decision, looking for the highest quality search results.

Most prospects, who are sufficiently along the sales funnel to look at buying, booking, signing up, downloading and simply converting, use a Google search by typing in keywords they think will find them the best product, service or piece of information they are looking for as quickly as possible.

High Quality Content is a Must for Effective SEO

So how does your site get noticed by your target market on Google? Not long ago, whenever SEO was mentioned, search engine rankings were the metric that everyone seemed to be zeroing in on. Rankings used to be fuelled primarily by the number of links pointing at a site, and the keywords that were listed for a particular page. Keywords and links still play important roles in determining search rankings, provided the links are from credible, relevant sources and not bought or farmed and the keywords are not stuffed onto a page in a blatant attempt to game the system; however, the quality of the content on a site, and specifically how that content attracts and engages your target market, is increasingly important for SEO efforts aimed at achieving real business results from the web in 2016.

Every webpage on your website should be packed with valuable information to assist a prospect in their search for the ideal solution to their want or need. With the increasing use of semantic search principles by the major search engines, most of the pages on the site should also relate to each other and the main themes that your site is about. This means the content needs to be well written, relevant to what prospects are interested in and convey some sense about the vendor and what they have to offer.

Creating Your Conversion Generating Machine

Good SEO and SEM practices are synonymous with optimizing your site for conversions… from search to sign-up. High quality, relevant content with properly structured SEO and supporting metadata has a much greater chance of coming up in the search engine results for prospects who are looking for exactly what you have to offer. Such content should also speak to your audience, when they land on your page, in such a way that entices their interest to buy your product, inquire about your services, sign-up for your newsletter, like your page on Facebook, provide a link to your site etc., all of which can be considered types of conversions.

Not sure how to turn your website into a conversion generating machine? Contact Samurai Marketing and we’ll collaborate with you to form a personalized strategy to grow your business using the incredible powers of the web!

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