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“What’s your current website’s visit-to-lead conversion rate?” That’s a question we always ask our prospects who inquire about our services. Almost none of them know, though many of them can tell you their website’s bounce rate.
Bounce rate is just one of the many “useless” marketing metrics you’re paying too much attention to as a business owner looking to grow your company. In this article, I’ll highlight those metrics, along with which metrics you should be paying attention to instead.
1. Bounce Rate
Infinite scroll blogs (where the user is automatically taken to the next article once he/she reaches the bottom of the page they are on) are pretty trendy across the web these days. Time.com implemented the infinite scroll in March and reports that the site’s bounce rate has dropped 15 percent since then. This article does a good job of explaining why that doesn’t really demonstrate greater user retention and engagement, and I’ll add on to it here.
For business owners to understand why their website’s bounce rate is not a good indicator of how well their website is performing, they first have to understand how bounce rate is calculated (which I don’t think they know. Hell, I didn’t know until our team’s Analytics consultant explained it to me).
According to Google, “bounce rate is the percentage of visits that go only one page before exiting a site.” If everyone who visits a particular page on your site leaves without visiting another page, that page has a 100 percent bounce rate.
However, Google doesn’t differentiate between what we at Blue Corona would call a “good bounce” and a “bad bounce.”
With a bad bounce, the user probably landed on your page, decided it wasn’t for them, and clicked the back button.
With a good bounce, a user probably landed on your page, decided to stay awhile and read your content, found the answer to the question they had, and left. It’s possible they even picked up the phone and called you afterwards. If your business gets a significant amount of leads via phone (as opposed to via web form submissions), your bounce rate is not telling you the whole picture.
What Metric You Should Pay Attention to Instead: Visit-to-Lead Conversion Rate
Depending on your goals, there are a lot of other metrics that you should pay attention to other than bounce rate (dwell time, exit rate, bounce rate by landing page, etc. are all better metrics.). But for most small business owners, I would argue that visit-to-lead conversion rate is the most valuable website metric for you to monitor or dare I say obsess over?
Overall traffic increases to your site are good, but again, an overall traffic increase could mislead you into thinking your website is performing well when it actually isn’t.
For example, if you own a commercial fire protection company in Dallas and you get 300 website visits a month, that’s pretty good, right? Well what if upon closer inspection, you notice that 250 of them are from outside your service area?
What Metric You Should Pay Attention to Instead: Traffic in Your Service Area
If you’re a local business paying to promote your website online (through SEO, pay per click, etc.), you want to increase traffic in your service area. This traffic is more likely to be qualified and therefore more likely to convert into leads, sales, and revenue for your business.
3. Clicks (and Click Through Rate)
SEO and PPC both have clicks, conversions, and leads. However, a common misconception is that clicks are the same thing as leads. Think of it like this: you wouldn’t consider someone who briefly came into your business and then ran away yelling about how horrible it was a lead. Similarly (though less scary), you wouldn’t consider someone who came to your site for a brief period of time a lead.
Picture this: Someone clicks on your ad to your home improvement website. They get to your beautifully designed website and they love both your services and project portfolio. HOWEVER, they are looking to shop around first before committing. They are not a lead until they actually contact you in some way.
Metric You Should Pay Attention to Instead: Conversions
Conversions occur when a user makes a choice to complete a desired action. These actions are steps that actually get you closer to the end of the sales funnel and to closing the sale—filling out a form, calling a phone number, or completing another specified action on your web page.
4. Phone Calls
Many marketing companies will tell you they can make your phone ring. But even if you use phone call tracking to figure out how many phone calls each of your marketing campaigns produces, not all of those phone calls are leads!
There are plenty of non-lead phone calls that your business likely receives each week:
- Job inquiries
- Personal calls
- Existing customers
- Wrong numbers
Metric You Should Pay Attention to Instead: Phone Leads
Ultimately, you don’t want to generate more phone calls—you want to generate more phone leads. Click here to read how to track if your phone calls are actually leads.
You can’t pay payroll with keyword rankings, and yet, far too many business owners get hung up on rankings as THE measure of SEO success. It’s true you need to rank to get visits to your website, but it also matters WHAT you rank for. Let me give you an example.
I once had a local chimney client who wanted to rank for broad keywords like “chimney sweep.” I explained to him that keywords like “Maryland chimney sweep” would be more likely to generate quality leads and sales for his business. After all, someone in Colorado looking for a chimney sweep is unlikely to want a chimney sweep located in Maryland!
This is just one example of how rankings constitute a poor measure of SEO success—simply because you might be targeting the wrong keywords!
What Metric You Should Pay Attention to Instead: Revenue
Ah! The best marketing metric of all—revenue. It’s absolutely possible to connect your SEO success to your bottom line, and you absolutely should. If you’re actually interesting in GROWTH revenue is the ultimate measure of SEO success.
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About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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