In the early days of online marketing, every discussion was about traffic – i.e. getting more visitors to your website. As the web has evolved, the conversation has shifted from traffic to conversions. After all, what’s the point in paying money to drive visitors to your website if your site doesn’t do a good job converting the visitor into something of greater value (like a lead)? Sending traffic to a website that doesn’t convert well is inefficient.
The problem is, you can’t convert traffic you don’t have. I analyze lots of small businesses from an online marketing perspective and I can tell you this: most small businesses don’t even have enough website traffic to make it possible to accurately calculate their visit-to-lead conversion rate!
So, you need more traffic and search engine optimization or SEO is a great, cost-effective way to get it. The key is to focus on SEO traffic strategies that result in quality visitors. What do I mean by “quality visitors?” Good question. Quality visitors could be defined a number of different ways – depending on the nature of your business.
For the purposes of this blog post, I’ll define quality visitors as visitors that:
Reach your website using keyword phrases related to your business (that don’t include your company name). So, if you’re a local plumbing company, this means people searching for things like “furnace replacement + city in your service area” or “leak detection city, state.”
Engage with your site at a level that is greater than your site’s average. For example, if the average visitor to your website visits 2.5 pages and spends a minute and a half on your site, a quality visitor would be anyone that views more than 2.5 pages and spends more than a minute and a half on your site.
Using Google Analytics to Assess SEO Traffic Quality
Branded Searches v. Non-Branded Searches (NBOS)—Someone that searches for your company by name already knows who you are – either because they have already been to your website, they were referred to you, they saw one of your service trucks at a neighbor’s house, etc. Contrast this with someone that reaches your website using a ‘non-branded’ keyword – a keyword phrase related to your business that does not include your company name. Google Analytics allows you to create custom segments to compare these two (very different) segments. This is a great way to evaluate the growth of your brand strength as well as the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.
Bounce Rate—A 100 percent bounce rate indicates that someone visited one page of your website and left without ever viewing another page. Analytics guru, Avinash Kaushik says a bounce is the equivalent of, “I came. I barfed. I left.” High bounce rates typically indicated poorly targeted traffic or ineffective website content. Generally speaking, the lower the bounce rate, the higher quality the visitor.
Pages/Visit and Time on Site—Like bounce rate, the web metrics, Pages/Visit and Time on Site can serve as good proxies for the quality of a website visitor. For most businesses, visitors that engage deeply with your content are more likely to convert (or become a lead) than visitors with below average Pages/Visit and Time on Site values.
Of course, these aren’t the only ways to measure traffic. The key however, to analyzing your traffic, is looking at it from different angles – really thinking about your business and what you want people to do when they visit your website. It’s not enough to do what most business owners do, which is to review broad web metrics like how many people visit per day, month, or year.
Quality Visitors and High Conversion Rates Go Hand-in-Hand
In-depth website analysis isn’t done for fun (if this is your idea of fun, you need to get some new hobbies). The reason you should analyze your website traffic is because quality traffic and conversions go hand-in-hand. Let’s say you own an HVAC and plumbing company based out in Hollywood, CA. Recently, you got a huge surge of traffic, which is great! But where are the leads? The answer may lie in your web analytics data.
Looking further into your web traffic might help you uncover a few things. Login to Google Analytics and look in the left-side navigation menu. See that heading labeled “Demographics?” Click that and then click the sub-heading titled “Location.” Now, you’ll be able to see where the people visiting your website live. For instance, if you see that your visitors are coming from Hollywood, FL and not Hollywood, CA, this would clearly explain why the rise in traffic has not resulted in an equal increase in web leads!
What’s the takeaway here? You can have all the traffic in the world, but if it’s not relevant, it doesn’t mean anything.
Make sure you geo-target—Studies show most users type in a city or state when they’re searching for a service related to their home (most of our clients are “home services businesses”). Regardless of how great your company is at HVAC or landscaping, only people in your area can expect to convert into leads and sales.
Invest in great web design—It’s amazing how many top companies in the “real world” don’t carry their reputation with them onto the “world wide web.” On the one hand, you want a website layout that is familiar – especially if your business is “need based” (plumbing, hvac, roofing, etc.). People shouldn’t have to look hard to find your phone number or contact info. On the other hand, you need to make sure your website is different/better than the competition. There are a million ways to do this – invest in explanation web videos, create awesome content, use great visual imagery, etc.
Understand that traffic and conversion rate are intertwined. Who wants peanut butter without the jelly? (Actually a lot of people prefer just peanut butter—but that’s not the point). Also remember that, to attract quality traffic via SEO and content marketing, you have to do a great job with keyword research and create high-quality content. If you don’t have relevant, useful, or interesting stuff to say, sure you might get visits—but will your content inspire people to pick up the phone and give you a ring? Probably not.
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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