SEO and Tracking Enquiries
I regularly have conversations with both potential clients and existing ones about tracking the effectiveness of an SEO campaign. Whilst ranks for the most effective buying keywords and overall traffic are often a good indication of the success of a campaign, this isn’t always the case, only tracking all your enquiries and how they convert to sales will give an accurate figure for the campaign’s ROI.
Quite often when I start to optimise a website, I’m asked “why am I not making website sales when I have lots of site visitors?”, well, firstly the interpretation of “lots of visitors” needs to be addressed. If you had a small high street shop and had 100 people through the door each day, you can probably expect somewhere between 20 and 50 % of them to buy something depending what you sell (if it’s a newsagents or supermarket it’s probably almost 100%). With an online shop you will never (or extremely rarely) achieve this kind of conversion rate, so yes traffic numbers are relevant, but better to have 200 real site visitors a day, then 1000 who are never going to buy.
This leads on to the second issue. Visiting the shop involves somebody getting out of bed, having a shower, getting dressed, getting in the car or walking to the bus stop, wandering round town and eventually into your shop, so does take some effort on their part, we can assume here that they probably need something, possibly what you sell, so that could well be why they ended up in your shop. Online visitors, on the other hand, could have not even completed the first step above when they visit your website, they could be still in bed searching for something else and got distracted, or just doing a bit of research for a future possible purchase, or saw an interesting link on Facebook, they have a quick look and then they are off again… I could write a whole post here about conversions and improving them, but that can wait until another post.
The point here is, do you know where your telephone enquiries are coming from? Every big company can tell you this, they know exactly where the enquiry originated, if it converted to a sale, how long it took and if not, at what point of the process it fell out. OK, they have a lot of money to spend on fancy telephony systems with different numbers for different traffic sources, these link into a customised CRM which in turn feeds to the accounts, so they can run detailed reports on the entire process. I know the typical small business just doesn’t have this kind of resource available. But you do have a pen and paper, or a spreadsheet which can be kept on the desktop, or more likely even a copy of one of the off the shelf CRM systems which can be bought for under £200, right?
When an enquiry comes through, you absolutely must ask how they heard about you as a company, if they say on Google, great, just track it, at the very minimum put a tally mark on your sheet of paper, so you know it’s a wed enquiry, not just another call from the magazine advert, or the yellow pages etc.
Once you can start to attribute enquiries and actual sales to an SEO campaign, you can begin to see it’s effectiveness! If you don’t you will always we spending money on a hunch that it’s working.