What you will learn: The most important metric with which to evaluate your SEO campaign. Who should read this article: Company and marketing leadership.
How NOT to Evaluate SEO: RankingsRankings are a poor way to evaluate an SEO campaign. Even though this has been the case for a number of years, many companies still live in the past and put an undue emphasis on rankings in both their campaign strategies and reporting. Why is an emphasis on rankings incorrect? Google’s organic search engine results are personalized. What users see for the same search query varies depending on the user’s search history, geographic location, IP address, browser, cookies, time of day and many other factors. Google’s search engine results are blended. What users see for a given search query is a blend of website results, local results, news, video, images, and other categories. Google’s formatting of these assorted categories varies, giving different levels of visibility to each category. Google no longer allows website owners to see which keywords were used to drive organic traffic to their website pages. There is no way to know exactly how much traffic a given keyword generates.
Conversions, Not Rankings, Are What MatterEven back when rankings were more measurable and meaningful, they were not necessarily the key to successful SEO. In the end, what matters is not the traffic generated by keywords, but the number of conversions produced by that traffic. For example, if one keyword generates 5,000 visits/5 conversions, and another keyword generates 1,000 visits/50 conversions – which keyword would you focus on in your SEO campaign? Traffic doesn’t generate revenue; conversions do – or at least some conversions do. Which is why …
Conversions Must Be Audited to Validate Sales LeadsWhile every company would agree that conversions are a better measure of SEO than rankings, very few companies take this idea the one simple step further to move up from borderline acceptable SEO to truly exceptional SEO. The problem with conversions is, a lot of conversions are not sales leads. When a user submits an online form or calls a company as a result of SEO, it may be a sales lead, or it may be a misdialed phone number, a customer service inquiry, a sales solicitation, a personal call or something else. Based on our actual conversion auditing, we have determined that on average, 45% of conversions are NOT sales leads. Thus, if a company merely measures conversions in its SEO reporting, it could overestimate the lead production of its campaign by 45%. What’s more, without lead validation, continuously improving an SEO campaign is impossible: If you don’t know which website pages generate sales leads, how can you know which website pages to emphasize or deemphasize? (Being able to do this requires sophisticated lead tracking and validation techniques, but that’s another story.) If you really want to know how well your SEO campaign is performing, you must know how many sales leads it generates. The good news is, few companies are validating. Thus, if you put in place the right SEO campaign, you have a superb opportunity to outperform the competition by capturing a bigger percentage of the organic sales leads in your niche.
Contact Straight North to learn more about lead validation and how you can use it to make more money. Call us at 855-883-0011 or request a quote online.