SEO Conversion Tracking 101
Profitable SEO campaigns hinge on converting prospective customers, with search rankings and traffic acting only as leading indicators. To evaluate your campaign’s success, therefore, requires defining what actions constitute a full conversion, implementing tracking systems, and then calculating your conversion rates to contextualize your campaign’s performance in the larger SEO landscape.
We cover these essential steps of SEO conversion tracking in this article, including:
- How to Track Conversions and Calculate Conversion Rate
- Defining SEO Conversions
- Analyzing Related Metrics to Optimize Conversion
We begin with defining conversions.
How to Track SEO Conversions
SEO conversion tracking is usually done in Google Analytics, which integrates with your website’s CMS. It provides data not just on conversions but also traffic source, click path, and visitor demographics. Google Analytics’ integration with your CMS is accomplished through plugins, which are available for every CMS and streamline the process significantly. They can be found here.
This initial Google Analytics setup will provide you with valuable insights as to your overall traffic, but conversion tracking requires some additional legwork.
Each trackable action a visitor can take is defined in Google Analytics as an “event,” and a conversion is simply an event that you designate as particularly valuable. This can be done through a simple toggle in the “Configure > Events” menu, as shown below:
Once marked as a conversion, your conversion reports can be found under “Reports > Engagement > Conversions”. You’ll then need to filter this report to include only those visitors that arrive on your website through conversion. Do this by clicking on the “Filters” button, to open the filters view:
You can then building a filter to “Include First user source / medium = google / organic” as shown below:
Google Analytics will then automatically generate a report telling you exactly how many of each conversion event has taken place in the specified time period.
Now that we’ve discussed the how of conversion tracking, next we’ll discuss what to track.
Defining SEO Conversions
Conversions are the ultimate goal of marketing: after converting, an anonymous visitor becomes a known lead that can be approached by the sales team. A conversion can be any action that a visitor takes that indicates interest in your product, and an SEO conversion is simply a conversion in which the visitor originates from SEO. The most clear conversions—sometimes called macro-conversions, but more often generically called “conversions”—indicate strong interest. The strongest of these macro-conversions is a full purchase or sale, but much more common is a visitor leaving their information in a contact form so your sales team can reach out.
|1||Purchase||Tracking purchases is a part of any operating business, but in a website environment, understanding both the Source and Click Path of a purchaser contributes to marketing intelligence and guides future decision making. It’s equally important to track the behavior of users who take steps towards a purchase but fall short, e.g. Cart Abandonment Rate in eCommerce.||10|
|2||Demo Sign-Up||Signing up for a salesperson to demonstrate a product is the strongest indication of a purchase of any conversion action, as person-to-person communications are much more emotionally resonant than website-to-person communications. The prospective customer will also often view the time and energy committed to the demo as a sunk cost that can be recouped by making a purchase.||9.5|
|4||Click to Call||Calling demonstrates more seriousness than the more common form fill. The lead is ready to hear from a salesperson immediately, and willing to engage in a personal interaction that allows for more commitment than an easy-to-lose email chain.||9.25|
|3||Contact Form Fill||Contact form fills represent, at the minimum, a desire to learn more about your company than what is readily available on your website. It’s an investment of effort that differentiates a sales prospect from a visitor.||9.0|
|5||Account Creation||Account creation is an act of affiliation with a brand, demonstrating strong engagement. This is the line between a conversion and a micro-conversion. (See table below.)||8.75|
If conversions are the end goal of marketing, micro conversions are the steps toward that goal. Tracking micro conversions is a sign of a more advanced marketing program. The table below ranks the ten most common microconversions in an SEO campaign.
|Micro Conversion||Relevance||Value Score
|1||2+ visits within a week, including a low-funnel page (Product, Service, About)||Leaving a website and coming back to it later proves that the site was memorable, and buying intent is established by the requirement of visiting a sales-oriented page.||7.75|
|2||Webinar sign up||Volunteering to watch an hour+ presentation indicates a real interest in the subject matter; although some percentage typically don’t show up||7.25|
|3||Download eBook||Downloading long-form content shows a strong interest in the subject and creates an opportunity for deep engagement with your brand.||7.25|
|4||Visit contact page||There aren’t many reasons to visit a Contact page if you’re not thinking of engaging with the business in some way; although some ultimately abandon the page after thinking further, this action demonstrates clear interest.||7.25|
|5||Visit 5+ pages||When a visitor clicks through 5 pages or more on your site, they feel that your company is trustworthy and providing them with something of value.||7.0|
|6||Watch a product video||Watching a product video is similar to entertaining a pitch, just slightly more passive.||7.0|
|7||Email link click||With all the email decision makers receive, opening the e-mail and clicking on a link shows a high degree of interest in your business’s content.||7.0|
|8||Visit 3-5 pages||When a visitor views more than a single page on your site, it represents genuine interest in your information. By the time they’ve visited 3+ pages, they are beginning to trust and take interest in your company.||6.75|
|9||Email subscribe||Asking to have a company pop into your inbox is a signal of trust and interest in the information the company is proferring.||6.25|
|10||Time on Site >5 minutes||With the average B2B website visit at less than 45 seconds and B2C at less than 30, achieving a 5 minute+ visit shows substantial interest in your information or offering.||5.5|
Tracking these microconversions allow you to have greater insight into your digital marketing funnel than simply tracking your macro-conversions, as well as make more informed projections of your sales pipeline.
Evaluating Your SEO Conversion Rate
Your website gives you concrete figures to represent the overall performance of your website, however the process of analyzing those figures and the meaning behind them can often be more art than science. It takes years to develop the right techniques for taking these numbers and turning them into actionable strategies.
You can then filter your traffic to view only organic sessions to find your SEO conversion, traffic, and calculate your SEO conversion rate using the formula below:
Having the ability to measure your performance means little if you don’t know what you should be shooting for. Understanding your website’s overall conversion rate allows you to contextualize it in the broader scope of the internet and compare it against high-performing entities in your field. Our experience working with clients across various industries and channels indicates the following industry benchmarks:
SEO Conversion Rate by Industry
|Industry||Average SEO Conversion Rate|
|Higher Education & College||1.4%|
|Manufacturing & Distribution||3.0%|
|Oil & Gas||1.7%|
|PCB Design & Manufacturing||2.3%|
|Sales & Marketing||1.8%|
You can use the above metrics as benchmarks to compare and evaluate your own website’s performance. But your overall conversion rates don’t provide a full picture of your website’s SEO conversion funnel—there are several related metrics that will help your team conversion optimize your website.
Improving Your SEO Conversion Rate
Conversion-oriented pages often rely on a sleek, clean look that communicates your product’s services quickly and efficiently while holding the reader’s attention. This requires a working knowledge of your product and your page layout. For example, high-conversion pages will include:
- Optimal amounts of liminal space to keep the eye moving.
- Interactive elements to hold the reader’s attention.
- Multiple CTAs listed throughout the page, offering the reader multiple opportunities to buy, leave their information, or click on to further reading.
- Trust elements (awards, client lists, or testimonials) that establish your company as an authoritative resource.
Testing and iterating these changes often requires a skilled hand to craft and evaluate. For that reason, many companies choose to outsource SEO conversion tracking and website development to a skilled partner. Our agency is a full service SEO provider, equipping clients with fully-developed content and strategy teams tailored with conversion experts to meet your industry-specific needs. Contact us to book an initial consultation.
Evan Bailyn is a bestselling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.