Conversions are the engine that transforms web traffic into revenue for your business. Of course, there are as many different conversion metrics to track as there are unique companies with their own objectives. Still, I’ve put together a list of the key conversion indicators of a successful SEO campaign.
Focus on these ten metrics to measure your progress toward achieving the SEO goals and objectives that will move the needle for your business.
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Optimizing for and tracking these six key SEO conversion metrics plus four additional metrics that directly impact conversion rates will help you focus your overall marketing efforts on revenue-generating activities.
How do you define SEO conversion metrics? How can you calculate them, and which ones should you track in Google Analytics? Let’s dig into these questions and see how you can adjust your SEO tactics to attract high-conversion traffic.
What are SEO Conversion Metrics?
How each marketer defines a conversion is unique to their business objectives and SEO goals . Still, in general, a conversion can be defined as any action a visitor takes that moves them to the next step in the customer journey. For example, a visitor can convert into a lead by filling out a form to get more information about your offering, and a lead can convert into a buyer by making a purchase.
Once you’ve defined specific actions as conversions, tracking how SEO impacts your conversion rate corresponds directly to the ROI of your efforts.
Here are some common examples of actions site owners use to define conversions:
- Subscriptions: Visitors subscribe to a blog, newsletter, or email list.
- Registrations: Users sign up to attend an event or watch a webinar.
- Form completions: Visitors become leads after filling out a form to receive information or download a PDF.
- Landing page visits: Users click on a call-to-action button or link that leads to a landing page .
- Purchases: Users buy a product or service.
How to Calculate Your Conversion Rate
Before we dive into what the conversion metrics are, it’s worth a minute to talk about how all types of conversion rates are calculated first.
Conversion rates are defined as a percentage. To calculate your conversion rate:
- Start by defining a specific action.
- Divide the number of users who take that action by the total number of visitors to your website during a particular period.
- Multiply the number by 100 to get a percentage.
Here’s a quick example:
In one month, a business receives 10,000 website visitors. 500 of the visitors take the desired action (convert). 500 actions / 10,000 visitors = 0.05. Multiply this number by 100, and you get a conversion rate of 5%.
How to Calculate The Value of Your Website Traffic
An additional benefit of understanding your conversion rate is that it simplifies attaching a value to your website traffic.
If you understand how much each visit to your website is worth, it becomes much easier to track the ROI for your marketing activities and project the revenue that can result from increased traffic to your site.
The value of each visit is a simple concept, but it can be tricky to calculate. The easiest way to calculate this value is to divide the total number of visits by the total revenue generated by those visits.
For a straightforward example, let’s look at an ecommerce site. If an online store enjoys a 4% conversion rate and the average purchase is $100, that site generates approximately $400 for every 100 visitors. That means that each visit to that website is worth $4.
If you’re using lead generation as a conversion metric, you’d calculate the value of each lead, multiply that by your conversion rate and divide that number by 100. So, for instance, if you have a 2% conversion rate and each lead is worth $1000, your site generates approximately $20 per visit.
Of course, the value of ecommerce transactions and generated leads are the simplest way to calculate the value of traffic. Still, it doesn’t account for the value of “softer” activities — such as referrals, social shares, and page views. These activities each contribute to the perceived authority of your site by search engines and potential customers. They’re part of a virtuous cycle of engagement that builds momentum over time.
Essential Conversion & Revenue Metrics to Start Tracking
Although purchases or form completions are the most commonly recognized form of website conversion, there are several actions a visitor can take that transition (convert) them from one stage of the customer journey to the next.
1. Organic Clicks
While tracking organic traffic provides insights into your SEO performance, tracking organic clicks provides more granular data into what your visitors are looking for when they land on your website.
Knowing which queries brought users to your pages and the click-through rate (CTR) for those specific queries can help you make better decisions about which SEO activities are working (and not working).
Tracking clicks and impressions can give you a more holistic view of what you need to improve to increase user engagement and generate more qualified leads.
You can use Google Search Console to see how users engage with your content. Follow these simple steps:
- Go to “Performance > Search Results”
- Filter using “+NEW.”
- Select “Page” to filter by a specific URL.
- Enter the URL, and you’ll see queries, the number of total clicks and impressions, and the average CTR for that page.
2. Organic Conversion Rate
For most businesses using SEO services to increase website traffic, the end goal is to bring in new business and generate higher revenue. To accomplish this, you need to get in front of qualified traffic – people interested in what you offer. Attracting vast numbers of people to your website is an achievement, to be sure. But at the end of the day, site traffic is only as valuable as the revenue it generates.
Your website should be set up to usher visitors through each stage of the buyer’s journey — moving prospects from awareness to consideration, and finally, decision. To move people from the first stage to the second or third, you must encourage prospects to become qualified leads or customers. If your visitors aren’t converting to leads or customers, there might be inefficiencies in your conversion process that are getting in the way of realizing the maximum return on your SEO investment.
To make sure your website is generating value, start tracking your organic conversion rates using Google Analytics. This metric will help you understand which pages on your site need refreshing and which ones are successfully moving visitors through your marketing funnel.
Organic conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who find your website through a search engine and take a desired action – often by filling out a form to become a lead or customer. If this metric is lower than you’d like, you can optimize it by examining user feedback and analytics to enhance the revenue-generating capacity of your site (boost leads and sales).
Depending on your goals, you can focus on tracking soft or hard conversions. Soft conversions are actions that indicate positive lift without an immediate impact on financial goals (like signing up for a newsletter or blog). Hard conversions demonstrate clear intent to purchase and more directly impact financial goals. You can track all of these goals by setting them up in Google Analytics. Learn more about how to set up goals in Google Analytics .
Once you’ve set up specific goals, you can start analyzing conversion rates for different pages. First, go to “Acquisition,” “All Traffic,” “Channels,” and “Organic Search.”
From there, you can select the page you’re looking for and choose the goal you’ve already set to view the data for that page. Don’t forget that observing goal completions as a whole allows you to see which pages are converting compared to each other.
You may also want to consider assisted conversions – interactions that occurred before a conversion – to help understand each touchpoint contributing to revenue generation. For example, before making a purchase, a user might fill out a form to sign up for a newsletter, click on a link to your website through that newsletter that leads to a landing page, and download a PDF to learn more about a product you sell.
3. New Visitor Conversion Rate
It can be helpful to understand how first-time visitors interact with your site compared to returning visitors. This metric may or may not fall under “organic conversion rate,” depending on how users find your website. To examine your new visitor conversion rate , isolate the metric by adding a segment for “new users.”
Once you know how new visitors are converting, you can work on improving this rate. Identify what first-time visitors are most interested in, improve their user experience, and clarify how to nurture them to take the next step on the customer journey.
With your “new users” segment in place, you can go to “Behavior” and see how new users are engaging with your content compared to all users.
Note that these numbers in Google Analytics are not 100% accurate. Visitors using different devices, privacy settings, options, and browsers can skew the data . However, these metrics will give you enough qualitative data to get an idea of how return visitor behavior compares to that of first-time visitors.
4. Return Visitor Conversion Rate
You can examine this conversion rate by creating a segment for returning visitors .
Analyzing why this group of visitors returned a second time and reasons they did or did not convert into leads the first time they visited can help you improve the path to conversion. Your process for converting return visitors may be different – and simpler – than converting first-time visitors. For example, first time-visitors may need awareness-stage educational content to help them identify their problem. On the other hand, return visitors may already understand their problem and want more information about a solution, such as an in-depth product guide.
Understanding what actions both types of visitors take can help you better optimize your content to increase lead generation (and return visitors) across the board.
5. Sales Conversion Rate
You can track the conversion rate of each product or service page on your website. Doing so will help you identify which offerings and pages most successfully drive sales (and which need some work). Also, look at how sales compare on mobile devices versus on desktop. If one platform significantly outperforms the other, consider optimizing the customer journey on the weaker channel to boost performance.
To track sales conversions in Google Analytics, you’ll want to set up a new goal to track your sales. Afterward, you can view the results by going to “Conversions,” “Goals,” “Overview,” then select your goal from the “Goal Completions” menu.
6. Organic Keyword Conversions
To track the straight line between your SEO efforts and conversions, you’ll want to track organic keyword conversions . You’ll gain insight into whether your search optimization activities are attracting qualified traffic that converts. If your organic traffic is increasing but your conversion rates are low, your keywords might be targeting the wrong search intent and bringing in visitors that aren’t looking for what you offer.
To track organic keyword conversions, you’ll want to examine traffic and conversion data in the context of search factors. Connecting Google Search Console (GSC) to Google Analytics will provide deeper insights into whether your SEO strategy drives conversions.
Once you’ve linked GSC to GA, go to “Acquisition,” “Search Console,” “Landing Pages,” and choose a page.
Once you select a URL from the list, you’ll be able to view the acquisition, engagement, and conversion metrics for the keywords that the page ranks for.
Other Metrics That Directly Impact Conversion Rates
If you want to improve all your conversion rates, you might look more closely at how visitors are engaging with your pages. These four engagement KPIs are helpful indicators of your progress as make adjustments to improve conversions throughout your sales funnel.
7. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that leave a webpage without taking any action (e.g., visiting another page or filling out a form). In other words, someone lands on your site and may engage with the content on that page but leaves without engaging with any other content on your site.
High bounce rates can mean:
- You’re attracting traffic that isn’t interested in your offering.
- Your pages aren’t optimized for a great user experience (design, load speed, etc.).
- You’re not offering a clear path to the next step with prominent CTAs or internal links .
You can examine bounce rates from several different perspectives using Google Analytics. Here are some options:
- View the “Audience Overview” report to look at the overall bounce rate for your entire website.
- Use the “Channels” report to view the bounce rate for each traffic channel.
- Look at the “All Traffic” report to see the bounce rate for each source/medium pair.
- See the “All Pages” report to identify the bounce rate for individual pages.
8. Exit Rate
Exit rate is the percentage of people who exit your website from a page versus the total number of visitors to that page. It’s easy to confuse this metric with bounce rate, but there’s a fundamental difference.
Exit rate considers the number of people exiting your website from a specific page – regardless of their previous activity on your site. Bounce rate only factors in visitors who landed on a single page and left before further engaging with a website.
For example, imagine you have a product page that has a high exit rate. You’ve been driving a lot of traffic there, hoping to convert leads into customers. In this case, a high exit rate could mean that visitors aren’t interested in your product, or the content on your page isn’t compelling them to take action.
You can reduce the exit rate on specific web pages by determining the reason people are leaving. Then fix the page, so users want to stay and engage. You may need to optimize your conversion funnel to better guide visitors from one stage of their journey to the next. You could also install tracking or heat-mapping software for better insight into how visitors are engaging with your pages.
Follow these steps to measure the exit rate of different web pages using Google Analytics:
- Go to “Behavior,” “Site Content,” “All Pages.”
- View the column labeled “% Exit” for individual pages.
9. Average Session Duration
This metric tells you how long the average visitor spends on your website. Typically, a higher bounce rate indicates less time spent on site, although that’s not always the case. If people abandon your website quickly, you likely need to make some updates if you want to increase your conversion rates and revenue.
Optimizations might include:
- Upgrading your content.
- Improving your design.
- Proving your credibility.
- Enhancing user experience.
- Making your site more interactive.
To view the average time users spend on your website using Google Analytics, go to “Audience” and then “Overview.”
10. Pages Per Session
This engagement metric tells you how many pages the average visitor views before leaving your website. A high average isn’t always a good thing. It could indicate that your website is challenging to navigate, and people have difficulty finding what they’re seeking. You may need to clarify your sales funnel, and make it easier for users to take each successive step on the buyer’s journey. On the other hand, low average time on site and high average page views could indicate navigation issues or users having difficulty finding what they’re looking for.
If someone visits various pages on your site but never converts, that could also be a red flag. Again, it’s important to understand why this is happening. Is it because of your offering or content? The search intent of your keywords? Pinpointing the issue and taking action to address it is the key to improving the conversion process.
To view this metric in Google Analytics, click on “Visitors” then “Average Pageviews.”
Ready to Start Tracking SEO Conversion Metrics for Powerful Results?
Now that you understand which conversion metrics track back to your SEO goals, you can start making site improvements and strategy adjustments to improve conversion and generate more revenue for your business.
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