Please Say Yes.
There’s a sea of data you can collect and measure to analyse the different marketing channels your business uses to drive sales and enquiries. Whether your marketing boffins want to discuss lead or lag metrics, bounce rates, CTR’s or the other geeky numbers we care about, there’s only one real barometer a business owner should be concerned with long term…
And that is conversions – or the sales, enquiries and phone calls driven by your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy.
That’s not to say there isn’t other important data which your SEO agency will care about and report back on to indicate positive movement. But what really translates to marketing success is the Return on Investment (ROI) generated.
How Do I See My Website Conversion Data?
If you’re using Google Analytics (GA) then you’ve already taken the first step to getting this full transparency. However even if you’re not, the traditional tactic is to count elements like your enquiry forms or phone calls. This is fraught with errors though and misses out key information like enquiry source, so if you’re not using GA we would recommend getting your account set up as a priority!
Even still, Google Analytics doesn’t give you this data as standard, like it does with traffic levels. So there’s some extra work to set this up so that you can see the full story with your website enquiries & phone calls. Setting up the relevant ‘Goals’ in GA to be used to track conversions.
Adding a Thank You Page To Track Form Conversions
The quickest and easiest way to implement conversion tracking on your website is by adding a ‘/thanks’ page. The process here is that when your customers fill in your contact forms, they are automatically directed to this page. Google can then count these page visits as conversions and in turn the number of people filling in your contact forms – as this is the only way to reach your /thanks page.
From here you can then see this data compared against metrics like traffic source, best performing page or time of day. This then allows you to see how to better focus your SEO efforts based on current performance.
Okay, How Do I Track My Website Phone Calls? Using Google Tag Manager.
Now this is where it gets slightly more tricky, but it’s 100% worth the effort to understand where your phone calls are coming from! To do this we need to introduce an additional analytics/reporting tool, called Google Tag Manager (GTM) and one favoured by SEO experts.
GTM allows you to track pretty much anything in your website, from top level information such as how many users scroll down a page or watched a video, right though to who is clicking which buttons in your website.
There’s more sophisticated call tracking software that can be used, to determine the page or keyword that triggered the call, but that’s for another day.
It’s the last one that’s important here.
It’s possible to create a ‘tag’ to measure clicks on your phone call buttons, along with a ‘trigger’ which makes sure this only fired when people are clicking to give you a call and making an enquiry. This is done through focusing this trigger on links which include your phone number or a ‘tel:’ link function, if you have several different numbers.
Making a phone call a tracked conversion or ‘goal’
We’re so close, but this isn’t quite good to go yet, as what we’ve just set up here tracks an ‘event’ in your website and not a ‘goal’, which sets your conversion rate and counts enquiries.
We’ll come back to the differences here shortly.
We need to next set this up as a full ‘Goal’ to be tracked and measure your SEO results. This is done in the Goals section of Google Analytics, this time by setting up an event-based goal, copying over your tag information.
You might need to run this by an SEO professional to check it’s all firing properly as sometimes the data from Google doesn’t show right away.
Events Vs. Goals – What’s the difference?
Both options above are essential in fully understanding your traffic behaviour and we can give some example hypotheses to highlight the main difference between event tracking and goal tracking is:
Example Event – My business has just added a new brochure to our website and we need to know how many people are downloading it, and from where.
Example Goal (or conversion) – My business has just added a ‘request a free audit’ section to our site and want to track how many customers request one.
With your brochure example this would be an event because, although important information, it doesn’t represent a full lead given you haven’t collected their business contact details or spoken to them direct. There is also no way to get this information from the action of downloading the brochure, without additional tracking software.
Alternatively, with the example goal/conversion your customers would be providing their information via the form to request an audit, so this means we’re in business with a full conversion! You or your sales team can then action this and start your process with your newly generated leads.
We can take this one step further and define an event as a marketing qualified lead and a goal as a sales qualified lead but that’s a whole new article for a later day.
But what happens after a customer has enquired?
A good question and frankly one most agencies don’t like answering. But a website conversion isn’t the end of the story for a business owner, as we need to look at how many of these turn into paid business and don’t just get in touch.
It’s true there’s external influences like how long your sales team takes to call, if the potential customer answers, or if your prices are competitive with the wider market. But if all of this is in place and you’re still not seeing sales, then your SEO team isn’t looking at the bigger picture and taking a holistic approach to your wider digital marketing strategy.
Lead/conversion quality is essential to making sure this pays the bills, so elements like your website copy, overall design & website calls to action/sales messaging should always be considered to make sure you’re squeezing every conversion from your website traffic.
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
In the same way you can optimise your Google rankings, with the right tactics, it’s also possible to maximise the number of site users who go on to make an enquiry. This is known as Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), a clever balance of design & technical tasks to further understand your traffic behaviour. This can include elements such as:
Heat Mapping – This is where software is used to track user behaviour throughout your website, highlighting the hotspots they’re clicking and in turn where your calls to action should be! You can also look at longer user journeys to see where prospective customers are dropping off in your checkout process.
A/B Testing – This can be done at different scales, but in essence involves testing two different versions of your web pages. This allows you to test if different images or content offerings encourage more people to get in touch. For large companies this can even be testing things like different coloured buttons, based on high traffic levels.
Simple Contact Process – Although it’s not exactly hard to find your contact page, website users can be impatient. So, making sure it’s easy to get in touch with tools like live chat or exit popup banners can also impact your conversion rates.
Contact Form Optimisation – Although it can be tempting to try and get as much information from your prospect customer via your website, it can also have a negative impact on the numbers completing the form in question. If your next step is to call them, save more detailed questions for then. Alternatively, this can also be a good tactic if you are trying to improve lead quality and remove spammy enquiries.
I’m not tracking my conversions, what should I do next?
Well firstly you’re by no means alone! If you don’t have Google Analytics speak to your web developers about getting this added, along with a /thanks page to at least start tracking your contact form enquiries.
It’s then straight forward to add this as a URL based conversion for someone who knows their way around Google Analytics. You can see a full step by step guide here too.
How do I set up Google Tag Manager?
When it comes to Google Tag Manager setup, in all honesty this can get a bit complex if you’re not overly familiar with the workings (and sometimes non-workings!) of Google Tag Manager. However, your SEO professional should already have this set up if you’re spending time & budget to optimise your strategy.
We offer a full website SEO audit to assess your overall performance, including whether you’re tracking enquires/conversions in the right way too.
GA4 and Tracking Your Conversions
The newest version of Google Analytics, called GA4, is set to become mandatory in June 2023. This changes the game in terms of how you track conversions, eliminating the concept of Goals completely – currently limited to 20 per account.
The good news is that GA4 includes a range of pre configured events, which can easily be set as conversions and counted towards your sales data. The bad news is that most custom goals will need to be set up directly in Google Tag Manager, so it becomes a bit more complex to set up your basic information. Think of this as one step back for two steps forward.
However, all good SEO experts have a close eye on this transition and can help you with your transfer to GA4, or directly set this up for you if you’re using Google Analytics for the first time.
Get in touch for help setting up or optimising your conversion tracking. The sooner you’re measuring your marketing… the sooner your business will grow!