Eliminate Guesswork and Increase Conversion -- Part 1 --
Many companies hire a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert or firm simply to increase their monthly visitors without considering quality of those visitors. The end result is decent rankings and traffic, but poor returns.
In this article, John Tanner of (POSITIVE POSITIONING) explains techniques to increase visitor conversion by improving quality of site traffic and guiding prospects towards a desired action.
Key Phrases Influence Visitor Volume and Quality Key phrases have a direct impact on quantity and quality of visitors you can expect to your site. Optimizing your web site for wrong key phrases will cost you time, money, and valuable leads/sales.
Visitor quality refers to how well visitors fit into your target audience, which significantly affects your Return On Investment (ROI).
Search Engine Optimization experts use a combination of client suggestions, software, resources, testing, and common sense to determine most advantageous key phrases based on a client's particular goals.
Although extensive research goes into key phrase selection, it is highly educated guesswork at best and focuses mostly on visitor volume rather than quality. Many SEO experts will analyze popularity vs. competition, and use a short-term bidding strategy to test their selections. However, to measure quality we need conversion metrics to understand which phrases and referrers drive most inquiries and/or sales.
Analysis Software and Services Tend to Fall Short Log analysis software and similar products provide valuable information for SEO experts. Some of most valuable information includes: ·Total visitor volume ·Unique visitors ·Average session duration ·Top entry pages ·Top exit pages ·Top referrers ·Search engines ·Top key phrases ·And more
Most of these products aggregate visitor data. They show us averages and treat all of our visitors as if they were part of a single group. While most analytical products and services give us insight into our visitor volume and where it originates, they generally do a poor job of informing us of visitor quality.
NetIQ deserves some credit for their WebTrends Reporting Series 6.1 (scheduled for release in July of 2003), which uses client-side scripting technology and a proprietary data file (they call it SmartSource) to get at conversion metrics. However, client-side scripting can cause problems, particularly dealing with relevancy scoring and browser compatibility. But NetIQ does a better job than most if you choose to go that route.
Log analysis software is a necessary component of any SEO campaign, but additional tools are needed when it comes to measuring and reporting visitor quality.
Focusing on "An Audience of One" Believe it or not, visiting a web site is generally not a group event. To maximize quality traffic we need to treat our visitors as individuals.
If visitor quality refers to how likely visitor fits into our target audience and performs our desired action, then we need to focus on those visitors that take our desired action to improve overall visitor quality.
For purpose of this article, let's say goal of your web site is "Lead/Inquiry generation." Therefore, desired action is for visitors to fill out your online form(s), which enables you to persuade them to take next step in your sales process.
You increase overall visitor quality by increasing traffic from web site referrers, search engines, and key phrases that have a track record of delivering "target visitors." This means re-optimizing your SEO campaign for key phrases and referrers utilized most often by visitors that take your desired action.
Differentiating Target Visitors from General Visitors To truly improve visitor quality, you have to track your visitors carefully and pay particular attention to target visitors.
Once a visitor fills out a form(s), you are able to categorize them as a "Target Visitor". A percentage of your target visitor population will be in initial stages of their investigation process and not fill out your form(s). This is expected, and you won't be able to identify them as target visitors at this point. We aren't focusing on visitors likely to fill out our forms; we are focusing on those that take action.
It is acceptable to group all of your target visitor information together, but you don't want to combine target and general visitor data. We've covered some important background information, now lets take a look at how to track web site visitors. (End of Part 1 - 692 words including title)
-- Part 2 --
How to Track Your Visitors If you aren't opposed to many hours of tedious manual tracking, most inexpensive method of analyzing visitor patterns at individual level is to wade through web site's log files.
Using Log File method, you start from bottom of log file and work your way towards top. I recommend analyzing only a month of data at a time with this method.