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2 November 2011

Marketing

Using Better Data to Generate Better Conversions

Recently, I seem to come across a lot of agencies offering SEO services in one form or another:

“Get to the top of Google search results for £50 per month”

“We guarantee a position in the top 3 search results”

Call me cynical, but I just don’t buy these promises. Why? Because if it was so easy to be at the top of the organic search (without using any naughty trickeroos), wouldn’t everybody be doing it? Everybody would be ranking high, and that’s simply impossible. I really don’t like this kind of advertising for SEO, because to me ranking at number one for a specific keyword isn’t the be-all-and-end-all. Controversial! And what!? To me what is much more important is ranking high enough to generate enough leads to maintain a healthy conversion rate. That, my friends, is a far more valuable service to invest in. (Of course, there’s no avoiding the fact that a site is best positioned within the Golden Triangle)

Go with the flow, man!

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of traffic analysis for our clients, and in particular looking at how visitors interact with their sites. Many of our clients have just about come out of the initial stage of our three month site audit, where we sort out the site structure and make sure everything is ticking over smoothly. So, we’re at a point where we’re now moving into content marketing, and in particular looking at visitor behaviour. And wouldn’t you just know it, Google have just announced recently an update to Google Analytics which will see Flow Visualisations form part of the reporting suite. Sweet! This is exactly the tool I’m looking for right now, because it’s important for us and our clients to be able to get a handle on what content is working well; which pages encourage on-site conversion; and which pages are just not cutting it. OK, we can already track that by looking at bounce rates and using goal funnels, but I believe the Flow Visualisation report will offer a much more transparent overview. So, Google developers make haste and update my access!

Using Google Insights to Forecast Traffic and Conversion Activity

I might be going off on a tangent (Lord knows I love hanging around line-curve intersections… Terribly bad quip.), but what I’ve also been interested in exploring is using Google Insights data to be able to plot future traffic and conversion activity. I know that this may seem a shade subjective, but wouldn’t it be great to be able to say to clients,

“Hey, your current traffic is XXX hits per month for this keyword. Total traffic volume for your region is XXXX. We can work out what the likelihood of your future traffic will be based on historical data. And what’s more, we can make some pretty accurate estimates about your conversion rates and potential revenue as well. Bam!”

That’s the kind of metrics businesses are interested in; not some vague guarantee of being able to rank high. At the end of the day, our clients have come to us because they want to make more money online, so it’s only appropriate that we deal in those terms.

The downside I’ve encountered with this, though, is that the export format for Google Insights data is based on Monday-Sunday weeks, rather than calendar weeks, e.g. January 1st to January 7th. That makes it a little more difficult to interrogate and group into monthly cohorts, because you end up with totals which cover the end of one month and the beginning of another. Still, at this stage in my investigations, I am able to get a sense of how it can all be pieced together.

What do you think? Is this type of analysis useful? Is it a reliable way to forecast online activity? I really hope so, because I think it’s going to help our clients a lot.

I’m really interested in hearing from people who are involved in this type of analysis and have experiences they would like to share. Follow me on Twitter @adam_seo_cow

Until next time!

Adam

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