How to Calculate Your SEO ROI Using Google Analytics

How to Calculate Your SEO ROI Using Google Analytics

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

You’ve spent hours learning the most effective SEO tactics, but they won’t be useful if you can’t measure them.

Measuring SEO return on investment (ROI) involves two factors: KPIs (key performance indicators) and the cost of your current SEO campaigns. Tracking these key metrics monthly enables you to tweak and optimize your strategy, as well as make educated business decisions.

To get the most bang for your buck (or time), consider using Google Analytics (GA) to calculate your ROI. With GA, you can pinpoint where your audience is coming from, set goals to stay on track, and incorporate the most attractive keywords to rank better in search engines.

Ways to calculate your SEO ROI using Google Analytics

#1 Page value

Page value is an important aspect to consider when talking about ROI.

Think about it like money. In the US, paper money has been dated back to the late 1600s as a way of symbolizing the value of something. Instead of bartering, citizens began attaching a value to a 10 dollar bill or a 100 dollar bill to obtain an item they needed that was worth the equivalent value.

Page value assigns an average monetary value to all pages viewed in a session where a transaction took place. Specifically for e-commerce sites, it helps assign a value to non-transactional pages such as articles and landing pages. This is useful to understand because although a blog didn’t necessarily produce revenue, that doesn’t mean it didn’t contribute to a customer’s buying decision in the future.

With lead generation pages, a value can be assigned to a goal like the contact form submission, so you can more accurately measure whether or not you’re on track.

Below is a visual that depicts how page value is calculated according to Google:

In the first example, Page B is visited once by a user before continuing to the Goal page D (which was assigned a value of $10) and Receipt page E (which generated $100). That means a single pageview of Page B generated $110, which gives us its Page Value.

In equation form, this is how it looks:

Page Value for Page B =
E-commerce Revenue ($100) + Total Goal Value ($10)
Number of Unique Pageviews for Page B (1)
= $110

But not all pageviews lead to a conversion. That’s why it’s important to keep track of data and recalculate your Page Value as more information comes in. Let’s see how this works with the second example.

How to Calculate Your SEO ROI Using Google Analytics

Here we see two sessions but only one converted to an e-commerce transaction (session 1). So even if we have two unique pageviews for Page B, the e-commerce revenue stays the same. We can then recalculate our Page B’s Page Value using this new information.

Page Value for Page B =
e-commerce revenue ($100) + Total Goal Value ($10 x 2 sessions)
Number of Unique Pageviews for Page B (2)
= $60

With more sessions and more data, you’ll get a better idea of which pages contribute most to your site’s revenue.

#2 E-commerce settings

If you’re not managing an e-commerce business, skip this section. For those of you who do, there’s a more advanced feature on Google Analytics that can prove extremely useful. By turning on the e-commerce settings, you can track sales amounts, the number of orders, billing locations, and even the average order value. In this way, you can equate website usage to sales information and better understand which landing pages or campaigns are performing the best.

How to turn on e-commerce settings

  • In your Google Analytics left sidebar panel, click on ADMIN > under the VIEW panel (rightmost panel), click on “E-commerce Settings” > Enable E-Commerce > Enable Enhanced E-commerce Reporting.

To finalize this go over to where it says, “Checkout Labeling” underneath the Enhanced E-commerce settings, and under “funnel steps” type in:

  1. Checkout view

  2. Billing info

  3. Proceed to payment

Below is a picture to better explain these steps:

How to Calculate Your SEO ROI Using Google Analytics

If you have Shopify or Woocommerce, make sure to set up tracking over there, too, so that Google Analytics can communicate and relay this crucial information to you.

Once you have the E-commerce tracking setup, you’ll have access to the following data:

  • An overview of your revenue, E-commerce conversion rate, transactions, average order value, and other metrics

  • Product and sales performance

  • Shopping and checkout behavior

These give you a better understanding of how your customers are interacting with your site and which products are selling the most. In terms of calculating SEO ROI, knowing the steps that your customers take and the pages they view before making a purchase helps you analyze the value of individual pages and also the effectiveness of your overall SEO content strategy.

#3 Sales Performance

Again, this is for e-commerce only. The sales performance feature shows sales from all sources and mediums. You can view data for organic traffic only and identify its revenue.

How to view your sales performance

How to Calculate Your SEO ROI Using Google Analytics

This gives you an overview of your revenue and a breakdown of each transaction. Tracking this through time and seeing how it trends guides your content strategy.

What is the average transaction amount and what does it tell you about your customers? Does tweaking your copy to promote up-sells or cross-sells have an impact on your per-transaction revenue?

Another set of data that helps you calculate your SEO ROI and optimize your content strategy is your customers’ shopping behavior.

How to see your customers’ shopping behavior in-depth

How to Calculate Your SEO ROI Using Google Analytics

At a glance, you can see how effective your purchase funnel is – how many sessions continue from one step to the next? How many people went to your page and didn’t purchase, or added to the cart but didn’t follow through with payment?

This helps you identify areas that need more SEO attention. This also helps you draw projections on how much your revenue can increase by optimizing your copy and implementing SEO to boost organic traffic, which helps you get a better idea of your SEO ROI.

For instance, if there’s a high percentage of users visiting your page but not going through the buying cycle, maybe you need to tweak your copy to include searchable keywords or copy that resonates better with your audience.

Additionally, it’s worth remembering that while this does show organic sales, you can’t identify the keyword that led to that sale, but organic traffic can be an indicator of holistic marketing efforts working. For example, PR may increase brand searches on Google.

Quick tip: you can get an idea of which keywords bring in the most traffic to your website with Google Search Console and then follow the navigation history from Google Analytics in order to connect specific keywords with sales.

Overall, to truly measure the ROI of your SEO you need to discover which keywords are working for your business, because although people may be interested in your business due to some amazing PR exposure, they might not actually be interested in your services. To really hit this one home, select keywords that have purchase intent. That way you can attract more qualified leads to your site.

#4 Engagement Events

If you’re not working on an e-commerce site (hint, hint, my fellow B2B marketers), here’s where you’ll want to pay attention. Both e-commerce and lead generation sites can make use of engagement events.

Align with your sales team to assign a value to a goal based on average order value, the average number of sign-ups, and conversion rate. Although useful for e-commerce, these analytics are likely to be most beneficial for lead generation sites who have longer sales cycles and transactions that occur off-site or after multiple sessions (for example, B2B SaaS or a marketing agency).

Examples of engagement events include:

  • Newsletter sign up

  • Contact form submission

  • Downloads

  • Adding to a cart

How to view your campaign engagement data

Below is an image so you can follow along:

How to Calculate Your SEO ROI Using Google Analytics

This type of tracking gives greater insight into how people are interacting with parts of your website, and how engaged they are at different parts of the journey. Use it to set goals for your lead generation and investigate whether or not your SEO efforts are paying off.

Let’s say you find that your website gets a ton of traffic to your services page, and a high percentage of those visitors download a case study. This means they’re interested in what you have to offer and would like to see more case studies from you.

Use ROI calculations to make better strategic decisions for your business

Ultimately, when using Google Analytics for SEO, you should work to align business goals with specific measurable metrics so that you can create a long-term plan for sustainable growth. It’s no secret SEO is a powerful tool for your business, but putting it into an actionable and personalized plan to get the train continuously going uphill is what counts.

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Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

I recently dug into over 50,000 title tags to understand the impact of Google’s rewrite update. As an SEO, this naturally got me wondering how the update impacted Moz, specifically. So, this post will be a more focused examination of a site I have deep familiarity with, including three case studies where we managed to fix bad rewrites.

As an author, I take titles pretty personally. Imagine if you wrote this masterpiece:

… and then you ended up with a Google result that looked like this:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Sure, Google didn’t do anything wrong here, and it’s not their fault that there’s an upper limit on what they can display, but it still feels like something was lost. It’s one thing to do a study across a neutral data set, but it’s quite another when you’re trying to understand the impact on your own site, including articles you spent hours, days, or weeks writing.

Moz rewrites by the numbers

I’m not going to dig deep into the methodology, but I collected the full set of ranking keywords from Moz’s Keyword Explorer (data is from late August) and scraped the relevant URLs to pull the current <title> tags. Here are a few of the numbers:

  • 74,810 ranking keywords

  • 10,370 unique URLs

  • 8,646 rewrites

Note that just under 2,000 of these “rewrites” were really pre-update (…) truncation. The majority of the rest were brand rewrites or removals, which I’ll cover a bit in the examples. The number of significant, impactful rewrites is hard to measure, but was much smaller.

Where did Google get it right?

While I have reservations about Google rewriting title tags (more on that at the end of this post), I tried to go into this analysis with an open mind. So, let’s look at what Google got right, at least in the context of

(1) Removing double-ups

Our CMS automatically appends our brand (“ – Moz”) to most of our pages, a situation that’s hardly unique to our site. In some cases, this leads to an odd doubling-up of the brand, and Google seems to be removing these fairly effectively. For example:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

While the CMS is doing its job, “Moz – Moz” is repetitive, and I think Google got this one right. Note that this is not simple truncation — the additional text would have easily fit.

(2) Those darned SEOs!

Okay, I’m not sure I want to admit this one, but occasionally we test title variations, and we still live with some of the legacy of rebranding from “SEOmoz” to “Moz” in 2013. So, some areas of our site have variations of “ | SEO | Moz”. Here’s how Google handled one variety:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

While it’s a bit longer, I suspect this is a better extension for our Q&A pages, both for us and for our visitors from search. I’m going to call this a win for Google.

(3) Whatever this is…

I have no idea what the original intent of this <title> tag was (possibly an experiment):

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

While there’s nothing terribly wrong with the original <title> tag, it’s probably trying too hard to front-load specific keywords and it’s not very readable. In this case, Google opted to use the blog post title (from the <H1>), and it’s probably a good choice.

Where did Google get it so-so?

It may seem strange to cover examples where Google did an okay job, but in some ways these bother me the most, if simply because they seem unnecessary. I feel like the bar for a rewrite should be higher, and that makes the gray areas worth studying.

(4) Shuffling the brand

For some of our more evergreen pieces, we put the Moz brand front-and-center. In a number of cases, Google shuffled that to the back of the title. Here’s just one example:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this rewrite, but why do it? We made a conscious choice here and — while the rewrite might be more consistent with our other content — I’m not sure this is Google’s decision to make.

(5) Double-brand trouble

This is a variation on #4, conceptually. Some of our Whiteboard Friday video titles end in “- Whiteboard Friday – Moz”, and in this example Google has split that and relocated half of it to the front of the display title:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Whiteboard Friday is a brand in and of itself, but I have a feeling that #4 and #5 are really more about delimiters in the title than the brand text. Again, why did this trigger a rewrite?

You might be thinking something along the lines of “Google has all the data, and maybe they know more than we do.” Put that thought on hold until the end of the post.

(6) The old switcheroo

Here’s an example where Google opted for the post title (in the <H1>) instead of the <title> tag, with the end result being that they swapped “remove” for “delete”:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

This isn’t really a single-word substitution (so much as a total swap), and I don’t know why we ended up with two different words here, but what about the original title — which is extremely similar to the post title — triggered the need for a rewrite?

One quick side note — remember that Featured Snippets are organic results, too, and so rewrites will also impact your Featured Snippets. Here’s that same post/rewrite for another query, appearing as a Featured Snippet:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Again, there’s nothing really wrong or inaccurate about the rewrite, other than a lack of clarity about why it happened. In the context of a Featured Snippet, though, rewrites have a greater possibility of impacting the intent of the original author(s).

Where did Google get it wrong?

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for — the examples where Google made a mess of things. I want to be clear that these, at least in our data set, are few and far between. It’s easy to cherry-pick the worst of the worst, but the three examples I’ve chosen here have a common theme, and I think they represent a broader problem.

(7) Last things first

Here’s an example of rewrite truncation, where Google seems to have selected the parenthetical over the main portion of the title:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Many of the bad examples (or good examples of badness) seem to be where Google split a title based on delimiters and then reconstructed what was left in a way that makes no sense. It seems especially odd in the case of a parenthetical statement, which is supposed to be an aside and less important than what precedes it.

(8) Half the conversation

In other cases, Google uses delimiters as a cutting-off point, displaying what’s before or after them. Here’s a case where the “after” approach didn’t work so well:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

This is user-generated content and, granted, it’s a long title, but the resulting cutoff makes no sense out of context. Standard (…) truncation would’ve been a better route here.

(9) And another thing…

Here’s a similar example, but where the cutoff happened at a hyphen (-). The title style is a bit unusual (especially starting the sub-title with “And”), but the cutoff turns it from unusual to outright ridiculous:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Again, simple truncation would’ve been a better bet here.

I get what Google’s trying to do — they’re trying to use delimiters (including pipes, hyphens, colons, parentheses, and brackets) to find natural-language breaks, and split titles at those breaks. Unfortunately, the examples demonstrate how precarious this approach can be. Even the classic “Title: Sub-title” format is often reversed by writers, with the (arguably) less-important portion sometimes being used first.

Three case studies (& three wins)

Ultimately, some rewrites will be good-to-okay and most of these rewrites aren’t worth the time and effort to fix. Over half of the Moz <title> rewrites were minor brand modifications or brand removal (with the latter usually being due to length limits).

What about the objectively bad rewrites, though? I decided to pick three case studies and see if I could get Google to take my suggestions. The process was relatively simple:

  1. Update the <title> tag, trying to keep it under the length limit

  2. Submit the page for reindexing in Google Search Console

  3. If the rewrite didn’t take, update the <H1> or relevant on-page text

Here are the results of the three case studies (with before and after screenshots):

(1) A shady character

This one was really our fault and was an easy choice to fix. Long story short, a data migration led to a special character being corrupted, which resulted in this:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

I’m not blaming Google for this one, but the end result was a strange form of truncation that made “Google Won’t” look like “Google Won”, and made it appear that this was the end of the title. I fixed and shortened the <title> tag, and here’s what happened:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Interestingly, Google opted to use the <H1> here instead of the shortened <title> version, but since it fixed the main issue, I’m going to call this a win and move on.

(2) Change isn’t easy

Here’s another one where Google got it wrong, breaking the <title> tag at a parenthetical that didn’t really make any sense (similarly to the examples above):

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Since this was a recent and still-relevant post, we were eager to fix it. Interestingly, the first fix didn’t take. I had to resort to changing the post title (<H1>) as well, and removed the parentheses from that title. After that, Google opted for the <title> tag:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

This process may require some trial-and-error and patience, especially since the GSC reindexing timeline can vary quite a bit. Most of these updates took about a day to kick in, but I’ve recently heard anywhere from an hour to never.

(3) Don’t ditch Moz!

Our final case study is a complex, multi-delimiter title where Google decided to split the title based on a phrase in quotation marks and then truncate it (without the “…”):

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Although the main portion of the rewrite is okay, unfortunately the cutoff makes it look like the author is telling readers to ditch Moz. (Marketing wasn’t thrilled about that). I opted to simplify the <title> tag, removing the quote and the parentheses. Here’s the end result:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

I managed to sneak in all of the relevant portion of the title by switching “And” out with an ampersand (&), and now it’s clear what we should be ditching. Cue the sigh of relief.

While there’s potentially a lot more to be done, there are two takeaways here:

  1. You need to prioritize — don’t sweat the small rewrites, especially when Google might change/adjust them at any time.

  2. The bad rewrites can be fixed with a little time and patience, if you understand why Google is doing what they’re doing.

I don’t think this update is cause for panic, but it’s definitely worth getting a sense of your own rewrites — and especially patterns of rewrites — to make sure they reflect the intent of your content. What I found, even across 8,000 rewrites, is that there were only a handful of patterns with maybe a few dozen examples that didn’t fit any one pattern. Separating the signal from the noise takes work, but it’s definitely achievable.

Are rewrites good or bad?

This is an incredibly subjective question. I purposely structured this post into right/so-so/wrong to keep myself from cherry-picking bad examples, and my observations are that most rewrites (even on a site that I take pretty personally) are minor and harmless. That said, I have some misgivings. If you’re happy with the analysis and don’t need the editorializing, you’re welcome to go make a sandwich or take a nap.

It’s important to note that this is a dynamic situation. Some of the rewrites my research flagged had changed when I went back to check them by hand, including quite a few that had reverted to simple truncation. It appears that Google is adjusting to feedback.

This research and post left me the most uncomfortable with the “so-so” examples. Many of the bad examples can be fixed with better algorithms, but ultimately I believe that the bar for rewriting titles should be relatively high. There’s nothing wrong with most of the original <title> tags in the so-so examples, and it appears Google has set the rewrite threshold pretty low.

You might argue that Google has all of the data (and that I don’t), so maybe they know what they’re doing. Maybe so, but I have two problems with this argument.

First, as a data scientist, I worry about the scale of Google’s data. Let’s assume that Google A/B tests rewrites against some kind of engagement metric or metrics. At Google scale (i.e. massive data), it’s possible to reach statistical significance with very small differences. The problem is that statistics don’t tell us anything about whether that change is meaningful enough to offset the consequences of making it. Is a 1% lift in some engagement metric worth it when a rewrite might alter the author’s original intent or even pose branding or legal problems for companies in limited cases?

If you’re comparing two machine learning models to each other, then it makes sense to go with the one that performs better on average, even if the difference is small. Presumably, in that case, both models have access to the same data. With title rewrites, though, we’re comparing the performance of a model to millions of conscious, human decisions that may have a great deal of context Google has no access to. The risk of rewriting is reasonably high, IMO, and that means that small differences in performance may not be enough.

Second — and this is a more philosophical point — if Google has found that certain patterns or title styles result in better performance, then why not be transparent and publish that data? I understand why Google wants to veil the algorithm in secrecy, but they’ve already told us that title rewrites don’t impact rankings. If the goal is to create better titles across the web, then empower writers and content creators to do that. Don’t make those decisions for us.

Ultimately, I think Google moved too far, too fast with this update. I believe they could have communicated (and still could communicate) the reasons more openly without risk to any major secrets and be more conservative about when and if to make changes, at least until these systems have been improved.

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Cannibalization – Moz

Cannibalization - Moz

The author’s sights are entirely his or her personal (excluding the unlikely function of hypnosis) and might not generally replicate the views of Moz.

In today’s episode of Whiteboard Friday, Tom Capper walks you through a difficulty a lot of SEOs have faced: cannibalization. What is it, how do you establish it, and how can you take care of it? Check out to uncover out! 

Click on on the whiteboard graphic previously mentioned to open a more substantial model in a new tab!

Online video Transcription

Happy Friday, Moz lovers, and now we are likely to be conversing about cannibalization, which in this article in the British isles we spell like this: cannibalisation. With that out of the way, what do we indicate by cannibalization?

What is cannibalization?

So this is basically wherever 1 web-site has two competing URLs and performs, we suspect, a lot less perfectly due to the fact of it. So maybe we feel the site is splitting its equity among its two distinctive URLs, or it’s possible Google is acquiring puzzled about which 1 to display. Or it’s possible Google considers it a duplicate content dilemma or a little something like that. A person way or a different, the website does fewer well as a outcome of having two URLs. 

So I’ve got this imaginary SERP listed here as an instance. So picture that Moz is hoping to rank for the key word “burgers.” Just picture that Moz has made a decision to consider a wild tangent in its organization product and we are likely to try and rank for “burgers” now.

So in position just one here, we have bought Inferior Bergz, and we would hope to outrank these people seriously, but for some motive we’re not executing. Then in placement two, we have bought Moz’s Purchase Burgers web site on the subdirectory, which naturally would not exist, but this is a hypothetical. This is a business landing web page exactly where you can go and order a burger. 

Then in posture three, we have bought this Ideal Burgers web site on the Moz weblog. It is additional informational. It truly is telling you what are the characteristics to a superior burger, how can you detect a good burger, the place ought to you go to obtain a great burger, all this type of far more neutral editorial info.

So we hypothesize in this problem that maybe if Moz only experienced a person web page going for this key word, maybe it could actually supplant the leading place. If we assume that is the circumstance, then we would most likely converse about this as cannibalization.

Nonetheless, the option speculation is, very well, essentially there could be two intents right here. It may be that Google needs to clearly show a industrial site and an informational web page on this SERP, and it so transpires that the next most effective industrial web site is Moz’s and the best informational page is also Moz’s. We’ve read Google talk in latest a long time or reps of Google discuss in latest decades about owning positions on search outcomes that are form of reserved for specific forms of benefits, that may possibly be reserved for an informational result or a thing like that. So this would not automatically mean there is cannibalization. So we are likely to communicate a tiny little bit afterwards on about how we may type of disambiguate a circumstance like this.

Traditional cannibalization

Initial, while, let us converse about the basic case. So the classic, genuinely clear-slice, actually noticeable situation of cannibalization is wherever you see a graph like this a single. 

Hand drawn graph showing ranking consequences of cannibalization.

So this is the variety of graph you would see a lot of rank tracking computer software. You can see time and the times of the week likely together the bottom axis. Then we’ve obtained rank, and we definitely want to be as superior as feasible and close to posture one.

Then we see the two URLS, which are color-coded, and are green and pink here. When a person of them ranks, the other just falls away to oblivion, isn’t really even in the leading 100. There is certainly only ever just one showing up at the identical time, and they form of supplant every other in the SERP. When we see this variety of behavior, we can be really self-assured that what we are seeing is some sort of cannibalization.

Considerably less-evident cases

Occasionally it’s fewer apparent nevertheless. So a very good illustration that I observed not too long ago is if, or at the very least in my situation, if I Google look for Naples, as in the spot identify, I see Wikipedia ranking first and next. The Wikipedia site rating initial was about Naples, Italy, and the Wikipedia website page at 2nd was about Naples, Florida.

Now I do not feel that Wikipedia is cannibalizing alone in that condition. I think that they just materialize to have… Google had resolved that this SERP is ambiguous and that this key word “Naples” requires several intents to be served, and Wikipedia comes about to be the very best website page for two of people intents.

So I would not go to Wikipedia and say, “Oh, you have to have to incorporate these two internet pages into a Naples, Florida and Italy website page” or something like that. That is plainly not vital. 

Queries to ask 

So if you want to determine out in that kind of more ambiguous circumstance whether or not you will find cannibalization heading on, then there are some questions we may well inquire ourselves.

1. Do we believe we are underperforming? 

So just one of the best inquiries we could question, which is a tough just one in Web optimization, is: Do we consider we’re underperforming? So I know just about every Search engine marketing in the environment feels like their web-site justifies to rank better, perfectly, maybe most. But do we have other examples of really equivalent keywords and phrases the place we only have one particular web site, in which we’re carrying out considerably better? Or was it the scenario that when we released the 2nd webpage, we all of a sudden collapsed? Since if we see actions like that, then that may,  you know, it can be not distinct-lower, but it might give us some suspicions. 

2. Do competing internet pages both of those surface? 

Likewise, if we search at examples of very similar key phrases that are significantly less ambiguous in intent, so probably in the burgers case, if the SERP for “ideal burgers” and the SERP for “purchase burgers,” if all those two key phrases experienced fully distinctive effects in basic, then we could assume, oh, ok, we should have two individual pages listed here, and we just have to have to make positive that they are plainly differentiated.

But if basically it’s the similar webpages showing up on all of these search phrases, we may want to contemplate possessing one particular web site as nicely mainly because that appears to be to be what Google is preferring. It is not really separating out these intents. So that is the variety of issue we can look for is, like I say, not very clear-lower but a little bit of a hint. 

3. Consolidate or differentiate? 

Once we have figured out whether we want to have two pages or a person, or no matter whether we think the best alternative in this circumstance is to have two pages or one particular, we are heading to want to possibly consolidate or differentiate.

So if we feel there should really only be one website page, we could possibly want to just take our two pages, combine the ideal of the content, choose the strongest URL in conditions of one way links and background and so on, and redirect the other URL to this mixed site that has the ideal material, that serves the slight variance of what we now know is a person intent and so on and so forth.

If we want two webpages, then certainly we don’t want them to cannibalize. So we want to make confident that they’re evidently differentiated. Now what typically occurs here is a commercial website page, like this Buy Burgers web site, ironically for Website positioning motives, there may be a block of text at the base with a bunch of editorial or Search engine marketing textual content about burgers, and that can make it rather complicated what intent this website page is serving.

In the same way, on this page, we may possibly at some phase have made the decision that we want to aspect some products and solutions on there or something. It may possibly have commenced on the lookout really professional. So we need to have to make guaranteed that if we are heading to have the two of these, that they are extremely plainly speaking to independent intents and not made up of the exact data and the exact same keyword phrases for the most section and that sort of point.

Rapid idea

Lastly, it would be better if we did not get into the scenario in the to start with position. So a rapid idea that I would suggest, just as a past takeaway, is prior to you deliver a piece of articles, say for instance right before I created this Whiteboard Friday, I did a cannibalization so I can see what information had earlier existed on that was about cannibalization.

I can see, oh, this piece is incredibly outdated, so we may possibly — it truly is a pretty outdated Whiteboard Friday, so we may look at redirecting it. This piece mentions cannibalization, so it really is not truly about that. It truly is possibly about anything else. So as very long as it can be not concentrating on that search phrase we ought to be fantastic and so on and so forth. Just believe about what other items exist, due to the fact if there is a little something that is fundamentally focusing on the same search phrase, then clearly you may possibly want to look at consolidating or redirecting or perhaps just updating the old piece.

Which is all for now. Thank you pretty a great deal.

Video clip transcription by 

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How Our Website Conversion Strategy Increased Business Inquiries by 37%

How Our Website Conversion Strategy Increased Business Inquiries by 37%

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

Having a website that doesn’t convert is a little like having a bucket with a hole in it. Do you keep filling it up while the water’s pouring out — or do you fix the hole then add water? In other words, do you channel your budget into attracting people who are “pouring” through without taking action, or do you fine-tune your website so it’s appealing enough for them to stick around?

Our recommendation? Optimize the conversion rate of your website, before you spend on increasing your traffic to it.

Here’s a web design statistic to bear in mind: you have 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression. If your site’s too slow, or unattractive, or the wording isn’t clear, they’ll bounce faster than you can say “leaky bucket”. Which is a shame, because you’ve put lots of effort into designing a beautiful product page and About Us, and people just aren’t getting to see it.

As a digital web design and conversion agency in Melbourne, Australia, we’ve been helping our customers optimize their websites for over 10 years, but it wasn’t until mid-2019 that we decided to turn the tables and take a look at our own site.

As it turned out, we had a bit of a leaky bucket situation of our own: while our traffic was good and conversions were okay, there was definitely room for improvement.

In this article, I’m going to talk a little more about conversions: what they are, why they matter, and how they help your business. I’ll then share how I made lots of little tweaks that cumulatively led to my business attracting a higher tier of customers, more inquiries, plus over $780,000 worth of new sales opportunities within the first 26 weeks of making some of those changes. Let’s get into it!

What is conversion?

Your conversion rate is a figure that represents the percentage of visitors who come to your site and take the desired action, e.g. subscribing to your newsletter, booking a demo, purchasing a product, and so on.

Conversions come in all shapes and sizes, depending on what your website does. If you sell a product, making a sale would be your primary goal (aka a macro-conversion). If you run, say, a tour company or media outlet, then subscribing or booking a consultation might be your primary goal.

If your visitor isn’t quite ready to make a purchase or book a consultation, they might take an intermediary step — like signing up to your free newsletter, or following you on social media. This is what’s known as a micro-conversion: a little step that leads towards (hopefully) a bigger one.

A quick recap

A conversion can apply to any number of actions — from making a purchase, to following on social media.

Macro-conversions are those we usually associate with sales: a phone call, an email, or a trip to the checkout. These happen when the customer has done their research and is ready to leap in with a purchase. If you picture the classic conversion funnel, they’re already at the bottom.

Micro-conversions, on the other hand, are small steps that lead toward a sale. They’re not the ultimate win, but they’re a step in the right direction.

Most sites and apps have multiple conversion goals, each with its own conversion rate.

Micro-conversions vs. macro-conversions: which is better?

The short answer? Both. Ideally, you want micro- and macro-conversions to be happening all the time so you have a continual flow of customers working their way through your sales funnel. If you have neither, then your website is behaving like a leaky bucket.

Here are two common issues that seem like good things, but ultimately lead to problems:

  1. High web traffic (good thing) but no micro- or macro-conversions (bad thing — leaky bucket alert)

  2. High web traffic (good thing) plenty of micro-conversions (good thing), but no macro conversions (bad thing)

A lot of businesses spend heaps of money making sure their employees work efficiently, but less of the budget goes into what is actually one of your best marketing tools: your website.

Spending money on marketing will always be a good thing. Getting customers to your site means more eyes on your business — but when your website doesn’t convert visitors into sales, that’s when you’re wasting your marketing dollars. When it comes to conversion rate statistics, one of the biggest eye-openers I read was this: the average user’s attention span has dropped from 12 to a mere 7 seconds. That’s how long you’ve got to impress before they bail — so you’d better make sure your website is fast, clear, and attractive.

Our problem

Our phone wasn’t ringing as much as we’d have liked, despite spending plenty of dollars on SEO and Adwords. We looked into our analytics and realized traffic wasn’t an issue: a decent number of people were visiting our site, but too few were taking action — i.e. inquiring. Here’s where some of our issues lay:

  • Our site wasn’t as fast as it could have been (anything with a load time of two seconds or over is considered slow. Ours was hovering around 5-6, and that was having a negative impact on conversions).

  • Our CTA conversions were low (people weren’t clicking — or they were dropping off because the CTA wasn’t where it needed to be).

  • We were relying on guesswork for some of our design decisions — which meant we had no way of measuring what worked, and what didn’t.

  • In general, things were good but not great. Or in other words, there was room for improvement.

What we did to fix it

Improving your site’s conversions isn’t a one-size-fits all thing — which means what works for one person might not work for you. It’s a gradual journey of trying different things out and building up successes over time. We knew this having worked on hundreds of client websites over the years, so we went into our own redesign with this in mind. Here are some of the steps we took that had an impact.

We decided to improve our site

First of all, we decided to fix our company website. This sounds like an obvious one, but how many times have you thought “I’ll do this really important thing”, then never gotten round to it. Or rushed ahead in excitement, made a few tweaks yourself, then let your efforts grind to a halt because other things took precedence?

This is an all-too-common problem when you run a business and things are just… okay. Often there’s no real drive to fix things and we fall back into doing what seems more pressing: selling, talking to customers, and running the business.

Deciding you want to improve your site’s conversions starts with a decision that involves you and everyone else in the company, and that’s what we did. We got the design and analytics experts involved. We invested time and money into the project, which made it feel substantial. We even made EDMs to announce the site launch (like the one below) to let everyone know what we’d been up to. In short, we made it feel like an event.

How Our Website Conversion Strategy Increased Business Inquiries by 37%

We got to know our users

There are many different types of user: some are ready to buy, some are just doing some window shopping. Knowing what type of person visits your site will help you create something that caters to their needs.

We looked at our analytics data and discovered visitors to our site were a bit of both, but tended to be more ready to buy than not. This meant we needed to focus on getting macro-conversions — in other words, make our site geared towards sales — while not overlooking the visitors doing some initial research. For those users, we implemented a blog as a way to improve our SEO, educate leads, and build up our reputation.

User insight can also help you shape the feel of your site. We discovered that the marketing managers we were targeting at the time were predominantly women, and that certain images and colours resonated better among that specific demographic. We didn’t go for the (obvious pictures of the team or our offices), instead relying on data and the psychology of attraction to delve into the mind of the users.

How Our Website Conversion Strategy Increased Business Inquiries by 37%
How Our Website Conversion Strategy Increased Business Inquiries by 37%

We improved site speed

Sending visitors to good sites with bad speeds erodes trust and sends them running. Multiple studies show that site speed matters when it comes to conversion rates. It’s one of the top SEO ranking factors, and a big factor when it comes to user experience: pages that load in under a second convert around 2.5 times higher than pages taking five seconds or more.

How Our Website Conversion Strategy Increased Business Inquiries by 37%

We built our website for speed. Moz has a great guide on page speed best practices, and from that list, we did the following things:

  • We optimized images.

  • We managed our own caching.

  • We compressed our files.

  • We improved page load times (Moz has another great article about how to speed up time to first Byte). A good web page load time is considered to be anything under two seconds — which we achieved.

  • In addition, we also customized our own hosting to make our site faster.

We introduced more tracking

As well as making our site faster, we introduced a lot more tracking. That allowed us to refine our content, our messaging, the structure of the site, and so on, which continually adds to the conversion.

We used Google Optimize to run A/B tests across a variety of things to understand how people interacted with our site. Here are some of the tweaks we made that had a positive impact:

  • Social proofing can be a really effective tool if used correctly, so we added some stats to our landing page copy.

  • Google Analytics showed us visitors were reaching certain pages and not knowing quite where to go next, so we added CTAs that used active language. So instead of saying, “If you’d like to find out more, let us know”, we said “Get a quote”, along with two options for getting in touch.

  • We spent an entire month testing four words on our homepage. We actually failed (the words didn’t have a positive impact), but it allowed us to test our hypothesis. We did small tweaks and tests like this all over the site.

How Our Website Conversion Strategy Increased Business Inquiries by 37%
  • We used heat mapping to see where visitors were clicking, and which words caught their eye. With this data, we knew where to place buttons and key messaging.

We looked into user behavior

Understanding your visitor is always a good place to start, and there are two ways to go about this:

  1. Quantitative research (numbers and data-based research)

  2. Qualitative research (people-based research)

We did a mixture of both.

For the quantitative research, we used Google Analytics, Google Optimize, and Hotjar to get an in-depth, numbers-based look at how people were interacting with our site.

How Our Website Conversion Strategy Increased Business Inquiries by 37%

Heat-mapping software shows how people click and scroll through a page. Hot spots indicate places where people naturally gravitate.

We could see where people were coming into our site (which pages they landed on first), what channel brought them there, which features they were engaging with, how long they spent on each page, and where they abandoned the site.

For the qualitative research, we focused primarily on interviews.

  • We asked customers what they thought about certain CTAs (whether they worked or not, and why).

  • We made messaging changes and asked customers and suppliers whether they made sense.

  • We invited a psychologist into the office and asked them what they thought about our design.

What we learned

We found out our design was good, but our CTAs weren’t quite hitting the mark. For example, one CTA only gave the reader the option to call. But, as one of our interviewees pointed out, not everyone likes using the phone — so we added an email address.

We were intentional but ad hoc about our asking process. This worked for us — but you might want to be a bit more formal about your approach (Moz has a great practical guide to conducting qualitative usability testing if you’re after a more in-depth look).

The results

Combined, these minor tweaks had a mighty impact. There’s a big difference in how our site looks and how we rank. The bottom line: after the rebuild, we got more work, and the business did much better. Here are some of the gains we’ve seen over the past two years.

How Our Website Conversion Strategy Increased Business Inquiries by 37%
  • Our dwell time increased by 73%, going from 1.5 to 2.5 minutes.

  • We received four-times more inquiries by email and phone.

  • Our organic traffic increased despite us not channeling more funds into PPC ads.

How Our Website Conversion Strategy Increased Business Inquiries by 37%
How Our Website Conversion Strategy Increased Business Inquiries by 37%
  • We also realized our clients were bigger, paying on average 2.5 times more for jobs: in mid-2018, our average cost-per-job was $8,000. Now, it’s $17,000.

  • Our client brand names became more recognizable, household names — including two of Australia’s top universities, and a well-known manufacturing/production brand.

  • Within the first 26 weeks, we got over $770,000 worth of sales opportunities (if we’d accepted every job that came our way).

  • Our prospects began asking to work with us, rather than us having to persuade them to give us the business.

  • We started getting higher quality inquiries — warmer leads who had more intent to buy.

Some practical changes you can make to improve your website conversions

When it comes to website changes, it’s important to remember that what works for one person might not work for you.

We’ve used site speed boosters for our clients before and gotten really great results. At other times, we’ve tried it and it just broke the website. This is why it’s so important to measure as you go, use what works for your individual needs, and remember that “failures” are just as helpful as wins.

Below are some tips — some of which we did on our own site, others are things we’ve done for others.

Tip number 1: Get stronger hosting that allows you to consider things like CDNs. Hiring a developer should always be your top choice, but it’s not always possible to have that luxury. In this instance, we recommend considering CDNs, and depending on the build of your site, paying for tools like NitroPack which can help with caching and compression for faster site speeds.

Tip number 2: Focus your time. Identify top landing pages with Moz Pro and channel your efforts in these places as a priority. Use the 80/20 principle and put your attention on the 20% that gets you 80% of your success.

Tip number 3: Run A/B tests using Google Optimize to test various hypotheses and ideas (Moz has a really handy guide for running split tests using Google). Don’t be afraid of the results — failures can help confirm that what you are currently doing right. You can also access some in-depth data about your site’s performance in Google Lighthouse.

How Our Website Conversion Strategy Increased Business Inquiries by 37%

Tip number 4: Trial various messages in Google Ads (as a way of testing targeted messaging). Google provides many keyword suggestions on trending words and phrases that are worth considering.

Tip number 5: Combine qualitative and quantitative research to get to know how your users interact with your site — and keep testing on an ongoing basis.

Tip number 6: Don’t get too hung up on charts going up, or figures turning orange: do what works for you. If adding a video to your homepage slows it down a little but has an overall positive effect on your conversion, then it’s worth the tradeoff.

Tip number 7: Prioritize the needs of your target customers and focus every build and design choice around them.

Recommended tools

  • Nitropack: speed up your site if you’ve not built it for speed from the beginning.

  • Google Optimize: run A/B tests

  • HotJar: see how people use your site via heat mapping and behaviour analytics.

  • Pingdom / GTMetrix: measure site speed (both is better if you want to make sure you meet everyone’s requirements).

  • Google Analytics: find drop-off points, track conversion, A/B test, set goals.

  • Qualaroo: poll your visitors while they are on your site with a popup window.

  • Google Consumer Surveys: create a survey, Google recruits the participants and provides results and analysis.

  • Moz Pro: Identify top landing pages when you connect this tool to your Google Analytics profile to create custom reports.

How to keep your conversion rates high

Treat your website like your car. Regular little tweaks to keep it purring, occasional deeper inspections to make sure there are no problems lurking just out of sight. Here’s what we do:

  • We look at Google Analytics monthly. It helps to understand what’s working, and what’s not.

  • We use goal tracking in GA to keep things moving in the right direction.

  • We use Pingdom’s free service to monitor the availability and response time of our site.

  • We regularly ask people what they think about the site and its messaging (keeping the qualitative research coming in).


Spending money on marketing is a good thing, but when you don’t have a good conversion rate, that’s when your website’s behaving like a leaky bucket. Your website is one of your strongest sales tools, so it really does pay to make sure it’s working at peak performance.

I’ve shared a few of my favorite tools and techniques, but above all, my one bit of advice is to consider your own requirements. You can improve your site speed if you remove all tags and keep it plain. But that’s not what you want: it’s finding the balance between creativity and performance, and that will always depend on what’s important.

For us as a design agency, we need a site that’s beautiful and creative. Yes, having a moving background on our homepage slows it down a little bit, but it improves our conversions overall.

The bottom line: Consider your unique users, and make sure your website is in line with the goals of whoever you’re speaking with.

We can do all we want to please Google, but when it comes to sales and leads, it means more to have a higher converting and more effective website. We did well in inquiries (actual phone calls and email leads) despite a rapid increase in site performance requirements from Google. This only comes down to one thing: having a site customer conversion framework that’s effective.

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