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Measuring beyond Rankings and Clicks

Sometimes it appears that conversions and metrics are somehow given their due attention when a client is doing Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, yet, these metrics are often excluded in the search engine optimisation (SEO) process.

A false perception has been created of SEO clicks in the organic search results as being ‘free’. It appears that this was the simplest comparison between CPC (Cost-per-click) advertising and the ‘free’ organic click that may have resulted from SEO, even though technically SEO clicks are not free given the cost of effective SEO services.

Improve your organic listings in Google with SEO

When you are getting CPC clicks to your website vs. ‘free’ organic clicks it makes sense that an advertiser would focus more closely on the clicks that are costing them money. So a number of measures are implemented to determine success in PPC campaigns, such as conversion rate, cost-per-acquisition (CPA), maximum CPC, checking whether a particular landing page has a high bounce rate, how much time searchers spend on the page etc.

One then wonders, how this measurement gets lost when analysing clicks that are received from the ‘free’ organic sources, such as the search engines or referring websites. Suddenly, the goal is the click rather than what happens after the click.

Measuring AFTER the click

In measuring the success of SEO , indeed traffic volume is an important metric because the click is the stress test of the actual keyword selection process. But what happens when those clicks have a high bounce rate on the keywords that have been targeted in the SEO? Does this mean that the wrong keywords were selected for the particular business or is the problem with the website? Does the site look unprofessional in a field where professionalism is a precursor to success?

If an SEO agency could increase the conversions on the clicks that a client is receiving versus increasing the volume of traffic to the website, surely the client would select the former. Would you prefer a traffic increase or a conversion increase? Indeed, you may say both! However, if the SEO agency can succeed in boosting conversions, this then optimises the existing traffic coming to the website. Then, once the website experience has been optimised, would it not make sense to only then think about increasing traffic?

SEO agencies need to move beyond just ‘ranking reports’ and ‘rankings in the SERPs’. The next step is to look at things in terms of traffic level and conversions, rather than just optimizing and improving a site’s position in the organic search results.