So you’ve investing time and effort in search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search (PPC). Investing in online marketing is definitely a hefty decision to make, but it’s also one of the best ways to drive targeted traffic to your website in order to increase your sales leads.
While investing in Internet marketing is a great step to make, it’s not the only step. You can’t simply do all the work to get your campaign up and running and leave it at that. In other words, not only do you want to make sure you select the right keywords, analyze the competition, build links, and generate excellent content, you also want to make sure that you are tracking every little step you take along the way. This article will present the details of why you need Internet marketing analytics and what metrics you should use for your website, SEO efforts, and PPC campaigns.
Why even bother with Analytics?
It’s important to know exactly why you even need to bother with analytics, especially since there is a bit of a learning curve involved with properly understanding Internet marketing analytics. Getting Internet marketing right is tricky, and it’s nearly impossible (even for the brightest of Internet marketers) to get it all right the first time. Additionally, search engines like Google and Bing are constantly changing their algorithms in order to produce more relevant results. As such, tactics that worked one month so well may not work well the next month. Also, employing a marketing tactic that worked well for one audience, may not work for another target audience. There’s just no one size fits all method for Internet marketing.
Because there is no one size fits all method for successful Internet marketing, it’s important to track your marketing efforts. Tracking helps you identify what is and what is not working, and helps you improve and customize your marketing efforts to best fit your needs, and the needs of your target audience. Ultimately, using analytics properly helps you refine your strategy, save money, and helps you get better results.
What Metrics to Use
Now that I’ve established the importance of analyzing your Internet marketing efforts, let’s talk about what metrics you should pay attention to, and what they even mean.
The first level of Internet marketing analytics is making sure you track what is happening on your actual website. Here is a quick breakdown of what metrics are important.
Unique Visitors – The total number of visitors to your website during a specific period. This only includes new visitors, not repeat visitors by the same person.
This statistic shows you what type of reach your marketing efforts are making. You may have 600 visits on your site, but if they are all from your mom, you know that you’re not reaching a wide enough audience. The goal of your campaign should be to reach as many unique individuals as possible.
Repeat Visitors – The number of visitors who come back to your website more than once.
Okay, so you may not have all new visitors all of the time, and guess what, that’s okay! Repeat visitors often indicates that you have a fans out there that are consistently eating up your content for breakfast. When analyzing your new visitors vs. repeat visitors, shoot for a percentage between 15%-20%. This indicates that new people are visiting your website, but that you are also creating a loyal following.
Traffic Sources – This shows you where people are finding your website. For example, are they coming from your organic listings on Google, directly typing in your URL or being referred to you from another popular website?
This information is useful, because it shows you what kind of response you are getting from diversified Internet marketing efforts. For example, if you have a high organic traffic source number, it probably means your SEO tactics are working. If you have a high referral number, that means that your guest blogging posts and link building strategy is paying off. If you handed out a flyer with your website listed on it, and someone typed it in their browser, you know you got some response from branding efforts.
Indexed Pages – This shows you how many pages on your site that have received a visit from organic search results. This is a good way to see which pages search engines are picking up. This helps you understand if your SEO code is working, and if your content is robust enough for search engines to understand.
Most & Least Popular Pages— This shows you what pages visitors find most interesting, and what pages visitors find least interesting. It’s a good way to gauge what content people enjoy.
Bounce Rate – The bounce rate indicates the percentage of people who visit your site and immediately click out of your site. This shows you whether or not people find your website interesting. If you have a high bounce rate, it could indicate that your design is bad, your content is uninteresting, or your website is simply not what your visitor needed.
Landing Page Conversion Rates – This tells you the percentage of people that are heeding your call to action. This helps you determine what percentage of visitors is turning into solid leads.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Metrics
Not only do you want to track what is happening on your actual website, but you want to track your SEO efforts. Here are a few of the most important metrics to understand when trying to improve upon your SEO efforts. Here are the top SEO metrics to understand.
Keyword Performance & Rankings – This metric shows you your website’s search engine rankings for specific keywords.
This helps you determine the competitiveness, performance, and success of keywords. You should always be monitoring your keywords in order to make sure you are using keywords that perform well for you, and help you reach your target audience.
Organic Traffic Sources – This is the percentage of people who find your site by clicking on your website on the organic listings of the search engine results page.
If your percentage of traffic from organic sources is lower than 40%, it indicates you need a better content strategy. In other words, time to start vamping up your blog with cool videos, Infographics, articles, and more.
Inbound Links – Inbound links is the amount of links to your site that come from other websites.
This gives you insight as to how your link building strategy is working and what types of sites generally find your content useful enough to link back to your site. Remember, the higher the domain authority of another website, the more the link is worth to you.
Branded Traffic – Branded traffic is simply traffic that is coming from keywords that are directly related to your website. For example, if someone is looking for airline tickets, they may immediately type in “delta.com” in the search box. This is an example of a branded search term. This shows you how well you are establishing your brand.
Organic Conversion Rates – This is similar to landing page conversion rates, except this shows the amount of people who completed a desirable action on your website, but found your website through organic search results.
Paid Search (PPC) Metrics
Website analytics and SEO metrics are only part of the Internet marketing analytics puzzle. You also want to make sure you know how to track your paid search campaigns. In fact, out of all of the metrics out there, learning the ins and outs of paid search analytics is one of the most important things to understand, because it can so drastically affect your budget. Here is a rundown of the most important PPC metrics.
Click-through-rate (CTR) – The CTR is calculated by dividing the amount of people that actually clicked on your advertisement by the amount of people who saw your website (or the amount of impressions). Evaluating your CTR can help you fine-tune your sponsored ads in order to find the most effective headlines, copy, and landing page URLs.
Cost-per-click (CPC) – Your average CPC per keyword tells you how much you are paying for a specific keyword. Monitoring your CPC, especially in relation to your conversion rates, will help you budget your paid search campaigns, and help you determine your return on investment (ROI).
Conversion rate – Your conversion rate is how many people are clicking on your ad vs. how many people are completing your call to action be it filling out contact information, signing up for a newsletter, or machining a purchase.
Cost per Acquisition (CPA) – Your CPA tells you how much you are spending on paid search advertising in return for a conversion. This also helps you determine your budget and your ROI.
Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) – Return on ad spend is calculated by dividing your total ad spend by the total amount of revenue that is generated from your paid search conversions. Your ROAS helps you determine whether or not the money you invest into paid search is actually paying off in the long run. You want to make sure that you are bringing in more money than you are putting out into advertising.
These are just a few of the most important metrics you need to thoroughly understand in order to make sure that you are really running an effective search engine optimization and/or paid marketing campaign. Without analytics, it’s difficult to really determine which actions are helping and which actions are hurting.