It was once said about the cost of advertising, “I know that half of the money I spend on advertising is totally wasted, I just don’t know which half.” The same cannot be said about search engine optimization and marketing due to the incredible amount of documentable information on the internet. This information allows for more focus and precision in terms of targeting customers than ever before in any other medium.
Tracking the available information allows for extensive testing on what is working and what isn’t which, in turn, will increase the efficiency of advertising and marketing efforts. The list of what can be tracked and tested is quite long but includes the following:
* How much traffic is there for the business category – This can determine the overall size of the online market, the budget required, and/or the viability of SEO/SEM
* What keywords are driving the most traffic in the category – What searches will lead visitors to your website
* How much competition is there for specific keywords – Going after highly competitive keywords in an SEO/SEM strategy may be counter-productive due to the high amount of resources and time required to move up in search engine rankings. Focus on can provide more immediate results
* How many visitors are coming to the site – Provides a base line to measure against for effectiveness of SEO/SEM
* How many visitors are search engine spiders/crawlers/robots – Another base line measure
* What keywords are driving traffic to your site now – If these are working, incorporating them in the SEO/SEM campaign is a must
* Unique vs. repeat visitors – Another baseline measure
* How long do visitors stay at the site – This can determine the effectiveness of keywords, possibly used in Pay-Per Click, the “stickiness” of the site, or whether there are navigation issues. If visitors are bouncing back off of the site within seconds, the keywords being used could be too broad in nature. Another factor could be that they’re not seeing what they’re looking for when they arrive so they “back” out. Figuring theses issues out is especially important if you’re using PPC as you are paying for these visitors that are bouncing out immediately. If visitors are leaving the site after visiting a specific page it could be a sign that there are navigation or content issues that are driving visitors off of the site.
* Is PPC profitable – PPC in general is carrying less weight for visitors than say, eighteen months ago. The organic searches are what most visitors consider important so a review of the profitability of your PPC efforts is probably in order. If PPC is not generating enough leads or conversions that money might be better spent on SEO/SEM, focusing on a higher page rank.
These are only a few of the metrics that can be tracked online. The companies that are successful on the web are constantly testing, analyzing, and fine tuning their marketing efforts. Using the information available, you can too, and with a little determination and planning your website can be converted from an online brochure to a cash generating machine.