Internet marketing and SEO are supposed to help make a lot of things happen for a site- boost your ranking in the SERP, increase your brand presence online, drive more targeted traffic to your site, build and maintain an online reputation, establish relationships with consumers and so forth. Some website owners decide to focus on one of these goals as the final measurement of success, but in the end it’s all about conversions. Each of those aforementioned points is a path that leads to an increase in a site’s conversion rate; they are a means to an end, not the end in themselves.
I’ve met (and still meet) plenty of website owners who still think that PageRank is the end-all-be-all measure of success, and that just isn’t the case. A site’s PageRank is only one of the thousands of factors Google takes into consideration when determining a site’s position in the SERP. Chances are by the time you are done writing up the report on how well your targeted keywords are ranking, the results are invalid.
Site owners should really be focusing on their conversion rate as a way to tell if their SEO is working. A higher conversion rate means more targeted visitors are being delivered to your site, which in turn means that you targeted the appropriate keywords. A higher conversion rate also means that your site is properly optimized. Visitors are able to find what they are looking for quickly, and the call-to-actions are doing their job.
I’ve had clients call me in panic, anxious because their site analytics showed that visitors were only staying on the site’s landing page for less than 30 seconds. They were certain this spelled doom for their site. But here is the catch- their sites were designed to encourage visitors to CALL the company. Once a visitor has the phone number and has made the effort to place a call, why do they need to hang out on your website?
It’s very easy to get focused on one or two factors (like bounce rate or number of pages visited) and lose the forest for the trees. That is why website owners need to look at their analytics as a whole (and with a grain of salt) to really understand and successfully interpret the data.
While a site’s conversion rate isn’t the only thing that matters, a higher conversion rate usually means more sales and more profits, which is the final goal of any business. A strong conversion rate is usually a good indication that all your SEO pieces are working together.