People search online in many different ways. We need to continually investigate the methods of measuring an SEO campaign’s success. Visiting stores to investigate products, contacting you directly, comparing prices and completing either online, in-store or over the phone. Offline purchases can be influenced by online research. Online shoppers are constantly switching between purchasing channels with searching online being a starting point in most cases. Tracking off-line sales channels such as in-store, via telephone or face to face is very important in measuring your SEO campaign success.

Measuring the entire sales process from search to purchase is not an easy task. In late 2010, Neilson/Netratings found that 68% of purchases by customers who conducted online research were converted offline. The reality is that online visibility drives offline sales.

Tracking the complete sales conversion process is in its infancy, but by no means is it a new hurdle to overcome. Each business will have different objectives that it wants to achieve from an SEO campaign, and these need to be defined early on. Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of an SEO campaign is not easy, but there are some indicators which can help to provide your business with measurable targets:

Rankings

The most popular way to measure SEO campaign success is pure search engine rankings. Top ten rankings are the target for a variety of brand’s keywords. Primary keyword rankings guarantee targeted traffic which can ensure relevant traffic. With the launch of Google Instant these measurables are changing and with that we must consider new ROI objectives.

Visitors

When an SEO campaign has delivered high search rankings the site should see an increase in traffic, this can be tracked and analysed through traffic monitoring software such as Google Analytics. Clients usually want to achieve top ten rankings but what they are really looking to achieve is more accurately targeted and relevant visitors. But what about once these visitors arrive on the site? How can we attribute online and offline success?

Online Event Tracking

Websites which rank well in the search engines will achieve higher traffic volumes, but when the user is onsite how do you track if they are actually converting? Tracking certain events that take place on your website can help to give insight into your visitor’s journey. For an ecommerce websites tracking the number of sales is a straight forward process, but what about informational and lead generation websites? Tracking can be as simple as asking a customer in-store over the phone where they heard about the product, service or website and the correct medium recorded.

Here are some example ROI measurable’s which will help you to measure profitability of traffic to your site:

A goal might simply be lead generation. An increase in the number of enquiry forms submitted online should a user want someone to contact them in order to get more information on a product or service.

Number of application forms downloaded can be tracked. For example if users were applying to enrol in a college and wanted to download an application form or other related content. A sites main goal might be to increase the number of email subscribers they have and this can be tracked through analytics.

Does your business offer services like training courses or even an online membership site? Unique landing pages can be created offering different discount codes or vouchers which can be printed and used in-store or over the phone. Sales can now be attributed to that source and an online and offline conversion rate can be calculated.

Customer tagging techniques. Here the user is allocated a unique ID on the website usually through a login, or a user ID. This ID can then be used for offline sale discounts and conversions can be calculated.

Your company may want to capture the number of people who will visit your location. A visitor viewing the location of your store is clearly very interested in knowing your offline presence. You can track your online store locator page to provide an insight into visitors as they are more inclined to visit your stores.

For many companies a call from a user is needed in order for a sale to happen. However when a visitor phones the contact number the source of this lead generation is lost. Today companies can assign unique telephone numbers enabling your business to track phone calls generated from individual search marketing programs such as SEO and PPC or even Social Media optimisation. This unique number is logged as a hit be it through natural search, PPC or other online advertising medium and sales can be tied back to the appropriate acquisition channel.

Some other methods which should be aligned with your business objectives could be wishlist creation, Send to a Friend, number of video views, software downloaded, lead generation pre-qualifier questionnaires and the number of reviews submitted on a product or service. If you don’t have a method to measure your goals investigate ways in which you can. If your business is solely based on offline conversions, implementing an online booking or shopping system can help you to track SEO ROI.

In conclusion SEO objectives should be set out from the start, expectations managed, objectives monitored and all measurement techniques regularly reassessed to ensure that they continue to be business-relevant.

4Ps isn’t just another SEO agency. To discuss how SEO and analytics are evolving together in order to keep pace with new developments in user interaction and measurement, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and technology across all inbound channels. Where could a 4Ps analytics consultant take your business?