Analyzing & Converting SEO Traffic

I think I have a sickness. I can’t stay away from the analytics sessions. This time, my addiction has lead me to this great panel with Craig Hordlow, Red Bricks Media, Jim Sterne, Target Marketing, Lauren Vaccarello, lv logic, and Richard Zwicky, Enquisite, who was a recent guest on SEMSynergy. Everyone’s favorite Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land is going to moderate.

Jim Sterne is going to start us off because he’s totally the analytic guru. He writes about the theory of search and analytics. He’s going to talk about what’s on your mind: SEO, SEM, social media, behavioral targeting, 301 redirects, image search, branded search… so many many things. But to the higher ups it’s just Search. And they have a lot on their minds too and all they really care about is their bonus. The nice thing is that everything you do in search affects their bonus. In order to explain it to them, don’t try to give them every piece of information. Protect them from that and instead give them a promise. “If you give me the tools, money and people. I will increase sales/contacts/etc. by X percentage in Y months”.

When they say “how are you going to do this?” you will be tempted to explain. Don’t do it. Stick to the ROI. If they insist that they want to know? Send them to a conference like SMX West where smart people will explain it all to them.

Hee. I love Jim.

Lauren Vaccarello is next and I love her too. She’s making a BSG joke and that’s why she’s awesome. Her disclaimer: she’s using Google analytics but these recommendations can be applied anywhere.

Finding your Larry Fitzgerald: [translation: your top performers]

Set up a goal and find the keywords that make you money. Find the high performance pages with high conversion rates and low bounce rates. It’s not about visits, it’s about conversions. Just bringing people in isn’t enough.

Finding your Jackie Moon: [translation: your worst performers]

Create bounce and transaction reports to find the pages that don’t convert or hold attention. You do this by comparison. If all your pages have a 30 percent bounce rate but then you have one page with a 50 percent bounce rate, that’s a Jackie Moon. However, you need to actually look at the keywords bringing people to that page: figure out which keywords cause people to bounce.

The Felix Gaeta pages: [translations: pages with potential that just fail] [I’m just going to be over here giggling to death.] [I hope you’re not the only one that understands what’s going on. –Virginia]

You need to understand behavior. Find the pages with very high page views per visit. These aren’t the grazers who just come back, steal a picture and then wander away. These are the ones who hang around but don’t convert. The problem is you. Someone doesn’t go through 21 pages without buying something unless you won’t let them. Look at the pages and figure out what’s standing in their way. Figure out if you’re not matching expectations.

Branded versus non-branded terms

Your company, — branded
Sports magazine — non-branded

Honesty is important. You need to separate your branded terms from your non-branded terms. Why separate it out? Because branded terms convert better, they don’t count. You want to increase conversions on the non-branded terms.

Caig Hordlow follows Lauren.

There are two fundamental human interactions: connections and disconnections.

Are you really listening to the whole conversation? Or are you just focused on the “top” pages, keywords and numbers. You have to listen to the whole conversation and dig deep.

Motive analysis:

  • Identify the motive of visitors by understanding the nuances of the search query.
  • Segment the queries by motive.
  • Analyze the performance/entry pages. Tip: generate a list of filters and segment.
  • Identify motive disconnects.
  • Modify entry pages to solve problem.
  • Grow your site intelligently.

Basic necessities: tools and a brain

Ten motives of search:

  1. Product/service
  2. Comparison/quality
  3. Adjective qualifier
  4. Intended use
  5. Vendor/manufacturer
  6. Location
  7. Action request
  8. Instruction
  9. Definition
  10. Problem

He likes to use personas. Specifically his mother because she’s the lowest common denominator. Aw.

Example: Shoe shopping

Three personas:

  • Shopping addict: “Gucci”, “tobacco pumps”
  • Local enthusiast: “Toronto”, “hiking”
  • Bargain hunter: “cheap”, “sales”

What are my top motives? Which motives are underperforming? Why are my underperforming pages not connecting with my visitor? You’ll need to dig in to find micro-segments. That’s easier to do with PPC than SEO.

So what do we do about it? Bring it back to the entry page. Review each page for motive disconnects. Is the message that the user wants to find on the page? Is it succinct and persuasive with more info easily available? Is it even feasible for you to be relevant? Maybe you’re not cheap or discount. Is it visible enough? Should the message be on its own page? You don’t want to clutter your pages to the point that there is a lack of focus.

You’re either going to rebuild your entry pages or build new entry pages.

Microsegmentation grows your long-tail intelligently. You’ll need to build out new pages and a lot of them.

Richard Zwicky from Enquisite is last.

There’s a difference between Web analytics and Search analytics. It’s about specialization. He’s going to be going through a lot of case studies. I’ll focus on the takeaways.

Page-two terms are easy wins. You’re nearly there. You’re already considered valuable.

Don’t skip the small stuff. Think of it like a score out of 100. If you don’t do one, your best score is 99. If you skip two, your best score is 98. Don’t give up those points without trying.

To determine the potential of a keyword use the following formula:

Keyword potential = (1 minus keyword volume / total search engine referrals for the site)(Average page views / visits for that phrase)(time on site in seconds)(1 minus bounce rate)

Then this has to be normalized against all the other terms on your site. This can also be run for actions and conversions. It’s built into the Enquisite tools.

Understand how a searcher’s physical location impacts your search results and business. Personalization means that you might not rank well if you don’t have regional links into your site.


How do you reduce bounce rate?

Jim: Look at what’s bringing them there. You might be drawing people for the wrong purpose.

Richard: Take a look at the page and see what’s bringing them in the page. Also, deoptimize for non-useful words.

Lauren: Consider if there’s another page on your site that should be optimized for that keyword instead.

How do you test and optimize WordPress?

Lauren: You can test the content on the page. Add more to that page that might help support it.

Richard: The content management system shouldn’t matter.

Craig: Figure out what you’re testing first. Most people have no idea.

In terms of visibility scoring/ranking reports, I thought there would be more discussion about it. Is it important?

Danny: They talked about it in the previous session. Showing up doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing well, except in terms of reputation management.

Lauren: It really only matters if you’re on page two and you’re getting conversions there. Moving to page one is a huge opportunity.

Richard: On average page two to page one is a 45 percent increase in traffic.

Danny: The value is not a ranking report. It’s an opportunity report where you correlate conversions to the ranking.

How do you control the snippet that shows up in the SERPs?

Craig: The Meta Description.

Lauren: Match the page description to the keywords bringing you traffic.

Danny: Usually they use the Meta Description. If the query didn’t show up in the Meta Description, then they’ll try to pull from the text on the page.

Did you say that the search algorithms will value the business address in terms of linking?

Richard: Yes, they’ll try to determine the location. So that they can say someone in this area finds this site that they’re linking to useful. So if you’re in Houston and you link to Enquisite, the engines will say people in Houston consider this site useful. It’s not as important for national businesses but it’s incredibly important for local businesses.

Susan Esparza is former managing editor at Bruce Clay Inc., and has written extensively for clients and internal publications. Along with Bruce Clay, she is co-author of the first edition of Search Engine Optimization All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies.

See Susan's author page for links to connect on social media.

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