Executives Increasing ROI

Using SEO To Drive Conversions & Revenue

Hands holding phone, coins coming from screen

This is the final installment in our multi-part series about enterprise SEO. Check out the previous four installments in this series: The Future of Enterprise SEO, An Enterprise SEO Methodology: From Crawling to Conversions, Crawl, Render, Index, and Creating Content That Ranks for Real Searcher Queries.

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You’ve created content that search engines can find.

You’ve optimized it to be relevant to the real ways your audience is searching.

Now, it’s time to learn how to generate qualified visitors to your website that boost your SEO revenue.

In this fifth and final installment of our enterprise SEO methodology series, we’re going to be exploring how to turn your rankings into clicks that lead to conversions.

SEO for conversions

Are your ranking pages generating clicks?

In our last post in this series, we talked about adapting your strategy to match the way real people are searching for your brand — the words they use, the devices they search on, and the countries they search from.

Let’s assume that you’ve now gotten your pages to rank in search engine results. That’s great! But your work isn’t done.

Rankings alone don’t mean much if you’re missing clicks. If you want the rankings you worked so hard for to matter, you’re going to have to work to win the searcher’s click as well.

Being able to understand which of your keywords are generating clicks is a key benefit to using real searcher data as opposed to rank tracking tools that use SERP scraping to get their data. Because the Botify platform pulls from the Google Search Console API, our customers are able to see clicks generated from particular keywords, which isn’t possible with the other tools.

Being able to see which keywords are generating clicks to your website allows you to find:

1. Missed clicks in top rank positions

Low rank position isn’t the only reason a website might be missing clicks. Even pages ranking in the top search result positions can have a low click-through rate (CTR). The good news is that often adjustments to things like the page’s title tag, or even the implementation of structured data for rich snippets, can lead to a higher CTR and big traffic wins for enterprise websites.

missed clicks

And, because searcher behavior differs by device, country, and other variables, you’ll want to be able to view clicks, missed clicks (times when your page received an impression but was not clicked on), and organic CTR from those angles as well.

clicks by position

Large, established enterprise websites are often ranking for thousands of keywords, and each of those individual keywords has the potential to bring hundreds or even thousands of visitors to your site each month. The opportunity for clicks is enormous. You just need to have the data to tell you where it is.

2. Missed clicks due to low rank position

In many cases, enterprises have enormous traffic opportunities that they can win by improving their rank position. Searchers are less likely to click on results lower on the search engine results page, often opting for results in the top few positions.

In the example below, you can see that a majority of this site’s missed clicks are coming from pages that occupy the lowest position in search results.

missed clicks by position

By clicking into this graph, you can see the individual pages that are missing clicks for particular queries and layer on other data to help you diagnose what you can do to improve the page’s rank position.

missed click data

Are your ranking pages generating conversions?

You could argue that your job as an SEO is done once a prospective customer clicks on a search result – and you’d be right. The visitor has made it to the target page, and now it’s up to Marketing to convert the visit.

But Conversion is the final stage of the SEO funnel for a reason. Search engines only have so much crawl budget, and SEO teams only have so much bandwidth. These constraints mean SEOs have to prioritize their initiatives, and there’s no better way to do that than with conversion metrics.

Because every website has different goals, and different verticals make money differently, conversion looks different from organization to organization.

For example:

  • E-commerce websites can use their organic search traffic to drive product purchases
  • Lead generation websites can use their organic search traffic to drive interest forms, demo requests, etc.
  • Publisher websites can use their organic search traffic to drive affiliate link clicks or monetize the traffic directly via on-page ad placement

The organic traffic that you generate through SEO activities can absolutely have a positive impact on your bottom line. In 2019, Forrester found that 60% of organizations leading in SEO maturity measured the impact of SEO on revenue, and 91% of them found it “very profitable.” Botify customers, on average, see an ROI of 584% over three years.

In 2019, Forrester found that 60% of organizations leading in SEO maturity measured the impact of SEO on revenue, and 91% of them found it ‘very profitable.’

Enriching your SEO data with conversion information allows you to speak to the revenue impact of your team’s optimization efforts – and that’s powerful. Conversion data integration can help your team:

  1. Prioritize SEO tasks. Discover which tasks will make the biggest difference to your organization’s bottom line. You may even find that some of them are relatively easy fixes.
  2. Accelerate development tickets. SEO teams often struggle to get timely help from development on more technical fixes, and this usually comes down to prioritization. Barnes & Noble includes revenue impact estimates in each of its SEO tickets to help Engineering prioritize more accurately during sprint planning.
  3. Justify resource and budget allocation. If you can measure the impact of SEO on revenue, then you can calculate the estimated ROI of virtually any departmental function. This makes it infinitely easier to get budget approval for new talent and technology.
  4. See the cumulative effect of incremental changes. Decision-makers are inherently curious about the impact of major optimizations, so even if your conversion data isn’t integrated with your SEO data, someone is likely to do that analysis manually (in a spreadsheet or BI tool, for example). But tracking the cumulative impact of smaller optimizations is too labor-intensive to do by hand. Data integration allows you to surface those insights passively.
  5. Persuade executives of SEO’s value. Tying SEO to your company’s north star metric will naturally generate executive interest in the value of SEO. Conversion data is among the easiest, most direct means of giving decision-makers a reason to build it into their strategies and processes.

By unifying your data, you and your organization can start to understand how each piece of the SEO puzzle influences the whole.

Overcoming common conversion data obstacles

So why don’t all companies use conversion data in their SEO? The answer is twofold: data integration and data quality management.

Data Integration

If there isn’t a native integration between your SEO platform and conversion tracking tool as there is between Botify and Google Analytics, joining data sources will likely involve some technical expertise. In many cases, this means building a custom data warehouse.

This can be a heavy lift. Data warehouses take time to build, and most organizations cannot spare the developer talent. If your team is facing this barrier to conversion data integration, here are some ways to begin clearing a path forward:

  1. Win stakeholder support. Put together a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed project and work to gain executive support. The more backing your team has, the easier it will be to acquire the necessary resources. Feel free to cite the ROI statistics in this post and paint conversion data integration as an important step along the path to SEO maturity.
  2. Research execution plans. See how others have gone about building their SEO data warehouses and see if their methods would work for your organization. 
  3. Consider hiring outside help. If your company has the budget, consider hiring an agency or small team of freelance developers to help you build the data warehouse. This gives your team access to the expertise it needs without involving your full-time development staff.
  4. Explore BI tools. An alternative to data integration is joining your SEO and conversion data in a standalone business intelligence solution like Looker. This could be a temporary workaround worth exploring, but it will require a data analyst to recreate some of your SEO tool’s reports and dashboards. Comparing this option in terms of cost might be another way to win stakeholder support for the warehouse.
  5. Agree on a reevaluation date. If you cannot get approval for the project, schedule a time to revisit the proposal months or even years down the line. Priorities change all the time, and you may see very different results next time you raise the issue.

Data Quality Management

Sometimes conversion tracking applications are poorly maintained, causing data quality issues for the rest of the organization. In Google Analytics, for example, you might have goals that aren’t tracking properly or haven’t been updated to reflect changes to the website.

Unreliable conversion and engagement data is of little use to SEO teams – but it’s also of little use to the rest of your organization. If your team is facing this obstacle, raise it with leadership as a major missed opportunity to gain clear insight into the company’s revenue streams. Work to identify where the data management process has broken down and propose a means of fixing it. In all likelihood, you will see nearly unanimous support for this effort.

Keep in mind, however, that corrections to an application like Google Analytics won’t take effect retroactively. It will therefore be some time before you’ve collected enough quality data to discern trends and establish benchmarks, but the long-term benefits will far outweigh the upfront costs. 

Harnessing conversion and engagement data

Botify customers can import conversion and engagement data from Google Analytics using a native integration or build a custom data warehouse to access data from other platforms, such as Adobe Analytics. 

Once the integration is complete, you’ll never have to wonder whether SEO is making an impact again — you will know for sure. The estimated revenue impact of keywords, URLs, and page categories will be automatically added to all relevant Botify reports.

SEO revenue

So what kinds of insights can engagement data surface? Here are some use cases pulled from actual Botify reports:

  1. Lost revenue from disappeared URLs. A disappeared URL is one that stops showing up in site crawls. If these URLs were not removed from the site intentionally, it may be that they’ve been orphaned or buried too deeply in the site. Knowing the revenue impact of these disappeared URLs can help your team assess the urgency of the situation.
  2. Crawl activity from Google. What’s the estimated revenue impact of pages Google does and does not crawl?
  3. Transactions on Indexable vs Non-Indexable URLs. How valuable are the conversions happening on non-indexable pages? There could be a strategic opportunity there.
  4. Revenue by Segment (Organic). Botify allows you to group your URLs into meaningful segments based on your business logic. For example, if you’re an apparel e-commerce site, you might have segments for men’s and women’s clothing with additional segments for tops, bottoms, and outerwear. Knowing which segments are driving the most revenue through organic search will inform your keyword strategy.
  5. Revenue by Channel. Drill into each channel’s performance to discover new market trends and optimization opportunities.

By informing each preceding stage of the search funnel, conversion data transforms SEO into a precision tool. Crawling, rendering, indexing, and ranking can all be optimized systematically to drive revenue.

How enterprises profit from SEO

Throughout this series, we’ve walked you through our unique SEO methodology and explained how enterprise websites can benefit from adopting it.

In The Future of Enterprise SEO, we set the stage for why enterprises need a unique approach to SEO by exploring the complexities of the web today. Everything from new technology to the sheer size of the web has led to Google ignoring about half of enterprise websites’ content.

Google Misses Half of Pages

In light of this reality, the first part of the methodology is all about helping search engines find and understand your content — how are they crawling, rendering, and indexing your content?

Crawl Render Index

Once the barriers to finding and understanding your content have been removed, enterprises need to get their content in front of the people who are searching for them. To do this, organizations need access to data that shows real searcher behavior. It’s only once enterprises understand how their ideal audience is looking for them that they can start to create content that ranks for real searcher queries.

Rankings

And finally, once you understand the ways people are searching for your brand, you need to win the click so you can leverage that traffic toward your desired actions.

From rankings to revenue, SEO carries enormous traffic and revenue potential for enterprise brands. In order to access that potential, you’ll need a tool that pulls in data from each component of this methodology.

Every month, Botify crawls more than three billion pages, analyzes 25 billion search engine requests, and pulls in more than 900 million queries from 150+ countries, enabling large enterprises to adopt this unified SEO methodology with ease.

If you’re interested in learning more about making organic search your most profitable channel, we’d love to show you around Botify. Book a demo today!

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