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How to track conversions like a pro
Driving more traffic is only good if you're driving the right traffic. Columnist Ryan Shelley outlines three simple conversion goals you can track that will give you powerful insights into how your users are interacting with your website.
How do you know if what you are doing is actually working? Sure, traffic may be going up, but what about after that? Are your new visitors taking actions that lead to real business results?
The goal of SEO is not to just drive more traffic — it’s to drive better traffic. And the only way to know if we have hit our goal is to measure how our users are interacting with our site after they’ve arrived.
Conversions are usually associated with e-commerce and business transactions. But in truth, there are a number of different types of conversions. Today’s websites have multiple conversion points, from subscribe widgets and phone numbers to pop-ups and chatbots. But the conversion elements are only powerful if you have the right audience interacting with them.
Tracking conversions will give you a better understanding of your website’s traffic. By learning what your users are doing after they land on your site, you will be able to know whether you are driving the right type of traffic. The great news is that you don’t need fancy software to pull this off. You can use the Google Analytics goals to help you track conversions on your site. Below are three simple conversion goals you can track that will give you powerful insights into how your users are interacting with your website.
1. URL destination
In this type of conversion, you are tracking when a user lands on a specific page URL, link www.yoursite.com/thank-you. This is usually used to track if a user has completed a form submission. To set this up, you’ll need to go to your admin section, and under “view,” click goals. From there, you can create a new goal.
Setting up a URL destination goal is pretty simple. Just fill in the input boxes that Google gives you.
On thing to note: In the goal URL you don’t need to add the full URL, just what comes after the domain. For match type, you can specify how strict you want Google Analytics to track. If you want just one specific URL, choose “Exact Match.” If you have a number of user-generated URLs that all start with a specific string, you can use the “starts with” option.
This type of goal will let you know if users are converting on key pages of your website. The data you collect here is extremely valuable when you are trying to determine if you are driving the right type of user to your site.
2. Duration goals
Do you know how long your average user is staying on your site? Is there a correlation between a user’s time on your site and their becoming a customer? Instead of wondering, you can set up a duration goal inside Google Analytics to find out. Unlike a conversion that is tracking a destination, this type of conversion is focused on your users’ behavior.
To create this goal, you’ll need to go back to the admin section of your website property in Google Analytics. Create a custom goal type and click “duration.” Instead of tracking a destination, you’ll be tracking time on the site.
Give your goal a name to help you you keep track of the conversions you’re measuring. The condition is where you will decide how you want to track. For engagement, we’ll want to choose “greater than.” Next, you’ll add the goal time. As you can see, you can get pretty specific here. This will help you understand if your users are finding your site engaging. If you notice that they are leaving quickly, you know that either you are driving the wrong traffic or your site is not meeting users’ needs.
3. Pages per visit
Similar to the duration goal, pages per visit is about understanding user engagement. The hypothesis is that if you are driving the right type of traffic, they will engage at a higher rate. So let’s talk quickly about how to set this up.
Once again, this will be done in the admin section of Google Analytics. You’ll choose a custom goal, and this time, select Pages/Screens per session. For the condition, you can choose “greater than,” “equal to” or “less than.” For the purpose of tracking user engagement, we’ll choose “greater than.” Then add the number of pages you want to see trigger a conversion.
Knowing whether your users are engaging with your site will help you better qualify your SEO efforts. Reporting is often one of the hardest parts of any SEO or digital marketer’s job. Since there is so much data, it’s often difficult to know what to track. While showing increased traffic and rankings can be nice, showing how your users are interacting will help you verify if you’re driving the right type of traffic to your site.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.