The Importance of Goals for SEO

Which Goals we need to set?

One of the first things that we need to know from our clients, is their goals. What would be defined as success for their business? The thing that will define the success in their business should be our goal, which later on should be quantified through our conversions.

What can be defined as a goal?

Anything that matters to a business:

  • subscriptions
  • bookings/reservations
  • sales/check outs
  • page visits
  • duration of visits
  • downloads.

These are just some of the goals that the clients set for their business. So how do we take their goals and we make them goals within the Google Analytics context?

Before we go on this section we will need to talk about the association of Goals and SEO…

Why it matters for SEO?

Someone would ask, ‘’so why do I need to align my SEO efforts with Goals?’’ or ‘’what is the correlation of Goals with SEO?’’.

The quick answer that I would give is that we are able to provide to clients, measurable and quantifiable results for the conversions that we have generated through our organic traffic.

Similarly we are able to quantify our results not only from organic traffic, but also from:

  • paid traffic,
  • direct traffic,
  • social media traffic and
  • referral traffic.

In this way, everyone (client-side, agency-side), will know which type of traffic brings more conversions and thus it’s a safe way to see on whether our paid, onsite and offsite (organic and referral strategy) or social media strategy is effective enough.

How to track goals?

Since we have pointed out the importance of Goals for SEO, the next question we are going to reply is this:

How do we place our clients’ goals into a Google Analytics context?

We have 4 options when we create Goals on Google Analytics, by just following this path:

{Admin > View > Goals}

  • Destination
  • Duration
  • Pages/Screens per visit
  • Event

Duration

This goal is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is to set a certain time after which it will be counted as conversion.

For our example, I chose the numeric value 5 – whoever stays in the website more than 5 minutes then it will count as conversion.

Google Analytics - Duration- Goal

Pages/Screens Per Session

With Pages/Screen per session when users hit a threshold of a minimum amount of pageviews that have been set, they’ll count as a goal completion

Google Analytics - Pages per session- Goal

Destination

Let’s assume that our clients have as a goal to track all the user who subscribe (because we are talking for a paid subscription), so it is vital to know the type of traffic that generate more subscriptions.

For this purpose we can include the receipt page, either by using RegEx (it’s a solution that is indicative for the ones who feel comfortable with Regular Expressions) or the use of the ‘Equals To’ in which all we have to do is include the exact URL: e.g /thank-you-for-subscribing/

Goals- Destination-Google Analytics

If you want, you can go a step beyond and assign Funnels. The optimal solution for funnels (which is optional), will allow us to track the customer journey that will allow us to see if there are any drop offs during the customer journey and work on changes (e.g A/B testing) until we make improvements on the conversion rate.

The optimal suggestion for funnels is the use of 4 steps and the 5th one is the destination URL.

Each step should correspond to one unique URL. So for four steps we are going to have 4 unique URLs.

For example:

Plan Your Stay – /reservations/step1.php

Choose your Room – /reservations/step2.php

Personalise Your Stay – /reservations/step3.php

Submit Your Details – /reservations/step4.php

 

(That’s a visual screenshot of how a funnel would look like on Goals of Google Analytics)

Creation of funnels

 

Using the Funnel Visualisation (Conversions > Goals > Funnel Visualisation) we will be able to have visual idea on whether or not our traffic is dropping off at certain stages of the customer journey in the steps that we have set.

Funnel Visualisation report sample

Once we have set up the goals we can then go to Conversions (Goals> Overview) under the source/medium section and monitor the impact of our organic traffic in the overall number of conversions.

Data from funnel report

 

Events

The use of events as Goals is slightly more challenging.

Let’s assume that you want to create destination URLs so that you safely measure your clients’ conversions. However, the only obstacle is the fact that you cannot have destination URLs (with the receipt page/thank you page), because they are handled by AJAX.

The only way to see if you have conversions in this way is the creation of event tracking codes.

Once the event tracking codes are created and properly placed in the source code, then the next step is to populate the respective fields of Category and Action accordingly (and because they are mandatory fields). The Label and Value are not mandatory.

Events as Goals

 

Once we verify and save our Goal, using the event tracking codes, we will be able to see the conversions last 7 days (so, you will not see that immediately after a certain period of time but for the sake of our case study I am showing you how it would look like).

Results from Goals

 

But the ‘grand prize’ here is the fact that when we go to the Conversions sections (Conversions>Goals>Overview – go to the Source/Medium), we will be able to know precisely to know what was the contribution of organic traffic to the overall number of conversions for the date range that we have set.

It would look something like that:

Source/medium for goals/conversions

Note: If you have set more than one goals, then make sure that you are reviewing one of your goals or all your goals by going to the Goal Option.

All goals/conversions

In this way, by using event tracking codes, we are now able to measure and quantify our SEO efforts.

 

In a nutshell

In a nutshell by creating goals, it will be beneficial for our SEO because we will be able to offer measurable and quantifiable results to clients for their conversions coming from all type of mediums/sources:

  • organic traffic
  • paid traffic
  • referral traffic
  • direct traffic
  • social media traffic

Google Analytics gives us four options for the creation of goals (and we have the option of creating 20 goals which cannot be deleted afterwards):

  • Destination (we can also use the funnels)
  • pages/screen per sessions
  • Duration
  • Events

Once we create goals we it will be easier for us to quantify our results for our traffic (organic).

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to do, or if you have any case studies to share please do so.

Happy analysing!

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