• Dan Shure

    I agree that attributing a conversion to one channel or the next, let alone branded vs non-branded is really tough to do – even if we HAD all the keywords.

    What I am using non-branded for is to create a segment for NEW Google visits from non-branded search – and yes, it’s not useful for showing things down to a conversion, I like showing clients an increase in DISCOVERY from non-branded – especially if they’re one of those sites that’s been going on 75% branded traffic since forever.

  • Kane Jamison

    So, do you pitch phone call tracking to all clients now? Are you finding them more willing to do it after an anecdote like the one above?

    Here’s a better question perhaps – when *don’t* you pitch phone tracking to a client?

  • Samuel Woods

    Great points, Wil — and I fully agree that the thinking should often go along the lines of “how can I build an asset that drives sales, or brand engagement?”.

    I’m sure you’ve probably said this before, but SEO really IS a part of an overall marketing strategy, and is (nowadays), more or less, another marketing tool (simplified, I know).

    It is, though, pretty powerful as a marketing tool, and not just because of the metrics and data advantage it has over vague advertising “impressions”.

    Integrating SEO into a larger marketing effort and plan, placing it where it fits and also letting it dictate certain approaches — that’s a big challenge but with high rewards.

  • Phol

    Hi Will, I agree that (not provided) allows you to focus on Macro-SEO, not Micro-SEO.

    I would also add…
    * NP allows you to estimate the number of website visitors that have a Google account, snc thus byproxy a Google+ account
    * Imagine if you could turn off SEO for 7 days, then turn this back-on. The client would then be able infer, based on daily sales that SEO was influencing sales. The closest examples of this were 30day bans to BeatThatQuote or GoogleJapan, unfortunayely, it is difficult for a client to block/ban his website just to test SEO impact.

    Assuming you have call tracking enabled… I dare you to robots.txt dissallow root for 7days!

    Best Regards


    P.S. Strickly speaking – to make this a fair test you would need to dissallow the website to 50% of visitors, or use Bing search volume data to ensure before and after comparisons are statially valid.

  • Will Quick

    That second paragraph is genius. You’ve just sparked something excellent in my brain. Thank you!

  • wilreynolds

    @kanejamison:disqus I have found it is a very hard sell technically, we have pushed for years and it was always such a fight to get through that today its more of a “we should do” than a Hardcore push, sadly. The bigger the client, the harder it is to pitch given the tech constraints.

  • wilreynolds

    @59c0e00be39095a23f1ae448d5e9d5a0:disqus OOOH that first point is a biggie, how good a job is Google doing at getting people to stay “signed in” to accounts.

  • wilreynolds

    @heysamwoods:disqus we are finding that in your last point, making SEO a PART of the larger effort is the key to working within the departments of our larger clients, that assumes they are already doing #RCS which they usually are.

  • Samuel Woods

    @twitter-14178641:disqus You mean we should all be doing #RCS?? ;) You’re right about working within departments of larger clients — I’m often finding it trickier to produce meaningful SEO work WITHOUT the tie-in with other marketing efforts. You could do some, but to really WIN, synergy is needed.

    I mean, even such a thing as web design and website related areas are key for on-site SEO. Many times have I banged my head against doors of webmasters. But, you find a way.

  • Waqid Janjua

    As SEO’s we love data and I think sometimes we love data too much. In the end my clients are just happy that their phones are ringing and the SEO/PPC they have invested in is paying off.

    I have picked converting keywords are my most important KPI and that is what I use to gauge the successes and failures of a campaign.

    Call tracking is a must. Many competitors have lost a bid to my sales approach is quite high. Sometimes these companies have call tracking IN place, but the call tracking is not robust enough to catch or differentiate where calls are coming from.

    Secondly it tells me and the client how well of a job we are doing. Lastly and as you know the converting keywords are a plus to any SEOs monthly plan of action.

    We dont think about branded as much and I might have to start taking that approach for clients who are already at the top… Would be a nice way to move into a new level of SEO without staying in maintenance mode.

  • Chad Henkel

    Thanks, Wil. I can appreciate this post having installed and managed a number of different call tracking systems and paid good coin to have that data. I’ve just been unimpressed with how clumsy and time intensive it is to track a sale through the pipe. Pipeline management isn’t scalable in the least, especially when a missed call could be worth a booty lot of money. I couldn’t imagine the hassle it is for a big biz. I had to go through 3 different systems, hoping and praying the next could connect the dots, before I could report: “Mission accomplished, Boss. We have finally connected the dots between offline conversions and keywords without listening to every call, taking notes and slitting our wrists.” The technical issues you referred to haven’t been as painful for me as it was finding out the system just tracks keywords and creates a mangled sales pipeline.

  • Spook SEO

    I kinda like losing faith with Google Analytics a while ago as I’ve seen lots of different data as provided by webmaster tools, I also found the latest interface as non intuitive.