Improve Keyword Conversion Rates with Google Analytics

When you check all of your carefully selected and researched keywords, the results put a smile on your face because they are in the top spots in each of the search engines.   You then look at your site traffic numbers for these keywords, and they are higher than ever.   Then you scratch your head and ask, “Why are conversions so low?”   Take a breath: the answer can be found in your Google Analytics data.

The keywords you've chosen for your site were selected because, in theory, they should bring you the highest ROI from search.   Some of these keywords may not be performing as you expected, which is why you need to analyze their performance against the rest of your site.   There are several other tools and methods that can be used, which Avinash Kaushik lays out nicely here, but for this example, we will be relying on Google Analytics for the quick and skinny method to improve keyword conversion rates.

1. Site Bounce & Conversion Rates by Keywords

The first step involves understanding your overall site bounce and conversion rates from keywords.   To do this, go to Traffic Sources --> Keywords and flip back and forth between the Site Usage tab and the Goal Conversion tab.   You will get an idea of overall keyword bounce and conversions rates.   Take a look at the site-wide bounce and conversion rates and note them. The example below shows data from a site's top 10 visited keywords, along with bounce and conversion rates. We'll use these metrics for our sample analysis:

Average Bounce Rate: 44.09% Average Conversion Rate: 1.52%

2. Keyword-Grouped Bounce & Conversion Rates

Use your themed keyword groups to determine which groups of keywords to analyze together, and type the general term into the Filter Keyword box to group the similar terms.   The example below represents a sample of similar terms that are under performing compared to site-wide metrics:

Average Bounce Rate: 65.12% Average Conversion Rate: 0.14%

Taking a look at the bounce rates in conjunction with conversion rates is a good indicator that visitors are NOT finding what they are looking for.

3. Landing Page Analysis

Take a look at the landing pages for these keywords, and ask yourself these following questions:

  • Is the page relevant to the keyword?
  • Is the page too cluttered?
  • Is the call to action obvious?

If you answered yes, no, yes, then STOP HERE – you probably chose the wrong keywords.   If, however, you answered the opposite to any of those questions, continue reading.

It's now time to dig deeper into where your visitors are going from the pages that are bouncing and not leading to conversions.

4. Site Overlay

Although this feature can be a little buggy, Site Overlay is a great, free way to analyze where your visitors are going after landing on a page.

In order to utilize Site Overlay, go to the Content --> Top Content and find and click on the landing page from the keywords you are analyzing.   You will then be in Content Detail for your landing page. At the bottom right, look for Click Patterns and click on the link that says Site Overlay. This will take you directly to the page you want to analyze.

From here you can see where visitors are navigating.   If it's not where you want them to go (i.e. next step to purchase, shopping cart, order services form), they don't know where to go, OR your page is not relevant to what they are looking for.   Look at the click percentage to the home page of your site and the search box.   If they seem to be the highest percentages, there's a good chance your visitors just don't know what to do.

5. Test Landing Page Options and Measure the Results

Don't go abandoning your nicely researched keywords just yet.   Use Google Website Optimizer to test out different landing page options:   Maybe the call to action isn't obvious enough for your visitors.   Maybe you need more relevant content.   Maybe there are too many items on a page.

Utilize Google Website Optimizer to your advantage in order to determine whether you have the right keywords or not.   You can do A/B or Multivariate testing.   To understand which test is right for your page, take the tour.

The final piece of advice is to measure your results.   Make wise decisions based on numbers, not a hunch.   Then you will know for sure whether you chose the right keywords for your site.

In Summation

Analyzing your keywords according to bounce and conversion rates is an important step in making the right decision on where to spend your precious time and efforts.   Be sure you've done everything you can to your landing page and measure the results before abandoning your keywords.

And remember: These tools are free; Google wants you to succeed!

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