Why You Should Better Monitor Conversions From The Organic Search Channel

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While monitoring conversions generated from clicks on SERP results is great to prove SEO is useful, detecting specific optimizations that will lead to a higher SEO return on investment is key — since it will naturally help SEO managers to secure bigger budgets.

Why Monitoring Conversions?

At the end of the day, marketing managers need to prove they’re generating business value for their company — not only online traffic.

Main objective of growth managers is to prove they’re providing the right business value on the market. Right is meaningful, since creating an online product catalog or an online newspaper is obviously not enough to succeed. To become active users, people need to be attracted to websites.

When the website business proposition is well perceived (fast loading pages, great offers, nice user experience…), some of these visitors will eventually become converted — meaning they will do what growth managers consider as valuable to them, like buying something.

All in all, providing the right business value is all about spending as little as possible while generating as many conversions as possible. Generating traffic is great, but generating conversion is better! Through conversion is usually linked to revenue, it can also be seen as business value brought by users coming to your website.

Publishers

  • Subscribe to newsletter (or paid subscription)
  • Page views / Organic visit
  • Revenue per Page View / Pagetype
  • Average time spent on site

eCommerce

  • ‘Add to cart’
  • Transaction (‘Checkout’) event
  • Gross Revenue per Visit

Classifieds

  • Post a new content
  • Gross Revenue per Visit

Beyond monitoring the conversions evolution over time, website managers need to understand what drove conversions.- meaning from where users (visitors) land on their website before being converted. It’s not the same thing to manage selling a product to someone coming through an expensive Instagram ad campaign as selling to someone that landed from a Google organic search.

Improving conversion is all about better spending money on the right channels to drive enough qualified traffic leading to conversions & eventually revenue. That’s why understanding how users land on a website before being converted is key — as you can in the end compare how much you spent to generate traffic from each channel vs. how much you earned.

Identifying from which channel each session comes from is already one big thing — since a few channels are quite hard to define. That’s what’s defined as traffic attribution.

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16% of all sessions were generated through the Organic Search Channel

The Attribution Model Issue

Through attributing traffic to all different channels is easy, attributing conversion to particular channels has become a nightmare — especially for websites relying on paid advertising & remarketing to accelerate their sales process.

Identifying from which channel each conversion has been generated come each session is related to conversionn attribution.

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Online touch points are numerous … but there are many offline too!

Choosing The Right Attribution Model

Since there can be multiple touch points before generating a conversion, attributing each conversion to a channel (or a landing page) can become very tricky. Many website managers use attribution platforms or algorithms that manage to match user conversion (transaction, newsletter subscription, article view…).

Most attribution platforms offer multiple models

  • Rule-based models, with the infamous last click vs. first click models
  • Data-driven models, based on observed data for each conversion type. Each Data-driven model is specific to each advertiser and conversion type — with a strong blackbox effect
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All in all, every website manager has no choice but choosing one core model to monitor his acquisition KPIs over time & define how to better spend money on available channels.

Multi-touch Attribution Platforms: The Big Lie?

As an e-commerce marketer, if a customer abandons a cart after clicking an Instagram ad but later returns to purchase from a Google search, the later touch point might get all the credit for the sale.

Marketing attribution platform tend to cause you to over report conversions from certain channels, under report on others, and not understand how to optimally allocate your spendings.

Can We Attribute Conversions To Search Queries?

While most attribution tools provide conversion metrics about landing pages, these usually do not compute conversion metrics for organic keywords.

Google does not provide conversion metrics for organic keywords.

  • In GA, when looking at keywords that generated conversion through organic traffic — almost all keywords are set as ‘not provided’
  • In GSC, keywords driving organic traffic are available for all active pages — but there’s no way to identify how many of logged sessions actually generated conversions
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GSC provides data about traffic generated by organic keywords — but not about conversion, nor revenue.

The Branded Search issue: converting sessions generated through branded search queries should not be considered as generating organic conversion — since it’s considered by most attribution models as a direct traffic referral.

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