“Do users tell stories through data?” may seem as outlandish a question as “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”
Yet, we know that users do indeed tell stories through data, whereas we can’t quite pinpoint the genre of farm animals dreamt up by androids (yet). In fact, here at Delphic, we’ve found that there is more story-worthy data to collect from our very own website users than ever before. And in a world where “big data” is everything, being able to artfully extract that story is key.
In our ongoing quest to acquire more business through our website, we’ve acquired some of the most common website data tools to weave together the story our user wants to tell us – think keyword ranking tools, website traffic tools, Adwords Campaign and Google Webmaster tools. Allow me to walk you through how we go about using them to improve our user experience.
*Note that while this data journey represents actual client work, I’ve framed it around my own cookie baking delivery service website, because why not cookies? It’s a topic which anyone who’s ever watched Sesame Street can relate to… COOOKKKIIIEESS!
6 Data Sources
Of the six data sources, four are from Google (free), one is my own business data, and one is a tool that reports on the rank of organic keywords. If you’re reading this blog, I’ll take the liberty to assume you have access to these exact tools or ones that are similar, minus the Adwords data if you’re not running a paid campaign.
The 6 Data Sources:
Conductor (Keyword Ranking Tool)
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Adwords Data
The Link between Google Adwords and Google Webmaster Tools
What did these data sources tell us? Keep reading!
a. What key term we’re not ranking for:
My cookie-loving client isn’t moved by keyword rankings alone, and I’m glad they’re not. This allows me to note the trend “not ranking for the top of the funnel term” and drill into more meaningful correlations, such as: Iis this the term we need to rank for? Are we getting traffic already for related terms? What’s the value of this key term and related terms ranking? So, off we go to research those…
2. Google Webmaster Tools
a. What page is receiving organic traffic, despite not ranking for desired key term?
In data point one (Conductor), i’ve identified that we’re not ranking for the top of the funnel term. Let’s call it the “cookie” term, because I like cookies and there are many types of cookies, making these sweet treats a relevant example. So, not having ranked for “cookie”, I want to discover if other users are indeed still getting to this page via organic search.
Turns out, they are! Actually, it’s the 12th top landing page from organic search. It’s no number one, but this is more visits than expected, as we’re not ranking for the target “cookie”.
3. Google Adwords Data
a. Conversions from campaign for targeted key term
The Adwords performance for this keyword group is solid, and we’ve found that the keywords aligned with the searcher behavior in GWMT.
Specifically, the paid campaign:
Had 6x the conversions as organic visitors
- “Cookie baking services” and “cookie delivery service” were top drivers of conversions
By now it should be apparent that we’re uncovering a theme, seeing how the trend for top performing keywords matches the searcher’s. Additionally, it seems that the disconnect is in the Organic landing page the searchers arrive at. Still, there are a lot of hypotheticals and we have more data at our fingertips. Let’s keep digging.
4. The Link Between Google Adwords and Google Webmaster Tools
a. Determining when different results appear: Organic listings, paid-search ads, or both
As we can see, we’re not coming up for 99% of searches for the target key term “cookies” in organic results, so right away we know that we want to keep the paid ads running to maintain visibility. We also see its average ad position, so we want to make sure that we’re bidding aggressively enough to keep us in the top positions, while referencing the conversion data as mentioned before. We can see that the ads and landing pages are effective enough to get conversions, so let’s keep doing that until we improve organic rankings.
5. Google Analytics – Onsite Experience
Now, about improving those organic results. Let it be known that I’m a firm believer in optimizing what you already have. We already have organic traffic coming in on long-tail keywords, so let’s make use of the traffic we’re getting. To do that, I took a look into Google Analytics to analyze a few areas. These three stood out:
Who stays? The bounce rate is higher than on other similar pages.
Where do they go? The most frequented next page was, believe it or not, finding out what areas my cookie delivery service operates in. First I thought “YAY! They Love me!” Then I thought, uh-oh, nothing in the content talks about where I am or how to find me. They have to scroll back up above the banner and fill in a form. That’s time that person could use filling out an order instead of doing a search. Right away I want to add a callout in the copy to access most popular areas, and how to find the closest delivery option. No need to hunt around the page! Let’s save the user some time and think of the next step before they do.
Who wants to get in touch? Again, the paid channel had 6x the conversions, so there’s ample room for improvement (and the bounce rate is not driven by users filling out a contact form or calling to get in touch). Also, another page on site has recently had a contact form implemented.
So here we are able to see that there are plenty of opportunities to optimize to the interests of the traffic we’re already getting. Onward!
6. Business Data
a. How valuable is the individual conversion?
The individual conversion is nice – it’s great to see business come through the door, and I know my service will win them over. In fact, that’s supported in the next bullet point.
b. What is the lifetime value of the conversion?
More than half of all individual purchases turn into a year-long membership. This is great because I understand that some people aren’t ready for a year-long commitment to cookies being delivered, and some only need cookies for a special occasion (housewarming party). Yet, half of everyone decides that this is the solution for them! Given other conversion rates and lifetime value calculations, I noted that this is high on the list of important opportunities. And with the data I gathered, I have a better idea of how to optimize to the traffic I’m already getting, as well as what my content should reflect (my service is near you!) to get more traffic in the door.
Previous results with ½ the data used saw a 70% lift in organic conversions during a comparable quarter. Stay tuned for results of this round!
And for the record, yes, I intentionally left off keyword ranking data in projections. Our client expects us to deliver results that impact business, not just increase their rankings. So in regards to the launchpad of discovery, (how are people getting to the site if we don’t rank for the cookie term?) I can say that right now we want to focus on delivering an experience that is both engaging and valuable to the people already getting there. Then, we’ll find out how to get more people. #UX improvements
(This blog originally appeared on: http://www.delphicdigital.com/home/blog.aspx/d=2555/title=Website-Users-Tell-the-Best-Stories)