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07 Sep 2011

Are You Measuring the Right Metrics for Online Marketing?

Are You Measuring the Right Metrics for Online Marketing

Recently, I’ve been delving deeper and deeper into the world of analytics for online marketing, measuring everything I can about traffic, social media, search rankings, and more. In my excitement, I even wrote posts about how to measure your online marketing strategy and blog growth using specific tools and spreadsheets to monitor key numbers in your online campaign. Using these methods, you can see your site’s overall growth in key areas.

But now, I would like to back up a bit and talk about some of these metrics in relationship to actual online marketing tactics, and poke a hole in some bubbles about why certain metrics do not really matter. Because while some numbers look good, it doesn’t mean they will give you the results you desire.

Whether you are performing online marketing for your own website, for your clients, or determining the value of the work your Internet marketing service company is providing, these are all things you should be considering.

Link Building

If you ask many link builders and businesses who have contracted outside vendors for their link building services what the top criteria for great links are, their answers will likely include PageRank and/or MozRank (SEOmoz’s page authority score based on links). Even when you look at some link building company’s websites, you’ll see that their “guarantees” often include a specific quantity of PageRank X or higher sites.

While good PageRank and MozRank aren’t bad things, they aren’t the only thing a link’s value should be judged upon. I have seen some sites that have a PageRank 6 and a decent MozRank, but if you actually looked at the site itself, you wouldn’t be impressed. Awful design, little relevance to the client whose campaign I was working on (even though competitors were all over it), and not very likely to get much in the way of traffic.

This brings me to two important metrics that should be considered when it comes to determining whether a link is good for your (or your client’s) website.

  • Relevancy – I judge relevancy two ways. One, the site talks about the same subject matter as the link I’m trying to place. Two, the site receives the type of visitors that would be likely to click on the link I’m trying to place. And as an added tip, most decent websites are not relevant next to adult or pharmacy related links.
  • Traffic – Along with relevancy, if you can find a place to put a link that actually gets a good volume of traffic, that link will have high advertising value. Most wouldn’t mind that a link didn’t boost their keyword rankings if, instead, the link led to new visitors and traffic resulting in more leads, sales or other conversions.

So the next time you look at a site that doesn’t have the greatest PageRank or MozRank, ask yourself if these other two metrics come into play. Those still make the link worth it.

Social Media

When it comes to social media marketing services, a lot of people expect a growth in fans, followers and traffic from social networks after their social media campaign has begun. Naturally, you should expect some growth in these areas, but what is more important?

A successful social media campaign should also result in increased engagement with your brand on the social networks you are targeting. Some companies will promise, and deliver, on getting you hundreds, maybe even thousands of extra fans or followers. But what they’re not telling you is that they are not actually targeting a demographic or audience that is interested in your brand. They’re just building numbers.

The result of that kind of strategy will be numbers only. You won’t see additional interaction with your Facebook status updates or retweets of your content on Twitter. If you’re brand isn’t receiving that kind of engagement with your audience, then you will have nothing but a fluffy fan / follower count that will do little to lead to increased leads, sales or other conversions for your business.

Keyword Rankings

Many online marketing campaigns have a common goal of boosting a website’s keyword rankings. Nothing makes someone happier than looking into Authority Labs or simply searching for their top keywords and seeing their website move up in results.

The main goal when it comes to rankings shouldn’t be to just get any keyword to the first page. Some businesses have even found that being #1 for the keyword they thought was the best ever still isn’t making a dent into their bottom line. Why? You can’t just rank for anything – you have to rank for the keywords that actually bring the three magic things I’ve mentioned in both link building and social media – leads, sales or other conversions.

This is where Google Analytics really comes into play. If you don’t have Google Analytics setup, you should. Go beyond just embedding the code into your site and looking at the reports.

  • Setup your site’s goals, whether they are someone completing a purchase or signing up for your mailing list.
  • Look at your keyword traffic from organic search and see their goal completion values.
  • Stop targeting keywords that are on the first page but not bringing goal completions and start targeting keywords that result in goal completions.

If you’re not doing the above things in Google Analytics and just looking at your keyword rankings, you might be targeting the wrong phrases in which case you might just be throwing money to your online marketing campaigns in vain.

What Do You Measure?

When it comes to online marketing, what metrics are you measuring? Are they the ones that count? Share your thoughts in the comments below!