SEO conversions are the desired actions that happen after someone visits your website from an organic search result. Learn how to track SEO conversions and start improving organic search performance.
Here, you’ll find:
- What are SEO conversions?
- How to track SEO conversions in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
- Top tools for conversion tracking
- 7 SEO conversion metrics to measure
- Expert tips for improving SEO conversions
How well are your SEO campaigns really performing? If you’re focusing solely on keyword rankings and traffic volume, you’ll never know how your organic search efforts are impacting your bottom line.
So what’s the solution? To see how SEO drives revenue, you need much more than impressions and clicks. Instead, you have to track conversions like signups, leads, and sales.
In this guide to SEO conversion tracking, we’ll cover which metrics to monitor, how your conversion rate compares to the competition, and how to track website conversions in Google Analytics and other tools.
What are SEO conversions?
SEO conversions are the actions that visitors take once they have landed on your site. These metrics go beyond organic search traffic, measuring progress toward business goals instead.
Depending on your industry and business model, conversions may include:
- Free trial signups
- Consult Request
- Booked demos
- Ecommerce purchases
- Promo codes used
The SEO metrics above are particularly important because they’re closely tied to revenue. But it’s also helpful to monitor the steps that happen on the path to a sale. Your micro conversions may include:
- Contact form submissions
- Lead magnet downloads
- Email signups
- Multiple page visits
“The biggest mistake is not tracking micro and macro conversions to see the full journey,” explains Jason Smit, CEO of Contentellect. “Key term signups are important but they need to connect to revenue. We use Google Analytics goals to see each conversion step, from clicks to demos scheduled to closed deals. No step is isolated.”
Why track SEO conversions?
Tracking organic conversions reveals the true impact of your SEO and content marketing campaigns on your business. When you measure these metrics, you can quantify the value of your SEO strategy.
Think about it this way. When you invest in SEO, you typically want to get better visibility for your business, rank for relevant keywords, and get prospects to click through to your website.
But that’s only the beginning. Attracting more organic search traffic is never the end goal. What you really want is for website visitors to take the next step in their customer journey.
When you measure the outcomes that matter to your business, you can see which keywords and what content prompt customers to convert. Then you’ll have a better idea of how to invest your SEO budget.
How to calculate your SEO conversion rate
Use this simple formula to calculate SEO performance:
SEO Conversions / Website Visits x 100% = SEO Conversion Rate
For example, say your newest blog generated 1,000 clicks from Google search. Out of those 1,000 website visits, 150 resulted in free trial signups. Your SEO conversion rate would be 150 / 1,000 = 15%.
What’s a good SEO conversion rate?
Is a 15% conversion rate good? As with many aspects of SEO, it depends. More specifically, it depends on your industry and customer base.
B2C companies tend to have higher conversion rates than B2B companies, according to Databox. On average, B2C companies maintain a 2.5% goal conversion rate, while B2B businesses have a 1.4% conversion rate.
Across all industries, marketing agencies, and professional service firms tend to have the highest conversion rates. Agencies average 38%, while service providers average 17%.
While it’s helpful to keep these benchmarks in mind, it’s just as important to use your own metrics as a guide. Set key performance indicators (KPIs) so you can keep increasing your SEO conversion rate and get more value from your efforts.
How to track SEO conversions in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
For SEO professionals and digital marketers, Google Analytics is an essential tool. Not only is it free to install on any website, but it’s also easy to customize based on your SEO goals.
Let’s look at how to track conversions in Google Analytics 4. If the setup looks too complicated, we can help. Reach out to connect with our SEO consultants.
Check website traffic
When you install Google Analytics 4 on your website, the analytics tool will automatically start tracking website visitors. You can find these default metrics by visiting the “Reports” panel in Google Analytics.
The Acquisition Overview report (above) shows total users and new users over the time frame you’ve selected. To analyze traffic from organic search, click to open either the User Acquisition or Traffic Acquisition report.
For example, the Traffic Acquisition report (below) breaks down users, engaged sessions, and engagement rate by channel — including organic search. This overview is helpful for comparing search to other channels.
To view organic search traffic only, click the “Add Filter” button. To build the filter, choose “Channel Group” as the dimension and “Organic Search” as the value. Then click to apply the settings and review your organic traffic.
Monitor engagement metrics
Along with user numbers, Google Analytics also tracks many standard engagement metrics automatically. For example, the analytics tool tracks page views, clicks, and scrolls by default.
To see these metrics, open the Events report. Note that this report reflects all of your website traffic, not just organic search. To view organic traffic only, use the workflow we covered above to create a filter.
These engagement metrics can reveal whether you’re attracting the right kind of search traffic. For example, low engagement rates or times can indicate that your website visitors aren’t in the market for your product or service.
Set up custom conversions
As useful as engagement metrics can be for understanding your customer journey, they don’t reflect conversions. Google Analytics doesn’t track SEO conversions automatically, so you’ll need to set them up manually.
To configure conversions, click to open the “Admin” panel for your property. Navigate to the “Events” tab, where you’ll see a list of all the default engagement metrics for your account.
Click the “Create Event” button to set up a new conversion event. Scroll through the event name options and choose the one that’s most relevant to the conversion you want to track.
Then set the conditions for the event. Use Google’s event names to guide you.
For example, if you want to monitor leads, select “generate_lead” as the event name and “page_view” as the event you’re tracking. Set “page_location” as a secondary condition and enter the URL that users see when they convert — such as a thank you page.
Save the conversion and review your updated list of events. Make sure to toggle on the “Mark as Conversion” switch so you can track the results.
Track SEO conversions
Next, open the “Conversions” report in Google Analytics to start monitoring the results. Again, the report shows all website traffic by default. To focus on search traffic only, click the “Add comparison” button. Then define the data you want to see, using the same workflow as in the filter setup above.
Now you can see conversions from organic search as well as how this channel compares to others. This option is helpful if you want to view multiple conversions at once.
If you want to dig deeper into a single conversion, select it from the list. This report breaks down the conversion by channel so you can see how search contributed to results.
Top tools for conversion tracking
As helpful as Google Analytics can be for monitoring SEO conversions, it’s far from the only way to track SEO success. For more complete measurement, use Google Analytics along with the tools below.
Google Search Console
While Google Analytics monitors website traffic from all channels, Google Search Console focuses on organic search only. As a result, you can use Google Search Console to learn about the sources of your search traffic.
For example, it’s ideal for monitoring SERP impressions and clicks, as well as search queries. With Google Search Console, you can also track clicks and click-through rate (CTR) from search.
Note that Google Search Console doesn’t monitor middle- or bottom-of-funnel conversions or support any custom conversions. However, it links to Google Analytics to provide richer data.
To connect the two accounts, open the “Admin” panel for your Google Analytics account and select “Search Console Links” from the “Product Links” list.
Select your website from the list of domains added to your Search Console account. Then select your Analytics web stream and create the link. Below, we’ll look at how to leverage this data.
Buyer journeys can be complex, with multiple touchpoints across channels. ConversionIQ, HawkSEM’s proprietary marketing technology, provides full-funnel attribution across organic and paid channels.
We designed it to provide deep insights into your audience’s conversion path so you can understand what’s driving the outcomes you want. As a result, it can improve conversion quality and increase SEO ROI.
“We use ConversionIQ to granularly track every single step of the buyer journey so we can understand what aspects of a campaign are working and where we should trim the fat. This allows us to optimize towards a higher ROI YoY,” explains Sam Yadegar, CEO of HawkSEM.
“Further, tracking with ConversionIQ provides more insight about the target audience, which allows us to take that data and use it on another marketing channel (such as SEO or social media) to further scale while maintaining profitability.”
By setting up a custom SEO campaign and tracking results with ConversionIQ, along with our senior team, HawkSEM was able to help Moneta Group increase its relevant net organic keyword portfolio by 326%.
Additional SEO tools
While SEO tools like Semrush, Ahrefs, and Moz don’t measure conversions, they’re essential for tracking other elements of SEO campaigns. With these tools, you can conduct keyword research, monitor backlinks, and manage competitor analysis.
The better your search visibility and the higher your keyword rankings, the likelier your website is to land at the top of relevant SERPs. Since strong keyword rankings can drive more traffic, they often lead to more conversions as well.
7 SEO conversion metrics to measure
Which conversion metrics are most important to track? Use the list below as a starting point.
1. Website clicks
It’s true that clicks from organic search reflect traffic, not conversions. But because clicks factor into the SEO conversion rate formula, they’re an important metric to measure.
When you monitor clicks, pay attention to the total number and how it changes over time. For example, if the CTR for top-performing pages is declining over time, conversion rate optimization may help improve this metric.
Google Search Console is particularly helpful for tracking organic traffic data. It monitors impressions, clicks, and CTR to track visibility on SERPs and clicks to your site.
While tracking total search traffic offers a big-picture view of your SEO efforts, it’s often better to focus on individual landing pages. With this granular approach, you see exactly what’s generating clicks. To view these metrics, scroll down to the “Pages” list and select the single page you want to track.
If you’ve connected your Search Console and Analytics accounts, you can also create custom reports in Google Analytics. Click the “Library” button in the lower left to open your reports library.
Look for the Search Console report collection and click “Publish.” Now you can see search query data in Google Analytics, which makes it easier to monitor organic traffic data.
2. User engagement rate
Next, look at how visitors engage with your website, even if they don’t become leads or customers quite yet. Higher engagement levels often signal higher intent, which can be a good leading indicator for conversions.
With Google Analytics, you can track metrics like engagement rate and time across the entire site or for specific web pages. Check your Engagement Overview report to review these metrics across your site.
To see engagement for key landing pages, open the Pages and Screens report. Add an organic search filter, and then review engagement metrics for your search traffic.
3. Bounce rate
While high engagement rates can indicate that you’re attracting the right search traffic, a high bounce rate reflects the opposite. Bounce rate measures the percentage of website visitors who click away from your site without completing a conversion or visiting another page.
To monitor bounce rate, add this metric to the Pages and Screens report. Once you apply an organic search filter, you can easily track both good and bad engagement for key landing pages from a single report.
4. Leads conversion rate
If lead generation is a goal for your business, use Google Analytics to track leads. To create a custom report, open the Conversions report and add “Conversion Rate.” Then apply an organic comparison.
Note that you can display landing page data by adding an extra dimension. Click the plus sign and search for “Landing Page.” Now you can see which landing page drove the most leads.
5. Sales conversion rate
To measure sales conversion rates from SEO, use the workflow above to create a relevant conversion event. For example, you can choose “purchase,” “add_to_cart” and other steps in the sales process.
Then use the Conversions report in Google Analytics to monitor these outcomes. Add an organic search comparison and a landing page dimension for more detailed insights.
Keep in mind that if you’re monitoring ecommerce conversions, you’ll need to set up tracking with Google Tag Manager. Use these instructions to get started.
6. First-time visitor conversion rate
The more you know about your customer’s journey, the more you can optimize your site for conversions. By tracking engagement and conversion rates for first-time visitors, you can make important adjustments.
Open the First User Default Channel Group report and modify it as necessary. For example, add conversions and engagement rate metrics, as well as a landing page dimension. Now you can see how frequently first-time visitors are engaging and converting.
7. Return visitor conversion rate
The easiest way to compare conversion rates for new vs. returning users is to customize the standard Conversions report. Add both “New Users” and “Returning Users” as metrics. Now you can see both segments side by side.
If your reports show that most conversions come from returning users, it may be worthwhile to optimize your landing pages to increase first-time user conversion rates. We’ll cover this tactic below.
Expert tips for improving SEO conversions
If your SEO conversion rates aren’t as high as you’d like or if they fluctuate a lot over time, you may need deeper analysis and advanced optimization tactics. Use these expert tips to get started.
Focus on lead quantity and quality
“A common mistake among SEO experts is focusing solely on the quantity of leads generated, rather than evaluating their quality,” explains Luciano Colos, CEO of PitchGrade. “While lead volume is an important metric, it doesn’t provide a clear picture of the effectiveness of SEO efforts.”
Naturally, if your leads are unqualified, your content probably isn’t attracting the right audience. By adding this metric to your SEO reporting, you can ensure that your content marketing efforts are truly paying off.
“To improve lead quality, SEO experts should refine their targeting strategies to reach a more relevant audience, enhance their content to address specific customer needs, and optimize website user experience to encourage conversions,” suggests Colos. “Additionally, collaborating with sales teams can provide insights into customer pain points and preferences, further refining SEO strategies to attract high-quality leads.”
A/B test landing page improvements
Low conversion rates don’t necessarily mean you need to completely revamp your keyword or content strategy. With conversion rate optimization (CRO), you can strategically test improvements and improve outcomes for your landing pages.
“Integrating CRO and SEO has been hugely effective,” Smit shares. “We A/B test landing page elements like copy, visuals and calls-to-action (CTAs) to improve conversion rates from organic traffic.”
Consider multi-touch attribution
Monitoring organic search results is essential for measuring SEO success. But in some cases, organic search may be just one step in a lengthy customer journey.
To find out how SEO factors into your typical buyer journey, use Google Analytics conversion path reports. This report shows various paths your customers take, including the channels and number of touchpoints.
“We rely heavily on Google Analytics, as it allows us to track and analyze user journeys across multiple channels,” shares Jas Banwait Gill, Growth Manager at SwagMagic. “By setting up conversion goals and e-commerce tracking, we can see how various channels, such as organic search, Google Ads, and social media, contribute to conversions.”
As an example, they recently ran a campaign to promote their customized corporate gift packages. Through multi-channel attribution, they discovered that although their SEO efforts initially introduced users to their platform, it was often social media and email marketing that played a crucial role in nurturing and eventually closing the loop.
“By recognizing this pattern, we optimized our marketing strategy to focus more on post-click engagement in our campaigns, resulting in a 15% increase in conversions from that specific campaign.”
Tracking SEO conversions is essential for measuring ROI and quantifying the success of organic search campaigns. With Google Analytics, Search Console, and ConversionIQ, you can measure organic traffic, monitor conversions, and analyze attribution paths so you can continue improving results and getting more value from your efforts.
“SEO is a core competency here at HawkSEM,” shares Rambod Yadegar, President of HawkSEM. “We take a performance- and ROI-driven approach when it comes to SEO. We take time to learn about the business, target audience, and buyer persona to name a few. From there we create a custom SEO program (manually, we do not use software or tools to run SEO programs), monitor them, and track them closely to ensure a positive ROI.
Further, each SEO campaign we manage has a senior strategist who leads the efforts and adds both human touch and intelligence. We NEVER use AI-generated content as there is always a human managing and watching over the campaign and its progress.
Curious to learn more about our SEO programs? Connect with our SEO experts for a free consultation.