In my experience, too many dental practice owners and dental office managers focus on search engine rankings to determine SEO success. While high rankings typically promise floods of traffic, they’re not the best way to measure the success of your website or the success of the individual processes you use to make your site successful. Like that last sentence, many dental practice owners find website Analytics to be highly-confusing. So it’s no wonder why many rely on rankings to let them know what’s working. I’m about to show you that analyzing your site’s traffic and conversions is a far better way to determine success.
Why Solely Tracking Rankings is Not Ideal
When you track rankings, you’re only seeing one step in the entire business funnel. You have no idea how people found your search engine listing, what keywords they searched for or what activities those visitors engaged in after they clicked-through.
Furthermore, you have no idea if your money is being spent wisely or your time. For this, Google Analytics is a time, money and business saver. To properly track the KPI’s that matter, we recommend integrating Google Analytics into your site, and setting up goal funnels.
We will explain a bit more on this here.
Swimming Through the Muck – Making Sense of Google Analytics Data
Google Analytics gives us tons of data about any one site.
- Time Spent
- Click-Through Rate (CTR)
- Entrance, Bounce & Exit Rates
- Cost-Per-Click (CPC)
- Unique Visitors, Referrals, Search Engine Traffic and Direct Visits
- Overall Visitors
- Average Sales
And this is just some of the data you can glean from the Analytics dashboard. All of this data can quickly become confusing and it doesn’t take long for business owners to become stuck on what to focus on. The trick is to narrow down this data to find what matters most.
Assigning Goals and Key Performance Indicators
We want to set site goals within Google Analytics so that we can determine if our efforts are working. Every account profile is limited to 20 goals separated into four goal sets of five each. You can always create more profiles for your account later to be able to create more goals (handy if you have other team members accessing the same Analytics account), but 20 should be plenty for now.
To set goals, click Admin at the top right of the screen, select the profile you want and then click the Goals tab. Click + Goal and select a goal name. This is a name that you choose so that you can accurately identify the goal on future reports. You will then select whether you want the goal to be Active (it starts immediately) or Inactive (you’ll activate it later). Now, you’ll have to select a goal type.
The Four Goal Types include:
- Destination: Where you hope your visitors will land. It’s recommended to make this part of a goal funnel.
- Visit Duration: How long you hope your visitors will remain on your site.
- Pages/Visit: The number of pages your visitors visit during their stay.
- Event: An event that you specify (You must enable Event Tracking and specify a combination of event conditions).
Now you’ll want to be able to discern whether or not your site is living up to its goals. The key performance indicators we establish will tell us. The following are some example KPIs that you can use to help your business constantly improve.
Organic Keywords: Under Traffic reports, search for the organic keywords your visitors are using to find your site in Google. This can tell you which keywords are most successful and which ones need a little more targeted research.
Landing Pages: Under the same traffic reports, hit the landing pages tab and you will be able to determine which of your landing pages receives the most traffic each month.
Referral Traffic: Beyond rankings, you want to know where your traffic is coming from. Using Analytics, we can find out which links people are clicking to find your site. To help with this, we will want to tag our destination URLs with Google’s URL Builder.
Email Marketing Referrals: If you send out a regular newsletter, you want to know that your subscribers are opening your messages, reading your content and clicking on your links. It is recommended that you also use Google’s URL Builder for this to ensure that your marketing efforts are being spent wisely.
Phone Tracking: Your website exists primarily to receive new dental leads in most cases and many leads today still use the telephone. To ensure your traffic is calling when prompted, place a phone call tracker on your site. (Note: when you do this, ensure that the tracking number is placed as an image file with the Alt-tag being the action phone number. This will prevent a search engine from scraping and indexing the tracking number which could hurt your local rankings and cause further issues down the line.)
As you can see, setting goals, tracking KPIs and producing regular reports is much more effective than merely keeping on eye on your rankings. While high rankings are always a great thing, implementing Google Analytics and regularly crunching your data numbers is a far superior way to manage and determine the success of your dental internet marketing campaigns.