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Unwrapping the Secrets of SEO: Conversions, Analytics and User Signals

There are hundreds of topics connected to search engine optimization, with the diversity of challenges often making it hard for some SEO beginners to know where to start. For us, a good indicator of which topics matter is by listening to you and taking the opportunity to answer some of your questions. In this article: How can we measure conversions? What insights can we get from Google Analytics? And how exactly are user signals like bounce rate calculated?

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The topics covered in this post come from questions we received from participants who attended one of our recent (German) webinars. I’ve tried to answer the most relevant questions, but if there are other things you’d like to know about, please feel free to use the comment function at the bottom of the blog.

Is Conversion Rate not Conversions/Sessions rather than Conversions/Users?

You are quite right. The Conversion Rate is defined as the number of conversions divided by the number of sessions. In the webinar, I was just trying to make things slightly simpler. Sessions are normally used because they are more clearly defined and easier to understand than users. User can take any number of different paths through your site so it isn’t always possible to precisely track the specific activities of a single user. You can find out more about conversions in the Searchmetrics glossary.

What is a good Conversion Rate? What are the differences between B2B and B2C?

I don’t think you can define a precise number for a “good” Conversion Rate that applies to all websites. As well as the difference between B2B and B2C that you allude to, it also makes sense to think about what kind of conversions you are after. If I am asking my users to complete a financial transaction (e.g. by purchasing a product), then this is unlikely to convert in the same way as if I “only” need a user to provide their data for something like a newsletter registration.

How important are backlinks? And what’s the best way of getting them? Should I send emails to suppliers or clients or is that likely to be counterproductive?

I mentioned in the webinar that backlinks are still important. However, the focus is increasingly on quality over quantity, meaning that it’s important to build up a backlink profile as naturally as possible, with links that make sense. I agree that the tactic of asking customers or suppliers to provide links is likely to be counterproductive. What’s important is offering added value that encourages people to link to my page. If I have a high-quality article on a topic that is relevant for my clients or suppliers then this increases the likelihood of them linking to it.

This is an extremely important point, so I’ll say it again: A backlink profile should be created as naturally as possible, because otherwise you run the risk of incurring a Google penalty

Is it true that “direct/none” in Google Analytics doesn’t have to refer to direct traffic, but includes everything that doesn’t fall under one of the other sources?

I’m not an expert in Google Analytics but I can help here. The answer is yes. It is true that the values for “direct/none” are not all attributable to direct traffic, as they also include sources that cannot be otherwise assigned. This includes links from emails or social media that are missing a clear referral. To mitigate against this, any links that I pass on for sharing should include unique identifiers (e.g. using UTM parameters). If I’m using social sharing tools, then I should ensure that these also produce unambiguously identifiable links.

Can you please explain Bounce Rate again? Is this how often users leave my site completely or does it include those who click to another page on my domain?

Along with Click-Through Rate und Time on Site, Bounce Rate is one of the most frequently used user signals. The Bounce Rate describes the number of visitors who only open one page, in relation to the total number of users. This means that a user who leaves my domain after only loading one page will be included in the Bounce Rate. It doesn’t matter whether they go back to the search engine results page, navigate to another website or close their session. If a user does click on another page on my domain, then their visit won’t be included in the Bounce Rate.

Is there anywhere I can see the Back to SERP Rate?

No, unfortunately not. The Back to SERP Rate is calculated and used internally by Google.

Where can I find the Traffic Index and how is it calculated?

The Traffic Index is a metric developed by Searchmetrics that indicates the number of possible monthly visits to a page based on its search engine rankings. This value and related traffic potential metrics are available in our software.

What exactly does it mean to look at organic traffic in terms of ROI? And how can I do it?

Calculating Return on Investment (ROI) from SEO is something that goes beyond the scope of this series which is aiming to cover introductory SEO topics. However, I can recommend the following webinar, where my colleagues, Björn Darko and Christian Broscheit, discuss exactly this topic:



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