If your home care company is growing (or you’d like it to be), SEO and PPC campaigns are a vital component to your success—but if you find yourself lost in the lingo and struggling to understand the metrics, you’re not alone!
If your home care company is growing (or you’d like it to be), SEO and PPC campaigns are a vital component to your success. Ideally, the firm you’ve selected to manage your online marketing efforts is providing you with a detailed monthly report. And certainly, all of the data looks meaningful…but if you find yourself lost in the lingo and struggling to understand the metrics, you’re not alone!
The key is knowing what questions to ask your provider to determine if the results you’re receiving are favorable, or if you should re-evaluate your strategy or switch to another search marketing provider.
Whose Account Is It, Anyway?
First and foremost, make sure to verify that both your SEO and PPC accounts (Google Analytics, Google Ads, and any other Google tools being used) are set up in your company’s name as the account owner. In many instances, a search marketing company will place your company under their own account. If you then decide to switch to a different provider, the marketer retains ownership of your accounts, meaning you need to start from scratch and you lose valuable historic data for benchmarking.
Once you’ve confirmed your company’s ownership of your SEO and PPC accounts, dive right into your reports and evaluate the following highlights.
SEO Report Highlights
Organic Search: Organic traffic represents visitors who found your website through searching for specific services or an answer that you can provide. These are typically highly-qualified visitors who are likely to be a captive audience and more likely to convert to a client. As a result, you’ll want to know from your provider how many of your goal completions were the result of organic search traffic. This may even be further delineated to show how many of those visitors came through a regular Google search versus how many clicked to visit your website through your Google Business Profile.
Engagement: Engagement metrics track how people are interacting on your website. This can be measured in several different ways:
- Bounce rate – How many website visitors come to your site only to leave without any interaction? This metric is crucial to determining where there may be something missing from your website. You can expect a high bounce rate if visitors feel spammed with too many calls-to-action or bored by lack of relevant content. On the other hand, there may be instances (for example, blog posts) where bounce rate is expected to be higher, especially among returning visitors. In cases like that, metrics like scroll depth, discussed below, should come into play.
- Pages per session – On average, how many pages are visitors looking at each time they visit your site? This is a fantastic metric for understanding which pages best resonate with users and successfully guide them deeper into your site. It can help you identify issues with internal linking, conversion rate problems, or lack of content on specific pages.
- Average session duration – On average, how long do people spend browsing your website each time they visit? This is one of the most telling engagement metrics, because it helps you understand how effective your website is in satisfying user intent (something Google is putting more and more emphasis on).
- Returning visitors – More returning visitors means a larger group of engaged people who are not only more aware of your brand, but also more likely to be open to building a relationship. Returning visitors mean that your touchpoints are working and people are satisfied after you make your first impression. Remember, potential clients often browse multiple providers before making a decision, so increasing returning visitors may be an area that is key to winning business.
- Scroll depth – Do website visitors actually read your content? Scroll depth, especially when combined with other engagement metrics like session duration or returning visitors, gives you a clear picture of exactly how much content users are actually consuming. Even better is knowing how far visitors tend to scroll down a page to help you determine what to do with page content or where to place important information or calls-to-action.
Conversions: It’s important to ask your provider what constitutes a conversion, and to make sure you’re in agreement with that definition. In some cases, your provider may consider a conversion as someone who stays on your site for more than two minutes or someone who visits more than two pages in a single session. While these are great measures of engagement, neither of these actions accurately reflects a conversion. Instead, a true conversion is someone who makes contact with you, such as through:
- A chat box
- A phone call
- An email
- A contact form
- An employment application
Site Speed: Site speed is important from the perspective of setting a baseline, but it isn’t something you need to be overly concerned with, and here’s why: Google uses a sample rate of only 1% of your total visitors to determine site speed. Therefore, if you have a small website that receives only 100 visitors in a particular month, then Google is only looking at site speed for one of those visitors—and that one person may simply have a slow connection. If you want to know more about your site speed, however, talk to your SEO provider. There are ways to get more accurate metrics within Google Analytics.
Keywords: This is something every SEO provider should be tracking, and your provider should be able to clearly articulate how they developed the keyword list that they’re using. Keyword research should ideally involve gathering data on your competitors, market insights, and your own website to find opportunities where there’s enough traffic and search volume to help you rank well and drive some solid traffic.
Competition: Each search marketing agency may provide competitor insights a little differently, and that’s ok. What’s important is understanding how you stack up against the competition. Ask your provider for specific details on:
- What your competitors are doing
- What keywords they’re ranking for
- What backlinks they have in place
PPC Report Highlights
PPC results aren’t quite as complicated to interpret and evaluate as SEO data, but there are some key details you’ll want to be sure to understand.
Competitors: As with SEO, you’ll want to know what your competitors are doing. Your provider should be able to offer competitor insights that include:
- A sampling of keywords your competitors are bidding on
- An estimate of competitors’ monthly PPC spend
- What some of their ads look like
Be sure to ask your provider how you’re stacking up against your competitors if the data provided in the report isn’t clear.
Conversions: Also like SEO, you should be able to see both what your conversion numbers are and what specific actions are being tracked.
Industry Averages: For PPC, it’s important to understand how your performance stacks up against industry averages. These benchmarks give you an idea of the results to expect and can help you better understand how well similar paid marketing efforts are working for companies like yours. If your report doesn’t include this information, your provider should be able to give you the information you need to measure your performance against.
The Four Cs: If you really just want a high-level determination of how you’re performing, the following four metrics will give you a good apples-to-apples comparison across the board:
- Click-through rate
- Conversion rate
It doesn’t matter if you’re spending $100 or $100,000 per month; these numbers will calculate the same.
Additionally, ask your provider to share information with you about what kinds of adjustments, optimizations, and changes are being made. Many PPC providers, especially larger ones, set up their clients’ accounts to run using different automation tools designed to manage and optimize research, bidding, and more. While having some degree of automation is fine, you want to make sure that actual human eyes are on your account as well, and more than just once every month or two. Weekly optimization is ideal.
Keeping your finger on the pulse of your home care SEO and PPC results, and understanding the tactics your search marketing provider is implementing on your behalf, will ensure you’re on the same page. And finally, realize that the provider you trust to manage this vital component of your marketing strategy can best help you reach your goals if they have specific expertise in the home care arena.
About Stacie Gillespie
Stacie Gillespie, Director of Search Marketing, works with clients to develop customized, holistic search marketing strategies that include meta data, copy optimization, link building, local search and more. Her goal is to use her high-energy and solid business understanding to help companies thrive in online searches. Stacie holds a Master of Science in Digital Marketing and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Integrated Marketing Communications from East Tennessee State University. She has also earned a Google Analytics Individual Qualification and has passed the Google Fundamentals exam and the Google Search Ads exam to become Google Ad certified. These are professional accreditations Google offers to individuals who demonstrate proficiency in Google Ads and Analytics. To learn more about corecubed’s services, call 800.370.6580, or visit corecubed.com.