Two weeks ago I attended the August Meet-up for SEO Grail Philadelphia. As is the case with almost every SEO Grail meet-up I make it out to, I got to join in a discussion with some of the most talented search engine minds in the Philadelphia area. We reviewed a number of analytics platforms including the free basics like Google Analytics and some of the paid tools like Woopra and Clicky, you can find more information on the specifics of the meet-up in Bill’s follow-up post.
I participate in a handful of meet-ups in Philadelphia and can proudly say that I enjoy the liveliness of discussion and flow of new ideas that come out of SEO Grail more than any of the others. So when Bill asked me if I would write a post for SEO in Philadelphia, it was a no-brainer.
During the discussion we spoke about the varying benefits of different analytics platforms, many of which came down to real-time tracking and custom reporting. Beyond Real-time data, I find it important to utilize tools that have some business intelligence functionality, in the case of tracking website visits and behavior, I like to look for things like conversion tracking, lead scoring, and ways to tie back marketing campaigns to actual revenue.
One of the ways I have been able to do this is though the use of call tracking. There are a number of platforms and services that offer the ability to track phone calls and tie these back to website visits. The one I prefer, mostly due to it’s low cost and simple functionality, is Hosted Numbers.
Hosted Numbers markets itself as a call forwarding service, but it is much more than that. One of the key pieces of functionality that they do not promote enough is the ability to have your local or toll-free number hooked up to ping a URL. The benefit of this is if you are running specific marketing campaigns, you can purchase a local or toll-free number for each campaign (they’re only $7.95/mo) and then have incoming calls to these numbers ping individual URL’s on a website. The practical application of which is phone call conversion tracking right inside your analytics reports.
For example, let’s say you are running 3 AdWords campaigns to test conversion rates for different messaging. You want to track which messaging creates the largest number of phone calls in addition to click-through’s and on-site conversions. This is easily done by purchasing 3 phone numbers and creating a unique, hidden page (block robots) on your website for each campaign. You then configure each number within the Hosted Numbers dashboard to ping the respective URL every time a call is made to that number, BAM, you have call-tracking analytics to be sliced and diced in-line with your website visitor and AdWords data.
Another platform that was mentioned at the meet-up was Lead Lander, which has some cool functionality for scoring leads and pulling down LinkedIn data, where possible. One of the easy to use functions can add some additional conversion tracking beyond Google Analytics to your user’s behavior on forms. This allows you to gather some more data on form abandonment behavior from your users and hooks easily into some of the most popular hosted form applications like Eloqua and Hubspot.
In my opinion, if you are going to spend money on SEO Software, you should expect for beefed up web analytics and intelligent lead scoring. Raven Tools is a crowd favorite, but for lead intelligence I would recommend a tool called Optify. Optify is not a cheap tool, with subscriptions usually starting around a couple hundred dollars, but it does offer a more advanced set of lead tracking and analysis tools.
My favorite tools within Optify are probably their keyword intelligence tool, which allows you to track not only the rank and visits from each tracked keyword, but also the actual number of leads generated, and their lead scoring dashboard. With Optify lead scoring you don’t have to guess which leads are hot versus passive, the software identifies which leads need immediate follow-up and then notifies the person responsible.
Furthermore you can create custom rules for lead distribution so say you have a geographically focused sales force, you can have medium priority leads go to local offices where hot leads of a certain size can be shipped to the senior sales team at headquarters.
Optify has also just recently finished launching their Cloud API which integrates directly with existing Google Analytics, Omniture, and even Salesforce to make sure all visitor data and lead scoring can be directly integrated into your existing tracking or ERM systems.
AweSEOm SEO Tools started out as a set of free applications hosted to help SEO’s quickly spot low hanging fruit on web pages, such as meta elements, title attributes, and keyword research. I have used it a couple times in initial SEO consultations just to hit a prospects top-level domain to see if there are any red flags, especially when doing an SEO competitive analysis. The one tool in particular that I have found useful is the keyword density checker – this super simple tool allows you to enter in a target keyword and then paste in a body of content, which you can push or pull until you hit your target density (say 1%). While keyword density is not nearly the science it once was, it can still be important for things like avoiding too many keywords in your articles.