Measuring conversions is key to the success of today's online business.
It will allow you to measure the success of your SEO campaigns better and identify areas for improvement.
This blog post will discuss the most crucial conversion metrics for e-commerce websites and explain how SEO teams can use them to improve their results.
Keep reading to learn more!
Conversion rates for eCommerce websites
Conversion rates are one of the most important terms in online marketing.
It is the performance of the desired action by a customer (purchase, subscription, sending a message, creating an account, submitting a form, etc.) who came to your site through an advertisement.
In eCommerce, the conversion rate is usually defined as the number of transactions divided by the number of unique visits, presented in the form of a percentage.
Number of transactions/number of unique visitors = Conversion rate
For example, if your website has been visited by 1000 people and 15 of them bought your product, then you can calculate the conversion rate this way:
15 transactions / 1000 unique users = 0.015 = 1.5%
This metric is a good indicator of how well your website is performing and how it can be improved with effective optimization techniques.
It's worth emphasizing that the higher the conversion rate, the lower the customer acquisition cost!
Now you know how to calculate conversions, so the next question is: How do I know if the results I'm getting are reasonable compared to other companies?
This is where it makes sense to keep an eye on the latest industry benchmarks.
You have to remember that every industry is different, and usually, the more expensive and exclusive products you sell, the lower the conversion rates are.
Statista provides us with the latest data on conversion rates by industry (see the chart below).
According to their data, food and beverage products have the highest conversion rate (5.5%) while luxury handbags have the lowest (0.6%).
So when setting conversion goals for your business, it's a good idea to keep these differences in mind and tailor them to the specifics of your company.
5 factors that impact eCommerce conversions
1. A well-developed sales funnel
The first factor influencing conversion is a well-designed sales funnel that facilitates the consumer's online buying decision process by providing information at each stage of the buying process.
You should design your website and landing page so that it is user-friendly and tailor each subpage to the needs of the user.
If there are too many clicks required for your customer to find what they're looking for, or if the layout is unintuitive, you may lose their attention.
Consider what pages your customers visit when they are at different stages of the buying decision and landing page marketing helps to direct traffic to your site to maximize the chance of a purchase.
It's a good idea to track users' behavior on your site to better understand their path to purchase and see which elements of your site grab their attention.
Providing consumers with meaningful answers at every step of the process helps build consumer trust and engagement and increases the chances of a purchase.
2. Having enough text and visual content for decision making
When it comes to eCommerce, you want to give customers all the information they need to make a purchase.
Each page of your site needs to have well-prepared text and visual content to help customers make the right decision.
The same goes for the text on your pages - it needs to be well written, accurate, and persuasive.
Don't force your customers to search for product information on other sites or chat for details.
Provide them with everything they need right on the site.
The same is true for pictures!
For example, if you are selling furniture and showing a photo of the product itself, it is good to show how it will look in a particular room.
It helps customers imagine how the item will look in their home and decide if it is right for them.
Also, remember to provide high-quality text and visual content.
Your website showcases your products, so if it is of poor quality, your visitors will expect similar quality from your products.
If people are unsure about what they're buying or can’t get enough information, they're likely to leave your site without converting.
3. Loading speed and technical optimization
Page speed is one of the most critical SEO measurement metrics - 40% of consumers will wait no more than three seconds before abandoning a site.
Slow page loading or technical issues are other reasons visitors may leave your site without performing a specific action.
So, if you want to increase your conversion rate, you have to make sure your site is appropriately optimized for desktop and mobile devices and that it loads quickly.
You can use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or Google's TestMySite to check your page's loading speed and optimization.
An essential tool is Google Search Console, which gives information about your webpage experience and some technical parameters (so-called Web Core Vitals that concentrate on page interactivity, loading performance, visual stability respectively, and more).
4. Website structure and navigation
It is important to remember that today's Internet users expect to immediately find what they are looking for. If they don't, they leave the website.
That's why you should pay attention to website structure and navigation.
There are a lot of factors that influence this, such as the way you present your content (e.g., using lists or headings), how deep users have to scroll before they see your content, or how many clicks it takes to get from the homepage to the product.
It’s best to create a user-friendly menu where users can find the most crucial information.
If your site has a lot of content and you sell many products in different categories, it's a good idea to make the navigation of your website easier for users to search by adding filters.
Source: Amazon & AliExpress
To make sure users don't lose what they're looking for, it's also a good idea to add breadcrumbs that allow them to click through quickly to the page they want to return to.
Proper site navigation and structure build a positive user experience and are also an essential element in SEO conversion optimization.
An example of the hierarchy based breadcrumb trail created by Amazon
5. Relevant CTA elements in the right place
To encourage a user to take action, or in this case, buy, you need to remember to have inviting and fitting buttons with CTAs (Call To Action) in the right places on the page.
Think about what messages work best. For example, if a user is on a product listing page, they will probably want to learn about the specifics of the product first, so a better CTA would be "learn more" rather than "buy now."
You need to anticipate the user's intent, but you don't have to rely on intuition.
It's good to analyze past user actions and see what CTAs were most effective.
We recommend running AB tests if you are unsure which solution is best.
An interesting example of a CTA on Amazon's product page. The seller emphasizes that it only takes one click to buy this item.
Example of Amazon's CTA on the home page. The seller encourages the user to look at other deals, and does not immediately impose a purchase.
What e-commerce conversion metrics should your SEO team monitor?
Before we answer that question, it's worth examining where you can measure your site's conversion rate in general.
Two essential tools for that are Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, which will allow you to monitor and analyze relevant events on your site.
You can also use the SE Ranking rank checker that allows you to see organic SEO rankings and other valuable search engine metrics.
Now let's get to the conversion metrics.
1. Value per conversion event
The first factor to consider is the conversion rate of each page and its elements.
In eCommerce, this is usually the successful purchase of an individual product.
However, it could be something like adding to a cart, signing up for a newsletter with the latest offers, or clicking on the new product catalog.
For example, if you have a blog, your conversion rate may be to download a PDF of your eBook or customer guide.
It all depends on your business’ needs.
Example of goals set in Google Analytics in a B2B company
2. Traffic source
The second factor is the source of traffic.
In the eCommerce space, it is not just about getting traffic to the site.
Your goal is a sale, so you have to focus on quality traffic that leads to purchases.
Therefore, you should monitor which channels are most effective for bringing in buyers.
Some of the most common channels are:
- Organic search results — people who come to your site through search engines
- Referrals from other websites - traffic from other websites
- Direct visitors — people who come to your site directly through your website URL
The traffic source can also be a marketing campaign, such as paid or organic traffic from emails, social media, etc.
It is essential to know how much traffic comes from each source and what percentage of the total conversion that traffic represents.
For example, if you get most of your traffic from organic search, but the conversion rate for organic search is low, then you may need to work on optimizing your pages for that source.
Your traffic source will also let you know which channels you should focus on to get the best results.
For example, if the most valuable traffic comes from Facebook, this is an indication that you should put more effort into being active there or even increase your ad budget there.
A sample Source/Medium report
3. New visitors
It's important to realize that a first-time visitor’s interaction with your site differs significantly from a returning visitor.
To enhance your first-time visit conversions, isolate this statistic from the returning customers' conversion rate metrics.
Look at what they're interested in when they visit the website for the first time and how you can improve it.
It's all about first impressions, gaining a visitor's attention in the first interaction, so take an honest look at your first impression.
A new user will be more interested in feedback from customers who have already bought your product than a returning customer who knows what to expect.
You can customize the view of the goals/conversions and separate them into specific groups (for example, new and returning users)
Think about what might interest the customer and convince them to buy from you.
This will help you stand out from the competition and emphasize your value.
Remember that the specifics of the eCommerce industry are different here than for a blog, than for a jewelry business.
Typically (but this also depends on the sector), first-time visitors to an eCommerce site don't immediately make a purchase.
Your potential customers probably visit your site for the first time to learn about your products, then leave to view your competitors' offerings, read reviews, etc.
Sometimes it takes a few days to think about the purchase and eventually return to the site to make the purchase.
There may be even more steps like this, depending on the industry.
4. Returning visitors
When it comes to returning visitor conversion rates, you should determine why the person returned and whether they bought your product on their previous visit.
Regardless of the answer to the second question, it helps if you try to find out the cause!
Moreover, if the person didn't decide to buy the first time, you need to think about what you can do to make sure that this time their visit ends in a conversion.
You can improve your returning visitor conversion rate by segmenting your audience.
Creating different personas and targeting each persona with specific messages that resonate with them.
For eCommerce, personalization will also display to a returning user the same or similar products they last browsed on your site.
5. Bounce rate
The bounce rate is the proportion of visitors who come to your site and leave without taking any action.
It is one more metric you should be paying attention to.
If a high percentage of your visitors are bouncing, it could mean that your site isn't providing the information they're looking for or that the design/functionality is turning them off or away.
A sample Behaviour report. You can see here the bounce rate of each site or the site category.
According to Marketing Charts, product detail landing pages perform worse than other types of landing pages.
So, if you have a similar problem on your site, you should consider direct visitors to other pages.
It's always worth monitoring the abandonment rates, meaning the visitors that abandon their shopping carts without buying.
Analysis of this indicator can show that, for example, the ordering page is unintuitive and needs some improvement.
6. Exit pages
Exit pages are also important to track, as they can show which pages are causing people to leave your website.
If many people leave your site after visiting a specific page, it could mean that the page isn't relevant to their intents or needs.
In such a case, you'll want to look into ways to optimize the page so that more people stay on your website.
You may need to redesign it or avoid a redirection by offering the most critical elements on the page that currently lead to it.
A sample Exit Pages report
7. Value Per Visit
Value per visit shows you how much each visit is worth to your business.
This metric will give you an idea of which pages are most effective at converting visitors into customers.
In eCommerce, this ratio is usually calculated by dividing the number of visits by the total sales.
For example, if your conversion rate is 2% and the average purchase is worth $100, then there are about $20,000 in sales per 10,000 visitors.
That means their value per visit is $2.
However, keep in mind that the goal of your site doesn't always have to be just sales.
For example, if a visitor creates an account, signs up for a newsletter, or publishes a product review, the value of that visit is more challenging to measure.
To calculate the value per visit, you can use ready-made tools such as SEO Potential SE Ranking, which shows the estimated revenue for your targeted keywords.
When you set the conversion rate per sale and the average shopper's amount, the tool will calculate the number of visits for all keywords and provide you with revenue figures.
Website Conversion metrics and SEO conversion rates are vital elements that will help you better understand your users, set realistic goals for your employees, and better plan your strategy for the future.
If you properly monitor user behavior in your online store, you will be able to draw valuable conclusions and turn them into actions that will contribute to increased sales.
Kelly Breland is a Digital Marketing Manager at SE Ranking with experience in SEO, digital and content marketing. She is a persistent advocate of using content marketing to build a solid brand. In her spare time, she is engaged in gardening.