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How To Track Customers & Revenue From SEO In Your CRM –

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How To Track Customers & Revenue From SEO In Your CRM -

As an SEO pro, you’ve probably struggled to prove how your efforts impact bottom-line business metrics like customers & revenue.

It’s easy to install Google Analytics and see how many visitors you are getting from organic search, and if you set up Goal Tracking on form submissions, you can even measure the number of leads.

But it’s historically been much harder to get that same attribution data into your CRM and report on metrics like how many new sales opportunities were generated from SEO, how much pipeline, the number of new customers, etc.

Fortunately, we can offer a solution.

Continue reading to learn how you can attribute leads & customers to SEO in your company’s CRM and run reports to prove the value your SEO efforts are generating (and hopefully secure some more budget).

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Why You Should Track SEO Efforts With A CRM

Imagine you do SEO for a project management software company.

To generate leads, you do SEO and use paid advertising through Google, Facebook, and similar platforms.

If you were just using Google Analytics to measure visitors and goals, your analytics data would look similar to this:

SEO Facebook Ads Google Ads
Spend $5,000 $5,000 $5,000
Visitors 200 500 400
Goals in Google Analytics (Leads) 30 40 40

If this were your only source of insights – website visitors and leads – then your Facebook Ads and Google Ads would appear to outperform your SEO efforts.

With that data, you might spend most of your marketing budget on paid channels.

But what if you could see the complete picture of the number of customers and revenue generated? Your data might look similar to this:

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SEO Facebook Ads Google Ads
Spend $5,000 $5,000 $5,000
Visitors 200 500 400
Leads 30> 40 40
Customers 25 7 12
Revenue $45,000 $8,000 $18,000

Looking at the numbers above, you can see that your SEO efforts are far outperforming your paid ads because:

  • You acquired more customers from SEO (25) than Google Ads and Facebook Ads combined (19).
  • The conversion rate from lead to a customer is greater for SEO (83%) than for Google Ads and Facebook Ads combined (17.5% for Facebook Ads and 30% for Google Ads).
  • The average customer value is greater for SEO at $1,800 per customer than for Google Ads ($1,500) and for Facebook Ads ($1,142).
  • The customer acquisition cost is lower for SEO at $200 than for Google Ads ($416) and for Facebook Ads ($714).

When you track the performance of your marketing campaigns based on the number of customers acquired and revenue generated, you will see the full picture of how they perform and be able to allocate your resources accordingly.

In this case, you’d be able to make a great business case for how important SEO is to the business and could potentially win more budget and resources to help grow.

How To Track Customers & Revenue From SEO With A CRM

Now that you understand the importance of tracking customers & revenue from SEO let’s look at how to do it.

It boils down to two steps: Ensuring you have the required data in your CRM and running the right reports.

1. Check The Data

Ensure you have attribution data on each of your leads & customers inside your CRM (i.e., the source channel, campaign, ad group, etc.).

Most CRM systems have custom fields that store contact information and sales opportunities, but do they also track how the customers discovered your business in the first place?

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The easiest way to do this is by adding hidden fields to the lead generation forms on your website and then writing the attribution information into those fields.

That way, the data is captured alongside the lead’s name, email address, phone number, etc., and can be sent straight into your CRM.

Most popular form-building tools have the ability to add hidden fields to forms and make it easy to drag and drop them in.

Screenshot by author, December 2022

Once you’ve added the hidden fields to the forms, you can use tools like Attributer.io (Disclosure: I am the founder of Attributer) to figure out where each lead has come from and write the data into the hidden fields where it will be sent to your CRM with each form submission.

2. Run Reports With CRM Or Analytics Tools

Now that you have the correct attribution information for each customer in your CRM, you can use it to run reports.

The quickest and easiest way to do this is to use your CRM’s built-in reporting tools.

Depending on how advanced they are, you should be able to report on metrics like the number of leads from SEO, the number of sales opportunities, the number of customers, the amount of revenue generated, etc.

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SEO DashboardScreenshot by author, December 2022

Alternatively, if you’re looking for more advanced analytics, you can export the data to a spreadsheet or connect your CRM to third-party analytics tools like Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, or Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio).

This would allow you to run more advanced reports that could answer questions like:

  • How many leads do we get from our SEO efforts on our product pages?
  • Which search engines are generating the most customers?
  • Which individual blog posts are generating the most leads?
  • How many customers do we get from our content hub pages?

Five Metrics SEO Professionals Should Track

Now that you understand how to get the attribution data into your CRM and run reports, here are some ideas for reports you should look at to help prove the value of your SEO efforts.

The Number Of Leads From SEO Vs. Other Channels

Leads by ChannelScreenshot by author, December 2022

The example graph above shows how many leads were generated via the different marketing channels.

As you can see, this report demonstrates the value SEO is providing in that it is generating more leads for the business than paid channels like Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

Number Of Customers From SEO Vs. Other Channels

Customer by channelScreenshot by author, December 2022

The example graph above shows how many customers have been generated from the different marketing channels.

Not only does this show that SEO is driving the majority of customers for the business, but it can also be useful for calculating the conversion rate of leads to customers.

It’s quite common for leads from organic search to convert much better down the funnel than from sources like Facebook Ads, as these leads often have the problem your product/service solves and are actively looking to purchase.

Revenue From SEO By Landing Page Group

Revenue from SEO by landing pageScreenshot by author, December 2022

The example graph above shows the amount of revenue generated from customers who have come from your SEO efforts, broken down by the landing page group (i.e., the grouping of pages based on the subfolder in the URL.

This report allows you to see what types of content are generating customers & revenue from search engines and can help you identify what you need to create more.

Similarly, if you see a change in the amounts of customers & revenue coming from SEO, this report can help you identify what happened. Was it that the homepage saw a boost in rankings?

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Or is it that the blog posts and webinars you’ve been diligently creating are starting to get traction?

Average Deal Size From SEO Vs. Other Channels

Average Deal by ChannelScreenshot by author, December 2022

The example graph shows the average deal size of customers that came through SEO versus those from other channels.

This, combined with the number of customers that came from SEO and the conversion rates, can be useful in modeling potential budget increases.

You could create a spreadsheet model that shows the increase in the number of visitors you’d get from more budget, and then using the conversion rates and average deal size, model it through the funnel to show the revenue increase you would expect to get from these changes.

Being able to show expected growth in revenue is a lot more convincing than showing the expected change in visitors, particularly to financial controllers who think in dollars and cents rather than impressions, clicks, and visitors.

Time To Close From SEO Vs. Other Channels

Days to close by channelScreenshot by author, December 2022

The example graph shows the average time to close for customers that came through SEO versus customers from other channels.

This can be useful in several ways.

Firstly, it’s quite common that sales opportunities from SEO will close faster than those from channels like Facebook Ads because leads from SEO tend to be in purchase mode.

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This can be a good data point to convince management of the value of SEO.

Similarly, if you are modeling out how potential budget increases in SEO will impact bottom-line numbers like customers and revenue, you can use this time to close metrics to understand when the changes you are advocating will start to have an impact on revenue.

This can help ensure your model doesn’t show revenue increases too early and can help prevent finance teams from retracting the budget if the numbers aren’t met.

Wrap Up

If you’ve probably struggled in the past to report on how your SEO efforts are impacting key business metrics like customers & revenue, then you’ve probably felt the pain of not being able to show the true value of SEO.

However, if you can start tracking the source of every one of your leads in your organization’s CRM, then not only would you be able to show exactly how many customers and how much revenue SEO is generating, but you’d then be able to accurately model out how budget increases or strategy changes will drive bottom-line growth.

And if you can show how much revenue you think these changes are going to make, then you’re much more likely to get that extra budget approved!

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WordPress Releases A Performance Plugin For “Near-Instant Load Times”

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WordPress speculative loading plugin

WordPress released an official plugin that adds support for a cutting edge technology called speculative loading that can help boost site performance and improve the user experience for site visitors.

Speculative Loading

Rendering means constructing the entire webpage so that it instantly displays (rendering). When your browser downloads the HTML, images, and other resources and puts it together into a webpage, that’s rendering. Prerendering is putting that webpage together (rendering it) in the background.

What this plugin does is to enable the browser to prerender the entire webpage that a user might navigate to next. The plugin does that by anticipating which webpage the user might navigate to based on where they are hovering.

Chrome lists a preference for only prerendering when there is an at least 80% probability of a user navigating to another webpage. The official Chrome support page for prerendering explains:

“Pages should only be prerendered when there is a high probability the page will be loaded by the user. This is why the Chrome address bar prerendering options only happen when there is such a high probability (greater than 80% of the time).

There is also a caveat in that same developer page that prerendering may not happen based on user settings, memory usage and other scenarios (more details below about how analytics handles prerendering).

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The Speculative Loading API solves a problem that previous solutions could not because in the past they were simply prefetching resources like JavaScript and CSS but not actually prerendering the entire webpage.

The official WordPress announcement explains it like this:

Introducing the Speculation Rules API
The Speculation Rules API is a new web API that solves the above problems. It allows defining rules to dynamically prefetch and/or prerender URLs of certain structure based on user interaction, in JSON syntax—or in other words, speculatively preload those URLs before the navigation. This API can be used, for example, to prerender any links on a page whenever the user hovers over them.”

The official WordPress page about this new functionality describes it:

“The Speculation Rules API is a new web API… It allows defining rules to dynamically prefetch and/or prerender URLs of certain structure based on user interaction, in JSON syntax—or in other words, speculatively preload those URLs before the navigation.

This API can be used, for example, to prerender any links on a page whenever the user hovers over them. Also, with the Speculation Rules API, “prerender” actually means to prerender the entire page, including running JavaScript. This can lead to near-instant load times once the user clicks on the link as the page would have most likely already been loaded in its entirety. However that is only one of the possible configurations.”

The new WordPress plugin adds support for the Speculation Rules API. The Mozilla developer pages, a great resource for HTML technical understanding describes it like this:

“The Speculation Rules API is designed to improve performance for future navigations. It targets document URLs rather than specific resource files, and so makes sense for multi-page applications (MPAs) rather than single-page applications (SPAs).

The Speculation Rules API provides an alternative to the widely-available <link rel=”prefetch”> feature and is designed to supersede the Chrome-only deprecated <link rel=”prerender”> feature. It provides many improvements over these technologies, along with a more expressive, configurable syntax for specifying which documents should be prefetched or prerendered.”

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See also: Are Websites Getting Faster? New Data Reveals Mixed Results

Performance Lab Plugin

The new plugin was developed by the official WordPress performance team which occasionally rolls out new plugins for users to test ahead of possible inclusion into the actual WordPress core. So it’s a good opportunity to be first to try out new performance technologies.

The new WordPress plugin is by default set to prerender “WordPress frontend URLs” which are pages, posts, and archive pages. How it works can be fine-tuned under the settings:

Settings > Reading > Speculative Loading

Browser Compatibility

The Speculative API is supported by Chrome 108 however the specific rules used by the new plugin require Chrome 121 or higher. Chrome 121 was released in early 2024.

Browsers that do not support will simply ignore the plugin and will have no effect on the user experience.

Check out the new Speculative Loading WordPress plugin developed by the official core WordPress performance team.

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How Analytics Handles Prerendering

A WordPress developer commented with a question asking how Analytics would handle prerendering and someone else answered that it’s up to the Analytics provider to detect a prerender and not count it as a page load or site visit.

Fortunately both Google Analytics and Google Publisher Tags (GPT) both are able to handle prerenders. The Chrome developers support page has a note about how analytics handles prerendering:

“Google Analytics handles prerender by delaying until activation by default as of September 2023, and Google Publisher Tag (GPT) made a similar change to delay triggering advertisements until activation as of November 2023.”

Possible Conflict With Ad Blocker Extensions

There are a couple things to be aware of about this plugin, aside from the fact that it’s an experimental feature that requires Chrome 121 or higher.

A comment by a WordPress plugin developer that this feature may not work with browsers that are using the uBlock Origin ad blocking browser extension.

Download the plugin:
Speculative Loading Plugin by the WordPress Performance Team

Read the announcement at WordPress
Speculative Loading in WordPress

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See also: WordPress, Wix & Squarespace Show Best CWV Rate Of Improvement

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10 Paid Search & PPC Planning Best Practices

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10 Paid Search & PPC Planning Best Practices

Whether you are new to paid media or reevaluating your efforts, it’s critical to review your performance and best practices for your overall PPC marketing program, accounts, and campaigns.

Revisiting your paid media plan is an opportunity to ensure your strategy aligns with your current goals.

Reviewing best practices for pay-per-click is also a great way to keep up with trends and improve performance with newly released ad technologies.

As you review, you’ll find new strategies and features to incorporate into your paid search program, too.

Here are 10 PPC best practices to help you adjust and plan for the months ahead.

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1. Goals

When planning, it is best practice to define goals for the overall marketing program, ad platforms, and at the campaign level.

Defining primary and secondary goals guides the entire PPC program. For example, your primary conversion may be to generate leads from your ads.

You’ll also want to look at secondary goals, such as brand awareness that is higher in the sales funnel and can drive interest to ultimately get the sales lead-in.

2. Budget Review & Optimization

Some advertisers get stuck in a rut and forget to review and reevaluate the distribution of their paid media budgets.

To best utilize budgets, consider the following:

  • Reconcile your planned vs. spend for each account or campaign on a regular basis. Depending on the budget size, monthly, quarterly, or semiannually will work as long as you can hit budget numbers.
  • Determine if there are any campaigns that should be eliminated at this time to free up the budget for other campaigns.
  • Is there additional traffic available to capture and grow results for successful campaigns? The ad platforms often include a tool that will provide an estimated daily budget with clicks and costs. This is just an estimate to show more click potential if you are interested.
  • If other paid media channels perform mediocrely, does it make sense to shift those budgets to another?
  • For the overall paid search and paid social budget, can your company invest more in the positive campaign results?

3. Consider New Ad Platforms

If you can shift or increase your budgets, why not test out a new ad platform? Knowing your audience and where they spend time online will help inform your decision when choosing ad platforms.

Go beyond your comfort zone in Google, Microsoft, and Meta Ads.

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Here are a few other advertising platforms to consider testing:

  • LinkedIn: Most appropriate for professional and business targeting. LinkedIn audiences can also be reached through Microsoft Ads.
  • TikTok: Younger Gen Z audience (16 to 24), video.
  • Pinterest: Products, services, and consumer goods with a female-focused target.
  • Snapchat: Younger demographic (13 to 35), video ads, app installs, filters, lenses.

Need more detailed information and even more ideas? Read more about the 5 Best Google Ads Alternatives.

4. Top Topics in Google Ads & Microsoft Ads

Recently, trends in search and social ad platforms have presented opportunities to connect with prospects more precisely, creatively, and effectively.

Don’t overlook newer targeting and campaign types you may not have tried yet.

  • Video: Incorporating video into your PPC accounts takes some planning for the goals, ad creative, targeting, and ad types. There is a lot of opportunity here as you can simply include video in responsive display ads or get in-depth in YouTube targeting.
  • Performance Max: This automated campaign type serves across all of Google’s ad inventory. Microsoft Ads recently released PMAX so you can plan for consistency in campaign types across platforms. Do you want to allocate budget to PMax campaigns? Learn more about how PMax compares to search.
  • Automation: While AI can’t replace human strategy and creativity, it can help manage your campaigns more easily. During planning, identify which elements you want to automate, such as automatically created assets and/or how to successfully guide the AI in the Performance Max campaigns.

While exploring new features, check out some hidden PPC features you probably don’t know about.

5. Revisit Keywords

The role of keywords has evolved over the past several years with match types being less precise and loosening up to consider searcher intent.

For example, [exact match] keywords previously would literally match with the exact keyword search query. Now, ads can be triggered by search queries with the same meaning or intent.

A great planning exercise is to lay out keyword groups and evaluate if they are still accurately representing your brand and product/service.

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Review search term queries triggering ads to discover trends and behavior you may not have considered. It’s possible this has impacted performance and conversions over time.

Critical to your strategy:

  • Review the current keyword rules and determine if this may impact your account in terms of close variants or shifts in traffic volume.
  • Brush up on how keywords work in each platform because the differences really matter!
  • Review search term reports more frequently for irrelevant keywords that may pop up from match type changes. Incorporate these into match type changes or negative keywords lists as appropriate.

6. Revisit Your Audiences

Review the audiences you selected in the past, especially given so many campaign types that are intent-driven.

Automated features that expand your audience could be helpful, but keep an eye out for performance metrics and behavior on-site post-click.

Remember, an audience is simply a list of users who are grouped together by interests or behavior online.

Therefore, there are unlimited ways to mix and match those audiences and target per the sales funnel.

Here are a few opportunities to explore and test:

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  • LinkedIn user targeting: Besides LinkedIn, this can be found exclusively in Microsoft Ads.
  • Detailed Demographics: Marital status, parental status, home ownership, education, household income.
  • In-market and custom intent: Searches and online behavior signaling buying cues.
  • Remarketing: Advertisers website visitors, interactions with ads, and video/ YouTube.

Note: This varies per the campaign type and seems to be updated frequently, so make this a regular check-point in your campaign management for all platforms.

7. Organize Data Sources

You will likely be running campaigns on different platforms with combinations of search, display, video, etc.

Looking back at your goals, what is the important data, and which platforms will you use to review and report? Can you get the majority of data in one analytics platform to compare and share?

Millions of companies use Google Analytics, which is a good option for centralized viewing of advertising performance, website behavior, and conversions.

8. Reevaluate How You Report

Have you been using the same performance report for years?

It’s time to reevaluate your essential PPC key metrics and replace or add that data to your reports.

There are two great resources to kick off this exercise:

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Your objectives in reevaluating the reporting are:

  • Are we still using this data? Is it still relevant?
  • Is the data we are viewing actionable?
  • What new metrics should we consider adding we haven’t thought about?
  • How often do we need to see this data?
  • Do the stakeholders receiving the report understand what they are looking at (aka data visualization)?

Adding new data should be purposeful, actionable, and helpful in making decisions for the marketing plan. It’s also helpful to decide what type of data is good to see as “deep dives” as needed.

9. Consider Using Scripts

The current ad platforms have plenty of AI recommendations and automated rules, and there is no shortage of third-party tools that can help with optimizations.

Scripts is another method for advertisers with large accounts or some scripting skills to automate report generation and repetitive tasks in their Google Ads accounts.

Navigating the world of scripts can seem overwhelming, but a good place to start is a post here on Search Engine Journal that provides use cases and resources to get started with scripts.

Luckily, you don’t need a Ph.D. in computer science — there are plenty of resources online with free or templated scripts.

10. Seek Collaboration

Another effective planning tactic is to seek out friendly resources and second opinions.

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Much of the skill and science of PPC management is unique to the individual or agency, so there is no shortage of ideas to share between you.

You can visit the Paid Search Association, a resource for paid ad managers worldwide, to make new connections and find industry events.

Preparing For Paid Media Success

Strategies should be based on clear and measurable business goals. Then, you can evaluate the current status of your campaigns based on those new targets.

Your paid media strategy should also be built with an eye for both past performance and future opportunities. Look backward and reevaluate your existing assumptions and systems while investigating new platforms, topics, audiences, and technologies.

Also, stay current with trends and keep learning. Check out ebooks, social media experts, and industry publications for resources and motivational tips.

More resources: 

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Google Limits News Links In California Over Proposed ‘Link Tax’ Law

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A brown cardboard price tag with a twine string and a black dollar sign symbol, influenced by the Link Tax Law, set against a dark gray background.

Google announced that it plans to reduce access to California news websites for a portion of users in the state.

The decision comes as Google prepares for the potential passage of the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA), a bill requiring online platforms like Google to pay news publishers for linking to their content.

What Is The California Journalism Preservation Act?

The CJPA, introduced in the California State Legislature, aims to support local journalism by creating what Google refers to as a “link tax.”

If passed, the Act would force companies like Google to pay media outlets when sending readers to news articles.

However, Google believes this approach needs to be revised and could harm rather than help the news industry.

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Jaffer Zaidi, Google’s VP of Global News Partnerships, stated in a blog post:

“It would favor media conglomerates and hedge funds—who’ve been lobbying for this bill—and could use funds from CJPA to continue to buy up local California newspapers, strip them of journalists, and create more ghost papers that operate with a skeleton crew to produce only low-cost, and often low-quality, content.”

Google’s Response

To assess the potential impact of the CJPA on its services, Google is running a test with a percentage of California users.

During this test, Google will remove links to California news websites that the proposed legislation could cover.

Zaidi states:

“To prepare for possible CJPA implications, we are beginning a short-term test for a small percentage of California users. The testing process involves removing links to California news websites, potentially covered by CJPA, to measure the impact of the legislation on our product experience.”

Google Claims Only 2% of Search Queries Are News-Related

Zaidi highlighted peoples’ changing news consumption habits and its effect on Google search queries (emphasis mine):

“It’s well known that people are getting news from sources like short-form videos, topical newsletters, social media, and curated podcasts, and many are avoiding the news entirely. In line with those trends, just 2% of queries on Google Search are news-related.”

Despite the low percentage of news queries, Google wants to continue helping news publishers gain visibility on its platforms.

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However, the “CJPA as currently constructed would end these investments,” Zaidi says.

A Call For A Different Approach

In its current form, Google maintains that the CJPA undermines news in California and could leave all parties worse off.

The company urges lawmakers to consider alternative approaches supporting the news industry without harming smaller local outlets.

Google argues that, over the past two decades, it’s done plenty to help news publishers innovate:

“We’ve rolled out Google News Showcase, which operates in 26 countries, including the U.S., and has more than 2,500 participating publications. Through the Google News Initiative we’ve partnered with more than 7,000 news publishers around the world, including 200 news organizations and 6,000 journalists in California alone.”

Zaidi suggested that a healthy news industry in California requires support from the state government and a broad base of private companies.

As the legislative process continues, Google is willing to cooperate with California publishers and lawmakers to explore alternative paths that would allow it to continue linking to news.

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