More threads by Eric Rohrback

Just wanted to say thanks to Eric for starting this great thread. This is a goldmine of thoughts from this clever community.

Thanks Eric
Just wanted to say thanks to Eric for starting this great thread. This is a goldmine of thoughts from this clever community.

Thanks Eric

You're welcome. I really didn't anticipate this thread to take off so much. It was an issue I was kind of struggling with since I don't want to rule out the smaller businesses that don't have a gigantic budget... but could work up to bigger budgets in time.

I want to say thank you to everyone who chimed in on this. It really got me thinking and I think it gave everyone some great ideas on how to tweak their own processes. Much appreciated!
Jamie, thank you again for the responses. Very insightful and glad to see you've figured out how to break the ice and earn a client's trust. I am fan of trimming the obligation and putting more on the client especially when they are quick to hang everyone else out to dry. The old saying comes to mind... you can walk a horse to water but you can't make them drink it.

Best of continued luck to you and your team!

I'm currently in the "tracking rankings" stage of my consultancy services, which I know is totally old school and a very newbie way of being a SEO consultant. The challenge for me has been, how do you shift from this to, "measuring what's actually happening?"

For example, I have a couple ongoing clients and for the most part I only track rankings. How do I begin the process of measuring what's happening? Of course I already look at traffic, bounce rates, time on site, etc. but I suspect what you're doing is much much deeper.

Any tips and suggestions you have would be great - even just one small action step I could take tomorrow to start on that path of "measuring" would be awesome.

Travis Van Slooten

As far as value goes:

There's probably a ton of value there already. Before we were only tracking rankings, so I shifted to measuring what's actually happening.
Hey Travis,

I don't think rank tracking is bad and "old school" necessarily. Clients want to know where they rank and that's certainly a major way to drive traffic / leads / whatever. I just think it's important to focus the client's attention on something else as a more important metric and indicator of progress.

Non-branded organic search traffic was a big one but it looks like that's going away as a KPI with Google moving toward 100% "not provided."

The key metrics for most of our projects right now are phone calls and form submissions. Obviously if a client's doing ecommerce then sales as well.

When we focus the project on the end result, rather than just rankings, it allows us to provide much more value over a longer period of time. We can add services like PPC management, landing page optimization, more advanced reporting on what leads are doing before they convert. We can find relevant newsletters to advertise in or local sites to do promotions with. These things may not affect rankings, but they will affect the bottom line, and in the end, that's all the client wants.

The challenge of doing this, however, is you need to either have expertise in these areas, or, what I'd recommend, is you find someone to team up with who has expertise in these areas. I made that mistake...I'm more than competent as a PHP dev, PPC manager, organic SEO, local SEO, as well as a host of other things, but it took me 6 years of 60-hour weeks to get there. In hindsight I should have teamed up with someone and focused on what I was good at.

I think taking Linda and other's advice and specializing in a certain niche could also simplify things dramatically and allow you to provide a host of other high quality services much more efficiently.

Action steps?

1. Start tracking phone calls - This is basically a requirement for new projects now as most of our clients leads come through the phone.

2. I'm sure you're already tracking form submissions, but if not, start.

3. I've noticed clients love to see where their traffic is coming from so referring sites is one of those things that you can focus on in those months when progress is a little slower and clients are getting ancy.

4. Kissmetrics is another cool tool that can allow you to report on what prospects are doing as they interact with the site. Being able to tell the client, "hey, Mike Smith from Acme Corp clicked your email and checked out the about page, then the services page, left the site, then came back the next day"...that's hugely valuable info for sales.

4. Make friends with someone in a larger agency. My girlfriend works for a larger agency serving enterprise clients and my conversations with her and her co-workers have given me great insights into what larger clients are looking for. Starting from scratch myself and not having that agency background, this info has been invaluable.

Hope that helps!

At the risk of opening up a can of worms concerning call tracking, can you give us more specifics on how you've implemented this?

Also, concerning form fills, many of my SEO clients are smaller and get oh, between 250-1000 visits per month to their site, form fills don't happen all that often. Are you experiencing something else, or is the traffic to your client sites much higher?
Hey Tyson,

How we do call tracking depends on the client. If there's enough budget and we're running PPC, I like dynamic number replacement, which allows you to track calls based on the source, keyword, ad, etc that triggered the visit. Mongoose Metrics is a good one. The other one I've heard good things about but haven't used is CallRail (CallRail Call Tracking Pricing & Sign Up | Call Tracking and Analytics). Mongoose pricing starts around $120/month. CallRail is around $30, I think the dynamic call tracking from CallRail is likely not as "dynamic" as Mongoose just because it comes with 10 numbers and you may need more than that to track to the keyword level.

If we want something simpler, we're using for several clients and tracking paid vs non-paid only. Specifically, all our PPC ads have a query string attached that causes the site to plant a cookie. From that point on the visitor will receive a PPC-specific phone number everywhere on the site. does have a basic dynamic number replacement implementation that's fairly cheap but I haven't used it yet.

Dynamic number replacement uses JavaScript to replace phone numbers on the site, but if you're not using that, consider writing some JavaScript to do it or using an image to show the tracking number to prevent any data issues. We have used plain text tracking numbers on site along with the real phone number and I've never seen any problems with it, but you may want to play it safe if at all possible.

I don't think those traffic numbers are abnormal for a local client. I'm looking at one of our clients now who got 580 visits in Sept, 13 form submissions, and 26 phone calls. I suppose it completely depends on the site, industry, location, etc, though.

We do have several local clients with much higher traffic numbers...3-5k+ per month. Mostly that's because they're doing offline advertising and they're more well known.

Wow...awesome stuff here! It's funny you mention partnering with people who are already experts at these things. I'm actually working with a business coach and that's the first thing he told me. He said point blank that I should not be getting in the weeds on this stuff. My job is to quarterback these projects - NOT to do every aspect of the project myself. While I absolutely love this idea and agree with it 100%, I don't even know where to begin to find quality, reliable people to partner with. It's hard enough to find outsourcers for design and development, which I think are fairly routine positions, but I can't imagine how hard it would be to find a competent and trustworthy SEO and PPC person/company. I'm starting the process of finding these people right now so I can off load this stuff sooner than later.

I work with mostly service-based businesses so the bulk of their leads come through the phone. I've always wanted to know how to track leads via the phone when I run PPC so your response to Tyson's post is helpful. I'm just now getting started with landing page creation and optimization so call tracking is the next step. But I have to be honest...I would much rather outsource this stuff than grind it out myself:(

All the information and strategies on this thread are brilliant!

The only problem I see is in positioning yourself to look and appear to be "expert enough" to actually hook clients that are prepared to pay $1000+/mth.

I know there are lots of companies that can afford this and much more - also, if they're outsourcing it to an agency for $1000-$3000/mth it's a whole lot cheaper than doing it in house with all the training costs etc associated with keeping these things within the company walls!!

In reality how would a small firm with a turnover <$5m expect to recruit the right brains that know what they're actually doing in terms of proper ethical seo.

They hire a full time in house self taught "seo expert" for $60k pa and after a year and a half realise that he has just been building tiered links that are going to be penalised some time... soon!

Not only that, but if it was a big campaign then you couldn't expect the SEO guy they just hired to write the content.... To keep it in house, they now need either a full/part time content writer - what experience would they have in writing about CNC perspex cutting or whatever niche the company is in.

The other beauty of taking on an agency is that they can (depending on the contract) fire them if they're not seeing any positive ROI over time.

I read that probably the very best form of becoming an authority would be to work for a "big name" or known brand for free on the understanding that you could disclose this to potential new clients.

Keep the info coming, it's a great forum here!!

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