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Monday, Feb. 6, 2012 at 11:00 am

6 Steps To Get The Most Out Of Your Optimization Team

By Tegan Greenfield
February 6th, 2012

I would like to start this blog post by stating I am NO Analyst! However, I am on the front lines, talking to the people contacting FutureNow Inc. and answering their sales related questions.  My unique lack of expertise in the day to day analytical reporting allows me to share some insights about what is necessary to begin a Conversion Rate Optimization Engagement, even before your first call with an analyst!

We have a mixed audience at FutureNow Inc., those who understand conversion rate optimization but need some outside perspective or guidance and those that understand conversion because they can see their numbers but don’t know what to do with those numbers.

I think our own Howard Kaplan said it best, “a good percentage of our audience calls looking for help, but haven’t taken some basic steps to turn their Google Analytics data from a thermometer into a thermostat.”

A thermostat analyzes a situation AND takes an action, as opposed to a thermometer that gives you nothing but a meaningless number if you don’t know what step to take next.

The following are  simple steps you can take before you start an engagement with us or another optimization company, so that when we come together to increase ROI, we can hit the ground running.  If all these steps are prepared and taken before your kickoff call, you will get the benefits of our analyst’s expertise and professional insights based on what they find in your data faster, and you will be able to begin testing right away! If you cannot set these things up on your own, the company you plan to engage with should help you.

1.  Make sure you know what the goals of your site are. We cannot say it enough.  whether you are an ecommenrce site or a lead generation site, B2B or B2C, give a numerical value to everything. Know what the value of your goals are.  It can be tough, but it has to be done.  We can assure you that more complicated things have been given numerical value before. No Optimization company out there can give you proper insights if they cannot calculate the value of the the changes you make, and the improvements you experience on your site.  This information will help you to prioritize your site changes and use your resources effectively.  If you need more insight about calculating goals, you can read more about it here.

2.  Set up goal funnels and ecommerce tracking in your analytics account. This is a great article from Kiss Metrics, for those out there that are looking at the number on their thermomator  and don’t understand what to do with their numbers.  Before calling a service provider looking for help, start by setting yourself up to succeed by setting up goals & funnels. Kiss Metrics does a great job of showing step by step, how to take your data to the next level.

3.  Get site search set up on your website if you have it.  You do not need to add site search if you do not already have it.  Let your conversion experts look at your data and decide if it could be a valuable contribution to your site.  Read this article for help on setting up site search.

4. Make sure you have a team of resources that can help you implement testing and changes to your site. You cannot do it all on your own.  Even the smallest site should have one designer and one developer contracted before starting a CRO engagement.  From our experience, clients with at least these resources at their behest have the most success in increasing their conversion rate.

5. Get Google Website Optimizer or some other testing platform set up and get a basic understanding of how A/B and multivariate testing work.  This can be a little complicated and you will probably need assistance from your CRO experts and developers once you start testing.  At the same time, you will be much more comfortable starting the engagement if you have some background information.  Here is a tutorial to help you set up GWO, and also the GWO Techie Guide that you can skim to get a good idea of how to start setting up tests.

6.  Lastly, have a goal in mind.  Don’t be afraid of setting goals, they are notorious for helping people be successful.  Maybe you don’t know what a reasonable goal is this early in the process, but don’t worry, your goals can change.  Write down 3-5 major things you would like to see happen on your website that directly affect your bottom line.  An example list might be:

a. Increase average sales per day from 60 to 100 within the next year

b. Develop a social media campaign to increase my sale of blue widgets by 20% from Facebook, Twitter and our company Blog by the 4th quarter

c. Decrease spending on our PPC campaigns  by 10% while keeping ROI from campaigns consistent or improving it in the nest 3 months.

d. Increase page views from homepage  to increase Adsense revenue by 15% by December 2012.

Notice that we’re able to calculate the value of each of these goals, they are actionable and are given a specific time frame. Goals like these help your company and your CRO team stay on the same path.  When everyone is working toward the same thing, it gets done faster and with less headaches!

Now that you have all the basics set up, give us a call!  Again, if you cannot do all these things on your own, we can help or we have resources that can.

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Comments (96)

  1. Prefixing the objectives to be attained is a great way to aim at increasing the income.
    This article provides some very good starting ideas with a view to a more empirical and practical approach.

  2. Having a goal in your mind is a powerful thing which you mentioned in 6. part. I always set goals to acheve the best results with good organisation. btw GJ with the article.

  3. Goals are always the key…if you don’t have a target how do you hit it?

  4. I like how your article begins with keeping goals in mind. If we don’t know where we are going, it is hard to tell how close we are to getting there.

  5. 7. Set-up Google Webmastertools if you haven’t already, because it provides search query analytics data. You can link it to Analytics.

    Great list. In regards to goal setting, I have found that correctly managing the expectations of the client is key to ensuring their satisfaction.

  6. If I was looking for a SEO team to pay for from the internet, who would you recommend? I’ve heard good things from SEOmoz, but I’m not sure.


  7. I really liked the thermometer/thermostat analogy!

  8. I agree,having goals and structures really make the difference between a successful project and one that fails. Good article!

  9. Great overview for someone trying to wrap their head around how to optimize your team. Thanks a lot!

  10. yes, setting SMART goals will lead you somewhere. Keep track of keyword density while changing content:-)

  11. Spot on! If you don’t have goals in the sites then you are headed in the wrong direction. Goals are great for measuring success….

  12. Yes I agree with you When everyone is working toward the same thing, it gets done faster and with less headaches

  13. Never though that site search can help this way. What people search for allows optimization of course! Thank you for the great idea…

  14. Can i set up google website optimizer in my free blogs/websites?

  15. @ Kumar

    Absolutely! You can set up google Website Optimizer on any site that you plan to do testing.

  16. Yep, I would agree with Homie Code on Webmaster Tools advantages.

    Thanks for a great article!

  17. Goals are great to have, but I think it is most effective to just commit to working as hard as you can. In that case, even if you don’t achieve the short term goal, you know you did everything in your power to work to the long term end state in mind.

  18. Yes, you can set up website optimizer and it will tell you about your page errors moreover sitemap handling plus indexing and much more. It is really a great tool.

  19. Very nice tips to optimize any team in order to get success.

    Thank you

  20. These problems I have when discussing SEO with my clients. I am especialy interested in A/B campaigns.

  21. Thanks Tegan.

    We’re working hard on CRO, but in particular with reference to your point 5 above…

    The trouble is that some of the pages we want to run multivariate testing on are aimed at niche B2B buyers, and there’s not sufficient traffic to get results which are statistically significant, which means that either the test isn’t much use (or it’ll take years to get decent results!)

  22. Nice post Tegan. I like to have my clients set goals for improve click through rates.

    Then we set goals micro conversions newsletter subscriptions, rss subscriptions, white paper downloads, increase social followers, social shares/likes etc

    And lastly we set macro goals – leads, calls and ultimately sales.

  23. Thank you for sharing the GWO and giving these helpful tips. I’m so glad I read this , off to GWO world now.

  24. I completely agree with step 4. Obviously, a complete teamwork is required for the optimization to work properly.

  25. Great overview for someone trying to wrap their head around how to optimize your team. Thanks a lot!

  26. Without the goal one can not do the business. Setting a goal is a prime key of any business. Very good examples for setting a goal.

  27. Thanks for the post, every successful blog online must start with a plan and goals to be followed.
    The case is the same for any e business site.
    I really love your post.

  28. @Android Advantage


    That’s a BIG question, and not one likely to be answered in the span of blog comment reply. Briefly I’ll say a few things to help you get started:

    1) SEOmoz is a tool, not a team. Consider if you have the resources internally to get productive ROI from a tool, or if you need to outsource your SEO needs to a service provider.

    2) Before getting into the right tool vs. the right team, consider your goals- are you looking for SEO help, or PPC help? Do you understand the difference? While there are many “recommended” options for each, take note- success or failure is almost always more about the fit between service provider & your team than it is an indication (or indictment) of the expertise level of the provider.

    3) Consider reaching out to some of the many knowledgeable folks in the space, and asking for their advice *on how to go about selecting an SEO partner* as opposed to asking “who should I hire?”. If you’ve heard good things about SEOmoz, reach out to @RandFish. Ping @Andrew_goodman, who wrote what is still among the best & most useful books on Google Adwords.

    Hopefully this helps give you some direction. Good luck with your search!

  29. I actually think point 6 is the most important point. Measurable goals are the ones that matter, hard to define success when you didn’t know what you were aiming for.

  30. Goal in life will definitely help a person or a business to improve itself. Know your strength and weaknesses so that you may be flexible in any adjustments that you will be having. Thanks for this informative post.

  31. any good advice is welcome my end. i need to really do the best i can to optimise my own business as I’ve just gone out as a sole trader.

  32. I am an Analyst student and must say that good got these points right. I’ll try to keep them in minds as much as i can.

  33. I actually think point 6 is the most important point. Measurable goals are the ones that matter, hard to define success when you didn’t know what you were aiming for.

    -=-=-= i just quote this one reply because this also what i am thinking =-=-=-=-

  34. Most of this is over my head, at my age it is hard to keep up, appreciate the information.

  35. Proper goal setup is main key factor. Nice sharing. We have to follow all these to hit success with our targets.

  36. Nice post and really worth practicing. I think that crux of your post is in its 6th point that one must have a goal set for one’s site and then track that how much is one successful in tracking one’s goals.

  37. Thanks for the post, every successful blog online must start with a plan and goals to be followed.

  38. These look great steps to optimize a website, but I find it starts to get difficult for people around step 4.

  39. Reading this article I was reminded that I have a lot more to do with my sites, and sometimes the goal should be redefined.

  40. That’s so true – set a goal and make a list of things that may lead you to it. And don’t wait – react.

  41. wow , good post i like 6th point.. We Should always have Goal in our Mind…

  42. An optimization team is real way to get powerful results.

  43. Testing, testing and testing. Split testing can give the heads up on what will work and what not. Also keep step 4 in mind. You cannot do it all on your own and must have a team of capable people who know technology and talk business.

  44. Goals and milestones are insanely important, how often I see an end goal in mind but nothing to fill the space in between is sometimes worrying!

  45. Great tips. You really do have to have goals set in order to make anything of optimization.

  46. nice info, “4. Make sure you have a team of resources that can help you implement testing and changes to your site. ”

    I think this is important point.

  47. Goals and planning are the key to success. Thanks a lot for the article. I really love to read such articles for you share different body of knowledge that people should know. I admire writers like you on providing great post that you dedicate your time in doing so. Thanks again and keep up the great work!

  48. Thanks! Today I set up the conversion tracking and figured out some numbers. I dont know why it was not enabled until now.
    This is valuable information for a newbie with high expectations.
    the A/B testing is not for me yet but it’s a must do at a certain point of the business.

  49. Set up goal and pursue it. :)

  50. This is really worth practicing. May apply this in our businesses.

  51. Shaloom! This is great. Really helpful tips.

  52. Love the thermostat/thermometer analogy, probably have to us that one!

  53. Fantastic article, everybody who works on websites should be aware of these items.

  54. Great post! Our SEO team is large and this article is very helpfull :)

  55. No disrespect intended, but while these steps may not seem terribly unreasonable, they’re simply not feasible (or even necessary) for most. Combined, they comprise just one piece of a fascinating (& really quite simple) ROI puzzle that – like most – you’re over-analyzing. The resources required to implement the strategies mentioned here are prohibitive when combined – as they must be – with the other puzzle pieces.

  56. Number one is always the goal. The team must know the target to aim to it.

  57. inspirational. Setting goals can make a huge difference on whole process. It’s essential for success. Your example list gave me some great ideas! Thank you

  58. Understanding how to do proper A/B testing is absolutely crucial. Reading about what works best gets you a ways, but you need to optimize based on your particular site.

  59. SEO is now getting harder and harder after the Panda update. Its more with how people get to the website and how long they remain there. So ultimately its all down to content.

  60. This article will surely help out my SEO group as we were looking for some pro insights.

  61. It is wise to track the progress of the team and guide them to get better performance.

  62. It’s amazing how simply others can set goals for us and how troublesome setting goals to your self is…

  63. You have to tweek and learn from the basics outlined in this post.

    What has been detailed here is very good as a starting point and once the ball is rolling, you can learn to develop a more suitable strategy which is applicable to your site.

  64. t’s amazing how simply others can set goals for us and how troublesome setting goals to your self is

  65. I am not sure that I am even a thermometer. I have been trying to start my own business and all these terms like seo, et al just really throw me for a loop. I think I feel like a backyard mechanic – everything changes as the internet becomes more sophisticated. Used to be you put an ad in the paper or on the radio and had ways of measuring the response. Now it has become so complicated and yet the same thing is true it is all about having a plan setting goals and working to achieve them – that has been the same lo these many years. My problem is, I don’t know where to begin with the plan.

  66. That was a very useful article for an SEO like me. While I do agree that content plays critical role, all other optimizing techniques also enhance the rank on Google pages.

  67. great overview on team optimization – thanks

  68. The optimization is undoubtedly the main strategy that we must work to improve the conversion of visitors into sales. I went through this and just started to get better results by trying different ways to approach the visitor and bind him to the site longer convertando more visits in more sales. It is a long and continuous, because the public and their internet habits are always dynamic and always will. It is unlikely that one day we will not have to live optimizing.

  69. Ya very inspirational article. Setting up a goal in mind and then work to achieve it is the best way to attain something.

  70. Setting up a Goal is really very important for while optimizing a website. The points that you specified in this article are 100% right and I recommend any optimizer to follow them before starting the work.

  71. Nice post..

    I rely heavily on Google analytics for all the data. Beside that I use webmasters and Adsense search bar on my website..

    Need to implement few more…

  72. Thanks for the pointers on multivariate testing. Currently we are setting this up across a network of sites to see what actually performs better – regardless of what our designer says SHOULD perform better :) .

  73. excellent points. One have to be expert in GA to do all these. As I am GA certified I have done all these for my websites. All these are really important to track our website conversion rates.

  74. To setting a GOAL is the main thing to get and achieve the targets.

  75. Good tips, especially the first one because to be able get the most out of the optimizing team you need to set a goal for your site. which I think is the most important. great article. Thanks for sharing.

  76. Exactly the optimization is assuredly the capital action that we accept to plan to advance the about-face of visitors into sales. I went through this and just started to get bigger after-effects by aggravating altered means to access the company and bind him to the website best convertando added visits in added sales. It is a continued and continuous, because the accessible and their internet habits are consistently activating and consistently will. It is absurd that one day we will not accept to reside optimizing.

  77. The first point is definitely the most important: know what the goal of your site is. I can’t tell you how many clients I have spoken to, who don’t have a clear goal in mind; do they want to generate leads? Provide information? This combined with the branding of your company are key factors in any business.

  78. Optimization is a part of building your site for the visitors.for the best asset on your website to build interest on everyone of us.

  79. I love articles about goals. I know that in our company we always set goals. When I first started there they asked me what are my goals. Then they asked for me to write them down. Funny when you do that you can find out what is needed to obtain these goals.

  80. thnx a lot for this post. i am very impressed by the focus u have put on ” goal ” as it is the main key to sucesswhich many of the blogger doesnt care about

  81. I can’t agree more. Setting up right goals is like winning half the battle.

  82. Thank you for the info about KissMetrics. I’ve heard that name much too often not to look deeper into what they have to offer. Setting up the sales funnels works every time. A tedious task but the results are enormous.

  83. It’s very difficult to write an article about optimization in only 6 steps, but i like the way you have condensed all this information. Congrats!

  84. step 3 would be jackpot. i think. thanks a lot

  85. Measuring results is so very important and is often overlooked to a degree. Not only is it helpful in terms of providing goals and direction to the SEO team, it also helps communicate progress to clients and helps justify the cost of SEO services.

  86. I think I miss the 6th step. Just put some hard work but afraid to set the goal.
    Recently I read about Law of Attraction. Now I know why million of people successful because they set their goal before the start the first step. Thanks

  87. I’ve been so frustrated with several SEO companies that i hired.
    I do it myself now and i’m seeing some improvement.
    It definitely is about your goals and how to define them, but more importantly how to achieve them.
    Great article.

  88. You cannot achieve some plan if you don’t have a goal.Thank’s for the tips.It help’s a lot.

  89. I can’t agree more. Setting up SMART goals will lead you somewhere and is like winning half the battle.Keep track of keyword density while changing content is the key and sure way of getting there

  90. Well, I am missing 4. a developer and designer for my site, that really consumes lots of my time and I am not that good at coding. I think I should get one of them very soon. Thanks for all 6 points.

  91. This is very informative and give me and idea of how to present and implement an SEO strategy to my team. Thank You

  92. Although many have mentioned the importance of goals, I am inclined to put emphasis on the importance of your team and resources. A well-rounded team is essential for good operation. Without a good team, no amount of goals in the world will suffice. Great article. I enjoyed the read.


  93. I really liked the thermometer/thermostat analogy!

  94. Thank you for helping out, fantastic information. “If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see.” by Henry David Thoreau

  95. What time saver! Thank you for putting everything relevant to this subject in one place so that I don’t have to surf all over the place to collect it. Having the material presented by an experienced professional is an added plus.

  96. [...] View the original article here [...]

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