September 5, 2013 / Paid Search, SEM Tools

When you have managed to attract traffic to your website, the next problem arises: how to lead visitors to the goals we want them to complete; in other words – how to convert inbound traffic into sales.

In this article you will find a review of several tools that can be used to increase the conversion and make users happy.

The process of conversion improvement consists of several stages. Each of them is equally important as the information obtained from the previous stage is used for the next one.

It’s not difficult to increase the conversion

You just need to:

Understand website goals – Website goals may be of two types, at least – transitional and final. What final goal means is clear: for online stores, it could be purchase; for Groupon, sign up; and so forth. But on the path to this goal, some transitional goals may exist.

Important. Your goals and the goals of your users are not always the same. Fancy dress and simple process of purchase are not synonyms. Think as a user, even as an inexperienced one.

For example, some users may want to fly to Thailand; others’ dream destination is Paris or Barcelona. They look for tickets many times and compare hotels, but they make a purchase only after several months. In this case, the path from transitional goal to final is really long, and this chain should be tracked.

Define entry points and their distinction – Users who arrived from the organic search and frequent buyers may require different information from the service.

Consider all possible paths from entry point to the goal – But it is not possible you may say! That is why it is required to define the most important paths and make them as easy as possible.

Be flexible, monitor, and experiment – The most interesting part – on this stage the first three stages are run on circles, while you collect the information and study the results.

Tools review: how to track and adjust the process

So let’s say you are analyzing the website with information about air tickets. The main goals are: the search on site, newsletter sign up, and, the most important but suspended in time goal – air ticket purchase. This feature – suspended goals – became available not so long ago, and it is really great option.

After we have set up the goals, we need to gather the initial conversion statistics – it will be our starting point. Depending on goals number as well as visit and transaction frequency, the initial data could be collected in a few hours or over several weeks.

Setting up goals may not only help evaluate the efficiency but detect website problems as well. For example, thanks to the conversion report, you may find out that JS doesn’t work properly and half of users are not able to reach the goal.

When initial data is at our disposal we can start out. Let’s look at the tools that can help us in this.

We will begin with Yandex.Metrica

Yandex. Metrica offers several marvelous tools for in-page analysis that you can use to understand what prevents the user from reaching the target page.sempo blog xx









Form analysis – one of the major tools used by online stores and service-based companies with unusual registration process. The instrument shows how many users began filling in the form, how many of them did so to completion, and where the majority abandoned the process. Excellent feature that helps create forms for people indeed.







Link map – allow you to see where users click, what interests them, and how they use the navigation.

Scroll map – you will find out in seconds to what length the page “works.” The more content in the blind zone, the more you will have to change.

Click path analysis – gives you insights into how a user arrives at your website, where he goes then, and how close he is to the final point when he quits the process.

The tools mentioned above work best for static analysis, meaning that before making such analysis, you will have to gather enough data for a long period of time – week or month.

Click map without additional settings is convenient to apply for such pages as the main page. But what to do if your website has lots of pages of similar type but with different URLs, and you would like to see the overall picture of users’ behavior? This is where urlFilter comes in handy. With the help of this filter, you can group several pages into one. For example, if you wish to group all the pages in the search on site, you will have to write the following piece of code:

urlFilter: function(urlOrig) {
var url = window.location.pathname.toLowerCase(),
prefix = ‘http://’ +;
if (url.substr(0, 8) === ‘/search/’) {
return prefix + url.substr(0, 11);
// other groups
// …
return urlOrig;

In the report, you will see those pages with full URLs, but when you view the map, the result will be common for all the pages.

Webvisor – a unique, free-of-charge function in Yandex.Metrica. Some time ago, Webvisor was a separate product, but in 2010, Yandex purchased the code along with the team, and since 2011, this functionality is a part of Metrica tools.

Webvisor allows viewing users’ activity in motion. It records their actions – clicks, filling in the forms, moving mouse (it is a separate and fun bonus that indicates that user was bored and needed some useful information to entertain) – and then plays it for you as a video.

Webvisor comes into play if there is a page that users steadily leave, and you need to find out why they can’t or don’t continue the path and reach the goal.













Now let’s talk about Google Analytics

These days Google is transforming Analytics from just a statistical instrument into A/B tests and usability experiments platform. You will find an enormous functionality there.

Universal Analytics is a Google Analytics feature. Not all the features in Universal Analytics work properly at the moment, as they are in beta version, but, no doubt, they offer great functionality. The new Analytics version works faster, offers wider limits, allows sending queries from the backend, and so on. Besides, new opportunities of Google Analytics will be implemented only in the Universal version.

We are interested in the Conversions section.













The last three Conversion Goals – Reverse Goal Path, Funnel Visualization, and Goal Flow – allow you to see the overall picture of what is going on the website even for really large projects.

If additionally to this features you will set up events, you will be able to receive the picture of how user navigates through your website.

For example, Goal Flow report gives you a visual picture of how visitors arrived at your website and reached the goal, and whether they took the path you expected or if there was another funnel.












Now let’s talk about the most advanced and cool Google Analytics functionality – ability to transmit events from server and tracking them offline!

For example, the same website offering information about air tickets doesn’t sell anything itself – the purchase is completed on a third-party website, so we can’t track the event as we are not able to place tracking code there. In time, we receive sales data, but it is still unclear as to what source contributed the most.

Google helps everyone who has transactions offline solve this problem.

Google unified the interface responsible for the interaction with analytics servers. All the queries come to URL and acquire the same set of parameters, regardless of whether we use backend-e or frontend-e. The one distinction is that in js-e we have at our disposal already finished and useful function with the help of which we can send any events:

// connecting analytics.js
ga(‘create’, ‘UA-XXXX-Y’);
ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘category’, ‘action’, ‘label’, value);

On the server side, though, the whole query is sent as POST payload, coded in form-urlencoded

POST /collect HTTP/1.1


You may notice the additional parameter cid — client ID. This is also a new opportunity in Universal Analytics. If before, only Analytics could define what a visitor is, now we can manually specify our ID.

Here is the official documentation to help anyone who would like to try offline tracking.

This method could be applied for conferences, shops, concerts. You just give the users unique coupons and then check in Google Analytics events whether the user has made the purchase.

Working on conversion improvement could be an endless process. Once there is a new chapter on the website, new functionality or special offer, it is time to start working toward better usability, higher conversion, and website simplicity.

If you are already using offline analytics from Google, please tell us about this in the comments below!

Roman Viliavin, Partner at Promodo SEM Company.

Unconventional Thinker and candidate master of chess. Roman has been working in the field of search engine optimization since 2005 and is the moving spirit of the company. Participant and speaker of all major events in SEO business. Roman has successfully completed dozens of projects and gladly shares his experience with SEO community via articles and various online and offline publications. Follow Roman on Twitter and Facebook.

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