Conversion: You Asked (sort Of), I Answered


August 7, 2006

I always feel bad when someone lands on my blog with a perfectly good conversion or WA question but doesn’t get to a perfectly good answer. So here are some searches that visitors have done, with answers:

Google good conversion rate. This one came through to my blog in a few different word combinations. I talked to a Google rep about one of my customers recently and he told me that they consider a good Click Through Rate to be 1% or higher. (Remember, he was just an ad rep, so take it for what it’s worth. I’ve seen a lot higher with no success and a lot lower with a great deal of success.) This is not really conversion, just CTR, but I think that’s what the searchers were looking for. Which takes me to the next search:

What is the difference between clickthrough rate and conversion rate? Since conversion is in the eye of the beholder, you could certainly say that in Google’s and Yahoo’s eyes, clickthrough rate is conversion. For that matter, any company that charges you by the click should see them as the same. After all, when the visitor clicks, Google/Yahoo get paid, and that’s their goal. The same thing is true for AdSense publishers — when someone clicks on an ad, the website owner who publishes the ad gets paid. But I’m betting that this searcher owns a site, sends traffic to her site using a PPC campaign, and really needs to understand the difference between the two rates. So: CTR is the number of clicks divided by the number of times your ad was shown. If you have a high CTR, Google will promote your position on the page, but last time I checked Yahoo! only cared how much you paid for your ad. Then once the visitor arrives at your site, you still have to convince them to take action — to buy, to download, to sign up. What happens on your site is usually your conversion.

Great 404 messages. Although I have already done a post or two on this topic, I fall in love, over and over again, with’s 404 message: “Zoinks! We met an error and the error won!”

Cost of Omniture SiteCatalyst Suite. I’m not a rep and I don’t have inside info, but I am fairly certain that you can get a stripped down version (only two supported seats, only one seat gets the Excel Client plug-in in “write” mode, only two custom reports, only one Report Suite, no Discover, no Vista rules, etc.) for about $25K/year. I think you could spend six figures if you wanted to.

Omniture implementation guide. You don’t even have to call up LiveSupport to get it, you can find it in their knowledge base. But I recommend the Quickstart guide first.

Omniture + Microsoft. That one came through twice. Also twice, Omniture + Maximine. Hmmm…

Google Sitemaps downside. Well, the hard part is understanding what this searcher was asking , was it about having a real xml sitemap for Google or about using the functionality of Sitemaps? If the former, the downside is that you have to find a tool that will automatically update your xml sitemap or you have to do it manually. If the latter, I keep wondering about security. Google establishes ownership by letting you put on a meta tag or a new page with a name they give you, but once you have that functionality, and you leave the company, how does someone erase your abilities to access the sitemap info? It’s probably there and I just haven’t found it. (Comments? comments?)

What did you pay for your 2006 Honda Accord VP? Well, it was actually a 2002 red Honda Accord 5-speed EX, and I paid $22K. When I did a search to link to the post, I found three of them (I obviously write about my Honda all the time…it is a great tail term…) But I really want a hybrid. I wonder if they come with manual transmission.

And my favorite, What does website conversion mean? This person might have been asking for a definition: conversion is when the visitor raises his hand and says, “I’m interested!” Maybe it’s a sale but maybe it’s just an email signup. In any case, she converts from being a tire-kicker to something more — a buyer, a prospect, a suspect. Alternatively, the question might have been a bit more philosophical, “But what does conversion really mean?” I think that after taking on two important bloggers on this question once in the past week, I’m not really ready to go there tonight.

Robbin Steif