Are your paid search efforts actually working?

Maybe you bought a directory listing at the Yahoo Directory. Or maybe you’re trying to leverage AdWords. Perhaps you (gasp) bought a link from a link farm. Or even advertising on a local news website.

Regardless of where you’re spending your money; at the end of the day, all of these incoming links are intended for one purpose and one purpose only: conversions.

If a free link you got after spending a few minutes courting a blogger aren’t getting you any conversions, well, what can you do really? But if you’re actively spending money for those links, the traffic had better be converting, right?

There’s an easy ways to check. Head over to your Google Analytics account.

First things first, do you have Google Analytics Goals set up? Do it immediately if you don’t. referring sites

Incoming Links

With goals in place, go to the Traffic Sources section, then Referring sites.

goal set 1

Now click your Goal(s) tab. You should have a pretty good idea now about which referring websites convert and which ones don’t.

Why does it matter?

Perhaps your links you’re not paying for are converting at a far higher rate than expensive directory listings or advertisements. Make sure you look at many months’ worth of data before you make any big decisions. But these conversions might help show you your expensive paid efforts aren’t worth the money.

google analytics adwords campaignsAdWords Campaigns

If your goals are already in place, go to the Traffic Sources section, AdWords, then into AdWords campaigns.

Just like for referring sites, click on your Goal(s) tab.

goal set 1 adwords

Why does it matter?

Again, do you want to be bidding for keywords that aren’t converting? Same thing as referring keywords: gather enough data to make deleting keywords/ads/campaigns plausible.

Note: This is the Google Analytics version of AdWords conversions. In order to get the robust version of conversion tracking, make sure you use AdWords’ Conversion Tracking.

Nicki Hicks
Are you throwing away money?