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Demystifying Tracking and Attribution for SEO

Content Roadmap

If you’re an SEO in 2023, you know the struggle is real when it comes to tracking website traffic and attributing it to marketing channels. As privacy regs tighten up and strategies spread across social, email, ads, and more, stitching together a customer’s journey feels like a game of whack-a-mole.

Without clear visibility into how people find and convert on your site, how can you confidently optimise efforts and prove ROI? Marketing attribution has turned into a hot mess.

In this guide, we’ll unpack the key tracking and analytics challenges facing SEOs today, with practical tips to:

  • See more complete cross-channel customer journeys
  • Continue attribution despite limited data
  • Accurately model multi-touch contributions
  • Make sense of fragmented data

With smarter tracking strategies and multi-source analytics, you can bust through attribution roadblocks and optimise ROI across your integrated marketing efforts. Read on to level up your analysis.

Funneling cross channel attribution

Funneling Cross-Channel Interactions

“It’s getting harder to see how much time customers spend with our brand across channels,” said analytics consultant Brie Anderson. With all the social scrolling, video binges, and ad clicks out there, lots of touchpoints happen off your site.

Anderson’s advice? Funnel peeps back to your owned website to connect the data dots. “It’s easier to analyse strategies when we drive traffic to our site.”

🏆 Pro Tip: Use your site as the hub to capture cross-channel interactions. Think “all roads lead to site.”

Marketing consultant Irina Serdyukovskaya stressed that your website is the one channel completely in your control as a marketer. Guide social and ad clicks back so you can see complete journeys.

“Encourage visitors to engage with content and contact pages to get to know your brand,” she said. This builds familiarity, so they recognise you across channels.

Unifying Multi-Channel Tracking

PPC expert Navah Hopkins urged implementing clear UTM campaign tracking parameters for unified attribution. With limited ad click data, UTMs allow continued channel ID.

“Get a UTM tagging structure in place if you don’t have one,” she said. “Make sure your whole marketing team sticks to the scheme.”

🏆 Pro Tip: Create a universal UTM tagging convention for paid, organic, email, social campaigns. Get full team buy-in to prevent data conflicts.

Brie Anderson also recommended aligning on naming conventions across channels. Even small inconsistencies can break tracking and attribution. Document your tagging plan before launching campaigns to safeguard data.

Overcoming Privacy Limitations

New privacy regulations increasingly restrict marketing data collection and tracking. Irina Serdyukovskaya said cookie consent banners are essential now for GDPR and CCPA compliance. However, many block more data than legally required.

Navah Hopkins noted iOS 14.5+ limits on ad click IDs make UTMs more essential. Though third-party data is restricted, exempt channels like email and SMS remain open.

🏆 Pro Tip: Work with a privacy lawyer or consultant to minimise legal data blocks. Take advantage of exempt marketing channels for attribution.

Attribution Modelling Cautions

With multiple touchpoints involved, which gets credit for conversions? Navah warned against solely relying on default attribution models without enough data.

“I don’t trust models until minimum volume thresholds are met,” she said. For paid ads, that’s at least 15 conversions in 3 days.

🏆 Pro Tip: Verify you have sufficient conversion volume before using automated attribution models. Supplement with your own CRM analysis.

Brie Anderson suggested comparing models in Google Analytics from varied perspectives. See what aligns with other data sources. No single model gives the full picture.

Making Sense of Fragmented Data

With data spread across tools, how do you get an accurate overview? Irina stressed first ensuring you collect the right metrics properly. Invalid setups undermine data-driven decisions.

She recommended comparing numbers from multiple sources, like your CRM and analytics, for a more complete picture. Look for statistically significant correlations.

🏆 Pro Tip: Audit and document how key metrics are captured before acting on the data. Cross-check data points from different tools to fill gaps.

Pulling It All Together

As search marketers, we now operate in a complex landscape. With users mobile-hopping between apps and sites, new marketing channels opening, and regulations limiting tracking, attribution grows more perplexing daily.

Yet solid SEO demands clear analytics. The way forward is adaptability. To retain visibility into complete journeys:

  • Funnel media and ads back to your owned site to connect data.
  • Implement universal UTM tagging conventions across channels.
  • Use exempt channels like email, SMS, and TikTok.
  • Verify enough conversions before trusting attribution models.
  • Audit tracking setups and compare multi-source data.

With coordination across channels, manual analysis, and monitoring statistical significance, we can still see insightful customer journeys despite the fragmentation.

Strengthen your analytics and optimise marketing ROI through improved attribution. The solutions are within reach if you learn to leverage compliant options, unify data flows, and apply human insight. With flexibility and best practises, savvy SEO pros can stay ahead of the analytics curve.

Jesus Guzman

M&G Speed Marketing LTD. CEO

Jesus Guzman is the CEO and founder of M&G Speed Marketing LTD, a digital marketing agency focused on rapidly growing businesses through strategies like SEO, PPC, social media, email campaigns, and website optimization. With an MBA and over 11 years of experience, Guzman combines his marketing expertise with web design skills to create captivating online experiences. His journey as an in-house SEO expert has given him insights into effective online marketing. Guzman is passionate about helping businesses achieve impressive growth through his honed skills. He has proud case studies to share and is eager to connect to take your business to the next level.