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Simplify. Track Goals. Sell More Stuff.

Sep 14, 2010 / by Nathan Blair

Eliminate everything on your website that doesn't contribute to the primary objective.

Every website has one major objective. It could be a purchase, download, contact form submission, or any number of actions. It also has several other less important but necessary objectives; actions that only indirectly result in a sale. A successful website is one where every secondary objective is held accountable to the more important primary goal.

Water Fountains

Let’s say we have a website that sells water fountains. The first thing we would do is set up a goal in Google Analytics that tracks fountain sales. That’s our primary objective. But we also have a page on our site that offers advice on interior decorating with water features. We have another page on the art of water placement in Feng Shui. Finally, we have a page where people can sign up for our monthly newsletter. We have created these pages so people can learn more before they buy a fountain.

But just because the page is there doesn’t mean it’s doing its job.

What we need to do is set up additional goals in analytics that track what happens on these pages. Ideally, people will purchase fountains more often after browsing our informational resources. If lots of people are heading to the purchasing areas after reading, we may be doing a good job. We’d also like to see purchases increase as newsletter subscriptions increase. If that happens, our newsletter might be OK. In our analytics software, we want to see exactly where people go after they hit a given page. That data can be used to determine if our information and newsletter are doing a good job of enticing people to buy.

The important thing here is that secondary objectives can provide small wins on the way to the big win. They can also show losses and force us to change things around. We want to know how every part of our site is behaving so we can keep the good stuff and get rid of the bad. We’ll need to set up tests to determine winners. We want to embark on a journey where our site keeps getting better and better at driving people down the conversion funnel to the purchase.


To recap, tracking only one major goal (such as purchases) leaves us blind to everything else happening on our site. We have to be aware of how everything is performing so that we make our website an efficient sales or lead producing machine. The way to do that is by setting up goals in our analytics software and tracking how efficiently our pages are guiding people to the primary objective.

Engagement can be a fuzzy term in search marketing, but it’s exactly what we want. A user who converts in our secondary areas is engaged, and engaged users are more likely to buy.

Topics: Blog Analytics Conversion Optimization

Nathan Blair

Written by Nathan Blair

Nathan is a former SEO Manager at SEO.com. In addition to search engine marketing, his interests include design, technology, international adoption, and diabetes awareness. He earned his MBA with a marketing emphasis from Westminster College. Nathan lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife and two children.

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