One of the common issues I see with small and mid-sized businesses while helping them with search engine marketing is measuring success. If you don’t have a direct sale on line, it is sometimes difficult to determine which traffic is good traffic and which is bad. We arbitrarily look at bounce rate and time on site and can add manual goals to analytics, but don’t have a direct link to a sale.
Google is now trying to make conversion tracking a little more scientific with “smart goals“. They use data they have collected from all of the sites within analytics and Adwords to measure what traffic typically converts and they can apply this to your traffic. Of course the best goal tracking is monitoring your specific information and determining what works, but this can be a half way point. They allow you to turn on “smart goals” in admin in analytics, and then if your analytics and adwords accounts are linked, you can move them directly in to adwords to apply to your paid traffic.
Yes, there are a lot of red flags in counting other peoples good traffic as yours, but this can help inform your overall thought process in a better way, providing you with more information. This data is new to us users, so we will learn as we go. I’m told you can see an example of what it looks like before turning it on, however I’m not seeing this in my client analytics yet, after checking a few. I have a few with goals already set up, and I thought maybe this was causing smart goals to not appear, but also have a newer client with no goals that also doesn’t show up. We will see if it rolls out slowly and maybe we just haven’t gotten it yet, but keep an eye out for it. It is always nice to have data to support your decisions.