The number of people who see a website aren't nearly as valuable as the number who are converted to customers and clients.

Managing an SEO campaign used to be all about traffic – how many people are searching for keywords, what proportion of them are visiting the site and how many pages are they looking at? These measurements are still important, but they don’t tell the whole story. After all, if traffic was the last word in internet marketing, the sites with the most views would be the ones with the most customers.

Conversion is king

Today, you can create all the content you want and rank highly for targeted keywords, but you still might not be hitting your overall business goals. The reasons why may not be obvious at first, as most companies would agree. Econsultancy’s Reducing Customer Struggle 2013 report found that as many as 73 percent of companies didn’t know why customers left their websites without converting.

There are plenty of obvious answers, such as poor site visuals or technical problems. But businesses that have spent a lot of time and money on their online marketing plans are probably looking for subtler reasons – such as the following:

1. Poor website design

An ugly website is clearly a sign of trouble, but layout and organization are more important and dangerous culprits. As early as 2009, Akamai Technologies had found that users expected web pages to load in less than two seconds. Today, pages should appear instantly and be easily navigable. If the internal structure of your website is hard to follow, it might account for a lack of follow-through and conversion.

2. Focusing on bounce rate

Completely eliminating user bounces is impossible, but your bounce rate is nevertheless important to watch. Customers might be having issues that go beyond aesthetic preferences after an organic search. Perhaps other steps in your sales funnel need to be tweaked.

3. Not tracking social sharing

According to Unisphere’s 2013 Survey of Content Marketing Trends, 46 percent of marketers have a content marketing strategy, but only 25 percent are tracking social results. If you know how readers get to your website, it will be easier to tailor your overall strategy to match.

Custom content is only as good as the system you build around it. For every excellent article that leads willing customers to your digital door, there’s another that’s simply read but otherwise ignored. Make sure the people for whom you’re tailoring your content aren’t leaving your site before they take action.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.