There are many methods used to convert random people on the internet into clients, all of which begin with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Web Analytics.
No matter what business you are in, the goal of any SEO strategy is to increase profits. Simply building web traffic is not enough. It's easy to forget this simple point, so keep it in mind when reading this post.
How well are you doing? A quick and dirty SEO website analysis can be done in 3 easy steps.
The last step is critical. Sure, it is easy to find a company's website if you know the company's name, but those users will find you regardless. SEO aims to bring as many of the Step 3 people to your website as possible.
Be sure when searching for your company and products that you take note of where your competition stands in the results. Which keywords are you ranked higher for, which do you need to improve on?
In order to increase traffic, you need to understand your current traffic. There are many freely available tools that give you statistics about your pages, your visitors, and traffic sources.
This is where web analytics comes in. You need to know the answers to all of these questions, and many more. There is no pre-set group of questions you need every time. Every website is different, and depending on your business model, you need to analyze the data differently. There is no one-size-fits-all solution in Web Analytics, which makes it so fun and frustrating.
Traffic generally comes from 4 distinct sources:
For a healthy website, search engine traffic should be about 45%, direct should be 20%, referrals should be 25%, and campaigns should be 10%. For many smaller sites, search engine traffic is more in the neighborhood of 70%, which means the other sources are suffering. This is bad because search engines identify your website as less important because no one is linking to it and no one has it bookmarked. Very bad.
The best way to get higher on search results is to have a great looking, easy to navigate, content rich website that is "search engine friendly".
Being a search engine's friend is mostly a behind the scenes operation. The structure of the code on your website needs to be presented in a way that the search engine indexing bots can read and understand your content. There are also steps you can take to communicate with the search engines directly. It helps to submit sitemaps, directory listings, and other qualified referral links.
From this foundation, there are many SEO "tricks" that can be used to boost your rankings, however none of them will make up for a bad website. Plan and execute your website content strategy, and take time regularly to re-evaluate and adjust as needed. More content is always better than less content. A regularly-updated blog is a great, easy to implement solution here.
Remember, all of your effort should be to achieve one goal: increase profit. This is the measuring stick you should use to determine if a SEO campaign is working for you. Sure, you've increased traffic by 400%, but your sales are still in the toilet. This means either,
For the first three options, there is a lot that can be done to convert web traffic into profits (the fourth problem is another story). This is especially true for organic search results and ad campaigns. Every user has a reason they arrived at your site. You need to know how and why they got there, and then present a call to action to them that relates to their needs. For example, if you sell scissors, and someone searches for 'paper cutting products' and gets to your site, you better have a big, fat, and grabbing link or image that makes the user want to stay on your site to learn more, and ultimately purchase.
The same idea applies to non e-commerce sites. You need to somehow measure how many leads are generated by the website, how many of those leads are converted, and what the profit margin is from those leads. If you have this information, you will know your exact ROI for your SEO campaign.
A popular method for measuring is to count the number of times a contact form or request for proposal form are filled out with genuine leads. This data can of course be linked with keywords and another web analytics metrics to identify what sort of web traffic are the most profitable (see where this is going?). Along with measuring form input, actually asking your customers where they heard of you is another great option for smaller firms. Between the two methods you can get a great picture of how much money you're generating from your website.
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