08 Oct Understanding Site Conversion Paths as a Customer
It’s all too often that I hear how disappointed a customer is with Organic SEO. When I begin to dive deeper I find that their rankings are good and that their organic traffic is increasing. So then the golden question becomes “what is there to complain about?” The response traditionally given is something to the effect of “I haven’t had ANY sales, contact, submissions, etc.”
Now, some SEO companies would argue that is not their problem to solve. However, the simple fact is that if the customer is not happy, then their business will go elsewhere. Not to mention with recent Google Updates (Hummingbird and Penguin 2.1), the game has essentially changed from optimizing solely for keyword purposes, to optimizing for the user visiting your site.
A simple analogy here: In baseball you only get three strikes before you are out. It can be the same with search engines you get only so many chances before you are judged.
Now I will admit that this is taking the high road and in most cases delivering way beyond what customers are paying for. However, at the end of the day we have to please clients to keep them. Not to mention, experience has proven to me that the effort seen goes very far in a business relationship.
The easiest way to explain this vast undertaking is by referring to an auto dealership. Most sites upfront are vague and they typically don’t provide much value. Using our dealership as an example you know what they are selling, and you are there to potentially buy. Now imagine after getting out of your car that a sales rep comes out with a contract in hand asking for your immediate signature, with no idea on what you’re getting besides “it’s a car”. There is no service, no personality, and certainly no business deal. This is what most sites are currently like. Some may have a good start or even a solid finish, but very few have an entire conversion path set for clients.
So where to begin? I always like to ask “What makes you unique?” The answer “I don’t know”, or “nothing” is not acceptable. I often try and press for more, some may not want to admit they ride a bull on commercials and that there slogan is “No Bull, Just Cars!” The thing to keep in mind, is that these are the things that make a business unique, and this can help set them apart from the pack and specialize in their industry. Even if someone truly doesn’t have anything special you can always create something. Sure riding a bull is not easy, but offering something convenient, free, or even giving away something is just as effective.
Once you have a unique factor about a business, you can flaunt this on your site and overall customer interaction. This is especially true when creating a conversion path, or a funnel for customers to follow. Even if the conversion path is crude it is a starting point. The point of SEO is to further refine what is currently there, and this means testing and always improving the site being worked on. Just because you don’t sell everyone coming to your website doesn’t mean you have to give up, it simply means that they were looking for something else. So the question for the site owner becomes “do we adapt?” or “do we stick to our guns?” That particular decision is one that will continue to influence your Search Engine Optimization efforts for weeks, months, and even years to come.
In summary, always keep your customers in mind especially when optimizing your organic rankings. How a potential customer interacts with your site can indicate things like relevance, trust, and expertise. Search engines are beginning to tap into this wealth of user behavior data and use it more and more when updating search algorithms. It is because of this evolving trend that SEO is needed more than ever to ensure that your business will thrive on search engines.