I talked to a friend a couple of weeks back and she bemoaned the fact that her Design Practice had spent quite a bit of time and money on creating and growing their web site but not much was coming from it in terms of genuine leads and sales in the very particular niche market that she was targeting much of her efforts towards.
So I quizzed her a bit more:
1. Was she creating engaging, frequently updated content for her target market? She said yes. I read her blog and had to agree.
2. Was she using the right keywords? She thought so. And although I’m not an expert in her particular target market I tended to agree.
4. We then looked through her Google AdWords campaign. And that too seemed broadly OK.
5. There were quite a few backlinks from other sites to hers, so that wasn’t the problem either.
So what’s the problem? Other than she wasn’t getting any money back from the investment? And, er, that’s pretty important!
To cut a long story and quite a bit of research short, here’s what we thought the problem was (if you want to know what pagerank is there are links at the end of the article).
Well, although her pagerank was OK it wasn’t actually that relevant.
One problem with pagerank is that it just BROADLY shows how often your site is visited/how important your site is/how trusted yoru site is. It does NOT show you how often YOUR target customers visit your site…and that is the stat you really want.
So what was happening was that quite a lot of people were visiting the site from all the good links and good search engine positioning that she had paid for. A few of them read some of the stuff on her blog BUT VERY FEW went on to the next steps for converting them into customers. And that was because they weren’t interested in her services because her services were not RELEVANT to them…they just WERE NOT POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS.
So you could have the most visited website with the best page impressions, page views, clicks and all the rest of it. BUT THAT IS NO GOOD IF THE WRONG PEOPLE ARE VISITING YOUR SITE ! They won’t buy.
Her market was such a small market and relatively technically unsophisticated so, perhaps, blogs and search engines were not the best way to get to them.
Similarly, and a bit simplistically, if she had a pagerank of 8/10 (which would be excellent) it would not mean that she was excellent at targeting her customers…just excellent and targeting the whole population.
And the problem was compounded because the 3rd party, who was commissioned to get clicks and a higher pagerank and higher search engine positioning and all the rest of it, did just as they were asked. They weren’t asked to get leads! And didn’t!
Now it was not a total waste of time of course. Because pagerank IS IMPORTANT for google to give your site weighting when google produces search results.
And really the picture was not as bleak as I painted as she did experience an increase in leads for other services she was offering. Although they were more mass market services with lower levels of profit.
So what did she do?
A: Cut back a bit on 3rd party SEO services, focussing the remainder of the budget on the markets that had been successfully reached. With the marketing budget that she saved, she is now looking again at how best divert funds to more traditionally target the profitable niche market she originally set out to make money from.