I won’t lie; I do have a number of clients who took a little convincing to change their view on how to look at the value of their SEO. Some will look at a competitor and be convinced that that is where they want to be – position 1 for some ambiguous phrase. The reality is, that without a bit of research, you don’t actually know if that is even any good for you!
Where would you rather be; position 1 for a phrase that delivers 2,000 visits per month or position 1 for a phrase that delivers 400 correct visits per month?
It is actually surprisingly easy to get a lot of traffic to a website, but getting the right traffic is a different story. What’s the point in having people arrive at your site, only to bounce back off again? It’s bad for your brand, your sanity and for your SEO. No-one wants to be left scratching their heads and wondering what they are doing wrong.
Below are a few tips to help you gather the information you need to make an informed decision.
There is absolutely no point in trying to guess your way through CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) as this is completely subjective and your target audience plays a huge part, as do many other factors.
You can get an idea of the traffic you get by first looking at Google Search Console.
As soon as you log in, go to Search Traffic à Search Analytics.
The default tells you the queries that are used to drive traffic through and can give you some guidance on those that might look like they are incorrect or that you want to research more.
An example of traffic to my own site, one phrase is “Test your site SEO”. I can then click on that phrase and on the next page then click on ‘Pages’ at the top. This then tells you the page that people land on for that phrase.
Is the phrase right? Is the landing page right? If the phrase is correct but the landing page isn’t, this could be a very good reason why your traffic is bouncing off. There are a number of ways to correct this, but I should really write an article just on that at some point.
The biggest steer people will take on whether or not to click on a link, is by the title that they are presented with in Google. They say that the first bite of the cherry is with the eye, and this also applies to search results.
You first need to try and get yourself out of the mindset that 1st position is the only place to be. I have clients who are top 5 for some nice phrases and actually do better at position 3-4. This is down in part to how the Google local pack returns results. Sometimes 1st position is above the local pack and people very often scroll right past them. In some cases, 2nd-3rd is the sweet spot.
And don’t for one second think that bottom of the first page is useless because it isn’t. Research has shown that position 9 will actually perform better than position 6, for example.
So how can you make a big impact with your title? Start off by understanding that Google no longer pays as much attention to the page title as they used to do. If you just stuff your title with keywords, this isn’t good for conversions or SEO. Instead, try telling potential visitors what they are going to get that is going to benefit them when they click on the link.
Remember that as humans, we skim read almost all of the time when we are looking for something. We won’t read every single point to see if it carries the information we require.
However, this doesn’t mean your page title should miss an important keyword or phrase if it is warranted. Craft your page title into something compelling that gives visitors and Google an idea of what can be found after they click.
I am sure that at some point, we have all seen search results that didn’t have our search phrase in either the page title or meta description. That is because Google is getting smarter by the day.
The same goes for your meta descriptions. Your wording should be something that guides an action and provides a benefit or solution to a problem, but keep it simple and avoid something that sounds like it was pulled from the page (unless Google re-writes it). Make it resonate with those that have seen it.
And one final little tip – Did you know that page titles that carry a number, convert better than those that don’t?
Don’t you just love SEO!
Andy, great post! I’ve actually had several conversations with clients recently explaining to them that I’m reworking my marketing packages to include more emphasis on a holistic approach to marketing (focusing on conversions) because SEO just ain’t as cut and dry as it used to be. I think that the results are in some ways sweeter these days because results are often more helpful and more focused, but it also can be much harder to rank.
I still think SEO has tremendous value and it certainly isn’t dead. SEO will be most effective moving forward as part of the larger family of online marketing–social media, email, paid, etc.
Thanks for such a great perspective.