Just because you optimized your company’s website three years ago does not mean that it continues to deliver as many sales and qualified leads as possible. Are you getting 5% or more qualified leads and sales conversions from your website, or the disappointing average — 1% or less? It may be time to assess your how effective your website’s SEO (search engine optimization) really is. By improving your SEO process, you can more consistently deliver active customers, qualified leads, and higher sales conversions. Even better, it delivers active customers and qualified leads who are already interested in what you have to offer.
It’s Quality not Quantity
By targeting customers’ needs instead of traffic, SEO methodologies are common sense, but run counter to the way most websites are aimed, structured, and optimized. SEO is not about chasing marginally interested traffic and then trying to sell everything to everybody, it’s about targeting and pulling in those customers who want to buy, and selling to them by featuring what they are searching for. To put it another way, traffic quality means more than quantity. Right away, more precisely targeting customers gives you a strong real-world strategy.
For example, Wickers Performance Underwear experienced a 40% web-sales increase in its first year using SEO, with 5% to 10% sales conversions from new website customers. Previously, shoppers found Wickers primarily by searching for its name; meaning Wickers wasn’t getting as much traffic as possible from browsers searching for performance underwear in general. Now, Wickers has increased its traffic four fold by using customer-targeted keywords like “thermal underwear,” “wicking underwear,” “women’s thermal underwear,” “performance underwear,” and “cold weather clothing.” Even if your business does not have an e-commerce component, the theory is still applicable. This SEO methodology requires you to define yourself in terms of your customer instead of in terms of industry.
Target Better Customers
The first step to instituting improved SEO methods is to understand that each keyword entered into a search engine represents a customer who is telling you what they want, and how they want it. Use real keyword data to identify your best opportunity customers (either consumer or B2B) using four, real-world criteria:
• Customers who want what you offer
• The numeric demand for each customer/keyword search
• The opportunity for getting a first-page, organic SEO placement on Google for each keyword
• The value of that sale
To identify your best opportunity customers, prepare an Excel spreadsheet for your customer keyword analysis with columns labeled Customer Keywords, Search Total/ Year, SEO Competition, and Worth/ROI .
In the Customer Keywords column, list each keyword you feel is relevant to your customers. Generally, the longer the keyword, the more qualified its customers are. For example, customers searching for “moisture wicking t-shirts” or “women’s running t-shirts” are more qualified than those searching just for “t-shirts.” They have decided what they want and are telling you how to sell to them. Also, enter keywords for the solutions and benefits you provide. A customer searching for “all weather clothing” is a wider market for add-on sales.
To find out what popular keywords customers are using, check out tools.seobook. com/keyword tools/seobook for the free SEO Book Keyword Tool. This gives you the keyword variations and estimated overall search totals for Google, MSN, and Yahoo for any keyword you enter. In effect, you are running the search engines backward to get the online market numbers on your customers’ interest. The keywords people use to search tell you what they want.
Label the second column Search Total/ Year and enter in the annualized traffic for each keyword search. The SEO Book Keyword Tool provides the overall daily estimated search engine queries for each keyword. Multiply that estimate by 360 to estimate the annual traffic. When totaling, you can group together the different search numbers for related keywords; for example, “women’s running t-shirt,” and “running t-shirts for women” are all keywords used by customers looking for the same thing.
This step requires a lot of detailed thinking. Don’t forget to enter in keywords for solutions. For example, customers needing moisture-wicking t-shirts could be searching under “night sweats,” “hot flashes,” or “sleep disorders.” Typically, you will find 100 or more keywords for your spreadsheet when you consider all the variations of products, solutions, and services customers may be searching for.
The third column is for SEO Competition. Search Google for each keyword you are interested in and examine the first page that comes up. The 10 best optimized websites for that keyword will appear in the organic, main section. A quick way to evaluate the SEO competition each keyword is facing for a top placement is to count the number of times that keyword appears in the title of each website’s listing. Google makes this easier by boldfacing the searched keyword in its listings. If your complete keyword appears in four or fewer listing titles, that keyword is a good candidate for optimization for a first page Google listing.
Tony Grass is President of e-Market Intelligence, an internet sales generation consultancy and service. Previously, he built a traditional 65-person sales and marketing communications company in Chicago. Contact is welcome through firstname.lastname@example.org.