One question that I am consistently asked by my clients is how to improve their Google rankings. There are many different things that could and should be done to achieve better representation on Google, however this blog post is going to look at another question – “How important is it to improve your Google rankings?”
OK – the answer may well seem obvious to you… “we need to improve our Google rankings to get more traffic to our website, to get more customers, to make more sales”. Yep – that I understand, however the question that I am asking here is more about the relevance of ‘who’ is coming to your website as opposed just to ‘how many’. It’s more of a quality vs quantity question.
I do understand of course, that if we take statistics and look at the conversion rate of a website (the percentage of visitors who arrive at the landing page of your website and that actually go on to become customers) then on the surface it is a numbers game. The more people coming into the front door, the more you are likely to be showing and selling your goods and services to… and as Google is (still) the predominant search engine used by the majority of internet searchers, then it makes sense to ‘get up the rankings’.
What if your CUSTOMERS (not just your visitors) don’t (predominantly) use Google?
What if your customers don’t really use search engines? Perhaps your customers actually use social media, email, or other digital marketing platforms for referrals and links that take them to products and services that they buy?
When I review my own buying patterns for my business – particularly when it comes to locating top of the range services that I need to know are reliable, well supported and reputable – my first port of call is checking a couple of Facebook groups that I frequent, searching those, and seeing what options have been spoken about. All the better if the services mentioned have been well regarded by someone I know to be a reliable source, an ‘influencer’. And even more the better if within that thread of social discourse, the owner or representative of that service speaks up and adds to the conversation, in a way that convinces me of their knowledge and service, good character, and other qualities that I deem to instil confidence in me.
Once I am at a stage where I can put together a shortlist of services (actual products or brands) from this initial Facebook research I will then search for them (yes, using Google… or Bing (or Yahoo!)) . From those search results I will look in detail at other possible contenders, reviews, other opinion, blog posts etc. but the starting point for me here is not simply a search engine, it is Social media and relies on my interpretation of a services ‘social reputation’.
It may very well be that the products or services that you provide to your customers requires some starting point outside of a simple Google search that will then lead them to find your business online. It may not be Facebook, but it may be an email campaign that you have sent out that is forwarded to a subscriber’s friend, and then they get in touch with you. It may be a tweet on twitter, a posting on LinkedIn or an image on Instagram, that leads a potential customer to you.
Explore the routes your customers actually use to find you.
I’m not saying dismiss the importance of improving your Google rankings (at all) – as clearly search engines play a really important role in bringing customers to your business. What I am saying however is think about your ideal customer, find out where they come from to find you, and concentrate on those that become (good) customers. If it is JUST Google they use, then great – get your SEO Socks on and improve your Google rankings! But if there are other routes they take to find you, then explore them and use them to your advantage.
How to find the routes your good customers use to find you.
The very first thing I do with my clients is ask how they found me – and it should be one of the first questions we ask our customers.
If you are selling goods, then your analytical data may give you these results, of not there is no harm in just asking (together with a post-service feedback or testimonial / review request). Another option is to send out an email to all your customers and ask them to complete an inline poll, or more simply just to email you back with their answer. To get a higher rate of response you could consider an incentive like a prize draw, or a percentage discount on their next purchase.
Once you have a better idea of how your customers actually come to you, you can then adjust your marketing spend on the appropriate channels they use.
If you would like any assistance with this process, then yes – you guessed it – I can be of service! Just go to my contact page, pop me an email and I will get back to you to discuss what I can do to help.