Rankings are dead – long live conversion!
We all know how much the search environment has changed over the past two years. The percentage of “not provided” visits has gone from tiny numbers and to double digit percentages. In this time we have seen Google’s algorithm updates rolled-out on a regular basis – with the Google Panda and Penguin updates making the biggest impact. However, despite these updates the importance of strong ranking keywords is still key.
With Google’s continued focus on location based rankings, we strongly believe that rankings are becoming much more dependent on their specific location. For example, one keyword could rank much higher in Scotland than it does in Brighton. Even today when our clients mention that their highest paid person in office spots that their website isn’t ranking high for a particular ‘money word’, it can be tempting to scream at nobody in particular “It’s not just about rankings!!”. If you have to deal with these types of people on a regular basis then we’re sure you know what we mean.
So if rankings are dead, where should the focus on SEO be and why should a client have an SEO agency? Well, to that question we have to focus on the webpage itself. It is surprising how often search marketers, managers and the like neglect this basic element of SEO. The landing page is what your site is made up of, it’s the link which is shown in search results and presents your brand value. Most importantly, it’s the place where you can create active engagement through creative content and social media campaigns.
Therefore, instead of focusing primarily on which keywords are bringing the highest traffic, the focus should be on the page itself and the traffic it generates. The pages with the highest rankings are likely to have the highest monetary value for your company and hopefully the highest conversion rate. As a marketer, if you continue to neglect the importance of a landing pages and onsite SEO activity you might as well go back to the drawing board.
Here are few of the tips you can use to incorporate landing page analysis in to your search strategy:
1. Run a crawl of your site using any standard crawler such as Xenu.
2. Focussing just on Text/HTML content, categorize as many pages as possible.
3. Run customised analytics reports that measure visits, goal index value, conversion rate (e-commerce or goal conversion rates or both) revenue, transactions etc.4. Using some clever excel skills, identify which category on your site has maximum exposure to search engines, which pages get the best conversion rates, the best CTR’s and attract the highest percentage of branded vs non branded traffic.
Ultimately, one thing we can share from our personal experience is that upon shifting our focus from keywords to pages, the volume and level of insight into a campaign will be long lasting and more valuable. It would also undoubtedly prompt you to start asking yourself whether you should be focusing on attracting more traffic, or instead focus on maximizing the current value of your traffic.