August 7, 2013

Why am I not getting any / many enquiries in spite of page 1 rankings?

If you are already ranking on page 1 within the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) but not getting any enquiries, you may find some comfort in knowing that you aren’t alone.

Having spoken with countless clients over the last 6 years that I have been carrying out SEO, I have found this one of the most common complaints from clients who have either carried out SEO themselves or used a SEO company that they weren’t happy with.

Getting to Google’s page 1 is only winning half the battle. The other half is being able to monetize the newly found visitors – whether that’s an immediate sale or a lead which has some prospect of ultimately converting into one.

So how do you ensure that you make any money from your SEO efforts? By taking a very close look at your SEO strategy and your website.

Let’s take a closer look!

Reason #1 – your SEO efforts isn’t going to give you any return if you are ranking on page 1 for the “incorrect” terms.

The keyword here is incorrect. Not irrelevant.

Time and time again, new clients come to us saying that they are ranking on page 1 for some very appropriate terms but it isn’t generating any enquiries.  Upon further investigation, I usually find that although the client may in fact be on page 1 for relevant search terms, there is a disconnect on the level of relevance by the client’s point of view vs. the website visitor.

Take the example of a window cleaning company that came to us recently with this problem. They were ranking on page 1 for ‘window cleaning london’ but not generating many enquiries.  Now you may think why is that since this search term seems pretty relevant. However, once I looked at their website, I found that the site was heavily focused towards serving the needs of business customers rather than private individuals.

Their home page hardly had any mention of serving private clients and the design as well as the text and images was all geared towards generating enquiries from businesses which was alienating private clients.

So what’s the solution here?

The “correct” search terms in this case would be commercial window cleaning, window cleaning contractors, commercial window cleaning company and so on.  These are the kind of search queries that would be used by companies, the kind that the client in question is seeking and the look and feel of the website would much better resonate with these corporate clients.

The takeaway here is that take a good look at the search terms you are currently ranking for and whether it is generating the right kind of traffic as per your business needs.

A scientific way to do this would be to look at your keyword data within Google Analytics – by looking at the quality of traffic, in terms of Bounce Rates, time on site and exit rates of the various search terms generating traffic; you should have a better idea of which search terms are suitable for your website.

Reason #2 – you are expecting too many enquiries from search terms search terms volume examplesthat aren’t competitive enough.

When I say ‘competitive’ I’m talking about the search volumes of each search term generating any traffic for your website. And I’m talking about short-tail queries not long-tail.

Each search query usually has some search volume – the number of people each month that type out that search term (you can get an idea using Google’s Keyword Tool)

To estimate just how many enquiries your SEO efforts should be generating in the first place, you should take into account, each search term’s search volume (I usually use the ‘Exact’ match option in Google’s keyword tool as that’s the worst case scenario), the expected Click Through rate % depending on your ranking  and the possible number of enquiries depending on your website’s conversion rate.

Once you know these numbers, you can safely make some assumptions on what the realistic number of enquiries is.

Reason #3 – your website may be letting you down, not the SEO

If you are sure that you are ranking for the correct search terms and being reasonable in your ROI expectations from the SEO, another reason may be that your website is letting you down.

Earlier I gave the example of the window cleaning company’s website tailored to corporate clients whilst the SEO strategy wasn’t. The website just wasn’t saying the right things to encourage a conversion.

Take a closer look at your own website and think about whether it’s making similar mistakes?  If you are offering a service, are you providing enough essential information to help encourage users to get in touch with you? If you are offering a product for sale, are you giving all the necessary information and/or specification about that product to convince a user to part with their money? This is especially important where you are selling non-mass produced or own-branded goods.

When was the last time you compared your website to that of your competitors and made any improvements to yours?

Although the list of improvements you can make to your website is almost endless, for the purposes of this discussion and to improve your ROI from SEO or generate more enquiries, some should be more obvious for your website than others.

For example, in highly specialised business 2 business services, it’s common for business to have a section dedicated to the publication of blogs, resources, whitepaper and so on as it demonstrates the company’s ability within that field – important for securing new business.

Whilst this may not be the case with you,  if some sort of value-added offering is commonplace in your industry, whether that’s publication as mentioned above, training or something else, then you should consider offering this if you aren’t already.

As small business owners, we are often too close to our website to be able to evaluate objectively which is why the help of a family of friend can be invaluable in improving your website.

At the very least, you can ask them to use your website and tell you what they like, they don’t and what they would change. Or, you can try out an inexpensive usability testing service such as usertesting.com or feedbackarmy.com which can give you insights into weak areas of your website and suggestions for improvement.

I hope you find this post useful and helps you in growing your business from your SEO efforts. Here’s another good article about why you may not be getting any enquiries even though you have rankings.

If you need help or have a question, feel free to contact me at shirish@flow20.com