Let’s say you ran a traditional advertising campaign, consisting of, say, TV, radio and print advertising. Let's also say the campaign was a roaring success – you were inundated with calls and enquiries for your product.
But....what if your salespeople – the people answering the phones or responding to enquiries – were completely hopeless! Imagine if they didn't know the benefits of your product or didn't know the 10 top questions that customers ask. Or what if they didn't know how to direct the call to the right division, or worst of all, what if they never asked the customer to buy!?
While I’m sure YOU would never allow this to happen – I absolutely guarantee you that the media companies selling the advertising space wouldn't do anything to improve your sales process or help you more effectively convert those enquiries into sales. But a well run local SEO campaign can do exactly that; it not only improves your rankings and brings you new leads, it also helps educate your customer, answers their questions, makes the process easy for them and encourages them to buy.
Increase leads without improving rankings
Traian Nearcsu recently posted a great article on SEOMoz about how to get more clicks with low rankings. The article demonstrates a variety of ways in which you can increase your click through rate, whatever your ranking. For example, by encouraging the use of images, rich snippets (such as customer reviews/star ratings) and country reference within your Google search listing. Google results that have this additional visual appeal are always going to receive a greater number of clicks than standard listings. So ranking highly is important, but you can even improve the performance of your best ranking keywords my improving the “click-appeal” of your listings.
More visibility across the web
Like most SEO’s I could bang on all day about links. They are awesome, they separate a good SEO campaign from a great one and they separate good rankings from amazing rankings. But there’s another great benefit of a quality link building campaign, and that’s improving your business’ visibility across the web. Even without the value of a link back to your website, having your business listed in key places online can help you increase enquiries and enhance your perceived credibility.
There are important and logical locations to list your business online – for example if you belong to an industry body, business chamber or club – get your business listed on their site. Let’s pretend I’m a builder, a quick search reveals multiple places a Newcastle builder could appear: Newcastle MBA, Newcastle Builders, InfoLink, The Building Directory and Home Improvement Pages. Consumers often trust these sites to provide a list of potential contractors, so having your business listed can be another avenue for attracting leads.
Logical landing pages and the right information
Quality SEO is about customer conversion and dollars in the bank – not impressions, clicks or page views. While these are important metrics, they are a means to an end. Ranking highly will improve your impressions, clicks and page views, but once they arrive, are visitors they finding the information they want? Are they likely to become a customer?
You need to provide the information they want, answer the questions they have and provide a greater level of detail if they want to dig deeper. Even in 2012, we come across websites that are hard to navigate, sites that make visitors become detectives, trying to uncover the information they want. Even some of the biggest brands in Australia are guilty of this. Quality SEO is about harnessing increased website traffic and providing the information and prompts to turn visitors into customers.
Show credibility indicators and encourage conversion
You won't believe this, but there are some dodgy businesses out there in internet land (no kidding!). Unfortunately, there are even more dodgy websites. So by my calculation, that means some of the good, credible businesses are being represented by dodgy websites. But even if you have an out-dated website, there are key actions you can take to improve the perceived credibility of your business and encourage visitor conversion. Small simple improvements can instantly enhance the subconscious evaluation process that visitors go through. Here’s 5 quick examples:
- Display your landline phone number and street address prominently
- Use images of real staff, management, clients, not stock images
- Use industry accreditations or governing body logos on your site
- Show client testimonials or logos
- Display recent updates such as news, blog posts or social media activity
As you can see, quality SEO is about a lot more than just rankings. Don't get me wrong, rankings are important and can drive your campaign, but rankings are just one building block of SEO success. If you harness and maximise rankings, your website traffic and ultimately your sales will multiply even further.