Search Engine Rank – Is It Time To Look At It Differently?

Search Engine Rank

Most people with a business and an interest in using online marketing obsess about their rank in search engines and in particular Google. In this day and age that may not be the best metric with which to measure the success of your online marketing efforts. In general, it’s probably true that the higher you rank the more visitors you’ll get and the more business you’ll do.

Unfortunately with the personalization of search, especially by Google rank is now very elusive to pin down. For SEO service providers this causes a problem. It’s difficult, if not impossible to provide clients with rank that they can verify themselves. For buyers of SEo services it causes the same problem in reverse, they get told they rank in certain positions for certain keywords, so they go to check. Then they find that either their site is nowhere to be seen, is lower than they were led to believe and in some cases they find they rank higher.

When this happens trust becomes an issue, how do they trust their SEO provider is doing a good job? before you either buy or sell SEO services you need to come to an agreement on what metric you will use as a measure of success. To do this you have to choose a metric (or preferably combination of metrics) that you have some historical data for that you can then use as a baseline. If you don’t track any metrics for your business you MUST start now. Without them you can’t forecast adequately, if you need to raise capital you won’t be able to as you have no way of accurately showing costs.

From a marketing point of view you need to pay attention to more things than search engine rank, you need to know where your customers come from. Where are you advertising, how much does it cost? You need to know how much it costs you to acquire a new customer. The simple way is to add up everything you spend to advertise and market your company, including printing, design, and all costs associated with providing marketing materials of any description on a monthly basis. Then divide this by the number of new customers you get each month and that, broadly speaking is your customer acquisition cost.

You can read more about this here and her’s a link to an online calculator.

CAC is only one of the things you need to measure, for example what is the lifetime value, the average value, the initial sale value? All of these can be measured and should be. You as a business owner need to know these things, how else will you know where to adjust to make the most profit?

If your CAC (customer acquisition cost) is $50 and the first time average sale value is $49 you’re losing money but unless you actually track these numbers you won’t know. Therefore you might want to measure success by how much it costs to get a new customer from SEO and what the value of that customer is.

Ranking A Website

So many website owners have a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality. When it comes to ranking a website there are a lot of things that are needed. One of the most important is information, this is what we call the content, it must be relevant to the theme of the website, it’s no good having film reviews on a site that sells coffee beans the 2 are not relevant to each other.

Ranking a website requires good content, it requires content that is informative and that can help a potential customer make the decision to buy from you.  This content should be provided in as many ways as possible, text, video, audio, images and slides. You want to allow people to ‘consume’ your content in as many ways as possible. I’m a reader, I like to read, my son is very visual, he likes to watch videos to get the information. My niece on the other hand likes to download her information as podcasts (audio) so she can listen to it while she drives to work and back.

Ranking Factors

Ranking factors are different than the content need to rank a website. Ranking factors are required by the search engines and each is different but they do have things in common. The biggest of which is genuine valuable one way back links and good engaging content.

Depending on whether you want to rank locally or nationally the ranking factors may differ, local rank needs local back links more than national ones. National rank is less dependent on local factors and needs a lot more citations and links, especially in highly competitive industries.

Concentrate on providing great informative content, spreading the word on social sites and building those relevant and valuable back links and you will improve the search engine rank for your site regardless of whether you do the SEo yourself, or employ the services of an Seo provider.

Happy ranking!

Page Load Times

Page Load Times as an SEO Signal

how fast do your pages loadIf you have Google Analytics installed on your website, you’ll be able to view a report that gives the average page load times for the different pages on your site. This can be interesting reading, especially if you decide on a re-design.

Page load time is one of the signals Google uses to help generate a ranking position, at the moment it only generally affects 1% of websites. This may make you think that your sites page load times are unimportant. WRONG!

It’s wrong for 2 reasons, the first being that it is a ranking signal and, if you have a local competitor who regularly outranks you, tweaking your page load times can increase your rank in two ways.

  1. This may be a factor that your competitor does not pay attention to, so if all else is equal then this simple signal may be enough to put you above your competitor.
  2. Because the longer it takes to load a page, the less likely it is people will stay on the site, long load times can cause a higher bounce rate. That higher bounce rate will tend to make your site drop in rank. Therefore keeping load times shorter will encourage more people to stay on the site, which will decrease your bounce rate, which will in turn help to boost your rank.

By far the most important reason for paying attention to your site speed is conversion. You can have the most amazing and beautiful design, with all the bells and whistles you want but, if people don’t stay around long enough to interact with your site, then all that beauty and technology does you no good.

Take a look at Craig’s List, one of the most successful sites on the web, it’s design is so simple, boring even but, it does exactly what the owners want it to do. How about Wikipedia, yet another fairly boring design from the point of view of art, or brochure or corporate design. It’s just text, with a few, very few images here and there.

Yet no one would argue that it’s not a successful site. Look at the Google search page, a whole lot of blank white page with the search box in the middle, a little color from the the google logo and, tucked away at the top a nav bar. You’re never in any doubt about what Google wants you to do on that page.

Google is the most successful site on the web from the point of view of use, profitability and user experience (OK, they may be losing out a bit for some on customer experience because they’ve complicated some things).