Search Engine Optimisation: Does it Generate Sales Leads?
There is a lot of heated debate around at the moment about whether or not it’s worth spending money on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), as a method of generating sales leads.
We'd like to help you understand the pros and cons of SEO so you can make a better informed decision.
Search Engine Optimisation: What is It?
SEO is a series of steps you can complete to make your website more search-engine friendly and to build your website's credibility is the eyes of the search engines. If done well it will improve the position your website holds in the search engine listing (i.e. the "organic" listing, not paid advertisements). The higher you are up the listing the better chance you have of people seeing your site and clicking through.
The primary goal of SEO is to drive traffic to your website. That is, to get people looking at your site. It DOESN'T directly address enquiry conversion, that is, turning visitors into enquiries. However one does have an impact on the other. For this reason SEO needs to be part of your online strategy but it’s a starting point not finishing point.
"SEO is a WASTE of TIME"
One of the main arguments against SEO that people espouse is that it’s a waste of time and effort. With millions of competing web pages, it takes too much time and effort to get a high position. These sweeping generalisations are misleading and unhelpful. Be aware that most people saying this are trying to divert your spending into other services such as graphic design or paid advertisements instead of actually looking after your best interests.
When people start criticising SEO we often refer to our own results as a test case.
With Eyes Wide Open's SEO efforts we have targeted terms such as "Small Business Consultants". Over 89 Million pages come up when this search term is used on Google worldwide. Eyes Wide Open consistently holds a position in the top 5 listings. That's the top of the front page ahead of over 89 million others. As a result we capture a large percentage of over 15 000 people worldwide searching on this term each month.
This is only possible through the smart application of SEO. What impact do you think that has on our business?
It's taken 12 months to achieve these results. Improving your organic listing does tend to be a slower process than buying your way to the top through paid advertising (we usually recommend a strategy using both). But once you gain credibility with search engines it will take your lead generation efforts to a new level.
Search Engines Prioritise Value-Adding Sites
As a rule of thumb search engines give priority to value-adding sites that inform, educate and are helpful to the visitor. When the search engines crawl over your site they are essentially looking for signs that indicate it is a useful resource. The search engines are unbiased in terms of they don't care whether you are a big corporation or small business they just want to put people in touch with the very best resources. Search engines have developed highly complex algorithms that they believe defines a good site. The challenge is that the search engines keep their algorithms top secret so you can't manipulate the system. However they are extremely open and transparent about the principles that drive good website design.
Can Search Engines Read Your Site?
Search engines read text not images. If you have a lot of images on your site there's a good chance the search engines can't even begin to index your site properly. Images need to have "alt tags" included and site and page descriptions are vital. If you have a text-rich site you also need to make sure the HTML code is clean and simple to make it easier to read.
Think like a Search Engine
Treat the search engines like any other visitor. Personify them. Imagine they are a site reviewer from an online magazine who only has a matter of seconds to conduct a review and pass judgement on your site.
Here are some of the "questions" the search engines are possibly asking when they visit your site:
- Can I quickly tell what this site is about?
- Do the headings and links quickly tell me what the important messages are?
- Is it easy to find my way around this site?
- Are there links from other top ranking websites coming into this site, indicating it’s a valuable resource?
- What are the important pieces of information I should include in the listing?
- What keywords should I associate with this site?
"SEO is CHALLENGING TO GET RIGHT": True!
Getting your SEO right is an ongoing process. You are dealing with a moving target as new websites list and the search engines refine their algorithms. When we establish an online strategy for a client we complete over 40 different types of analysis on an existing website before we even make a recommendation. Set aside time and resources to do a major upgrade of your SEO then ensure you are doing at least a review every 3 to 6 months. You need to be very clear about the impact you want it to have on your business, keep that goal in mind and measure your progress against it. If you would like further tips about SEO as part of your sales lead generation strategy please don't hesitate to call our offices and we will discuss your options over the phone.
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