Before we dig into that question, let’s look at some online reputation statistics that every business owner needs to know.
The Power of Reviews
- 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. (2016)
- Online reviews have been shown to impact 67.7% of purchasing decisions. (2015)
- 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. (2016)
- 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more. (2016)
The Power of Google
- 91% of online adults use search engines to find information on the web. (2012)
- 65% of people see online search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies. That’s a higher level of trust than any other online or offline source. (2014)
- 93% of searchers never go past the first page, instead using only the first 10 search results to form their impression. (2014)
- Businesses risk losing 22% of business when potential customers find one negative article on the first page of their search results. (2015)
Google Royvon and you’ll see how bad this can be.
- Nearly half of U.K. adults said they have Googled someone before doing business with them. (2012)
- 45% said they have found something in an online search that made them decide not to do business with the person.
- 56% have found something that solidified their decision to do business with the person.
So, your businesses online presence is obviously very important. Despite this I often hear from potential clients that “They’ve had a website for years, but it’s never got me any business”. It’s a common complaint and it’s one that at Surrey Creative we have given a lot of thought to. Given that the internet is now everywhere and in everyone’s pocket. How can it be that your company website has never got you any business?
So, if your website isn’t performing is it all Google’s fault?
No not really, Google is very good at what it does and for businesses that handle their online presence properly, Google will reward you with a steady stream of potential clients in your inbox. But competition within Google’s search results can be fierce and if we return to the statistic that 93% of all online searches never go past page one it is paramount that your business performs well in search results. So, is good SEO the magic bullet to online success? Well that’s not the full picture but it’s a good place to start.
How does Google decide where to rank your website?
Understanding the answer to that question is fundamental to making a success of your SEO. It’s all about trust.
Believe it or not, All Google wants to do is provide the best possible service to its searchers. By making sure that only relevant results are returned for any one of the 3.5 billion searches made every day Google has built a multi-billion-dollar business and while it has diversified into many other areas, search still remains its number one revenue stream so you can be assured that they care about getting it right.
If Google is going to return your website for a search query it not only needs to be 100% sure that your site is relevant but also that your site is of a high enough standard to satisfy the requirements of the user that clicks through to it. So it goes about scoring sites according to its own trust index and this is where so many people get things wrong on their website when trying to optimise their site for SEO.
How do you get Google to trust your website?
People often don’t realise that it’s these little things that can set two websites apart when Google decides which one to rank higher. Google is picky about standards as businesses that haven’t invested in a good quality website are probably not the best result to display for a user looking for a quality service provider.
So, I’ve paid thousands for my website, I should be fine right?
Well a beautifully crafted website will only get you so far, once Google is happy with the standard of your code its algorithm gets to work on your content. After all, if Google is going to send someone to your website it wants to be sure that your enquiry will be satisfied by what you find there. Your written content needs to be written with your user in mind and Google knows what people want so it better be good.
There are three golden rules for good website content.
It should be:
I’ll start with this one as it’s probably the most important. Making false claims about your services is a big no no as far as Google is concerned. I’ve seen entire AdWords campaigns taken down by Google’s standards audits because the website they were directing traffic to were making promises that Google felt were questionable.
The Goldilocks rule of content. Write too little and Google and your users won’t have enough to get a good feel for your business. Write to much and you’re waffling and people won’t be bothered to read it. Google is well aware of people’s poor attention spans on the internet!
Couldn’t be bothered to write your own content so you just ripped off someone else’s? You might as well not bother with your website then. If Google matches your content to another website and deems it as plagiarism it will bury you.
Well I’ve done all of that and I’m ranking well in Google but still no enquiries, what now?
It’s true that you may well have followed all the rules to get yourself to the top of Google but still it fails to generate enquiries. When this happens you need to take the time to find out why? If you know that people are searching for and finding your business online, visiting your website but then not enquiring then there is something wrong with the site. Google will only go so far. After all it is still just a machine and not a human pair of eyes. If visits aren’t converting into enquiries you have a problem.
A common cause of a poor conversion rate is that maybe your visitor isn’t left with any reason to get in touch. This is where your content can sometimes be working against you. If you’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that every possible question a visitor could have is efficiently answered by your website, then you’ve actually scored an own goal. As now they don’t have a reason to get in touch.
Your website’s job is to sell your business to your visitor. Not answer every question under the sun. Your visitors should be filled with confidence that your business is just what they’ve been looking for and they should want to get in touch to find out more.
Great content and a well laid out site with useful calls to action encouraging enquiries is the key to a high conversion rate.
If your website isn’t generating any enquiries, then there’s a pretty good chance that it is falling foul of one of many facets of what makes an effective website as we’ve described here. If there is demand for your services and you have a website that has been put together properly and it ranks well in Google it will generate enquiries for you, without fail.