Don’t just focus solely on rankings, focus on quality and conversions

When developing an SEO (search engine opimisation) strategy it is quite easy to focus all of your efforts solely on improving rankings alone. “I want to be #1 or #2 and that is it!”

Marketers want their websites to rank either #1 or #2 for relevant search terms to their business and oust their competition from the dizzy heights of being listed number one in Google, but with an improvement in rankings also comes additional traffic.

Why do you want to add more traffic to the top of the funnel when your website can’t convert the hundred or so visitors it currently attracts?

If your current website is failing to convert any of its traffic into some sort of measurable result (i.e. download, subscription, registration, request) then your website needs fixing first before you add any more traffic top the top of the funnel. Identify poor performing pages with high exit rates and bounce rates, test and refine the content and the design. Always ensure your pages have clear calls to action pointing visitors towards completing those goals.

Analysing click through rates for the top 3 positions in Google

A marketing software vendor, Optify, recently published some interesting search data regarding click through rates (CTR) for websites ranking first, second and third in Google. What they found was that ranking at the top of the first page is more valuable than ever. The average CTR for the top three positions were 36.4%, 12.5% and 9.5% respectively. That is over half of the clicks on the entire first page acquired by the top 3 results.

They also discovered that just being above the fold produces an average click through rate of 19.5%. Optify also revealed that the second page has value too, but with a lower click through rate, and that its worth noting that the first position on page two produces a slightly higher click through rate that the last position on page one.

Why invest time and effort in competing against lots of other websites for a competitive search term?

So you still want to be on page 1 and listed first or second? Yes of course you do. Well, the search terms you want to focus on may not necessarily be the ones which will give you any immediate results and may take the longest to actually reap any benefits from. In fact, as with any SEO activity, you may not see any results for months, sometimes even years. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Usually, marketers would target ‘head’ type terms which contain very broad type words (e.g refurbishment or renovation) and fail to spot any keywords/terms which are contained within the ‘long tail’ set of keywords (e.g refurbishment companies in Birmingham).

Focus on acquiring quality visitors

Long tail searches are much more focused and specific and if you can capture or increase traffic to content or pages for these types of searches the better. You will also find that they are less competitive. Even if there are only 20 searches performed per month for your long tail phrase, it is 20 quality visitors you are acquiring to your website and more chance of them converting into a lead or conversion than 1000 visitors who just bounce off your site altogether.

Am I competing against high profile websites which will take me years to overtake?

It’s important to identify how competitive search terms are and analysing the websites currently ranked for particular target search terms. You may also decide that some of those search terms are not worth trying to optimise for but might explore PPC advertising instead as an alternative option, but then have you got a monthly budget allocated for this? There are a number of elements which are taken into consideration when ranking web pages so be sure you have covered off as many as possible for your own website and get them on par or above the competing websites. Our latest issue of My Digital Insider looks at ways you can improve your on-page SEO so that you can rank better and also entice the click through from the user.

So, SEO is not something which should be treated as a one off project just to increase traffic to your site and nor should you underestimate the time and resources required to understand the true benefit of your optimisation strategy.

Key points to take away before thinking about implementing an SEO strategy:

  1. Think about which search terms you want to focus your time and effort on
  2. Find out how competitive those terms are. Are you competing with high profile websites?
  3. Find out if those search terms are actually worth optimising for (if only less than 10 searches are performed per month, is it worth it?)
  4. Exploit opportunities to find related keywords or search terms
  5. Think about what you want that additional traffic to do once they land on your website
  6. Is your website already converting?
  7. If not, then go fix your website first.


About Stuart Dinnie

Stuart has worked in the world of digital marketing for over 15 years. With his measured and planned approach, he has delivered robust digital strategies for construction companies to achieve real business growth. He now heads up the team at Pauley Creative as Managing Director and is leading his team & clients towards digital marketing excellence. He’s worked with over 100 construction clients; helping them on their digital transformation journey, providing sustainable strategies that return year on year incremental growth, delivering award-winning websites and adding value from board level to marketing assistant.

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