Q. “Is this gluten free?”
A. “All of our dishes are prepared fresh daily using only the finest ingredients”
Q. “How much does that cost?”
A. “Our competitive rates guarantee you a quick ROI.”
While either one of these answers would be considered a good value statement, not one of them answers the question they are responding to.
Is this what is happening on your website?
If you want to improve your organic search results to attract more relevant traffic, and keep prospects on your site longer, then you need to know exactly what it is they are looking for. Have a clear understanding of what need they are trying to fill, or problem they are looking to solve.
While there is a lot of hype around ‘keywords’ – and legitimately so – there is an opportunity to improve (and beat your competition) by asking and answering the actual questions being asked.
Exercise: Talk to your staff, start taking notes as you meet prospects and then take the top 10-20 questions that are routinely asked in your operation and on your sales calls, and find the answers – the specific answers – on your website. Take note of what page on your website answers those questions. If you can’t find the answers then you have some work to do updating your site.
Exercise: Visit your local library (if they have internet access and computers available), or visit a client or colleague to use their computer. Take those same 10-20 questions and do the same search series. Take note of the website return results for each question asked – those are your competitors.
If you are wondering why I sent you out of your office to do the search, I can explain.
Search engines look at your IP address for location and identity and access your cookies to see what sites you have visited. They then do a quick calculation to deliver you what they believe are the most relevant websites. Since you’ve probably already visited your own website on multiple occasions, it is only natural for the search engines to return you to what appears to be one of your favorites. The outcome of search results will be very different from another computer at a different location. (IP: Internet Protocol – is a numerical label assigned to each device participating on a network. An IP address serves two functions: interface identification and location addressing.)
Tip: if you are planning a redesign on your website soon, or are looking for ways to improve your existing site, install a search feature on your existing site. The data collected from this search will provide some valuable insight as to what visitors are looking for once they’ve arrived.
Having this information should help you plan for either website improvements or a new website all together. Either way, this is an important, and often over looked step in the planning process.
Mardy Sitzer is a certified inbound marketing professional and president of Bumblebee Design & Marketing. Since 1993, Mardy has been delivering creative and innovative marketing solutions. An avid reader of all things internet and marketing, she also writes blogs, articles, and web content for industry magazines as well as for Bumblebee’s clients. She is an adjunct professor at Fordham University and instructor at Rutgers University teaching social media for business. Follow her on Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.