26/01/2011

By David White, Managing Director, Weboptimiser.com

Everyone knows the basics of PPC (Pay Per Click) and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) nowadays, no doubt you can read more about it on this site. So here I am going to try to blow a few myths to enable you to get more from it...

It is all about traffic. That's myth #1. There it is, I said it. That is what SEO and PPC does, they bring traffic. Come to think about it, so does Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Linkedin, although they operate differently. You can get traffic from all of them. But that is not the point...

Thinking they are all about traffic would be wrong thinking... Traffic is not all you need, most people need the sales bit too. Most traffic managers see sales being made and that is OK. How? Why? At what cost?

Sales occur through conversions and people will buy from you more often when they know, like and trust you. Which is why when measuring sales the key is to track your visitors over time. Tracking needs to be integrated into your traffic process from the beginning. For small companies, to get started, you can use Google Analytics.

Here's another myth - you can lose your shirt with PPC. I have heard that a thousand times. I like to hear it in truth. I have the answer. Use tracking, it's free. At least it starts free. The more you spend, the more you will want to spend on tracking!

Tracking leads to understanding, and understanding allows you to fine tune your site, your spend and indeed, help you spend more. You would love to spend more when you know spending more gives you more.

What I am talking about is one of the big reasons that small businesses can do so well against the big brands. Big brands hit things with big budgets and blame the cash and have no idea why.

Smaller companies spend their cash carefully, change as they go and grow. It's why at weboptimiser we have no minimum budget for PPC spend, yet we employ the most expensive tracking systems. That few companies use and most agencies don't know exist... Now you know why.

Are you tracking your visitors over time? Does your traffic manager do this for, do you know where you clients go before they commit? Do you know the things that you can change to make your SEO and PPC work better.

So yes you need the traffic, but you need a site that welcomes, gets to the point, displays your USP yet is not overly salesy all at the same time - oh, and whilst limiting access to other traffic losing features...

The majority of your sales may or may not buy straight off, that depends on their need and the suitability of your offer, price, locations, delivery etc.

There are some new technologies that combine SEO and PPC, for instance online advertising that follows the user - and you only pay when they click...

This is when someone visits your site and wonders over to Fresh Business Thinking for instance and there a banner highlighting you business with a special offer... Your visitor may well recognise visiting your site and remember why they visited in the first place and commit...

But there are other techniques too, relationship techniques, the kind of things that start with the simple things such as helping your visitors, the kind of thing that a shop assistant would do if asked. Shop assistants provide the opportunity to show visitors what to do. These are things that can make the difference between success and failure.

I hope I have given you some insights into how to improve your site so that when you think about traffic, whether from SEO or PPC or social media, all of which comes at some cost nowadays, that you get your visitors to commit to you on your site in ways that suit your business and lead to sales.

Without really understanding your visitor journey you will not succeed as traffic will only come if you have something that is interesting to them. You will then and only make sales if you are interesting when they arrive. So for traffic to work for you, the beginning of the visitor journey has to reflect the end in the beginning.

David White is Managing Director of Weboptimiser.com
The original search engine marketing company established in 1996. Working for one man bands to very large brands Weboptimiser offers a free guide - 101 traffic top tips and ideas that is free to download if you subscribe to the Weboptimiser newsletter over at www.weboptimiser.com


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