Weekly SEO news: 30 June 2009
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at the conversion rate of your website. Search engine optimization is pointless if your website does not convert visitors to buyers.

In the news: how search engines deal with words that have more than one meaning, Google seems to experiment with local search options, a Google algorithm update hits the UK and more.

Table of contents:

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter and that it helps you to get more out of your website. Please pass this newsletter on to your friends.

Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. SEO is pointless if your website does not convert

Getting listed on Google's first result page is great. It's not so great when you find out that you get a lot of visitors through your high search engine rankings but only a few customers.

Search engine optimization is pointless if your website does not convert visitors into customers. You'll actually lose a lot of money if you don't take the time to optimize the conversion rate of your website.

Why is optimizing the conversion rate of your website important?

improve the conversion rateSuppose you sell a product for $50. If the conversion rate of your website is 1% then 1 out of 100 website visitors will buy your product. That means that you will sell 2 units if 200 people visit your website.

If you want to double your sales, you have to double the number of visitors that come to your website. That's usually quite difficult.

If you optimize your web pages so that you have a conversion rate of 2% then you can double your sales without getting more visitors. Increasing the conversion rate of a website is usually easier than getting more customers.

What can you do to improve the conversion rate of your website?

There are several things that you can do to improve the conversion rate of your website:

  1. Drive traffic to the most relevant pages on your website

    Your website visitors should come to the most relevant pages on your website. If you advertise on Google AdWords for the search term "buy blue suede shoes" then your landing page should be a page about blue suede shoes and it should be possible to buy these shoes right on the page. The same applies for visitors that you get through your regular search engine rankings.

  2. Check your website statistics for your pages with a high bounce rate

    Analyze your website statistics to find pages on your site that have a high bounce rate. If too many people leave your website without fulfilling the desired task then you have to improve your pages and make them more relevant to the user's query. Also check your statistics to find "404 not found" and other errors.

  3. Add a call to action on all of your landing pages

    Every landing page should contain a call to action. Chances are that a website visitor will see only a single page of your website. That's why all pages should contain a call to action so that your website visitors know what to do.

Further information on how to improve the conversion rate of your web pages can be found on pages 238-246 of our free SEO eBook (zipped PDF file).

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Fencing
Search engines and words with more than one meaning

"Some words that you might search for at a search engine may have more than one meaning. For example, the word fencing can mean a sport involving swords, a man-made barrier enclosing an area, or activity to make a profit from illegally gained goods. [...]

It can be helpful to think about words that might be related to those multi-meaning, or polysemous words when searching or writing content for pages or using a keyword based advertising system. Yahoo shows us with this patent filing that they may start taking advantage of such relationships between words."

Editor's note: a related article can be found here.



Google seems to experiment with local search options

"Google have removed the 2 radio buttons with the options 'the web' and 'pages from the UK'. [...] As the radio button has gone Google have replaced it with 'Show only results for United Kingdom' text link."



UKGoogle brand update hits the UK

"Back in March Google performed an update which effectively boosted the rankings of big brands in the search results. At the time I commented that the update hadn't appeared in the UK – until this weekend."



Google makes a case that it isn't so big

"Google handles roughly two-thirds of all Internet searches. It owns the largest online video site, YouTube, which is more than 10 times more popular than its nearest competitor. And last year, Google sold nearly $22 billion in advertising, more than any media company in the world.

With all those riches and more, how is Google a relatively small company, one that is vulnerable to competition and whose luck could turn any day? Dana Wagner is happy to explain."



Google: outpouring of searches for the late Michael Jackson

"Search volume began to increase around 2:00pm, skyrocketed by 3:00pm, and stabilized by about 8:00pm. As you can see in Google Hot Trends, many of the fastest rising search queries from yesterday and today have been about Michael Jackson's passing (others pertained to the death of another cultural icon, Farrah Fawcett)."



Search engine newslets

  • Link from Yahoo breaks traffic records at New York Times.
  • Googling with Bing (humor, video).
  • Google mocks Bing and the stuff behind it.
  • A Google monopoly today means packet snooping tomorrow.
  • Cuil: so how is Bing doing?
  • DMOZ: why are sites sometimes removed from the directory?
  • 48% of Americans would drop mobile data service completely.
  • Keeping news of kidnapping off Wikipedia.

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3. Success stories

"IBP has made a difference in our marketing plans."

"We started using IBP approximately 2 years ago hoping it would help our web based business marketing Personal Nasal Filters.

By utilising IBP's many tools from keyword phrasing to language translation in conjunction with google tools we now have active web sites in 40 countries with good search engine positioning in all cases, this has resulted in our enlisting distributors in many countries including: USA, UK, Iran, Mongolia, Spain and Australia with orders now received from all countries.

Your IBP program has made all the difference to our marketing plans and we feel now that the sky is the limit as far as worldwide presence is concerned. Thanks for a very practical and far reaching range of tools which have helped our company enter areas that we could only dream about."
David Wassall, www.breathe-ezy.com.au




200,000 readers will see YOUR website

Let us know how IBP has helped you to improve your website and we might publish your success story with a link to your website in this newsletter. The more detailed your story is, the better.

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4. Previous articles

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