Factor Fiction: Search Rankings {Almost} Don’t Matter

 

Welcome to our web series – Factor Fiction – where we will be will be discussing theories, myths, questions, and common misconceptions about the digital marketing industry as well as Google’s ranking factors.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below


 

Right now, I imagine most of you are like


But it’s the truth.

Cole, come on now. You work for a digital marketing company. Isn’t this what you all do everyday?

Well, yes – and no.

You see, there are over 200 hundred factors in Google that will allow your website to attain high search rankings.

But then what?

Just because someone sees your company’s name in Google does not mean that you automatically get their business.

The truth is that rankings alone will not provide you with the results that you want.

Getting seen is only the beginning of a much harder process; capturing the conversion/lead.

If we get you ranked #1 in Google for all of your keywords in all of your markets, but you still are not receiving more leads from phone calls or contact form submissions, – then you aren’t going to be happy.

As a business, what steps can you take to better position your company to capture that lead?

How do you go from click to conversion?

That question is exactly what we are going to be talking about in this episode of Factor Fiction.

The answer relies on the user’s experience and the content they are presented with once on the website.

Imagine you are in the market for new shoes.

The better the shoe looks, feels, and performs – the more likely you are to want that shoe.

If paired with a statement on the outside of the box that says, “Introducing Power Laces: The New Self Lacing Shoes from Nike,” you would probably fly through time and space to get your hands on those.

The same can be said about websites.


 

The User Experience (UX)

The User Experience is a mix of different variables, but it ultimately comes down to a gut feeling.

How does this site make you feel when you see it and interact with it?

When creating a website, the designer need to be intentional about how they answer those questions.

A visitor’s emotional response to a site should always be positive, safe, encouraging, exhibit trustworthiness, etc. All of these influence whether they will continue engaging with your brand or leave to find another.

We can break UX down into two categories:

– Design

– Usability

Design

Just like with interactions with people, first impressions are everything. Having a professional, aesthetically pleasing website will determine if a customer stays or leaves once they land there.

Studies of user behavior have shown that visual appeal has the biggest influence on a person’s perception of the overall brand.

How long does it take for them to form that perception?

The numbers on this range from .05 seconds to 15 seconds.

Our data at SEOteric indicates that there is a 7-8 second window, which correlates with the 7 second national average for time it takes to form a first impression with other people.

That is a short window of time to sell them on your company without them looking elsewhere.


These kind of snap judgements fall into what is known as the Halo Effect.

The Halo Effect is a well documented social-psychology phenomenon and cognitive bias in which a single trait of a person or thing is used to create an overall impression.

Example: She is beautiful, and therefore, must be nice as well – commonly associated with celebrities.

If people automatically think that a website is beautiful, then that feeling of positivity will spread to other areas, and they will explore more of the website.

This feeling also works in reverse. If they think your site does not look good – they will leave, and the data shows that they are not likely to come back.

Let’s take this theory for a test drive. You are getting ready to buy a boat for the family.

“Boats for sale near me”

Without looking at the content, which of the two sites below would you interact with based on their visual appearance?

Site #1 looks like this:

 

 

Site #2 looks like this:

 

 

Which one did you choose to engage with and why?

It would have to be the second one.

It is not that the first one is bad, the second one just better utilizes the elements on the page such as space, typography, imagery, etc. to create a more cohesive and elaborate story to intentionally drive conversions.

How does the design of your website look like?

Is it warm and inviting – or is it outdated and unintentional?

If you were to look at other businesses in your space, would you be proud of the site you have, or would you envy theirs?

Take some time and think through whether or not your website may be negatively affecting your overall digital marketing, and if you find a need, talk with your provider or graphic artist to see what steps could be taken to bring new life to your website.

Make the design count because you might not get a second chance.


 

Usability

The design of a site goes hand in hand with its usability. There are countless aspects of usability from menu navigation, banner reaction times, site caching, forms, etc.

Today, I want to look at two of these which specifically have a high impact on conversion rates:

– Site Speed

– Mobile Responsiveness

 

Site Speed

The time between when a visitor clicks on your site to when the site actually loads matters significantly.

Two seconds.

Two seconds are all companies get when it comes to their website’s load time. Anything longer increases bounce rates by 50%.


Think about that for a moment.

Half of people that clicked on your website, who would have potentially bought your product or service, now won’t because your site loaded too slow.

A study done by Amazon back in 2012 showed that a one second lag in page load speed would have resulted in $1.6 billion dollars loss in sales that year. That number would be $4.7 billion in 2017.

So, what variables can cause this interruption in page load speed?

  • ISP Connection
  • Host Server
  • Site Plugins
  • Large Image & File Sizes
  • Caching Issues
  • Traffic Volume
  • No Load Balancing Utilities

These are just a couple of examples. Get with your provider to make sure that everything is being done to minimize the time it takes to access your site – time’s a wastin.


 

Mobile Responsiveness

Mobile responsiveness relates to how your site reacts at different sizes.

Does this website look and feel the same on a desktop as it does on a mobile phone or tablet?

With a responsive design, content and elements on the screen automatically scale to match the difference in resolution and screen size. This enables every aspect of the website to stay within view.

Before mobile responsiveness, there was a lot of scrolling sideways, zooming, and broken images that caused confusion, frustration, and left your visitors wondering where anything was.


No more.

With 69% of people accessing all of their media on their smartphones, responsive content has become ingrained into every facet of our lives – so something that isn’t adaptive to a changing environment online is jarring.

Today’s society is so reliant our our devices that more than 50% of smartphone owners will reach for it immediately upon waking up

Here are some more stats that may surprise you:

  • 57% of all US online traffic now come from smartphones and tablets
  • 57% of all mobile users will not recommend a business if their mobile website is poorly designed or unresponsive
  • Over 40% of online transactions are now done on mobile
  • Mobile devices will drive 80% of global internet usage
  • 83% of people (and likely more than that) are searching for a seamless website experience whether checking on a tablet, phone, or desktop
  • It’s estimated that people will spend an average of 3 hours 23 minutes a day on their mobile devices in 2018

Your business cannot afford to miss out on the traffic and sales that come from a successful mobile responsive website.

Is your site mobile responsive? Find out for yourself below:

Google’s Mobile Friendly Test

 

Content

Let’s recap.

I have found you online and – having been impressed enough with your site’s design and usability – am now listening to what you have to say.

Time to close me.

What you say, and how you say it is essential in these final steps.

Are you all flash and no substance? Or can you prove to me that you are competent at your craft and are expert in your industry?

The more relevant the content and through the explanation you can assign to your product or service, the more people will trust what you have to say, and more importantly, your brand.

When someone searches for answers to a problem or how to do something, your in-depth content around the product or service needs to become a resource them and for Google.

Take this blog for example.

Last month, I wrote about why SEO isn’t a one time thing. That piece of content within one month is now ranked #4 for that exact search in Google.

Hopefully over time, it will also begin to rank for other related searches like “why is seo an ongoing process” or “best article ever written” – you know, things like that.

Content that is well written and well optimized is critical for conversions. In fact, 47% of buyers viewed at least 3 to 5 pieces of content before deciding to speak with a sales rep.

The idea behind great content is that you write it more for your users, not search engines.

Back in the early days of search, if you were looking for your ideal granola bar, you would type in:

“Best granola bar”

The websites that would appear in Google would be the ones that had content matching that exact keyword, “best granola bar,” over and over again on the page in a process known as keyword stuffing.

But what did you actually mean by “best?”

Best is a subjective word, and therefore, means something different to everyone. “Best” could mean which one is healthiest, cheapest, sells the most, or any number of things to each person.

Google recognized this and adapted. Now, if you search for “best granola bar” you get articles with content that go in-depth about the characteristics and qualities of different granola bars.

In fact, the article that ranks #1 for that search today does not even contain “best granola bar” anywhere on the page.

So what does this tell us?

It lets us know that unique and in-depth content, not just keywords, are what Google is looking for to answer search queries.

Do not let your content keep you from getting customers and creating relationships.

Are there areas of content that you can elaborate and expand on within your site to become the leading, most trusted resource in your industry?

 

For The Road

How do we know all this?

Well, SEOteric started off just as a SEO company. Although, as time went on, technology, Google, and user behavior changed. So, we changed with it.

Our expertise now include branding and logo creation, billboard and trade show designs, website design and development, custom technology, eCommerce, hosting, video production, SEO, Adwords and PPC management, and social media marketing – all in order to increase your market presence.

We created our revolutionary Four Pillars of Digital Marketing.

By following these guidelines, we are able to create a successful campaign from start to finish that has all of your bases covered.

Are you seeing the end results that you were promised or wanted?

If not, talk with your digital marketing company to see how you can use The User Experience and Content to your advantage to increase your conversions and experience growth.

Or call me. I’d be happy to help.

 


Thanks for reading this month’s episode of Factor Fiction, we hope you enjoyed it.

Make sure you subscribe to get a new episode every month straight to your inbox.

-Cole & the SEOteric Team


 

Sources:

  1. Digital Marketing Statistics
  2. 50 Milliseconds per Impression
  3. Website Impressions
  4. Amazon Loss per Second
  5. Amazon Sales Figures
  6. Mobile Statistics
  7. More Mobile Statistics
  8. More Website Data

About Coleman Johnson

avatarColeman Johnson is an Account Manager with SEOteric with a focus on new business development. He has experience in marketing consulting and marketing processes, and is uniquely talented to help new clients find the right solutions to their marketing challenges.