In my experience working with clients of all sizes on improving their online presence, almost all have been heavily focused purely on rankings as their first measure of success. Followed by traffic, followed by conversions.
This isn’t the right way around and in fact, the thinking is flawed because it puts the emphasis on the wrong side of the equation.
Rankings, traffic and conversions are all related but the reality is, even with weaker rankings and less traffic, your website can still convert. If you’ve got 10 visitors in a day and 5 of them convert, thats a 50% conversion rate. Another perspective, if you’ve got 100 visitors today and 5 convert, that’s a 5% conversion rate. I think you know which one you’d rather have.
If your site is well structured and geared to convert – you have clear selling points, clear calls to action, seamless transaction processes and confirmation messages and so on, then you will convert regardless of the number of visitors to your site. Even if you’re on the top of page 2 in Google instead of page 1, you can still be found (people go beyond page 1 believe it or not!) and if you’re being found, you’ve got every reason to convert.
In saying that, rankings are still important but not nearly as much as conversions. Because if your rankings improve but sales don’t, then there’s a problem and that coveted #1 spot in SERPs means little. Similarly if this ranking improvement brings forth the higher traffic levels you expect but conversions don’t also enjoy an upward trend, you’ve got some serious work to do in order to get those conversions coming through.
I find that with larger companies, they fail to thoroughly analyse the transaction process and instead focus on brand awareness and ‘flashy’ designs over anything else. Whilst ensuring the brand is protected is completely understandable, unless you’ve got a brand that’s near untouchable, you can’t keep coasting on the name and expecting that to carry you into the black. Conversions solidify the bottom line and keep you in business, whether you’re a pay tv network, a luxury 5 star resort or a property developer. Your conversions will differ but they each hold a value that can’t be discounted.
Taking time out to test your website and identify areas of weakness is a much better use of your valuable resources than worrying about rankings. Remember, you need to always be testing otherwise you’re just guessing.