Online Marketing Newsletter

“We've seen a dramatic increase in visitors to our site and in sales leads since we've worked with eVision. Their analysis, ideas and assistance have been right on target for our company.”
Woodland Power Products, Inc.
West Haven, CT

Usability, Conversion Rate Evaluations, and Conversion Point Architecture
It's critical that your web site turns visitors into inquires, qualified leads, and new business. Improving conversion rates on a web site can really pay off. Most companies see returns of from $10 to $100 for every dollar invested in conversion rate improvements.

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Turn your web site into a SALES TOOL!

We are Search Engine Marketing experts. We'll develop a custom "search engine marketing" strategy that drives traffic to your web site through legitimate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Advertising tactics.

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eVision, LLC
179 East Main Street
Branford, CT 06405
Phone: 203-481-8005


July 2006

Say Bye-bye to Rankings
and Hello to SEO Success

In this issue we've included an article by Jill Whalen of High Rankings® from her SEO newsletter.

Like us, Jill has found that web analytics tools such as Click Tracks and Google Analytics are the most important tools we have to measure the results of a search marketing campaign - See Improving Conversion Rates, Usability & Web Analytics for more information.


Remember that time after optimizing your first website when you checked your search engine rankings and actually saw your site show up in the top of the results? Was that not the coolest feeling in the world? Part of what makes SEO so much fun is getting to tangibly see the fruits of your labor -- right there in the search results pages (SERPs). Whether you run automated ranking reports (responsibly through the search engines' APIs of course!) or just do some spot checks by hand, achieving the goals you set for your campaign totally rocks!

Before you get lost in that lovely memory, do you also remember that time soon after you spotted your high rankings when you realized that your overall traffic to your site barely went up -- and worse than that, you didn't make even one more dime than you had made before you got the rankings?

How can that be?

Welcome to the real world of SEO. It's time you learn that ranking reports are not your friend. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that they are closer to being meaningless drivel to everyone other than your boss's over-inflated ego.

Yeah, I know, measuring success through ranking reports was EASY and FUN, and made for some great Saturday night entertainment. But things change, and life moves on. Sometimes you just have to forget about how you "always did things before" and start fresh with a new outlook on things. Rankings only matter if they bring traffic, which only matters if it converts for you. Therefore, rankings are just not worth measuring. Say bye-bye to them and cut them loose.

Instead, say hello to SEO success!

No need to mourn the loss of your ranking reports. There's a new kid on the block and she's just as much fun to play with as ranking reports. In fact, she's a whole lot more fun, and not only that, she pays for herself over and over again. Her name is web analytics and she's going to be your new best friend!

Measuring the success of your SEO campaigns has never been easier, due to all the great web analytic tools available today. All you need is the right software (I use ClickTracks and Google Analytics), your log files, and some time to set it up correctly. Start by running a baseline report before you actually optimize your site, and then run reports on a monthly basis so that you can spot the trends. After you've optimized for your hundreds of well-researched keyword phrases, if you've done your job properly, you'll see them showing up in your log files fairly quickly.

For instance, we just ran a ClickTracks report for a client of ours whose newly redesigned and SEO'd site went live sometime in February. They sell a specialized product that the average person probably isn't searching for, so of course they don't get tons of traffic. However, it's really cool to see how clickthroughs from our optimized keyword phrases go up each month. One particular 4-word keyword phrase went from 16 organic clickthroughs in February to 54 organic clickthroughs in April. Many other phrases have doubled, tripled, and more than quadrupled since February also.

So you see, I don't really care where they're ranking for all these phrases
-- it doesn't matter. I only care that they're getting traffic from them, and that the traffic is going up. That's SEO success that is meaningful and useful.

Not only can you see if the words you've optimized for are bringing traffic, you can also see if they convert for you. Looking at which phrases tend to be used by people who will fill out your contact form, sign up for your newsletter, or purchase your product is way more exciting than boring old-fashioned rankings!

Using Google Analytics for my own High Rankings site, I'm always gaining some amazing insight. For instance, one would think that being ranked very highly for the coveted "search engine optimization" phrase would bring me tons of clients and make me rich! Nope. Not at all. Sure, it brings tons of traffic, but it actually has only a 0.82% conversion rate in terms of people filling out my request form, and even lower conversions for such things as signing up for my free newsletter, registering on my forum, or purchasing my Nitty-gritty guide.

Yet a phrase such as "search engine consultant" has a 6.67% conversion rate in terms of filling out my request form. Now, granted, I get a whole lot less traffic for that phrase than I get for the big kahuna. But when you add together the traffic from those "minor" phrases, the conversions are much, much higher than for the major phrases.

There are a zillion other things that you can learn when measuring your true SEO success through web analytics. If you're not already using a good program (and learning from it), I can't stress enough how important it is to start doing it. Get out of your comfort zone and tell your clients that rankings are dead. Maybe then we can stop receiving all the RFPs from companies whose only goal for their campaign is "top 5 rankings for 10 one-word keywords." Blech!

Jill Whalen

Jill Whalen of High Rankings® is an internationally recognized search engine optimization consultant and host of the free weekly High Rankings® Advisor search engine marketing newsletter. Jill's handbook, "The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines" teaches business owners how and where to place relevant keyword phrases on their Web sites so that they make sense to users and gain high rankings in the major search engines.


Jill specializes in search engine optimization, SEO consultations, site analysis reports, SEM seminars and is the co-founder of the Cambridge, MA search marketing and website design company, Search Creative, LLC.