New Shoots and New Directions
Published on: 6th May 2009
New Shoots and New Directions
As the search engines continually refine and adjust their formulae for working out which sites deserve to get which position in their listings, so we're also continually improving and responding with the code we're writing into our clients' websites.
While this seems a bit like a circular process, in fact so long as we stay on the ball, the end results are almost always beneficial for our clients. The reason for this is that Google and its kin want to put the most relevant and genuine sites at the top of its search listings; and the algorithms they use are trying to weed out those sites that are trying to be something they're not - eg. pretending to be a cycling website but really advertising pharmaceuticals - and highlighting those sites that offer really comprehensive information about the search topic.
We're currently working on two of our clients' websites to optimise their search rankings. They are both holiday websites and both face the same stiff competition for bookings in their different areas.
The issues in both cases are similar. We're able to generate traffic to the site, but the conversion to phone call or email contact is not as high as it could be. Our solution is two-fold. Firstly we've conducted some modest market research to get public perceptions of the two sites. And secondly we've adjusted the search engine optimisation of the sites to match the target market more closely.
Public Perceptions of Websites
The hardest part about designing a public website is trying to put yourself into the shoes of your target visitors. What are they looking for? What do they want to see? How do they want to be sold to? Making this mental leap into the visitors' position is usually a real struggle as clients normally start from the position of 'what I want to tell you' not 'what do you want to know?'.
With these two sites, we've completely re-written the script and intention for the sites. We've pinpointed the market; young professionals for one, slightly older adults for the other. We've then addressed the language needed to sell to these two different markets. Both are sophisticated in understanding selling and buying cues, both demand high quality presentation, and both need an assumption of a respectful degree of intelligence.
The content therefore needs to be high quality - including high quality photography and well constructed text. They don't need to be bombarded with infinite details. They don't need to be told what to think; the images in particular will inspire and generate that sort of insight.
Making the Change
So we're now in the nitty gritty of commissioning new photography and writing the new text. In one case we've redesigned the whole layout of the site to give more prominence to the images and in the other we've developed a new set of photographs to illustrate the site more effectively for the target market.
These changes should help to improve the conversion rates for the visitors that do arrive on the site. It should make more of the opportunities provided by the existing site traffic. But the other side of the coin is to increase traffic, and more importantly, increase the right sort of traffic.
Building Website Traffic
To increase the traffic to the site, not only will the new text be more on-target for the market we're trying to reach, but we'll also be revising the keywords, description, title and photo captions to reinforce the message. We're also planning to add new 'niche' pages to describe particular types of holiday that can be experienced when staying at both locations, outdoors, hiking, sailing, field sports and so on.
Together these changes should not only help generate more of the right sort of traffic to the two websites but also convert more of the traffic into customers. We'll keep you posted on the results.