Weekly SEO news: 7 October 2008
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're showing you that your sales can increase if your website gets less traffic. If you optimize your web pages correctly, you can multiply your revenue without working more.

In the news: Google no longer recommends Yahoo directory submission, Ask.com revamps its search engine, Google tests banner ads in the search results and more.

IBP is now available in a new French version.

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. How to increase your sales with less traffic

Search engine optimization is not about getting as much traffic as possible. It's about getting the right kind of website traffic. Sometimes, less traffic can be better.

Many website visitors aren't necessarily a good thing

Many webmasters try to get as many visitors as possible. They join traffic exchange programs and they optimize their web pages for keywords that have very many searches.

Unfortunately, getting as much traffic as possible is not the right strategy for a successful website. Traffic that doesn't convert is useless traffic. If your website has thousands of visitors but only a few sales then you have done something wrong.

Why less traffic can be better

If you want to succeed with your website, you have to focus on the conversion rate of your web pages. A website with a good conversion rate will do much better than a website with many visitors. Here's an example:

  • Tom's website gets 10,000 unique visitors because it has a #1 ranking for the keyword "buy inexpensive brown shoes". The conversion rate is 2%.

  • Peter's website gets 1,000,000 unique visitors because it has a #1 ranking for the much more popular keyword "shoes". The conversion rate is .02%

Both websites will get 200 conversions. But why does Peter's website get the same number of conversions as Tom's although it has 100 times the number of visitors?

There can be several reasons for this. For example, Peter's keyword "shoes" is very general. People looking for one-word keywords usually aren't interested in purchasing. They are looking for general information about a general topic.

Peter's landing page also might have a poor design. His website might not offer what the searcher is looking for. That is very likely if the visitor found the website through a one-word keyword.

Tom's keyword "buy inexpensive brown shoes" is very targeted. Web surfers who use that keyword know what they're looking for and they are ready to buy. That means that Tom needs fewer visitors to get a sale.

Multiply your revenue without working more

calculatorFour word keywords such as "buy inexpensive brown shoes" have much less competition than one-word keywords such as "shoes". That means that it is much easier to get top rankings for these longer keywords.

Suppose it takes Tom five hours of optimization per month to maintain the #1 ranking. Each working hour costs $100. That means that Tom spends $500 per month.

To maintain the #1 ranking for the one-word keyword "shoes", Peter has to invest 30 hours per month because it is much more work to get and maintain high rankings for such a competitive keyword. Peter's working hour also costs $100, that means that the spends $3000 per month.

As explained above, both websites get 200 conversions. If each conversion is worth $15 then Tom has a ROI (return-on-investment) of 600% for every dollar spent on search engine optimization. Peter has a ROI of 100%.

If Peter had not invested his 30 hours in a single keyword but in optimizing 6 good converting four-word keywords that each needs 5 hours then he would have multiplied his revenue by 6 without working more.

What can you do to increase your conversion rate?

You can do the following to improve your conversion rate:

  • Do not waste your time for getting vanity rankings. It makes no sense to get high rankings for one-word keywords.

  • Optimize your web pages for multiple-word keywords that attract visitors that are ready to buy.

  • Make sure that your landing pages contain a clear call to action and that the content of your landing pages is related to the optimized keyword.

  • Make sure that your website has a professional look so that potential buyers aren't turned off.

Search engine optimization is not about getting visitors. It is about getting conversions. Search engine optimization is about creating conversion paths for the traffic that comes from search engines. If you optimize your web pages for the right keywords then you'll save a lot of time and you'll get more conversions.

More tips and detailed information on how to turn visitors into buyers can be found in our free SEO book.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

YahooGoogle no longer suggests Yahoo directory submission

Google has removed the Yahoo directly submission from their webmaster guidelines. Google's John Mueller comments in a webmaster discussion:

"I wouldn't necessarily assume that we're devaluing Yahoo's links, I just think it's not one of the things we really need to recommend. If people think that a directory is going to bring them lots of visitors (I had a visitor from the DMOZ once), then it's obviously fine to get listed there. It's not something that people have to do though."

Hakia offers a new way of searching: venture beyond 10 blue links

"We have introduced a transparent definition of 'credible Web sites' and the first-ever search experience to find clearly marked search results from credible sites by librarians’ contributions."

Ask.comAsk.com revamps search engine

"In its latest iteration, Ask.com will deliver results not only from the Web, but also from so-called 'structured' sources of data in certain categories like entertainment, health and jobs. The results are intended to deliver faster answers to certain queries."

Google and Yahoo delay ad deal for antitrust review

"The companies have agreed to a brief delay in implementing this agreement to continue our ongoing discussions with the Department of Justice"

SERP-prise! Google experiments with banner ads on results pages

"On the initial evidence it would appear that Google is testing placement more than anything else – certainly not targeting. They may also be examining the quality and nature of data that can be retrieved from an ad like this on a SERP."

Search engine newslets

  • Yahoo News beta tests new design, knows if you get bored easily.
  • A minor update to Live Search homepage.
  • Google to announce third quarter 2008 financial results.
  • Unmarked Google ads.
  • Don't let Google freeze the airwaves.
  • Google News is now available in Poland.
  • Google 'Goliath' Microsoft says.

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3. Success stories

"The results were excellent."

Bryan Cath"I first got IBP to help me optimise an accommodation portal for Exmoor I look after.

From being nowhere on the search engines, we soon found ourselves on the first page for our main keyword phrase.

Then as the weeks went by so we came up the listings for our other keyword phrases. After about 9 months this web site was showing on the first and occasionally the second page for most searches related to Exmoor.

I decided to optimise my other 3 web sites which relate to walking. Again the results were excellent for all of them, including the php database driven one.

I then created a new web site for a small business I started for a lodge in Devon. I uploaded it on 11th January 2008. On 25th January I had a call asking about my lodge. I had not promoted it anywhere so was surprised at this. I asked them where they found out about the lodge and it was my new web site. They told me I was in position 4 for 'luxury lodge accommodation'. I checked and there it was in the organic listings on Google in position 4.

Since then I have optimised about 30 web sites using the business edition of IBP. Once optimised I am getting page 1 positions with 1 week so far on all the sites I have done, nearly all tourism related sites, except one. This site took nearly 7 weeks to do anything which worried me as I was so used to it happening in 1 or 2 weeks. I even changed the domain name to a keyword phrase. That site is now working well.

I now have web designers and businesses asking me to optimise their sites because of my successes.

To be honest most sites I see have so little telling the search engines what the site is selling that it is not surprising that they get no positions in the organic listings. They use Adwords to overcome this. After optimising they can cancel the Adwords campaign.

The tools within IBP save me so much time finding the keywords people are actually typing in to the search engines, the links to and from the site and their competition. I am so confident now with optimising I have to be careful not to promise people the earth with their sites. It has enabled me to generate a new income stream."
Bryan Cath, www.westcountrywalks.co.uk

IBP is now available in a new French version

Jacques Magely of Magely.com has helped us to create a French version of the new IBP 10.3. He has also created a French version of our website at www.iBusinessPromoter.fr.

You can change the language of IBP in the "File" menu in IBP.

Share your success story with us

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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