And other website marketing practices you’re doing wrong
By Robyn Johnson
“You must have a clear strategy for your web presence at all times.” This is according to Philippa Gamse, a web strategist pion
eer since 1991. The following are her tips and tricks to planning your web strategy using Search Engine Optimization, blog writing and best practices for benchmarks to look out for.
Search engine rankings don’t matter. Of course, your first reaction is to reply back with, “well of course they do.” Everybody wants to be number one in search engines, for all their keywords. But what if you are fixated on the wrong keywords? “We need to focus on which keywords are really generating the leads when people use a certain key phrase,” says Gamse. “Those key phrases can actually produce a better lead or a better result than the other key phrases and keywords.”
A client is working the key phrase “enterprise data warehousing” and “data warehousing.” Both are really similar. But when looking at the analytics of both, the people who are looking for “enterprise data warehousing” are far more qualified visitors. They were down the decision path farther and knew much more about what they wanted. The people just looking at “data warehousing” were much more tire kickers.
“Specific phrases are where there is less competition,” says Gamse. “So you end up with fewer visitors to your website, but the conversion rates go up.” To go back to the original statement of “search engine rankings don’t matter,” only the rankings that matter are important. The important thing to know is which ones do matter and which ones don’t.
Everything Should Have a Strategy
It is essential these days to have a web presence, especially with the existence of social media. “Your web presence, including your social media, has to have a purpose,” says Gamse. Everything that you do should have its own strategy, including every page of your website. A lot of time people see an inside page or pages of your site—they don’t even see the home page. They may not see the overall presentation; they may just see a piece of it. The goal is to fulfill the visitors’ needs and meet their expectations, but make sure there is a clear direction for the visitor to follow. If the direction is unclear, people will veer off in all sorts of different actions.
“We used to say blogs actually stood for ‘Better Listings on Google,’” says Gamse. “When you write your blog, you are writing about your stuff; you are writing with keywords by default because you are writing about your own area of expertise or your product.” Blogs are a major generator of traffic because the phrase that you might come up with actually happens to be something that somebody is looking for. A blog can be compared to what should logically be happening with each web page. Because a blog is smaller than a normal website and you are talking about a specific subject, you can explore that as best you can. Often this is not the case. Marketers frequently take wrong turns and throw all sorts of things onto a page. They wind up confusing the audience, maybe even turning the audience away.
Beware of Benchmarking and Best Practices
When you start to use benchmarks and best practices for websites and social media, you have to know what the typical conversion rates or sign-up rates, etc. might be. “Make sure that you are comparing apples to apples,” says Gamse. This is difficult to do, because if you are comparing how well your website performs against another website, you may not know what that other website is doing to attract quality traffic. “Website ‘X’ might have a ton of traffic that may take one look at what they have to offer and walk away. So which is better? Having a high number of visitors to your website? Or having fewer visitors that are more qualified?” When benchmarking, you must know what you are comparing for it to have any validity.
Benchmark against Yourself
The best way to benchmark is to benchmark against you. “In the beginning, you need to know what you want to do, and here is what I want to achieve,” says Gamse. “Set some sort of goal, and take some baseline measurements.” The more you keep measuring your performance against your own baseline measurements, the more you will see if what you are doing is helping.
LISTEN to the complete interview with Philippa Gamse on Expert Access Radio.
For more information, go to Philippa Gamse’s website.