If I Have Good SEO, Why Isn’t My Phone Ringing?

When it comes to your company’s website, you’ve done all the right things to increase traffic. You’ve added keywords, you’ve created strategic page titles, and you’ve plugged in some good search engine descriptions. You then took your game to the next level, wowing your boss with the launch of a Google Ads campaign.

And for while it looked like your hard work was paying off. After all, your site traffic has been climbing a little bit ever since you started focusing on SEO (search engine optimization), and you’ve noticed some improvement in your search rankings. And you even picked up a few more fans on your Facebook page.

But now it’s three months later, and the sales team says their phones really aren’t ringing any louder. And truth be told, your general e-mail inbox really isn’t any busier than it used to be. What gives?

Many business owners and marketing professionals believe that the purpose of SEO is “to get the phone ringing” (lead generation), or to “get more customers” (conversion). And to a certain extent they are correct. Good SEO strategy does indeed play a starring role in the effort to generate leads and then convert them into customers. But it’s important to remember that the first goal of SEO is traffic – the driving of visitors to your website. It’s not at all uncommon for a business to have a pretty fair amount of website traffic while still experiencing an unsatisfying amount of inquiries or conversions. When that happens, it doesn’t mean that it’s time to pull the plug on your SEO efforts. It means it’s time to re-evaluate your tactics.

In an era where do-it-yourself marketing technologies are plentiful, many businesses assume that marketing tactics like SEO or SEM (search engine marketing) can be handled by the company’s marketing or technology manager, even though neither one of them has background in this area. But the fact is that effective SEO and SEM campaigns require management by someone with an extensive amount of knowledge and experience – and they also require constant evaluation and fine tuning.

Let’s take the example we started with. Your company’s website’s been subject to some degree of optimization, but there’s been no corresponding increase in lead generation or conversions. Right off the bat, an experienced SEO provider will know that we need to look at these three areas (and that’s just for starters):

Qualified Traffic
Smart SEO and SEM doesn’t just drive traffic, it drives the right kind of traffic. If a big chunk of your website visitors fall outside of the psycho-demographics of your best customer profiles, you’ll have a hard time increasing your conversion rates, even if your traffic is pretty high. It’s kind of like having a recall election petition with a million voter signatures—but 70% of them live out of state are therefore ineligible to vote in the election. Those voters aren’t really going to do the campaign much good on Election Day.

Compelling Content
Even if you’re driving qualified visitors to your site, they’re not going to convert if your website content and overall messaging doesn’t address your prospect’s “buy buttons.” Taking a fresh look at your highest-ranking pages. How well do they tell your brand’s story? Are the features and benefits of your products clearly communicated? Are there important website pages that don’t rank high for traffic and need to be re-structured?

User Experience
Part of the SEM/SEO process involves an ongoing analysis of the paths to conversion. In other words, if a customer is ready to purchase or to pick up the phone, your website should make it very easy for her to do so. If it doesn’t, it’s time to identify the barriers to conversion that need to be addressed. Lastly, you’ll need to take a look at your buy buttons or calls to action. Are there enough of them – and are they strategically placed?

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