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Stop playing cat & mouse with your customers!

So you’re on Google’s page 3? So what. Do your research.

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Allan approached me recently about the possibility of doing some search engine optimization work on his site but said he’d get back to me. He wanted to discuss it with his webmaster to see if they can pull up their position in Google themselves and save cost.

He got back to me today…

“Hi Kathy,

Thank you for the input…we have done a few things to increase our visibility…and we are moving up in the search…we have gotten an increase in our phone calls and we have been asked to do a presentation to the Monterey Bay Professional Wedding Planners group next Tuesday on mediation for their profession (we gave a talk at Next Space so they found that citation on the web).” [It should be noted that the increase in business came from a citation on Next Space’s website.]

It was good to hear his webmaster had made a positive change for them, but as curiosity kills the Kat, I couldn’t help but take a look and then responded with…

“Great, Allan! Any kind of move up is a good sign. You still have a long way to go though, so don’t stop. Keep working on it until you are number one for as many keywords as possible.

Here are some stats you’ll find interesting.

Number 1 position gets 56% of the clicks

2 gets 13.45%

3 = 9.8

4 = 4

and keeps dropping from there.

I got this data from seoresearch.com’s eyetracking analysis.

So, according to keyword research, if you’re not on page one, your site is rarely seen, let alone clicked on. Is that where you are?

Let’s look at your stats. Here’s a little chart I compiled.

mediation santa cruz 28
mediator santa cruz 34
santa cruz mediation 19
santa cruz mediator 27
santa cruz co-mediation 7
santa cruz mediator 27

These are words you told me you want to be optimized for. But as you can see, you’re a long way away from that #1 spot, and quite a climb to even the first page. According to the statistics above, that’s not helping you much.

But maybe those are the keywords you should not be targeting anyway? Do you know?

What about “santa cruz co-mediation”? I see those words on your page. For those words, you come up in position 7 on the first page. That’s more like it, but will anyone search on those words? I don’t know. If “co-mediation” is a buzz word, they probably would. Still, you’re in position 7 and would only get about 3% of the clicks while the Conflict Resolution Center of Santa Cruz – YOUR COMPETITOR – is pulling in 56%. According to the data above, this means they are possibly taking away 56% of YOUR business for those keywords.

But should you really care about those keywords? Which ones should you care about?

Do your keyword research. Don’t waste time on keywords that bring you no value.

A big part of the challenge of SEO is figuring out WHAT keywords your prospects will type in to find you. I’ll say that again. You need to do your keyword research to find the keywords that customers will use to try and find you. And then you want to optimize your site for as many keywords as you can, or at least the top ones, because every keyword you don’t optimize for could be money left on the table.

Let’s take “santa cruz co-mediation” as an example. You may be proud of the fact that you are position 7, but I couldn’t find any data for that keyword phrase, and that means it’s used so seldom, it’s not even making a dent in the charts.

How about “santa cruz landlord-tenant mediation”? You’re in the 7th position on page 1 for those keywords. Change that query slightly to “santa cruz landlord-tenant mediator” and now you are number 2 on page 1.

Sounds good, doesn’t it, but in my keyword research I found that the landlord-tenant mediator is being used so seldom, it’s not even on the charts, while landlord-tenant mediation is being used 320 times a month in the United States. Which would you rather place higher for? The answer is obvious. So a quick fix here would be, perhaps, to swap out the word “mediator” for “mediation,” essentially taking away power from a seldom used phrase and adding it to another.

So what am I trying to tell you here? It’s this. People are different and they all query differently, so it’s important to optimize your site for most of the keywords and keyword phrases that they use if you can.

Currently, it doesn’t look like your site is optimized for the keywords that would bring you the most traffic. And by failing to do that, you are probably leaving a lot of money on the table.

It’s also important to not waste your time on keywords that have very little value for you. You must do keyword research to determine which keywords will bring you the most visitors. That’s number one.

Then don’t forget – until you are number 1, you are missing out on AT LEAST 56% of the clicks (assuming you managed to climb to #2), and 99-100% if you’re not on page 1.

And now can you see why you’re not done with your SEO? It’s actually never done because there is always room for improvement, and always more keywords you can optimize for.

Hope you find this info helpful. Thanks for letting me know and please let me know of further progress! I’d love to hear it.”

So what’s the take-away here?

Allan is on a tight budget with his startup, so he opted to do it in house to save cost, and that is fine. I’m a firm believer in empowering my clients to do it on their own. But I want to see them do it right, and Alan was missing something very important.

He saw progress for one of his keywords, but what he failed to realize was that being on page 3 for one of his most important keywords is just not good enough. Being on page one, position 7, for another keyword phrase may seem better, but even that is still not good enough because few people are even using those keywords!

Allan’s goal should be for that coveted number one position for as many of his keywords as possible, keywords that his research has determined are actually being used by his prospects. It takes time, work, and, if he’s paying a specialist, money, but the return on his investment should be great!

Remember, your potential customers are looking for YOU. Can they find you? If not, they’ve probably found your competitor. And that’s going for broke.


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Kathy (aka Kat) is one of the internet's original Digital Divas and freely shares her expertise in the fields of web design, SEO, Local SEO, social media marketing, content development, PPC, and conversion optimization to help businesses succeed online. Sadly, she's allergic to cats.

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