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Good rankings but poor conversions

12:30 pm on Dec 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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just wanted to rant a little
heres the story, i have a client who has great rankings and lots of visitors in/from google for numerous keywords all of them in the top 5 & 10 results in google two of his main keywords are in the #3 spot now these two keywords are the most searched for for his services and best describes what he offers. the thing is that he keeps complaining that he has no business. (travel related)
i have also used adwords as well but still no buyers. he gets requests but for things he deems not worth the trouble.

im at the end of my nerves rope here!

i know it depends on a number of factors as well, could be his prices, site, better offers from the competition ect.. but i have done my part ranking wise. other than i cant make some one buy his product or services.

opinions or similar situations welcome
9:34 pm on Dec 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Just curious, why did you expect these keywords to convert well? Is this based on previous experience or your client's personal guessing?

Also have you been tracking how Google handles the serps for your keywords? You mention you are in the travel industry, recently Google has been experimenting with displaying Google Hotel Finder at the top of the serps that could siphon away the higher converting traffic. Even if Google does not show their hotel finder, there are many different parts of the universeral serps that could siphon away conversions like local listings.
9:51 pm on Dec 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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these two keywords are the most searched for for his services

Is that across his industry or just for his site? As goodroi implied, not all keywords convert well.

If they are keywords that would normally convert I would check the site itself. Are there clear calls to action? Is the visitor told where to click?

It might pay to have some friends and family go through the entire process, from search through the conversion process.
10:46 pm on Dec 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@htdawg - have you installed Google Analytics and examined the funnel to see where the drop offs occur and looked at other key indicators?

It may give you a clue as to whether it's UI, pricing or something else.
11:18 pm on Dec 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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What type of conversions are these?

Is he selling a direct travel service?

Is he using affiliate widgets (like travelcity...which is horrible BTW)?

Is he using an ad network?

Any chance you can share the RPM and CTR?

If you are using an affiliate for travel...then probably avoid hotel bookings/airlines. I think people just zone out with these and niche industries would do better.

Personally, I have MUCH better results with adsense than I do with affiliate travel services...but each site is different. If you can get a perfect affiliate it can be all worthwhile.

If you go with ads...lot of good stuff you can do. Avoid image ads...google has done internal studies and they've shown that text ads do MUCH better...even if their adsense sales team tries to stuff image ads down your throat. AVOID banners...studies have shown people zone out with these and they're largely obsolete to those in the know.

The key is subtlety...get a nice adsense ad that blends into the background...don't overdo the quantity (I don't have more than one per page). A perfect adsense ad will be tough to distinguish from your main content.

Avoid putting ads into the boiler-plate. I like to put mine below the header of first intro paragraph of text or at the very bottom...I've had surprisingly good conversions by putting ads at the very bottom as a lot of people will scroll to the end of the page just to see what is all about. Plus google won't punish you with 'above the fold' for these.

You might need to revamp your design. Keep things simple...attention is zero-sum. So you if you have one ad on a page with '100 elements' compared to '10 elements', the latter is much more likely to have better conversions. Keep the general colors/design tasteful and muted...maybe even desaturate the colors somewhat. The conversion area should standout without being obnoxious or looking like an ad. Hide the social junk if possible...that doesn't help conversions but is a lot of real estate clutter and competes for a viewer's limited attention.

Can't recommend products per forum policy, but you might check out heat-map services that will tell you where people actually look at.

eg just google: heatmapping conversions .

Part of it may be your site. Certain travel keywords convert WAY better than others...you may have a bad set. Do you know the adword rates for the keywords your targeting (that will give you a general idea of whether you have good real estate or not).

Obviously check the basics (bounce + time on site). If those are off, people probably are probably being turned off before they can even find your ad...so quality content helps.

Try leaving your ads/conversion widgets off of weak pages. I can't prove it, but I think it helps with google search and google adsense not to put ads on pages that don't convert (like contact/disclaimer/about us pages).

For what it is worth, I've followed my own advice and do better than industry RPM average per page.
11:09 am on Dec 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The keywords they find us with are targeted and proven to be searched for according to his stats on google analytics which I have from 2004, His site isnt the most modern but the products/services he has are easily found and have all the info needed. His services are seasonal (spring to fall) and our location (hint my country is in a DEEP recession for the last 3 years) where we offer our services has a role in the decline or hesitation of potential customers actually going through with a purchase. keep in mind that what he offers is expensive its not like its an e-shop. Id like to say exactly what he does so you can have a better understanding but I assume it would be against the rules here.

from his stats what I see is a normal decline in traffic after september until march then it picks up. I just think he like to complain for the heck of it. It just makes me crazy whe he says oh we are #3 instead of #1 do something. I try to explain to him that these things happen and I cant guarantee a #1 position for every phrase. almost all seo companies will claim #1st page rankings but not #1.
11:25 am on Dec 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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With so many that's going on in search at the moment, being #1 is not as critical as it was in the past.

If the traffic is not converting, then that's defintely higher priority than where the site ranks.

No offence but from what you have described, it sounds like you know TOO well about the business which may mean that your view of the site (especially the UI and how well it serves its CUSTOMERS) is biased. It doesn't hurt to get some fresh eyes to take a critical look at the site.

If you are selling expensive stuff, don't expect customers to pay at the first visit. If you can't get them to convert initially, are you setting up mid goals for you to keep them in the loop? For example, are you capturing their email or tel? Have you studied the intent of the keywords and understood where they are in terms of the buying cycle? Do the keywords show that they are not ready to buy yet but are looking for something to help them make the decision? Can you help them if this is the case?

The questions can go on and on and the foremost thing is for you or the owner to accept the fact that the site DOESN'T convert which means there MUST be something wrong with it.
11:43 am on Dec 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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simon my main rant is with client saying I want to be #1 for everything or atleast his main phrases, I tell him I have no control over that but I can try to improve it. But from #3 to #1 I think he is asking for a miracle. Like I said he gets request but not what he wants money wise. If I could explain freely exactly then you could get a better idea.
12:49 pm on Dec 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Interesting, you'd like to be able to explain freely, perhaps put up a url, so that , this thread full of , friendly collegiate SEOs could go have look :)

meanwhile, I can't help but ask,

bearing in mind that you know that a certain analytics supplier has well document entry into all travel business , I presume that you client continues to use that analytics because the analytics suppliers' newly acquired experience and Success in the travel business will help said client
12:54 pm on Dec 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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In travel, if the site is e-com site (rather than affiliate or adsense site), the most searched keywords are information type keywords. The best converting keywords are, however,long tail keywords.

The challenge is that after ranking and getting traffic for most searched keywords (info gathering stage), the site itself is trustworthy and has a good UI/UX so that when visitor is in the buying stage, they return to the same site to buy.

The price, whilst important, is not everything. For expensive and slightly uncertain purchases such as holidays in a country where visitor may not know much about, many would rather pay a bit more to have peace of mind than go for the cheapest deal with less confidence in its supplier.

It seems that your client is failing on this "second step".
9:33 pm on Dec 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Are there any market factors, e.g. seasonal conditions interfering? Issues with availablity? Currency fluctuation? etc etc

These can mess up conversions.
11:48 pm on Dec 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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GWT says my average position has increased from 10-20% on average, and my impressions have increased, but I am seeing much less traffic, especially in Image search.

Did you notice GWT set "web" traffic to be the default data set instead of "all"? Seeing as my image traffic has tanked I find that very interesting.

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