Problem: Our business is seems to be struggling, in the sense that we were receiving over 100 emails a month and now they have drastically dropped to about 25 a month. Our website, from various google searches is receiving at least 500 to 1,000 hits a month, but we don't seem to be able to convert them into enquiries. We have revamped our website as a start, but how else can we turn visits into bookings? James Gill, Brookfield Hotel, Leeds.
Solution: This could be due to recent changes that Google made in their algorithms, known as the Panda update, which calculates the ranking of websites within their search engine. For some businesses this had a dramatic affect on their ranking either by going up or down it, which caused one well known website to lose 90 per cent of their visibility on Google. I suspect in this case, the changes have had an adverse affect on your website too.
On your revamped website it would be worth considering the following points:
Content is still king
Ensure you have the right content and the right mix of keywords within that content as Google still considers this to be key when ranking your website. It is important to think about what a potential customer would like to read on your website and what would be the keywords he or she would use to try and find your business on Google. Once you've decided what those words are, ensure you are using them within the content on your website. Also, ensure that the content itself all makes sense and is readable to the viewer, rather than just having a website page for the sake of it.
Ensure you only build links with other quality websites, one of the things that the Panda update penalises is those websites that have signed up to link building farms that may offer quantity of links, like 500 links, but not in terms of quality. Google considers them low quality links and so now has an adverse affect on website rankings. It is better instead to have a few quality links with other applicable websites and blogs in your industry and via social media platforms.
This is now a key way to promote a business online and potentially reach out to a much wider customer base on the platforms they like to use in their day to day lives. In addition, you can potentially drive high quality traffic to your website via these platforms, which can only help push your website up the search engines over time too. The key platforms are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIN, where you can gain fans, followers, and network connections that can be a mixture of the public and business professionals. These can all act as your referral network too, so over time your fans, followers and network connections will probably know others requiring your services. By reminding them that you are there on a regular constant basis with your updates via these platforms, they are more likely to recommend your business over your competitors. You will also be building trust with them and in turn this should bring long term customer loyalty.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Work with a SEO specialist who knows how to optimise each page in terms of the titles, meta keywords and meta descriptions to best fit your customer market and what that particular page says. This will help optimise your site within Google. Particularly if you submit it to the Google Webmaster program that will crawl the whole of the site and so will know a lot more about every single page rather than just the home page. But it is important to get everything else right first before doing this.
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