One of the most essential questions we ask when we start working with a website is, “What do you want your visitors to do?” If you want people to buy things, the actions you take will be different from the actions needed to get people to make a phone call or to tell their friends or to bookmark your site.
We also like to see analytics; if you’ve collected that data, we can tell how your visitors find you and how they behave once they arrive at your website. We can identify people who are confused or see where your content is misleading the search engines and causing them to send you the wrong kind of traffic.
However, there are a lot of things that we can tell about your website just by looking online. We met recently with a scientist who wanted to know about that. For him, and for you if you’re wondering where your SEO professionals are getting the ideas they’re sharing with you, here are some examples:
- A new client of ours has a Twitter account with a dozen tweets a day, all of them looking like ads. We don’t need this client’s special insight into his company to know that his social media isn’t doing its job.
- We’re putting together a proposal for a political organization with a home page that consists of links to articles. No matter what their political orientation, we know that a content management system designed to handle news articles will improve the credibility of their site.
- We’re working right now on an e-commerce company whose current site was clearly written by someone using English as a second language, not a native language. It sounds a lot better than ours would if we tried to write it in their native language, but we can say with confidence that our English will perform better than theirs.
One of the things from Google Camp that stuck in my mind was that all their decisions are made based on what happens online. That’s not true for a lot of our clients. A lot of decisions, we know, are based on what a committee says, or what the marketing department came up with for this year’s theme, or how the CEO’s wife feels about the tagline. Consider diagnosing your online presence on the basis of what’s online.