Many people come online and see the potential of the Internet for business, and I think that’s especially true if they own a brick and mortar store already. But what those of you who have brick and mortar-type stores need to know is that doing business online is completely different from doing it person-to-person.
The relationship you form with your potential customers is more general in most cases. I mean, you don’t always speak with your customer, especially if you have an e-commerce site that’s cranking out sales. So, we have to look at them as a group. We don’t know what Mr Smith wants, but we know what most of the people in a group, who also enjoyed our products like Mr. Smith, want and don’t want.
And you need to figure these things out:
- What do my customers want?
- What are my more successful online competitors doing that I’m not doing?
- Where can I find a hole in my process and patch it up?
- Where can I find a golden nugget of data that will propel my business forward?
So, how do you do that?
Yes, people… I’m talking stats
Some folks get really nervous when it comes to stats because working with them usually involves setting up goals in Google Analytics and to people without tech backgrounds, the process can seem mind boggling. It just seems like a lot of frustration and a lot of work!
OK, it is more work, but more work on things that matter will mean more income down the road. That kind of activity, instead of messing around all day on social media (which, don’t get me wrong, has its place), will take your business further. Not tracking what’s going on in your website means you’re losing business.
DIY – Probably not
A lot of companies, especially one-person companies, feel that they have to do this tech work themselves, and it is good for a webmaster to know just rudimentary HTML. But you really don’t have to do it all yourself. I don’t. Some services are even free.
But to me, paying for a powerful service that gives you the stats you need is well worth the expense.
Think of it this way: How much are you willing to earn as pay, per hour? Let’s say you believe that your expertise is realistically worth $100 an hour. If it takes you 8 hours to learn a process and 2 more to implement it, we’re talking $1,000 in time. And yet, you can pay under $100 for something that’s instantly available with no extra work on your part.
Where to Get Help
Let’s get free services out of the way. I have used SearchMetrics.com, MajesticSEO.com, and SEOBook.com at one time or another. The free stats you can get from each of those sites are great for free stats. But they only give you so much, and then, if you want to see all of the data, you still have to pay. To me, it’s not a question of paying or not paying, but of how much I’m going to pay for the best set of stats I can get.
If you want to cut through the crap, and get right to the heart of things, I’m guessing there’s a program online that will help you to get the information you want. Since I’m in the SEO niche and my clients are primarily SEO clients, one company I have used for several years is SEMRush. Yet, the stats you can get from this site will help any business owner.
I first became acquainted with what they do because of a plugin for Firefox browsers called “SEOQuake,” which gives you preliminary information you may want to see when quickly evaluating a page for SEO strength. Using the plugin, I can tell the what the page rank of the page is, the number of indexed pages it has, and how many links back at Google, Yahoo, and Bing along with other stats. It’s great, it’s free, and you can get it for Chrome now, too
But the company’s more in-depth stats website is SEMRush.com
One of the things I do there is to find keywords that people are typing into a search bar to get to the client’s site. If we’re not ranking highly for the keyword, it has significant traffic, and it’s 100% appropriate to the niche and the business, I will work on using that keyword more in the writing we do for them.
What SEM Rush Does for Me
But there’s a ton of great data you can get from the site from Google and Bing. You can find out which keywords your pages are ranking for and in what positions. (This is more important to clients, generally, than me. I’m concerned about the traffic we’re bringing in, whether it converts, and if the keywords are relevant to the niche. But I still have to report data to my clients that they’re most interested in seeing. So… I do.)
I look at paid keyword data, past pay-per-click ads, and everything that’s available to me, even though we don’t specialize in SEM (search engine marketing, usually associated with paid advertising).
For example, we all know that backlinks are still important to search engines. SEMRush tells you not only how many you have, but where they are and whether the link is do follow or no follow. You can see the number of domains linking in to your site and the anchor text (words that are hyperlinked).
You can cross-check with Analytics to see if your backlinks are bringing in any traffic and if they are, you may want to consider advertising on the websites or perhaps, joint venturing.
Recently, SEMRush included the ability to see what other Facebook advertisers are doing and to get stats on the ads you’re running yourself. Get ideas for new ads, and see what keywords your competitors are using to get more impressions.
You can do keyword research at SEMRush.com, too. Though, I advise using a set of tools, rather than only one. Still, it’s a good place to start or end. I really enjoy what I find out about my own websites and my clients’ sites, every time I log in, which is every day.
Stats just help me to help my clients, and I work with several sets of data to get to the heart of any important find. I’m not just concerned that clients improve in search, which is our main objective, but with stats, I’m often able to point out areas that may be in trouble or that may be doing so well that they need to be better exploited and I pass that data along.
Stats really can make a difference, if you’re paying attention. You never know what kind of an epiphany you might have! One simple thought could transform your whole outlook on what your business could be doing better or more of and literally, make you much more money. Isn’t that what it’s all about?