Let’s be fair to the social networking websites like Facebook or MySpace – there is still some revenue coming in from these website. This remains true, which is why people still invest in putting ads in these websites even though conversion rates are low.
Marketing goods and services through Google Adwords cost dollars – real money, especially for smaller websites. But the same service is offered by social networking websites at a much, much smaller rate. The discrepancy is huge enough to be felt by anyone – five cents as compared to the dollars you spend on Google Adwords.
There are two camps here: the ones who hails “real” statistics and those who are looking at conversion rates, bounce rates and the like. The champions of “clicks” say that the more clicks you have (or the more visitors you have) means you’re already “made” and the optimization is successful. The other camp is saying “thousands of visitors looking at a dancing ostrich in your website is useless.”
There is a grain of truth in both of these parties. Indeed, you need traffic to your site. Nevertheless, this traffic has to have high conversion rates, to create revenue. Ultimately, revenue is the objective of search engine optimization.
Ads are messages
Ads that lead back to your website carry with them an unsaid message “Buy! Buy! Buy!” Even if your ads say “Play Free Game” or “Get Free Screensaver”, the real message is that you want people to buy products or services from your website. If you’re selling an online e-zine, you want people to sign up for your e-zine. If you’re selling Nike shoes, you want people to buy your shoes. If you’re selling imitation watches, you want people to go ahead and pick one or two from your website.
But what if something else happens between the clicking of your ad and your landing page?
Take the case of a custom PC online store, which has a “geek’s blog” page that draws in some of the visitors to the site. The idea is that the issues on the blog would make the site a known “brand”. But the opposite happened: one day, thousands of visitors did come to the website to look a particular blog entry. But none was converted into sales.
This is bad enough, but people were vocal about how they found the website. Everything from the blog entry to the website design was mercilessly criticized. Now the owner of the website is wondering whether this was a good thing or a very bad thing. Given, the “statistics” was good- some websites reach only this figure after a few years. But where is the revenue? Where is the profit from all those clicks?
The answer is: nowhere to be found. The website has attracted the wrong kind of traffic. Instead of drawing in visitor who wanted to buy computer parts or would order custom pc assemblages, the website drew in a host of individuals, from tech-savvy teenagers to serious-minded webmasters with the same business who were simply interested in that one blog post.
This means that the website existed as a blog to many people, and not a custom PC store! Depressing, but this marks how much work still has to be done. SEO is not playing around with keywords- it’s serious business, and has to be carefully executed from day one.