Wouldn’t it be great if you were able to peer into the future and see exactly how your business could operate IF the one thing you are looking to solve was fixed. Finally, you will be able to see if it did solve all the problems you hoped it would.

So if your sales staff were transformed from OK to super duper – what affect would that have on the amount of new business you would sign up? Or how about if you won that large corporate account you have been chasing for 18 months. Would it really take all the pressure off and make your life as a business owner much more relaxing?

A very capable crystal ball is all most of us ask for; something to let us look into the future and see what life would be like with the solutions we crave for. Fortunately, Google has something similar in their paid advertising solution – Google AdWords.

Applied correctly this service answers the question: How much busier would my business be if my website had more traffic from Google? A derivative of this would be: Once my natural search rankings improve, what will this extra traffic mean for me?

Now I realise that some would argue that a visitor from paid advertising may come with a different view of your business than those finding you within the middle or organic part of Google. But I don’t necessarily agree. Someone looking for a new iPhone is still looking for an iPhone, whatever type of link they click. So if you want to see how much extra business your proposed search engine optimisation efforts are going to produce then start bidding on these search terms in AdWords and see what happens. Your “crystal ball” will present you with one of three outcomes. Firstly the bad news – no lift in sales at all – then slightly better – more sales but a cost per sale that is too expensive to continue and, finally, the good news of extra sales at a cost that makes ongoing investment well worthwhile.

I will deal with the two bad news cases. Both point to issues with poor website conversion compared to your competitors.

Google prices clicks using the open auction method. Companies bid for keywords based on what they are prepared to pay. So if your competitors can buy the clicks at roughly the same cost as you AND make this traffic pay, then all things being equal (products sold, margins achieved, etc) their website must convert at a higher percentage than yours.

Now I know that neither are good news stories; however, finding this out in January after spending $500 with paid advertising is a lot better than the same becoming apparent in May. Especially after spending $600 in content creation per month all to see a top 4 ranking with all the extra traffic this brings but with NO lift in sales as a result.

Failing fast can have its merits. So if you have your heart set on improving your web marketing this year just through the improvement in your natural search rankings, then why not test your theory. Go ahead and buy some of the future and see what it looks like next week.