tuningLast week we had a client come in looking to grow their business. They had done a great job so far, with eight successful years of trading. Nearly all of this was due to their amazing skill of mining their own personal network. This person was the networking star.

However, this network was now exhausted and they wanted more business from outside their region. Naturally, the first place we turned to was Google.

It’s the place where over 95% of New Zealanders start looking for what they want. Thankfully through some keyword research we could see traces of people searching for what this client offered. The bad news, however, was that after reviewing their website we could see it was just not ready for more traffic from this type of visitor.

So what makes a Google visitor so different from the rest? And why, compared to their own personal network of visitors, would these visitors most likely fail to convert? Here are just four points of difference as I see them.

#1 They are comparing you to others.

Just think, how many search results do you click on when using Google? I would hazard a guess it’s more than one. Possibly two and, if you are really casting your net wide, it may be four or more. You enter each website looking for the same thing and mentally classify what you see compared to what you have seen before.

For instance, lets say you are looking for an architect to build your dream home on Waiheke Island. You Google “architect auckland” and find four results that look interesting. Clicking on each you ponder what they offer. You expect pictures of beautiful houses and guess what – that’s what you see. If there are no pictures, or very few, or pictures of commercial properties in Wellington, then the site is most likely dropped from the list. You are actively filtering out rather than filtering in.

As I mentioned before, you are comparing what you see to what you have already seen. If they all look the same, say the same and appear the same, then the process has failed. How can you pick a few and move forward in your quest if they all look the same?

This was exactly what we noticed when we compared our client’s website with that of their competitors’. It provided exactly the same type of content – displayed in a very similar way – all with very similar wording. There was no clandestine work here – just people naturally marketing the way their market markets. Easy for them, but no help for those comparing souls who come from Google.

point of difference#2 They are looking for a point of difference

This leads to the logical next step. Google searchers are actively looking for a point of difference in the results they see. They want to end their search – the sooner the better. This search for a difference is something you probably have experienced yourself.

For instance, last night I was looking to buy the CD of Season 5 of Breaking Bad. Claire and I are addicted to this series (sorry, pun not intended) and were close to finishing Season 4. The laptop was upstairs so I hopped onto my phone, Googled the CD and found three NZ websites that showed in the search results. Two were the same price and cheaper than the third.

The one that got the sale did so because they told me in small type that if I ordered then and there I would receive it the next day. A minute later we had the CD ordered and were back to watching the final episode of Season 4.  The other cheaper site could well have provided the same delivery but didn’t mention it on their product page so missed out. The one that got the sale made my life so much easier – they provided an obvious way to compare the two.

Price and delivery – easy parameters for e-commerce websites to help you filter out the good from the not so good. But what about services? How do you differentiate amongst architects, designers, plumbers, accountants and, say, online marketing agencies?

I asked the same of my client as they sat across the table in our boardroom. What made them different from their competitors?

They had no reply.

To be fair, up to this point they hadn’t needed an answer. Their network had never asked the same question because the difference was plain to see. It was them. Yep, the person was engaging, asked the right questions and helped their customers get what they wanted. But these Google visitors are hard souls. They had never met the person before. All they had was a collection of text and pictures to build their opinion. They were actively looking for a point of difference to make their search so much easier. And nothing was there.

#3 They are moving at speed

OK, so you bounce off Google into a search result. How fast are you going? Slow, medium or fast as you click, scroll and click again. From what we see in our client’s Google Analytics accounts, these visits can take between 25 seconds and five minutes, depending on the quality of the site and the product or service on offer.

I always suggest you imagine your Google visitor being on a particular mission and moving at pace. What gets in their way is not good. So a slow moving website caused by massive images and / or a hosting system that just can’t keep up is a bad thing.

Ever thought why Google Analytics has a whole bunch of reports that reveal the speed of a website and the possible reasons for it? It’s because slow moving websites turn off searchers and place them back to Google.


#4 They are looking to be “sold” the next step.

This is especially important for services. To continue my analogy of building a new house on Waiheke Island, what’s the next step when looking for an architect? My guess would be a brief phone call and then possibly a visit to their studio to have an initial chat about “stuff”.

Even though this makes sense, not having done this before I would feel a bit intimidated about taking this step. I could assume they will probably ask questions that I have no answers for and therefore feel just a tad dumb through the whole process. Not a nice feeling. So the step needs to be “sold” with this in mind.

There was no “next step” on our client’s site
other than a form on their Contact Us page that asked for a dozen pieces of personal information. A cold and impersonal way to promote making contact with a business that operates in stark contrast to these themes.

To wrap up, I hope these short notes help you see Google visitors in a different light to how you had before. This is not an easy visitor to convert. Their demands are hard to meet and their expectations are high. However, once your website is correctly “tuned” to deal with their needs and able to convince them to take the next step, you then have a business that will grow as fast as you want it.

Permission has been successfully “tuning” websites for the Google visitor since 2002. Why not call us today to hear our views on your website?