Every local business owner wants to outperform their competitors, especially on Google Search. But, how do you get your webpages ranked in the top spots — AND — above average website conversions?
A Quick Disclaimer.
Let’s face it — running a local business is fiercely competitive.
So, I’ve anonymized my client in this story — and — refuse to work with another child psychology service in the Toronto area.
Because my ethos for business follows the words of Peter Cooper:
I have always recognised that the object of business is to make money in an honourable manner. I have endeavoured that the object of life is to do good.
when we if we worked on a project together. Then, after all we did, I go help all the competitors in your area.
What a scam that would be! But, I guess that’s not illegal, right?
The point is — I’m loyal to my clients and take pride in the creative work we do together.
- This was my first big project that included: SEO strategy, messaging, and WordPress design.
- I got to work with two brilliant people that knew exactly what they wanted and understand the creative process to get it.
- Their results continue to climb year after year with minimal effort, input, or budget.
Read that again, except focus only on the bolded text.
Did you do it? Great!
Now you can continue with the story about a local psychology service with above average website conversions — or, skip it and let’s chat about what your website can do.
It was late-2018, I was hungry to get into the digital marketing game. I had just launched the pre-mature version of BuildAnOnlineBusiness.ca while relying on Upwork to kickstart my agency.
That’s when I stumbled on a project that was originally looking for a website copywriter but quickly turned into a full-blown WordPress build. Yee ha!
We exchanged messages throughout the day, until:
In response, I proposed the following 3 phase project:
- Messaging & Website Development — This included a premium WordPress website with relevant messaging aimed at making sense for Google and people in search of a psychologist.
- SEM & Content Marketing. This included a carefully curated blog with content that establishes trust and a gateway to learning more about their services.
- Evaluation, Analysis & Optimization. This included a full revision of their website, along with any updates to improve web traffic, quality of visitors, and conversions.
Then, it was time to get started.
Since this was the start of a new project, we didn’t have any average website conversions or past data to work with.
While negotiating the project, I talked with the clinical director (who needed the website) and her husband (who was guiding the creative process).
I will never forget the moment when the clinical director said to me:
Jef — we want to be on the first page of Google. Can you do that for us?
It might have been pure stupidity, youthful naivety, or both — but — my impulse answer was: yes, absoltely!
I took on the challenge to help this local business get to the first pages of Google, and, here’s how I did it.
Success in website marketing comes down to:
- Knowing your customer (or in this case, clients)
- Simple messages (i.e., short words, short sentences, and short phrases)
- Ease of use (i.e., getting to where you need to go quickly and pain-free)
It sounds simple in theory — but putting it all together in a 2 to 3 week window is a whole other story.
Knowing your customer
Every business owner is the true expert at what they do and who they do it for.
What I do is extract their knowledge to conduct perform my own research — but again — its all based on their original thoughts, past data, and future projections.
Here are a few things I do to ensure I get things right:
- Competitive research — Find the top 3 to 5 websites in your niche and ask yourself what are they doing right? What makes their website successful? Which elements are working and why? How can I apply this to my website?
- Search analysis — It can be as simple as using Google Keyword Planner to get an idea of what keywords and phrases people are actually using to find a solution to problems. Another indicator are the keywords being bought for to send paid traffic to websites.
- Reading reviews — Reviews are a goldmine for public opinions about a business. You can learn a lot about the language people use, what gets them excited, and things to avoid to ensure your business is presented in the best light.
Fortunately, my client came prepared with an extensive brief that outlined information about their clients and key details about their services.
My career in online marketing started as a copywriter — so — if there’s one key takeaway for you, it’s this:
Knowing how to communicate your value — in the simplest way — eliminates confusion. Otherwise, you’re only creating frustration that gives a competitor your newly lost customer.
Although copywriting is a complex and creative process — there are a few elements that help with your average website conversions:
- Headlines — Should be snappy yet information, enticing but truthful.
- Call to actions (CTAs) — Should be as straightforward as “Sign Up”
- Tone — Should reflect the language and feeling that people use
When it came to writing web copy for a psychology service, we went with:
- A simple, heartfelt welcome message — e.g., How can we help you?
- A single word headline — e.g., Assessments
- A question related to the headline — e.g., Does your child struggle with school work, communication, anxiety or depression?
- A helpful follow up — e.g., Our team can help you understand the cognitive, academic, developmental, social, emotional, and behavioural needs through a comprehensive assessment. Recommendations to support areas of need will be identified and implemented.
- An easy-to-follow CTA — e.g., Learn More
We applied this messaging approach to the home page and used the services pages to elaborate in more detail.
Ease of Use
When it comes to websites, you must be able to provide answers in a way that allows people to navigate to the right destination quickly and pain-free.
First impressions are important — but so is your ability to connect the dots between a problem and your solution.
So, are you supposed to do that with a website?
First, take a good hard look at this:
What’s your feeling right now? I bet it’s the same as that cartoon boy.
Websites like this are cognitively overwhelming and cause people to leave because it’s nearly impossible to find what they need.
But guess what?
After reviewing many of my client’s competitor websites — that’s what we were up against.
So, we built a modern WordPress website that not only looked good but also revolved entirely around two pages: contact us and schedule an appointment.
There were two key differences with these pages:
- Contact us — Offered all the standard ways to reach their office (i.e., phone number, address, and email)
- Schedule an appointment — Provided a distraction-free place (with an upfront privacy disclaimer) so people can fill out a form with confidence
I call this funnel logic, and, I believe that what helped to achieve above average website conversions.
But wait, let’s not forget — SEO
SEO is a strange topic and often difficult to explain to people because SEO is a complex and forever-changing game.
Plus, when it comes to your average website conversions — SEO is usually a variable that can require a lot of invisible tweaks to get tings just right.
Let me explain.
This case study is written with the focus keywords of: above average website conversions.
I use a plugin called RankMath to gain insights and tips to improve my SEO score.
Then, I add snippets of code and text to ensure this piece of content has the best chance of getting ranked.
- I upload an image to use in my content
- I use RankMath for tips and hints on improving my SEO score
- I add an alt tag with my target keyword
But that’s not all…
Google is changing all the time.
Before, you could stuff a page with a keyword and it would be chosen first because, well, that’s how sh*tty the search engine was back in the day.
Things are different now.
hopes expects you to have:
- High-quality, original and helpful content
- Lightening-fast page speeds
- Quality backlinks (yes, its a popularity content)
- And, the list goes on and on and on
Hey — this story is now 1443 when you reach the end of this sentence.
If you’ve read everything up until this moment:
You. Are. Legendary.
But, let’s not go into the hardcore details of SEO and move along to the part we’ve all been waiting for…
Do you remember the clinical director’s challenge for me?
Get my website on the first page of Google.
Well, after the site went live there was a bit of disappointment.
Jef, why isn’t my website on the first page of Google?
Websites need time for Google to notice them and sort through the content, code, and creative elements.
In the end, here’s a few charts and graphs pulled from Google Search Console:
7-Day Website Performance in Google
SUMMARY OF STATS
- Total weekly clicks — 107
- Total weekly impressions — 2.67K
- Avg. weekly CTR — 4%
- Avg. weekly position — 31.7
500-Day Website Performance in Google
SUMMARY OF STATS
- Total clicks — 4.43K
- Total impressions — 202K
- Avg. CTR — 2.2%
- Avg. position — 37.8
Top 4 Performing Web Pages
SUMMARY OF STATS
- Homepage — 1,854 clicks and 72,935 impressions
- Service 1 — 289 clicks and 21,376 impressions
- Service 2 — 164 clicks and 18,254 impressions
- Service 3 — 226 clicks and 15,492 impressions
Where’s the above average website conversions?
Let’s quickly define what is a website conversion rate.
Here’s a simple formula:
(#) conversions / (#) of website sessions = (%) Website Conversion Rate
This metric is useful because it shows you how well optimized your website is and provides insights on potential opportunities for more sales.
In general, a higher conversion rate means:
- Your website is attracting the right audience for your product/service.
- Your messaging/calls to action/design/etc. resonate with your audience.
- Your user journey is easy, intuitive, and more compelling.
Wanna see how my client’s website is doing?
According to Ruler Analytics, the average website conversions for healthcare is 6% and professional services is 8%:
When it comes to filling out forms, average form rates for healthcare is +3% and professional services is +7%:
In case you’re wondering — I no longer provide services for this client and here’s why:
Overall, the site has delivered on the objectives we set out for phase 1. There’s the question that we can be doing more in terms of driving traffic and increasing conversions. However, the Clinical Director is soo swamped she can’t handle more flows.
Think we can do the same for the online-side of your business?
When it comes to building a WordPress website for a local business — competition can be thin.
- SEO is often overlooked and ignored — maybe it’s too difficult to comprehend and calculate a tangible ROI?
- Budgets tend forget the long game and prefer to penny-pinch on short-term wins — better luck on the stock exchange, my friend!
- Many websites are outdates and don’t use a WebOps approach — i.e., it lacks an multidisciplinary strategy that involves marketing, messaging, data, and design.
Improve revenue, growth and average website conversions with:
- Customized strategy built from your business data.
- Relevant messaging that get people excited.
- Rapid updates that respond to market trends.
- Optimization for both people and search engines.