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Am I in the right place?

When somebody visits your website, they’re probably looking at it because they want some information about your company, or somebody has told them it’s a site where they might find out information about a certain product. (That somebody could be a search engine, of course). The first question they will ask, consciously or otherwise, is this: “Am I in the right place?”

It’s generally thought that you have four seconds to get this information over, before they reach for the back button.

Just four seconds.

Count ’em.

Now, if they’re looking for your company website, and you can’t tell them they’re in the right place in four seconds, I’d like to see the site. Maybe it’s one of those sites which starts with a Flash movie, and all you see is “Loading…” for the first few moments. But I haven’t come across one of those for a long time.

No, the pages which might give you trouble are more likely to be the product-related ones. Go to your website analytics and look up the non-company-name searches sending most people to your site (e.g “blue widgets”). Type those into Google, find your result, and click through. Bearing in mind what the search was, does the landing page (which might be the home page) say: “You’re in the right place”? If not, you have a job to do.

I’ve been using this technique on our own company website recently. For example, I was aware that we were the top result on Google for the search “adwords management industrial company“. Even better, Google often didn’t take people to our home page, but to our page about Google Adwords management. Yet despite us knowing that this search was bringing in visits, until recently we’d buried any mention of “industrial companies” down the page. Oops. Did we confirm to people looking for Adwords management for industrial companies within four seconds that they’d come to the right place? We did not. Big mistake.

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