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Don’t give Google search credit where it’s not due

Yesterday I mentioned how Google search becomes more comprehensible if we consider it as a huge set of static web pages, prepared in advance. A set which is so big that it always happens to contain the results page we want.

It would be a mistake, however, to consider the people accessing those pages to be solely trying to find out something they may not know – including your sales prospects. Most of us conveniently try not to think about the huge mismatch between the thousands of website visits which Google sends us every month and the handful of new sales leads we get.

The reality is that the bulk of people visiting our websites are not sales prospects. Some will be welcome, such as existing customers or even our own company staff accessing information. At the other extreme, many others will be people who were wrong in thinking our site might have what they wanted, or who clicked on something in error.

Google has as big a proportion of non-prospects as any other source – probably bigger. People just use it as an index page nowadays. If you want to reach my company’s website, you could look up the domain name, guess it, or just type ‘bmon’ into Google (probably via your address bar). I bet you’d do the last of these, and so would 99% of people.

So when you look at your website analytics, and it seems that nothing matters other than Google search, be careful. Sure, it may send 50% to 90% of all your traffic, but most of this will be non-prospects. I’d bet other sources of traffic (including advertising) have a far higher percentage of eventual sales enquiries.

Also remember that even the eventual prospects which come from Google search won’t all be ones which started there. Most people who see your name in a magazine or who meet you at an exhibition will then type it into Google, so you need to work out where the credit is really due.