How to tell if Google is sending you useful traffic (or when your rankings are just ego boosters)

On occasion I will jump into Facebook business groups and say something like this:

Hey guys, I run a digital marketing agency specialising in bringing more people to your website and converting more of those visitors into sales / customers / clients. Got a bit of spare time, so I thought I’d see if anyone wanted some free advice. If you do, let me know your website URL, what keywords you’d like to be more visible for, and I’ll give you some tips on what you need to do.

Usually that’s met with a bunch of enthusiastic responses.

Inevitably though there’s the occasional snooty response from someone who is “already ranking really well” without “having done much at all”, and who thinks “this whole SEO thing is easy” at best, or most likely a money-making scam at worst (it’s not if you go with a reputable agency who gets real results).

I’ve tried before to ask whether those people are getting traffic from their rankings. And if so, how much. But they’re usually not interested.

So I just shake my head and move on.


Because a number of reasons:

a.) There’s a thing called a Google bubble. It basically means you aren’t necessarily seeing what everyone else will because of your search history, location, connection to business properties through google accounts etc.
b.) Organic search traffic is one of the most powerful tools in your toolkit if you make it work for you, and;
c.) Just because your website is ranking for something — anything — doesn’t mean it will bring you any results…

It’s not their fault though. Not totally. It’s partly due to dodgy “first page on Google” companies who spam you day in and day out. Here’s why:

The other day a friend who runs his own business contacted me.

He was thinking about a new marketing campaign and wanted my advice on if he should go with a company who had emailed him out of the blue (addressed to ‘Dear business owner’ or some derivative no doubt) to offer him a $600 SEO plan to cover him six months.

They even had “top rankings” they’d sent him to prove their results.

I said no. Because their proof was actually useless.

In this video I explain why…

But first, a time saving tip:

Life is crazy busy and your time is valuable, so I don’t want to waste it.

For that reason I added a kind of contents below the video with time stamps. That way you can watch the bits you’re interested in and skip everything else.

If you want to watch the whole thing though, here’s a tip to make it lots quicker:

On the youtube video, click on the little cog icon in the bottom right hand corner. In the pop up, choose “Speed”, then in the Speed options choose 1.5 times or 2 times faster.

It’s kind of like speed reading for video. You’ll be surprised how good your retention of info is even at double speed (and no, it won’t make me sound like a chipmunk..)!

What’s covered in the video

  • 0.00 – Intro to video
  • 2.35 – Google bubbling (why what you see in Google can be different to what everyone else can see)
  • 5.30 – Using Google analytics to see if you’re actually getting traffic
  • 8.00 – Using free rank tracking software to get an unbiased view of where your site is ranking
  • 9.50 – Using a private window in Firefox to check search results with less Google bubbling
  • 10.30 – How to tell if search terms have commercial intent (and therefore can be monetised)
  • 12.30 – How not to get duped by useless ranking “proof”
  • 14.45 – How to tell if keywords (what you put into Google when looking for a product or service) are getting any searches at all using Google keyword planner and KW Finder and why that’s important.

Things I messed up and / or forgot

Here’s some total honesty for you 🙂

I was getting so into making videos that I forgot that I’d made a mindmap with talking points to use as the structure of the video. There were a few points on the mindmap I forgot to mention. I’ll list them out then give you a rundown on each of them below.

If you’d like to download the mindmap for the Digital Marketing Basics series for reference I’ve turned it into a .jpeg for you. Click here to get it.

Does your content match user search intent

There’s a thing in marketing called ‘scent’. It’s kind of a weird term, but it makes sense when you think about it…

Ever had a time when you clicked through to a website from organic search results or an ad and there’s something fishy about the site you landed on?

It’s obvious it’s not legit or isn’t going to serve your needs. Or worse, might be trying to scam you or harvest your details for nefarious means.

Don’t be that site.

Instead, make sure there is consistency and congruency in your marketing copy, your ad copy and creatives (text and pictures), your calls to action and your offers. The path from visibility in ads or search results to website landing page to sale should be clean and clear and the ‘scent’ should remain the same throughout the entire process. If it doesn’t you’ll kill trust and your potential customer will go somewhere else.

Clear and strong CTAs / Are you easy to contact?

It should be really obvious on your website what you want people to do. They should be able to take action to contact you, fill out a booking form, or whatever action you want them to take without having to think about it. With as little friction as possible.

I went into a lot of detail in this on the video about making quick changes that can improve your website conversions in a big way, so I won’t say it again here. If you enjoyed the above video you’ll like this one even more.

Do you have goals or a tracking number set up on your website?

Never heard of goals or tracking numbers. They’re vital to a solid marketing campaign!

Basically you need to be able to track your conversions. Where are they coming from (what keywords, and from where on your site)? How much is it costing you to get an enquiry? How many visitors does it take to convert? Setting up goals in Google analytics and tracking numbers help you do that.

There’s lots of nuances to using tracking numbers. If you’re interested to learn more, talk to us about it.

Goals are easy to set up though as long as you have a Google Analytics account.

There’s a pretty good walkthrough with screenshots of how to create goals here. Check it out, set them up, and start getting really useful data for your marketing campaigns!

Other digital marketing basics videos

This article is one of a series of four Trust Metric Digital Marketing Basics video walkthroughs. Links to the other videos can be found below:

They’re designed to give you a headstart on marketing your own business, or to help you to understand some of what’s involved if you’re looking at outsourcing your marketing to an agency / expert.

If you want to shortcut the process and get real visibility for terms with solid commercial intent for your website and business, then let’s talk.

Use the button below, fill out the application form, and we’ll be in touch soon!


Links mentioned in the video walkthrough:
KW Finder
Google Keyword Planner
Google Analytics
Pro Rank Tracker – info on accurately checking links

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