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Conversion Rate Related To Search Engine Ranking?
Posted 06 January 2006 - 06:44 PM
On the other hand, for people who "shop around", the #1 ranked site is the first place they shop. A visitor may not be educated or ready to buy until they have visited several sites. By the time they are ready to buy, they may have completely forgotten about the top ranked site and instead bought from the #8 or #15 ranked site. Shopper's fatigue comes into play also. Personally, I hate shopping and comparing, but I feel like I have to do it or I won't get the best deal. So I will shop around for awhile, but I can't come to a decision. Eventually I get tired of shopping and say, "I really don't care if I get a bad deal, I'm getting this over with." Then I buy the product at whatever website I'm looking at, even if I had encountered a better deal or a more trustworthy site earlier in my shopping session.
I wonder if #1 ranked sites are often used as a launching pad for a shopping session - only the starting point. If that is the case, I would expect a lower converstion rate than the lower ranked sites. After a customer has visited the #1, #2, and #3 ranked sites, they will be better educated about the product and be closer to coming to a decision to buy by the time they visit the #4 ranked site. So I would expect the #4 ranked site to have a better conversion rate.
Has anybody done any research on how ranking effects conversion rate?
Posted 06 January 2006 - 08:28 PM
Haven't studied it, but that just sounds silly to me.
The rest of the world doesn't think in terms of rankings. I have a hard time imagining that it could have that kind of effect on people.
Posted 06 January 2006 - 08:47 PM
Posted 06 January 2006 - 08:51 PM
"you told me that Joe's shop was the best place to buy toys but when I bought from him, it took 3 weeks to deliver when he promised 3 days. You should not list them so highly"
If you're looking for ignorance on the web to drive conversion rates for the long term, however, I'd abuse you of that notion. This kind of ineptititude doesn't last forever.
Posted 06 January 2006 - 09:27 PM
With a low price/commodity product people don't shop around very much, so a higher position is usually still advantageous. As the price or quality of the item rises, people shop more, and higher conversions can "sometimes" be seen for lower ranked listings. However, as the price or quality continues to rise, people are less likely to make a purchase decision the same day they perform their initial search and may well return to the top ranked position on subsequent searches.
Even these general trends, however, are too liquid to even be called trends. The only way to really predict what will happen, I think, is to test it. What you're selling and who you're selling it to will determine your results.
Posted 06 January 2006 - 09:30 PM
For certain types of shoppers (like myself), every time they visit a new website, they are closer to buying for various reasons (sick of shopping, more knowledgable about the product, etc.) If that is the case, then I would think that the #1 ranking site would have a lower conversion rate for those types of shoppers...assuming they rarely come back to the first site they visited. On the other hand, people do go back to sites they visited before, but I wonder how often that is the case.
Posted 07 January 2006 - 08:43 AM
If anything, I would sooner agree with the concept that having a highly ranked site --especially for more general search terms-- would have a detrimental effect on conversions rather than the opposite being true. After all, if you rank highly for some generic phrase you're going to get a lot more lookers as compared to buyers who are finding you for a more specific phrase.
One thing I did test a few times (just a question amidst many other questions during some usability testing) was people's memory.
The test was really set up more to look at how people searched more than anything else. They would be given a product or service to look for search for it using their own phrases. I wanted to see how people searched and more importantly how people refined their search.
They were also asked visit the sites listed in the SERPs as they normally would. Most going back to refine their search at least a couple of times. When they'd found the site or sites that would be the best option they were asked to record the site name, address and why they thought it was the best choice. Pretty common stuff actually, and the sample size (only 100 or so people) was far too small to be a legitimate study. But it was quite interesting to watch and analyze.
One of the questions in the final wrap up was what ranking position the site was at in the SERPs for whatever search phrase they ended up using to find their Best site.
Not a single person could answer that question if they were not allowed to go back to the SERP pages to look. Most couldn't even get into the general neighborhood of the actual ranking position!
Odd --or not so odd-- fact... When guessing they all thought the site they had chosen ranked a lot higher than it did in reality.
Posted 07 January 2006 - 09:01 AM
IMHO, one ranking won't lead to much authority, but many will. Amazon don;t get looked for specifically because of one ranking, but because they almost always have a product when you search for it. The authority comes not from a single ranking, but many.
I would think authority's affect on conversion would follow what exactly that authority is (and I can't say I know with any certainty), and that would be a better palce to begin.
Posted 07 January 2006 - 10:53 AM
Yep, that's very true. When I look at my conversion data, it's rarely the phrases that give me the most clickthroughs that convert the best. Since it's a numbers game, certainly I can get a lot of conversions from a phrase that has a lot of clickthroughs; but percentagewise, it's low.
The most conversions seem to come from those phrases that are only clicked through once or twice.
That's very true also, and I think is a component of branding. If when you're searching for something, you're constantly seeing one particular site always coming up, that is gonna stick with you and you really won't be able to ignore it.
I often find that people who contact me about my services tell me that they heard of me from so many different sources, that they pretty much HAD to contact me!
Posted 07 January 2006 - 01:31 PM
People definitely pay attention to rankings. At CareerBuilder, for example, the sales reps made use of the rankings in their sales presentations all the time. When I got them to #1 for "jobs," it was huge.
People definitely know Google, and there's definitely the perception that ranking well in Google implies more than just that the company knows how to rank well.
Posted 07 January 2006 - 01:37 PM
I can see it...not saying it's accurate or right, but it's believable to see happen.
Posted 11 January 2006 - 03:33 PM
Let's look at steps visitor takes towards making a purchase online. Bring quality and quantity traffic to your website is only the first step. The conversion hinges on other factors: quality products, competitive pricing, credibility, secure transaction, privacy confidence, track record, buyers' rating or product review, website presence, etc.
Simply put, what visitors experience on your website is key for conversion.
Posted 11 January 2006 - 04:51 PM
Yes, we have done a couple conversion rate studies that showed a slight improvement, but it's not as much as you might think - barely above the level of statistical significance.
The more important advantage from the #1 listing (or really any of the top 3-4 listings which appear "above the fold" in most users' web browser) is that you have more traffic coming in, so you can do more analysis and testing to improve your conversion rate.
For sites with less traffic, conducting live user testing to improve usability is probably a better path to improving conversions.
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