I started my SEO career about 16 years ago. Back then, most small businesses had not tried SEO as a marketing avenue. So, they were eager to sign up and get their businesses ranked higher in Google’s search results.
After a few years of trying SEO, these small businesses were faced with multiple Google updates, shaky SEO agencies and “black-hat” dudes who wanted to game the system. Worst of all, these business owners faced dealing with companies who would take their money and wouldn’t do shit.
Slowly, the industry lost its credibility and SEO professionals became known as totally unreliable.
With search engine dominance a necessity for small business success, business owners were left with two bad choices: abandon SEO altogether or sign up with very expensive, but reputable firms.
In 2018, our agency offered an alternative.
We were not the first to introduce pay-per-lead SEO. The difference with us was that we developed a unique system to monitor leads and get paid based on genuine new leads that were generated through SEO.
Our CRM also allows our clients to have a say on which leads are legit and which ones are not – thus only paying for what they know is a real lead. Here is a snapshot:
This system has had multiple benefits for our clients and subsequently for us:
We pay our optimization team a percentage of what we charge each client. With this new dynamic payment system, the clients pay us a different amount each month (based on the number of leads they receive). Consequently, our team’s pay differs each month directly resulting from each individual’s knowledge and hard work.
As a result, each team member feels responsible for our clients’ results. They also feel responsible for customer satisfaction and remain compelled to learn and improve.
Since offering pay-per-lead SEO, we quickly realized that higher rankings on Google doesn’t necessarily mean higher customer satisfaction. Because in some cases, our clients’ sites were not performing well.
Before the switch to pay-per-lead, we didn’t care about the number of leads each client received, as long as their rankings were improving on Google. But after the switch, if clients failed to attract new leads, we didn’t get paid. Period.
So, within a couple of months, our team started to pay strict attention to our clients’ conversion rates.
A website’s conversion rate is the number of leads coming from every 100 visitors. For instance, if 20 out of 100 visitors are contacting the office, the site’s conversion rate is 20%.
We realized that not only were some of our clients’ sites not converting as they should be, but the majority of our clients’ mobile site versions weren’t converting at all.
In other words, since we didn’t pay attention to the mobile designs at all, our customers’ mobile versions had multiple issues:
This came as a big surprise to us and we quickly started optimizing our clients’ mobile versions – resulting in improved mobile conversion rates by up to 342% in a couple of weeks.
Paying attention to the leads and listening to the conversations clients had with their incoming leads allowed our team to understand our clients’ businesses better. We were also able to identify problem areas and communicate those issues with customers, including:
Fixing these issues helped some of our clients boost their customer satisfaction.
While improving conversion rates, we realized our clients’ SEO traffic was also increasing. This correlation proved to us that Google cares for a site’s conversion rate and puts better sites at the top of the search results.
Here is a snapshot of an Analytics report comparing a site’s conversion rate AND traffic before and after conversion rate optimization (CRO):
After seeing the data, this seems very logical. If a site is converting better, that means visitors are finding what they’re looking for. So, why not put that site at the top?