I’m in the process of securing some web work with a client. They have stated that for their money they would want a guarantee of increased traffic to their website.
As it stands the website is looking quite dated, the HTML behind it is terrible and I think the company is struggling to get business. I’ve tried different searches on Google and not found the website – probably not helped because there is not a title on any of the pages.
Having used the [common sense approach to SEO](http://css-tricks.com/common-sense-seo-checklist/ “CSS Tricks common sense SEO”) in the past, and taking note of [Chris Coyier's thoughts about SEO](css-tricks.com/video-screencasts/83-thoughts-on-seo/ “Chris Coyier’s video about SEO”) I don’t believe there is anything I can do to “guarantee” an increase of traffic to the site and I’ve been honest with the company about this. I can improve the site and make it more user friendly but when it comes to site traffic, all I can do is heed the advice of Google and commentators and hope that the site will rank higher.
Was this the right thing to say? I wasn’t going to lie or mislead the company, it’s not what I’m about, but is there actually something I can do (that’s not a cheap trick) to increase traffic?
I look forward to hearing what you think about this, have you ever been in this position?
No, I don’t think there is anything you can do to guarantee increased traffic, though just getting a higher quality page is likely to help. A few arguments you might be able to use:
* Your current page is not attractive to users because [reasons]
* Your current page is not attractive to search engines: [Test to analyze code](http://seo-analyzer.org/)
* If you set up Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics (or *insert your favourite analytics tool here*), we can see where people who come to the page actually stop.
Also, not sure if you are, but make sure you don’t sell yourself short. Making a good quality website which is built well for people _and_ bots, with tools to track how/where/if people are coming into it, is worth a good deal.
In this sort of scenario I always ask for some kind of base metric. How can I help you get to where you want to be if I don’t have an idea of where you’re at? That sort of thing.
If their site’s clearly dated and poorly coded, just doing a revamp using latest standards and best practices will net a decent amount of traffic / ranking.
>In this sort of scenario I always ask for some kind of base metric. How can I help you get to where you want to be if I don’t have an idea of where you’re at?
Very much this.
It would have to be specified **very** precisely what they mean in absolute terms by increased traffic.
**Nothing** is guaranteed in this life.
My basic response is that I would be happy to redesign/re-develop their site but I can’t be held responsible if no one visits despite my best efforts.
I would ask them to explain what they’re impression of “traffic” means. Not all traffic is equal. I’ve seen companies pay thousands and thousands of dollars per month for SEO companies to deliver “traffic” but it wasn’t the kind of traffic that converted into business.
If I were in your shoes, I think I’d try to build a realistic expectation of the next step. What I would probably do is say something like if they are serious about making their website a success, they would redesign it, and then they would spend the money to market it. Try some stuff. Use adwords, use facebook, user twitter, use the content network, etc. I think that a properly developed site will overtake an outdated and crappy site rather quickly, but I don’t think I’d rely on organic search alone. Someone who asks me to deliver results needs to know what that means.
Obviously it all depends on the niche, what kind of industry, customers, etc. But they need to know you can’t just go out and deliver all kinds of random visitors and have it convert into business. It has to make sense and be where people who use those products might be searching. No matter what, they’ll know exactly what the response is, what the cost is, how much revenue was generated, etc. It’s pretty easy to make decisions based on actual data and it sounds like these guys just need to start making informed and smart decisions.
> I would ask them to explain what they’re impression of “traffic” means. Not all traffic is equal. I’ve seen companies pay thousands and thousands of dollars per month for SEO companies to deliver “traffic” but it wasn’t the kind of traffic that converted into business.
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