Stuart Marler
Stuart Marler 2 June 2015
Categories Search Marketing

Why Aren't People Buying From My Website?

The visitors are there ..via various means they have found your website, but they just aren't converting into sales?

It’s the age old question, and one that we as a digital marketing agency get asked most frequently. The visitors are there….via various means they have found your website, but they just aren’t converting into sales?

By this time you will no doubt have already invested money in a website, and perhaps time and money in some basic SEO and yet still you’re not seeing those all-important conversions. What else can you do? Well, in fact, there are a few reasons your visitors may not be converting. By following these guidelines, you should see an increase in conversions. Do bear in mind that you will not necessarily see an increase in visitor numbers; in fact perhaps you will see a small decrease….but that’s OK.

What you need are qualified targeted visitors. The fact that you are currently getting huge visitor numbers may in fact be more of a hindrance than a help. Here’s what I mean.

Say, for example, you’re an online garden nursery specialising in roses. In fact, that’s all you sell. What you absolutely do not want to rank well for is ‘garden nursery’ or ‘plant nursery’. Yes, you will get visitors by the bucket load. Great, you think. At least some of those visitors may convert into sales. Well, yes, perhaps they will. BUT, the majority of visitors will bounce straight off your site as, whilst they may love roses, they were looking for a general nursery. The visitors you want to target are the visitors who are specifically looking for roses. It may well be a smaller amount of people, but you know that when they find your site they will find exactly what they are looking for, without the need to bounce off, thereby increasing the chance of a sale whilst decreasing your bounce rate. This is what we mean by targeted visitors.  (On average, 880 people per month search for ‘Plant Nursery’ whilst only 170 search ‘Rose Nurseries’ – a smaller number but far more targeted).

Let me first explain a little about this ‘bounce rate’ before going on to explain more fully about  niche keywords and long tailed keywords.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of single page sessions, i.e. visitors who leave the website from the page they found it, without looking at any other pages. There are numerous reasons for a high bounce rate, and not all of them are negative. The site may be a one page website, or perhaps the visitor finds exactly what they are looking for without needing to visit any other pages. So, high bounce rates are not always bad news and should be taken with a slight pinch of salt on occasion. However, a high bounce rate could also be caused by bad design and navigation issues, or perhaps the visitor knows that they won’t find what they are looking for on your site, thus bouncing straight off. This leads nicely onto the next segment….finding the right keywords.

Niche & Long Tailed Keywords

How people search on the internet has changed. People tend to make very specific requests, rather than general searches. Much research has gone into this, and Google themselves introduced an algorithm change (Hummingbird) based on such research.

Hummingbird was introduced with the aim of producing better results based on the users search query. You will remember in years gone by, looking for something specific only to be faced with numerous irrelevant sites. Google understands that people search for things in a conversational way. So, for example, if I wanted to eat out in Worthing, I might search for ‘Indian restaurants in Worthing’ rather than ‘restaurants Worthing’. Google now looks at each word in the search query to find its best match, rather than looking at one or two words and bringing up a plethora of sites of which only some would be relevant.

Research clearly shows how effective long tail keywords (keywords of 3 words or more) are. Even though the following study is now a few years old, it is as relevant now as it ever has been. Conductor in their study The Benefits of Optimizing the Long Tail of Search, found that conversion rates for long tailed keywords were 2  and a half times higher than those using head terms (keywords of 2 or less words).

Using long tailed keywords also has the advantage of ranking better. Consider hotels in Greece for instance. If your company wanted to rank for ‘hotels Greece’ it would be up against the big players. It is highly unlikely, unless you have a limitless budget, to knock the major travel companies off the top spot. However, ‘family friendly hotels in Rhodes’ for example, will be less competitive, more likely to rank well and, as explained, far more likely to lead to a conversion.


The key really is to understand your customer and to create your content based on their use of conversational language, as opposed to that you think Google wants to see. Those days, though not completely gone, are slowly dying out.

So, now we know about the importance of long tailed keywords….how do we find them? This is where it can be tricky, but luckily there are a few tools around to help you.

If you have the budget, SEMRush have a keyword tool which will allow you to uncover new keywords, as well as looking at your competitors words of choice. is also a great, free tool which can be used to discover more long tailed keywords including questions which can be used for articles, FAQ pages and social media.

Also make use of Google suggest. Just type in your keyword and see what suggestions it comes up with. More suggestions can be found at the bottom of the search pages. is another site which will give you keyword ideas, and allows you to look through all search engines from one site.

Finally, a really great place to discover conversational long tailed keywords is social media. Look at hashtags, competitors accounts…look at the questions their followers ask. The language they use on social media is more than likely the same language they will use on search engines.

Tip 1: Research Long Tailed Keywords and incorporate them into your SEO campaign

Website Navigation & Usability

It’s interesting to note that when questioned, the majority of people place website usability above the general look of the site. It is a common mistake for websites to look fantastic whilst perhaps not being as user friendly as they could potentially be. Sometimes all it will take is a few design tweaks to make the site easier to navigate. Here are a few tips to consider when designing your site, and when it is built.

Something I commonly find on websites, particularly B2B websites, is that there is no clear message on the homepage. Often the homepage will have no written content (if we don’t know what the site is about, how will Google?). Never assume that just because people have landed on your website, it will be obvious to them what you do. It won’t. People spend on average between 10-15 seconds on your site before deciding whether or not to stay, so be engaging. Ensure people get exactly what they want immediately. Don’t try to be overly clever. Don’t use lots of words which say very little. Get to the point and make it obvious.

A great tool to determine how people look at your website is featured within Google Analytics. If you don’t have analytics attached to your site, get it. It will provide you with a wealth of information for free.

In Page Analytics can be found under the ‘Behaviour’ section. Do read our blog about this feature for more detailed information.

Essentially, what in page analytics does is show you where people are clicking on your site. Often the results will surprise you. It will break down into percentages the links people are clicking on, for each and every page of your site. Armed with this information, you can tweak your site, make the most popular areas more visible. It may advise you which areas need more work, or should be more visible. You will generally find that most people won’t scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and the most clickable areas will be above the fold, so this is where your most important information should be...the money making pages.  As I said before, make things as easy and obvious as possible.

There are some other great tools out there which will provide information on the usability and navigation of your site. In a similar vein to in-page analytics, (who offer a free trial) use heat maps to better understand user behaviour. is a fab tool to use whilst still in the design stage. It allows people to test your website, find any errors and navigation issues, meaning that when it goes live, it has been tested on real people with all the issues ironed out.

There is of course nothing to stop you carrying out your own user experience tests. A sample group of 5+ people will allow you a good insight into how people use your site. Give them a list of things to find, and ask them how easy it was and if any changes need to be made. Admittedly when your website is your pride and joy, critiques like this can be a little hard to take, but weigh this against increasing your conversion rate and I think we could all take a little constructive criticism!

Tip 2: Iron out all navigation and usability issues

Set Goals

Yet another brilliant feature of Google Analytics is the ability to set goals, which can be tailored to your exact requirements. For example, you may want one of your goals to be based on the amount of people who fill out your contact us form, particularly if you are a B2B company. If you have an e-commerce site then a goal would undoubtedly be based around how many people confirm a purchase. Other goals could be the success of a particular campaign. You can then use this very detailed information to determine what has been successful and what hasn’t. This information can then of course be carried forward to either the next campaign or used to tweak your website. Goals can be set under the Conversions section on
Google Analytics: You can also measure the success of your social campaigns by aligning them with your goals, ensuring more profitable future campaigns.

Tip 3: Set goals and measure successes & failures

Mobile Friendly

As of 21st April, websites which are not mobile friendly will not rank well in Google’s mobile search engine. Now, you may think that this does not affect you as people don’t buy via mobile anyway, but this may be an untrue assertion.

Google recently announced that for the first time, more searches are now being made from mobile devices than desktop computers. This is a trend which is here to stay. Research also tells us that 60% of people will search via a mobile device before buying, even if they end up buying in store or via their PC. So, you absolutely must have a mobile friendly website.

To check if your website is mobile friendly, Google Webmaster Tools have and incredibly useful tool which firstly tells you if your site is mobile friendly, and, if not, why not.

You will find this feature under the search traffic section: 

Our blog gives a step by step guide to checking whether or not your website is mobile friendly.

Tip 4: Ensure your site is mobile friendly

To be honest, this list could go on and on. As well as getting your website spot on, you need to incorporate an effective social media campaign, you need to be updating and creating content, you need to ensure that there are no technical issues on your site which will deter the user, you need to be keeping up with your competitors…….

BUT, this is a good start. Further blogs will follow on the above issues, but for now…..I think this may keep you busy for a bit!! Good luck.

Contact Retriever if you need further advice. We will provide a comprehensive report and quotation based specifically on your companies requirements.

Follow Stuart Marler on Twitter @solutionsSEO and LinkedIn


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