It is very difficult to develop a website from “zero”, and the most painful part is waiting for the conversion rate to grow. It’s worth noting that the conversion rate does not increase in line with traffic, but rather a bit slower. Why does this happen? Let’s take a look.
The short answer is that the initial traffic on a site usually comes from non-competitive phrases. If a phrase is non-competitive, it is often also non-convertible.
Note that this article is not relevant for websites that use a broad and successful PR campaign or virus marketing from the start. It concerns websites that follow the usual template for search traffic increase.
Below is an approximate representation graph of the of a website’s traffic growth:
The time intervals on the x-axis do not matter (days, weeks, months), since this representation is purely for the purposes of the discussion. The graph shows a steady increase during the whole time period. Some websites do not show any growth over certain time periods, but that is irrelevant at the moment.
Based on the traffic growth rate and the conversion coefficient of 1% it is logical to assume that conversion growth will look similar to that graphically:
The rate of 1% has been chosen simply for the purpose of simplifying the discussion, but the coefficient in your particular case may differ. For example, B2B websites are usually less convertibles than B2C. In our case, a 1% traffic conversion coefficient means progress. We hope to reach a level of 1.5% one day when things pick up, put we know we have started to reach our goal when we get to that 1%.
We will also ignore the effect that optimisation of this coefficient has on sales growth. Let’s imagine that the work on optimising this conversion coefficient is not carried out (it is, of course, very important for business and must be carried out, but at the moment we are concentrating on seo-factors). Considering the points made above, below we have provided a graph that shows how the real increase in conversions can look compared to the expected (the latter is marked with a red line).
Here we can witness that the real sales growth will lag behind the traffic growth. In fact, there may be no sales at all during the beginning stages. This sounds depressing! So what exactly is happening here?
The problem is competitiveness. The search algorithms keep comparing your website to others that are relevant to the same search phrases. A new site has few competitive advantages. For example, the new website has no trust, it has a poor link profile and has no social media history. Websites that have existed for a while, on the other hand, have a number of advantages in all these aspects.
At the beginning stages the website gets traffic from non-competitive phrases, which are non-competitive because they are not very convertible. New websites must go through a certain development phase before they have the chance to compete on convertible phrases.
The traffic behaviour described above is usual for new websites that do not order a large-scale PR campaign or a virus strategy. Be patient while you wait for conversions. They will not begin straight away, since the traffic will begin coming in from words with a low conversion rate.
Of course there are websites that will never convert because of an incorrect commercial model or the content they use. But if you are convinced that the content is good enough to attract convertible traffic, then you must just wait for the correct level (according to the graph) before getting acceptable conversions.