It’s all about the numbers!

Words are all well and good, but what we want, what we really really want, are more numbers! Right? Of course, who doesn’t love numbers? You’ll be delighted to hear then, that this post is going to be full of them. Enjoy!

So, first then, welcome to the three of you still reading (and apologies to the one, gritting their teeth, determined to soldier on!)

What I’m going to talk about today is the real nitty gritty; the bottom line purpose of the whole endeavour. So, let’s get the ball rolling with a fun fact:

Fun Fact

Over the last 12 months our Google AdWords website advert has appeared 869013 times, been clicked on 36733 times, at an average click-through rate (CTR) of 4.23%, with a 32.9% conversion rate (CR), giving 12067 conversions, or 1006 conversions per month (CPM).

Now I’m sure you’re all nodding sagely at that, but, just to make it clear in my own head: Our advert appears a lot and gets clicked on very rarely, which is normal because people have a lot of clicking choices when they make a search and very often they are a bot who just doesn’t care and perhaps isn’t currently looking at ads. Also, as we only pay Google whenever someone clicks on an advert, to some degree it doesn’t matter what the CTR is – as long as it doesn’t get too low, because Google will then penalise you by demoting your advert!

Once they’ve clicked, and cost us money, obviously we want them to book. Most don’t of course and often that’s not their fault – maybe we’re already booked for the dates they had in mind, or we are too expensive. (Last minute deals are available though! Check our website for details.) But more often though, it’s because they were never going to book – they didn’t find what they were looking for, or they’re a bot, or someone looking for spamming or sales opportunities, or they clicked by mistake, or they were just curious, or they were drunk… Which is where conversions come in.

More converts please!

You can tell Google to keep track of certain actions on your site and for ours it’s when someone visits our Availability page, or our Enquiries page, or actually makes a booking. Each of these, for us, is known as a conversion, a click to be reckoned with and one that might actually lead to a booking. And then, as time passes, we can look at all the lovely numbers and deduce which search terms perform best (convert most, for least money), bumping up their budgets, and which are poor and can be switched off.

And your point is?

Well, if in one year we have 12067 conversions and about 50 bookings, then we could reasonably suggest a correlation and perhaps think that all we need to do is get more conversions – and for every 241 we get, we will get another booking. And I think it’s true, up to a point. We do get bookings by other means – rebookings or word of mouth recommendations for example. But also, imagine that we quadrupled our conversions, which we could quite easily do (albeit at some considerable expense), we’d get 200 bookings! Fantastic! Not quite, as obviously we are limited by pesky details such as there only being 365 days in a year. The more we book, the harder it is to book more. People tend to be looking generally for weeks or weekend dates within a year, sometimes two, so selling more than 50 bookings in a year is unlikely. There is a drop off in return on investment so we are constantly adjusting our budget to try to get the best from it whilst not being wasteful.

If only there was a better way!

And there is. Get the conversions without paying for them! How? C’mon, altogether now:  ‘Organic search!’ Those searches don’t cost anything and quadrupling them won’t matter a bit, in fact the more we get the better, as we’ll get more bookings, more quickly and maybe someone will want to book a weekday, or much further in advance. And, better still we could then save some money by cutting down or even stopping our advertising campaign.

Which is why I’m doing all of this. We just need about 1000 conversions a month from our organic searches and the job’s a good ‘un. Hurrah!

So, how many are you getting currently?

111. Oh. So we need at least a ten-fold improvement. I say ‘at least’ because I recently discovered that certain persons I know (and I won’t mention any names as they are in the room with me now) have been using the organic search box to get to our site! And worse, they’ve clocked up conversions but have not even made a booking! Anyway, whatever the number is, it needs to grow and everything I’m doing should help improve it generally – but I think there are ways to help more specifically.

We are currently on the first page for large cottages Devon, which is the title of our home page and that’s great, but unfortunately that only receives about 187 monthly searches and ultimately leads to just a couple of monthly conversions. If we were on the first page for ‘casino’ we’d be looking at over 2 million monthly searches.

Call your home page ‘Casino’ then!

Even a tiny percentage of 2 million would be enough, surely? It’s not going to happen. For competition reasons mainly – lots of other companies are trying very hard (and spending much more money than we’ve got) to get themselves on the first page for that. Besides even if we could get on to it, we’d soon be booted off the first page as no-one who clicked would find anything to do with gambling and would simply bounce straight back to tell Google the bad news.

How about ‘Holiday’?

More appropriate certainly, and, as you know, ‘holiday’ receives about 1 million searches per month. We’d still face the competition problem though, I can’t see Thomas Cook giving up their top spot without a fight, or in fact any of the top 100. No, we need to be realistic. We need good conversion search terms that we can rank highly for. We can then create specific pages with those keywords in mind and also litter them everywhere on the site. Perhaps, just imagine, if there was a blog, we could put those words there too! Maybe they’d look something like this: Looking for the best hen party houses? Look no further!

But how to find such terms? If only there were some numbers to help us out… Oh, look!

Search TermSearches
per month
large cottages devon1872.44527
hen party cottages60343.0173079
large party houses86263.1318253
stag party houses41666.2369218
40th birthday ideas149002.13310359
birthday party ideas245001.53011068
50th birthday ideas243701.93214868
holiday homes972440.535170
holiday homes with pool10422.763177
hen party houses173173.53118732
large cottages242402.33921777
large holiday homes242752.837251
party venues677721.331273211
large holiday cottages243452.071345
large holiday houses341261.95535669

That’s great! We love it! Just one thing… What does it all mean? Well, this is a selection of what I think are appropriate search terms for us and the statistics to go with them. If anyone has any better suggestions please do let me know. These are actual numbers for the search terms I have been using in AdWords over the last ten years or so. I don’t know if organic stats will be different as I haven’t enough data to tell, but they shouldn’t be any worse. You’ll see the titular large cottages devon at the top as a benchmark, with its meagre 2 conversions per month. At the other end of the scale we have large holiday houses with a fantastic 356 conversions per month – but only if we were on the first page and probably within the first 5 places. As you can see from the final column we are currently on the 7th page, in 69th spot. From there we are not going to be getting any conversions, so until we can improve, we’re probably going to do better from all our wonderful stags and hens.

And you’re no doubt wondering how have we ranked for large holiday houses, but not large holiday cottages or large holiday homes or some other terms? (Sorry, dropped some more litter!) Well, I can’t be certain but what a coincidence perhaps it is to find that we have a specific large holiday houses page and we do not have pages for any of the unranked terms. Not yet, anyway! So, maybe Gosbert knew a thing or two after all!

So, going forward, we need to make some more individual pages and then spread the (key)word(s). And then look at some more numbers!

Planning a special party or family occasion? Looking for the perfect venue? Our large Devon holiday home sleeps 26 and has an amazing indoor pool. To find out more visit the Bicclescombe Grange website.

3 thoughts on “It’s all about the numbers!

  1. This is a steep but fascinating learning curve!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just keep your teeth gritted. The worst is over now. Mostly.

      Liked by 1 person

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