Terry Bowden on Creating a Winning Business Where a Business Should Begin with Social Media
Oct 13

Because technology moves so fast, sometimes we have to rely on known conventions and best-practices to make decisions. For instance, you may have heard of these three conventional measures:

-Home Pages Shouldn’t Scroll.

-Pay-per-click ads are fraught with click-fraud.

-Search Engine Optimization requires continual ongoing maintenance because algorithms change.

The danger with conventions or “best-practices” is that we follow them blindly, but never challenge the underlying assumptions. You’ll hear web design firms, employees and maybe even yourself espousing such truths. But if you stop and challenge them, you might find that, although there is wisdom behind these conventions, they should be treated as guidelines and not hard-fast rules. You may also find that they just aren’t true.

So let’s take a look at the three examples above:

No scrolling. Whether it’s home pages or even internal pages, it’s been a theory that 50% of users don’t scroll. That may have been true in 1997, but I think we’re all use to scrolling now. At Merge, we have technology that allows us to record and watch live users using your web site. We noted one site that had scrolling and noted almost 100% of users scrolled. Here’s a great article that both challenges and disproves this convention.

Click Fraud. This causes many business not to use Pay-per-click advertising as a viable mean for driving traffic to their web site. Although I’m sure click fraud occurs and I don’t trust that “Google has click fraud measures in place” (or if they do, I’ve never seen them do anything about it), the fact is, fraud is a risk of every other business, so why does it stop people cold in their tracks when it comes to Pay-per-click?

Would you not open a clothing store because there’s a chance somebody might steal a pair of pants? I’ve got news for you: Over the course of your business, 100’s of pairs of pants will be stolen. It’s called shrinkage (not the Seinfeld kind) and it’s a cost of doing business.

Sure, there may be click fraud. But it’s a cost of doing business. At the end of the day you can still see the results of a Pay-per-click campaign and decide if the ROI is there-whether click fraud is happening or not.

Changing Algorithms. Doesn’t this sound both sexy and scary at the same time? I admit, I’ve heard this stupid saying come out of my mouth before. And again, this may be true for super-highly competitive search terms, changing algorithms may alter the position of your ranking. But Merge’s experience is that once we get a web site to a ranking that is sufficient, we typically don’t have to do much more to keep it. What’s been done is done. We recently had a client move from #1 to #2 in Google, and we spent about an hour and got them back to #1 in a week or two. They’ve held the #1 spot for over 5 years. If you’re paying a lot of money for SEO maintenance, I challenge you to stop paying that money and watch what happens. I bet you’ll see you’ll probably stay just where you are.

Bottomline: Challenge conventions and treat them more as guidelines versus hard-fast rules.

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