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Friday, Oct. 14, 2005 at 3:42 pm

Does Your Web Site Stink?

By Bryan Eisenberg
October 14th, 2005

How well does your site preserve the scent trails visitors follow?

Creating and preserving intentional scent trails on your site translates to improved ROI (define) for your paid and organic search terms.

Hot on a Scent

Every scent trail starts with a search.

A prospect types into the search box the search term she believes will give her the desired result. Then, she willfully follows the scent trail of that specific term from the starting point, usually the search results page, seeking a specific answer. She frequently returns to the starting point for orientation. If she doesn’t find the answer after several clicks, she starts a new scent trail. She repeats this process until she finds her answer.

People hunting for online data behave remarkably like animals sniffing out prey. It’s the most effective means of finding a teensy-weensy squirrel in awfully big forest.

Understanding this process allows you to measure and optimize the scent trails people follow, both on your site and in marketing campaigns. Losing the trail is one reason 80 percent of visitors leave a site after three pages.

Most SEM (define) is about getting found. Problem is, most SEM does little more than put signs on every tree that read, “Squirrels in the forest.” Though true, the signs don’t help the hunter a lot in the quest to actually find the squirrels in the forest.

Continue reading my column at ClickZ…

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Comments (9)

  1. [...] Don’t waste hyperlink words on non-descriptive or generic words.  Make links keyword rich and ensure that customers can predict where the link will take them.  Plan and link for maximum “scent” [...]

  2. [...] your headlines answer your customer’s question? Bryan Eisenberg talks about how sites fail the “scent test.” Do your headlines pass that test? Customers most likely to bounce quickly look to the headline to [...]

  3. [...] still, Dell’s landing page really fails Bryan Eisenberg’s “scent test.” Where on the page do they talk about this offer? It’s a mystery to [...]

  4. [...] The best in the business just direct the traffic somewhere equally useful to continue to pass the “scent test.” Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your [...]

  5. I agree with you.

  6. OK Eisenberg I will trust site.

  7. I thought about this concept very interesting.

  8. [...] in big bold letters at the top of your page. Bryan Eisenberg calls this maintaining a ‘scent trail‘.More ImagesPictures are another bounce rate reducer.It’s easy to know you’re in [...]

  9. [...] on the hunt to buy. And behaviorally-targeted ads work for both the consumer and her quarry, passing the scent test, lowering bounce rates, improving conversion and generally making friends wherever they go. Think [...]

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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