Reasonable Theory or Bad Math?

I had a little “discussion” with a friend of mine earlier tonight on our way home from a local SEO meetup. We were discussing the scalability of a product’s sales relative to how much of the search market share a site or sites can get for a given term. I’ll use “buy red widgets” as an example.

Let’s say that according to competetive intelligence, (something like Hitwise) there are x searches (PPC & organic combined) for “buy red widgets” and Site A gets y visitors off of those who searched for “buy red widgets.” As the owner of Site A, you know that you really get 1.5y visitors off of that search term and a reasonable assumption would be that there are really 1.5x overall searches for “buy red widgets.”

Thinking about the user’s intent when searching for “buy red widgets,” let’s assume the following (obvously there are probably more intentions, but keeping it simple here…) :

a% will buy if the price is less than $50
b% will buy if there is free shipping
c% will buy if they can get it shipped to them by the day after tomorrow
d% will buy if they think they can trust the site that they land on
e% are just price shopping and will not buy right now

Whether we have 1,000 searches or 100,000 searches for “buy red widgets,” these percentages will remain pretty constant long-term.

Now, let’s say that the owner of Site A knows that m% of visitors (whether it’s PPC or organic search) from “buy red widgets” actually purchase a red widget given that he has the pricing and shipping policies that he does, which gets users to buy based on their intent. The owner of Site A decides to turn Site B (which he also owns and is an authority site on widgets) into a store that also sells red widgets. The owner expects that, given the authority, age, research, etc. of Site B, it can get 200% more traffic than Site A for “buy red widgets” and Site B will have the same pricing and shipping policies (for the sake of having a constant in the setups).

Here’s where the argument discussion comes into this. What I see happening is that the following equation can be applied to determine sales associated with searches for “buy red widgets” to Site B no matter how many searches there are or what percentage of the market a site has because, as noted above, in the grand scheme of things, searcher/buyer intent does not change just because there are more or less searches :

2(1.5x)m = # of estimated sales

My friend was trying to convince me that the more searches there are for “buy red widgets,” the lower the conversion rate becomes. IMO, there’s no way that the conversion rate would drop or be lower on Site B just because it gets more traffic. One thing he was assuming was that the total number of red widgets that would be sold relative to the number of searches was a constant figure. The reason that doesn’t make sense is that searches and intent of the searchers doesn’t change just because the volume of searches or visitors increases. If more visitors end up on a site that fits their intent, more people will buy. If fewer searchers find sites that fit their intent, fewer people will buy.

Maybe I’m off base…thoughts?


This has been an amazing week. I feel like nothing has been accomplished yet we’ve managed to buy a house and prepare, file, and pay our taxes.

The biggest reason it was so amazing was that we shouldn’t have been able to get a lot for a house. There are people waiting for months to get one and we managed to get one only a week into searching. The house will be built by Beazer Homes and will be in the Morning Sun Farms development. It should take around 9 months for the house to be completed and I will be adding updates and photos of the progress as often as I can. We found out this morning that the model we purchased (Richland) has already gone up $8,000 in value, so we’re already ahead only a week into it. Yesterday we finalized the structural and electrical upgrades. May 4th we will be selecting interior design elements (cabinets, doors, etc.). Christie is actually getting excited about the new house, which surprises me because she didn’t want to move out there before. I’m pretty sure that she realizes that we’ll be getting twice the house for just a little more than we can sell our current house for.

Taxes were not too bad. We owed less than $3,000 this year…which is an improvement over the past few years. Next year we’re getting an accountant. Turbo Tax was tripping out on me for a while and I didn’t feel like I could trust it very much. Eventually the problems were sorted out and everything appeared to be okay.

One of the other highlights of my week was the delivery of my new license plate. I decided to get a personalized plate that had something to do with websites. When I was ordering the plate through Service Arizona I was trying to be creative and come up with something cool…most of those ideas were taken. I jokingly plugged “BLOG” into the search box and it was available. Being a person that likes to act quickly on cool opportunities, I ordered it. It showed up in the mail earlier this week and looks damn cool. I’ll get it put on the truck tomorrow after I wash it and I’ll post a pic of it.

So now that the week is officially over (12:37 on Sunday morning right now…assuming a Sunday – Saturday week), it’s time to get back working on the redesign for Travel Gear Blog and Bianchi Design…but first, I need some sleep.