- Applies to:
Haystack is an automated testing tool and it is designed to remove as much of the human element from testing a website as possible. However, as with any automated testing tool there are certain limitations that all users need to be aware of, but understanding how to overcome these limitations and objections is key to the digital sales process.
Think of Haystack as an enabling tool that combined with your sales expertize, will provide you with the greatest possible outcome in the most efficient way.
Familiarity is key
As with any sales process, understanding how the tools you use is key to success and the same applies to using Haystack. There are a wide range of tests that Haystack uses, and we highly recommend you become familiar with them as soon as possible, in order to get the most out of the tool.
When testing a business and looking at the results, you will find a wealth of information provided on the results page itself under the About this test link. Reading and understanding the information provided should be a priority for any digital sales professional.
Below are some common objections or questions you may face as a digital sales professional when using Haystack:
Facebook and Twitter
“I have a Facebook \ Twitter page, why does Haystack say I haven’t?”
Haystack looks for social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, by looking for links to the page from the site being tested. When Haystack fails to find a Facebook or Twitter page, the common reason is that the link is not implemented correctly on the site, either the link is not spelt correctly, links to a different page altogether or is simply not linked to at all.
What can you do?
If Haystack is not able to find the Facebook or Twitter page, then there is a very good chance that (human) visitors cannot too. As a digital sales professional, this presents an opportunity to sell your services and help the business owner rectify this issue and ensure that they promote their Facebook and Twitter pages as effectively as possible.
Explaining this and helping your client understand what is happening is key to turning a perceived negative situation into a sales opportunity and a positive outcome.
Another common objection is:
“The company I’m testing has an active AdWords campaign, but Haystack says it doesn’t?”
As the Haystack scan is anonymous, we use data from third-parties to try and detect AdWords spend based upon what can be seen publicly. By combining data from third-parties, we have a detection rate of around 95%, but the only way to know for certain that a company uses AdWords is by having access to their private information.
What can you do?
How to approach this topic is a key factor here. Rather than challenging your client and informing them that they do not have an AdWords campaign, which may put you in a difficult situation, it may be more effective if you inform your client that they may have issues with their AdWords campaign and a more detailed conversation may be beneficial.
Small AdWords budgets or obscure keywords may not be detected and in this situation, the key point to remember here is that AdWords detection is approximately 95% accurate. However, this presents an opportunity to discuss the client’s AdWord campaign and spend, especially if you are in a situation where a client flags this as inaccurate.
This is also another common objection:
“Haystack is not showing the correct mobile version of the site I just tested. I think Haystack is wrong.”
What can you do?
Again, how you approach this topic is key as understanding how mobile responsive sites work is essential. Modern web designers will typically use a device’s screen width to determine how the site is displayed. This method is more reliable and favoured for the majority of mobile-responsive sites online. A client with a site that is not built using this method presents an opportunity to talk about modernizing the design of their site and using more reliable methods for mobile optimization, especially if this is a key focus.
It is important to understand what defines a backlink. Some clients may well say:
“My site has plenty of backlinks, but your Haystack report highlights this as a fail.”
The reason being is that Haystack is designed to mirror the way that Google ranks incoming links as closely as possible.
Google uses incoming links as a ranking factor and uses them as a “vote” for your site, but to prevent link farming websites spamming this feature to falsify rankings, Google will look at where the link is coming from.
For example, if a technology blog was linked to by Apple or Microsoft as well as linked to by lotsofrandomlinks.net, then Google will rate the link from Apple or Microsoft highly and ignore the link from lotsofrandomlinks.net.
Google will do this because it classes the link on Apple or Microsoft to be highly relevant, whereas the link on lostofrandomlinks.net are not so. This may also be the case for any links from online directories, as they are not always classed as relevant and will typically be ignored.
What can you do?
Ask yourself the following question:
“How many worthwhile websites link to mine?”
This is better than asking yourself “How many websites link to mine?” and should help clients think about how they can boost their backlinks through the best channels.
If a client questions the number of reviews their business has on Yelp:
“My business has over 100 reviews, but Haystack is showing I only have 3. Is this correct?”
In order to check Yelp for reviews, the Haystack team utilizes Yelp’s API to gather the required information. Due to limitations on Yelp’s API, it is only possible to detect a maximum of 3 reviews from Yelp, regardless of how many are present.
Another limitation of Yelp’s API is that it is only possible to pull a maximum of 160 characters from any review found on Yelp, so some lengthier reviews may be truncated or incomplete.
What can you do?
The simplest answer to this is to explain this to your client when discussing the reviews section with them. Rather than stating that your client has 3 reviews on Yelp, it may be more appropriate to explain that Haystack has detected at least 3 reviews from Yelp.
If your client asks why, then simply explain that due to the limitations of Yelp’s API, it is not possible to detect more than 3 reviews but the important message is that Haystack was able to detected reviews for their business in Yelp, which is a positive thing.