During conversations I’ve had recently, there’s been a recurring theme: Conversion Optimization is really important for SEO success. It’s easy to get lost in the minutia of on-page optimization, always looking for the next keyword to tweak or piece of content to write. But I’d like to remind everyone (including myself) why this is called the Search Engine Marketing industry. Marketing, as defined by Princeton’s Wordnet, is “the commercial processes involved in promoting and selling and distributing a product or service.”
Maybe I’m preaching to the choir, but in short, this means your SEO campaign can’t be based on rankings and traffic alone! As marketers utilizing the search engines to sell products and services, we need to know how to optimize our websites for increasing conversions, and improving bottom-line revenue. Over the next 2 weeks I will discuss how to incorporate conversion optimization into your SEO campaign with user experience and design considerations, making data driven decisions to increase conversions and revenue, and why you should “never stop testing.”
Part 1: User Experience
At the core of conversion optimization is improving the user experience. How does a potential customer flow from search query to landing page to lead or buying process to conversion? Here are some guidelines for improving the user experience for conversion optimization:
- Keyword-Landing Page Connection: It all starts with relevancy. When you optimize your website for keywords, are you optimizing the right page? When a potential customer enters their search query, clicks on your organic listing and comes to this page – is it relevant? Does that keyword appear in a headline, the body content? More importantly, does the content speak to the search intent of that keyword? If it is a product related search, can the customer easily find the product on this page? Think about it.
- Conversion Oriented Design: A lot can be said about how the design and usability of your website affects conversion. But there are some specific elements you should be concerned with. I’ve written before about conversion oriented design looking through the lens of a PPC landing page, but many of the same principles apply to SEO. Are the primary elements of your keyword-targeted pages placed where the user can find them at first glance? By this I’m talking about keyword-rich headlines and copy, product images (if necessary) and conversion triggers. Are there barriers in the way of the customer finding your conversion path? Barriers can be anything from out-of-place images, video, etc. that distract from the conversion. Design your pages in such a way that the elements of the page lead the customer to the conversion trigger. Most importantly, is the conversion trigger obvious? Make your buttons, text links, what-have-you easy to find (but don’t be obnoxious!).
- Clarify the Conversion Process: This is all about setting the proper expectation for your potential customers. What information is required to become a lead? If you’re running a product sale, what exactly is the customer getting (if you have multiple promotions, be sure that it is clear which promotions belong to each product)? What are the next steps? By setting clear expectations of the conversion process, you will ensure that your visitors have all the info they need to become a customer!
That’s it for now. Next week I will discuss how to make data driven decisions for increasing conversions and revenue and the importance of testing.
What other user experience elements do YOU look at when optimizing for conversions? Leave me a comment and let me know!