Search & Conversion helps website owners and search marketers guide the searcher from search engine results pages – both organic listings and search ads – to relevant landing pages and complete a desired conversion action, whether that means an e-commerce transaction, engage in a phone call, an email newsletter sign-up or filling out a lead gen form. Columnists provide tips for taking searcher intent through to the finish – with landing page testing and tuning tips, techniques for moving searchers through the conversion funnel and how to feed valuable conversion data back into search campaigns.

Can Bounce Exchange Reduce Site Bounce Rate? A Tool Review

shutterstock_98674028-Bounce-rate Like many of you, I'm always on the lookout for cool new ways to drive conversions and leads on my site. When it comes to finding genuinely useful software tools to help my business accomplish this, it can be tough -- after all, new products launch almost daily, and it's difficult (not to mention time-consuming) to figure out which solutions will actually help. One tool that has shown significant promise for my company is Bounce Exchange. Before we go any further, I want to clarify that aside from being a user of the service, neither myself nor my company has any professional relationshi [...]

3 Must-Dos For Landing Page Testing

multivariate-testing Great landing pages do not happen overnight or as a lucky happenstance. They are developed through many rounds of testing -- some successful, some not. My experience with conversion improvement efforts and landing-page testing has taught me three critical lessons that apply, regardless of the type of company or conversion: Don't settle for the first big win Run both A/B and Multivariate (MVT) tests Nothing is too small to test Below I’ve compiled results from several landing-page tests to help illustrate these three key points. 1. Don't Settle For The First Big Win Even if yo [...]

What’s The One Thing That Keeps Searchers From Converting On Your Site?

There is an insidious voice speaking to your visitors from the moment they click through to your site. It camps in the back of their minds, setting up a tent and proceeding to talk your visitors out of taking action. While there are many angles this voice can work to fill visitors with doubt, there is likely one that is common to a large number of your visitors. It's "the thing." If you can discover and address the thing -- the major concern shared by a significant number of your visitors -- then you can make some major improvements in your conversion rates and revenue per click. Wh [...]

The Quintessential Marketer Scientist

Philosopher kings. Warrior poets. Scholar athletes. These compound nouns embody the grand ideal of the "hybrid" — those rare individuals who fuse multiple disciplines and talents into an epic combination. They're larger-than-life heroes of history and literature. Modern marketing deserves its own mythical hybrid: the marketer scientist. [caption id="attachment_163161" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Courtesy of Ion Interactive[/caption] The marketer scientist is not a reincarnation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. (Or maybe Dr. Spock and Mr. Ogilvy?) No, these aren't two opposing person [...]

Conversion Testing for Low-Traffic Websites

In my almost twenty years of online marketing, I've rarely seen a  report showing the average worldwide visitor traffic most sites receive on a monthly basis.  Truth be told, around 95% of all websites are below 30 visitors a day. Unfortunately, this number tends to include friends and relatives and seemingly random visitors from countries around the world. [caption id="attachment_161611" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] Some of these low-traffic websites have pretty good content, and the site owner makes a real effort to increase sales leads by improvi [...]

Use Site Search Data To Fuel Your Content & Key Phrase Strategy

shutterstock_63556390-blindfolded [caption id="attachment_161981" align="alignright" width="300"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] Blindfolded, Dave listened carefully to his guide. Her clues about what lay beyond the two doors were interesting, but vague. Then the horn blared. He was out of time! He had to choose his path. But how? He needed more information! Much like Dave, marketers are often in the dark when they make content strategy decisions. More often than not, they rely on data gleaned from out-of-the-box analytics (that only tells half the story). But, you have better options! Why not fuel your content stra [...]

6 Evolutionary Phases Of The Online Marketer

We online marketers can get a little full of ourselves. Those of us who strive to educate others about our craft can get preachy about the "right way" to bring traffic to websites and optimize that traffic for conversions. However, like those we are educating, we ourselves have evolved (and are still evolving) throughout our online marketing journey. What works for us now only works because we endured this evolutionary process and were able to learn from experience. We often forget those years we spent growing -- we want our readers to simply jump to a new level after reading our brillia [...]

7 Principles From 7 Years Of Landing Pages

In preparing a presentation for last week's Interactivity Digital conference in Miami, I was struck by a realization: I've been working with landing pages for seven years now. (Actually, I prefer to think of them as post-click experiences.) Seven years ago, my company launched its first prototype of a landing page management platform. At the time, landing pages were extremely nascent, only used by a handful of pioneering digital marketers. So many times I had to answer the question, "What's a landing page?" Now, they're nearly ubiquitous. The disciplines of conversion rate optimization a [...]

Product Listing Ads: Five Tips That Increase Conversions

Google Shopping scored best in class in our latest rankings of comparison shopping engines. How can you get more revenue out of it? Read on for our five tips to increasing the conversion rate of your Product Listing Ads. 1. Please The Feed Your Google Shopping product data feed is the most important element of a healthy PLA campaign. It tells Google what information to use for your product ads and helps Google determine where your ads should appear in search results. It's better to err on the side of providing too much relevant information than not providing enough. Give Google as many cl [...]

How To Increase Lead Conversions With Visitor Engagement

When the iPhone was first released, everyone marveled over its amazing simplicity and user experience. The world fell in love, and the mobile industry was changed overnight. Other phones, if they weren't smartphones, were suddenly viewed as cheap and not very useful. We have all experienced this same truth at the websites we visit. We inherently equate a great design with an upstanding company and a bad design with a company not quite as reputable or as good. [caption id="attachment_158424" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] Because of this reality, buil [...]

Five Ways To Flip Your Copywriting For Higher Conversion Rates

When faced with creating a conversion-focused SEO landing page, what should our copy focus on? There are so many things we can do -- so many directions we can go -- that it becomes hard to know what to choose. Do I go with statistics or stories? Facts or feelings? Data or discounts? If one of these is good, isn’t a mix of all of them better? Blending Content Types Doesn't Work We know we're blending when we start adding adjectives to our sentences. "Our solution is the most cost-effective, easy-to-use, colorful, highest-intensity, waterproof, process-oriented available on the mark [...]

How To Lose Wait On Your Website By Increasing Page Load Speeds

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] Almost three years ago, Google announced that it had begun factoring site speed into their ranking algorithm. Since then, SEOs have debated how significant an effect page speed has on actual search engine rankings. While Google may be using it as a signal, it's clearly not an overwhelming signal. Still, regardless of the algorithmic weight page speed has on rankings, we do know that it has a significant impact on site conversions. Every second visitors have to wait for a page to load is a proven loss in sa [...]

4 Principles Of Marketing As A Science

What is the future of marketing? You can almost hear "Science!" as intoned by a popular 80's song by Thomas Dolby. Across our profession, more and more people are talking about marketing science, scientific marketing, marketing as a science (in contrast to an "art"), and so on. In our digitized and data-deluged world of modern marketing, these phrases resonate. "Yes, marketing is more of a science today." That just feels like a true statement, doesn't it? But what do we really mean by it? What makes an approach to marketing scientific? In what ways does it differ from marketing as an [...]

Agile Marketing Is The Perfect Management Framework For Big Testing

Marketing Experimentation Risk Matrix I've written about agile marketing several times in this column over the years. First, Agile Marketing For Conversion Optimization in 2010, and then, Have You Adopted Agile Marketing Yet? in 2012. Now it's 2013, and I'm back with this year's edition of my agile marketing stump speech. Why do I keep returning so doggedly to this topic? It's More About Talent Than Technology As far as I'm concerned, adopting agile marketing remains the single most valuable thing marketing teams can do to improve their conversion rates. I can't emphasize that enough. It beats "best practices" hands down. It' [...]

How To Snag A Sale From A Simple ‘Contact Us’ Page

Getting website sales isn't all about product pages and shopping carts. Many business owners forget there is a whole conversion funnel every visitor goes through before choosing whether or not to make a purchase on your site. One of the most important aspects of that funnel is the "Contact Us" information and page on your site! Contact Us can have a powerful impact on a site's ability to generate sales and leads. Not only does it provide a way for potential customers to connect with you, it should also offer multiple contact options and ultimately deliver assurance that assistance is jus [...]

Why You Should Give Some Of Your PPC Spend To A Conversion Optimizer

You may find the subject of this column a bit self-serving, since I am a conversion optimizer. Well, it is. But, I hope to provide some basic math that will support my claims. If you're spending money on a pay-per-click campaign or spending someone else’s money on a pay-per-click campaign, you should give some of your pay-per-click budget to a conversion optimizer. What We Know Pay-per-click data gives us things like: how much we spent, how many people saw our ad, how much revenue was generated, and how much those clicks cost. With this dataset, we can then calculate things like cost-pe [...]

A Guide To Understanding Big Testing & Massively Parallel Marketing

Coordinating Parallel Teams Last month's column on Why Big Testing Will Be Bigger Than Big Data — encouraging marketing experimentation on a much broader scale than ever before — was well received. But one question came up several times in the comments: how do you enable many marketers in an organization to run experiments at the same time without interfering with each other? Massively Parallel Marketing The idea of empowering many marketers to engage in testing at the same time — not just a small subset — is a case of what I call massively parallel marketing. Massively parallel marketing is derived from [...]

TEES Your Visitors For Higher Conversion Rates

We model our online prospects with a number of different funnels, paths, flows and journeys. There is the classic AIDA sales funnel (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). There is the Brad Geddes search funnel (Awareness, Interest, Learn, Shop, Buy). Joseph Jaffe Flipped the Funnel. Dave Evans added the social cloud to the funnel. For me, it all boils down to ADD (Attention, Deficit, Disorder). We certainly don't need another model for generating persuasive website experience. But, I created one. I like this new model -- the TEES model -- because it encapsulates how I look at a [...]

Why Big Testing Will Be Bigger Than Big Data

Big Data, Big Testing, Big Experience Big data is a big topic these days, one that has made its way up to the C-suite. The CMO may not yet fully understand what big data is, exactly. But the CMO knows he or she needs a plan for how to use it. In fact, three of IDC's Top 10 predictions for CMOs in 2013 revolve around mastering this data explosion in marketing. In many ways, this attention on big data is a breakthrough moment for marketing. Sure, data has always been present in certain corners of the marketing department — especially with you astute search marketers and conversion optimization pros. But marketing management [...]

11 Simple Conversion Strategies Many Product Pages Fail To Incorporate

Every e-commerce operation relies on the ability of its website to sell their products. Without the ability to have salespeople roaming the floor asking customers, May I help you?, businesses rely on the their website to sell, sell, sell. Many business owners rely on content to push the customer through the sales process. There is no doubt that the content of the site is strategically important to convincing the customer to buy. But beyond the content, there is the site itself. While the content may be getting the message across, does the site help or prohibit customers from moving forward [...]

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