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.

Winning The Conversion But Losing The War

I’m writing this from a cruise ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (well, actually, about 500 yards from Cabo San Lucas). This is my first cruise, and it’s been an interesting experience. My expectation was that this would be an all-inclusive vacation on water; the reality has been somewhere between a crass timeshare sales pitch and a Las Vegas buffet. [caption id="attachment_144113" align="alignright" width="300"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] What, you ask, does this have to do with search engine marketing? A lot, actually. This trip has reminded me of something very impo [...]

If Your Landing Page Could Talk, What Would It Say?

[caption id="attachment_144393" align="alignright" width="300"] How does your Landing Page see the world?[/caption] I am a landing page. My job is to greet you when you click on ads, email links and social media posts. You will find me by scanning a QR code. You come to me because you want something. You have requested my presence on your screen by taking a very specific action, and you expect a very specific result. I try not to let you down. I want you to know you are in the right place; that I have an answer for you. Your search has not been in vain. I want you to trust me [...]

What Search & Conversion Articles Clicked With You?

As we jump headfirst into 2013, we're still spending some time looking back at what Search Engine Land readers enjoyed the most so that we can set the bar even higher in the coming year. In the Search & Conversion column, landing pages, persuasive content and searcher behavior take top priority. In case you missed any of these great reads, or are thinking about how you can focus on increasing conversions from the traffic you're already receiving, take a few minutes to scan through these best practices: Death To The Cliché Landing Page - Scott Brinker Landing Pages 3.0: How Con [...]

A/B Testing From Search To Conversion

As I mentioned in a previous post, search marketers should work on finding the middle ground between a high CTR (appealing ads) and a high conversion rate (qualified traffic). This process is trickier than it seems because of the inverse relationship between those two metrics. In this article, I’ll share a couple of thoughts which I hope you'll find helpful when testing multiple ad copy and landing pages for your PPC program. Get Your Campaign & Ad Group Ready Once you have a fairly mature keyword list, you should be able to easily identify those top cost keywords with a Quality Sco [...]

The Value Proposition Test: What Is Your Page’s Caption?

There is nothing more important to your search success than your value proposition. Go ahead. Click away. I know you probably don't spend much of your time on such things. It's all keywords and copy, copy and keywords. Yet, keywords and ad copy only get you so far. For your visitors, these answer the question, why am I here? The value proposition answers the next question, why should I stay? In the context of a webpage, your value proposition will be effective if it has the following characteristics: 1. Easy to grasp 2. Relevant 3. Clearly presented I sometimes call t [...]

Why Your Content Marketing Needs To Be More Active

Content Marketing Goals The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs recently released their 2013 benchmarks on B2B content marketing. Reading it, you will be struck by two realizations: Content marketing is huge Content marketing desperately needs conversion optimization The "huge" part you probably already suspected from the deluge of blog posts out there on the subject. However, this report quantifies that scale, and it is impressive. Of the B2B marketers in North America who participated in this benchmark (N = 1,416), 91% of them now use content marketing; 54% of them plan to increase content ma [...]

4 Anti-Science Marketing Attitudes That Keep Us In The Stone Ages

Are we hiding from science? As I write this, we have all let our breath out having learned the outcome of a presidential election and countless congressional races. Now that the task of getting elected is behind us, it is time to examine a bastion of political debate: bashing science. Shawn Lawrence Otto writing in Scientific American (“America’s Science Problem,” November 2012) says that each of the political parties “...demands ideological conformity, even when contradicted by scientific evidence.” I see evidence that we are doing the same in our online marketing organizat [...]

A Look At Cross-Domain Search & Conversion

If you are running multiple online marketing programs across multiple websites/domains, then you might have asked yourself the following questions. Are there any interactions between my websites? Are my customers likely to convert across multiple domains? Would those insights potentially alter my customers' LTV (life-time value) and my goals, as a result? Cross-Domain Clicks & Revenue Attribution This is the key -- you want to be able to allocate the end-revenue numbers back to every single touch-point across multiple websites, so you can adjust your marketing mix accordingly. For ins [...]

Making The Case For Native Mobile Landing Pages

A/B Testing on Mobile Landing Pages At SMX East in October 2012, I presented on mobile landing pages at the popular iConvert session. Given the surge of interest in mobile marketing, and in particular, mobile landing pages, I thought it would be a good time to cover some of the key points from that presentation here. Slideshare: The Quest for Awesome Mobile Landing Pages from ion interactive Generally speaking, there are two ways to implement mobile landing pages: Use responsive design to have your pages adapt to the appropriate device. Implement native mobile pages that are explicitly designed for that purpose. [...]

10 Tips To Optimize Conversions On Your Mobile Landing Pages

This isn't what I mean by mobile-friendly website! In my last article, I discussed How Location & Small Screen Size Impact Search Behavior On Mobile Devices, and the main conclusion was that the user behavior is significantly impacted. So, mobile SEO deserves a special treatment of its own. This, of course, means that once the user arrives from search to your landing pages, his/her behavior does not change suddenly. The same constraints of location and small screen size apply on landing pages, and that is why it is very important to take this aspect seriously if you get any significant or important mobile traffic. Do I Really Need Sep [...]

Can You Really Increase Conversions By Decreasing Engagement?

Engagement is a magnetic "measure" of online effectiveness. You might call it an "engaging" metric. This is because it is a nice stand-in when real measures of sales, leads or subscriptions are too difficult to track or deliver disappointing results. "No, we didn't increase sales, but look at the engagement!" is the mantra. The definition of "engagement" changes from channel to channel. On a landing page, it may mean tracking how many visitors scroll the page, click on a form field, or watch a video. In social media, engagement can be measured by liking, commenting, following, connect [...]

What Makes Paid Search Programs Successful From Search To Conversion?

At a high level, I believe it is fair to say that it has a lot to do with the ability to bid on the right keywords, serve very specific ads tailored to each geo/language/device, and redirect to the most appropriate landing page for each geo/language/device. It’s all about engineering a consistent conversion chain from search to conversion, which implies high resolution targeting. In an ideal world, search marketers should break down their paid search accounts by user intent, geo, language, device, and more… as long as they see some kind of gain targeting wise. That all makes sense [...]

Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bold Test?

Experiments May Fail "My team accepts that some experiments must fail in order for us to learn from them." In a recent study of Fortune 1000 marketers conducted by the Marketing Leadership Council of the Corporate Executive Board, only about 50% of the respondents agreed with that statement. Think about that for a moment. In an age when it's never been easier, technically speaking, for marketers to test ad creatives and landing pages, what may be holding back half of them is a cultural resistance to trying something that may fail. If you've got something that is kind of working, do you want to take [...]

How Location & Small Screen Size Impact Search Behavior On Mobile Devices

Google's findings on mobile web traffic It is no news that mobile devices are rapidly taking over the Web! Latest estimates peg the share of mobile traffic from 10% to 20% of the total Web traffic. Popular websites like Quora and Facebook are claiming that about one quarter of their traffic comes from mobile devices (including tablets). With more and more people having their primary Web experience on mobile devices, this platform cannot be ignored. In fact, companies that innovate specifically for mobile devices are the ones who will have an early lead for the next couple of years. Eventually, every company will have to have a [...]

The E-commerce Product Video That Increases Revenue Per Visit

Which video recipe will make your cash register ring more often and more loudly? It was the end of a 12-hour video shoot. We had heard the same song over and over, about 200 times. Our model had just finished dancing in 24 outfits, having completing over 150 identically executed squats as part of her routine. The rest of us were just tired from thinking about that. From one day of shooting, we would generate 120 different product videos to be tested on an e-commerce website. It was fully expected that these videos would provide a boost for the major fitness apparel manufacturer's onl [...]

Two Easy Ways To Leverage The Search Funnel

If you’ve read my previous post about Multi-Touch Attribution & Conversion: Does It Matter?, you should now be aware of whether or not it is worth digging into the conversion funnel by looking at the average lag from impression/click to conversion and, more importantly, the average number of impressions/clicks involved in a conversion. In other terms, now that you are most likely finding that a great percentage of your conversions occur after more than 1 just impression or click, let’s focus on your paid search program and define some simple action items based off a higher resolutio [...]

The Pocket-Sized Mad Scientist Of Conversion Optimization

Your Customer Creation Equation Regular readers of the Search & Conversion column know well one of my fellow contributors, Brian Massey. His columns are consistently some of the most educational and entertaining. The first time I met Brian was at a Pubcon session on landing pages, where he had donned a white lab coat, was engaging the audience — a hall packed with several hundred attendees — in impromptu experiments in conversion, and was whizzing balls and t-shirts at people. I don't remember if he was throwing them for right answers, wrong answers, or both. But it was a cross between a raucous Saturday Night Liv [...]

How To Engage The ZMOT To Be Findable, Relevant & Trustworthy

As search engines continue on the path of rapid evolution, marketing is evolving in tandem as people search in different places at various times across different screens. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift where push messaging and mass consumption are evolving into a new paradigm of Relevance, Findability and Trust. It is an amazing time to be in search marketing as our ability to leverage the channel continues to advance, and our opportunities expand to become better marketers to the modern customer. Fine Tuning The Optics Of Search As search marketers, shifting dimensions of comple [...]

3 Parts Of A Complete B2B Search Landing Page

The ellipsis, or "…" is a written construct that means "you fill in the missing part." In a quote, it means "something is missing here." The Chicago Manual of Style states, "Ellipsis points suggest faltering or fragmented speech accompanied by confusion, insecurity, distress, or uncertainty." Compare this to the period, or ".". A period says, "This thought is complete." It is the sign of a complete sentence. There is a subject, a predicate containing a verb and an object. All appropriate adjectives, adverbs and participles have been included. Nothing more is needed. Are you sendi [...]

Multi-Touch Attribution & Conversion: Does It Matter?

GA Allocating Back When it comes to multi-touch attribution, I recently realized that most advertisers have pretty much the same questions: How does one know whether it is worth digging into the conversion funnel? What are common patterns from a multi-touch standpoint? How can one actually leverage the conversion funnel? Based on my conversations, here are some answers and insights. Average Time Lag & Path Length From Impression/Click To Conversion Before digging into cross-channel conversion funnels (or even campaign to campaign traffic) we need to know how many clicks on average are associated [...]

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