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The Marriage Between Conversion Optimization & SEO
Traffic is great, but it's not the end goal. Columnist Winston Burton discusses how to use SEO tactics to help with conversion optimization.
As SEOs, our job is to increase the amount of qualified traffic to clients’ brands with the intention of having end users buy something, fill out a form, download a brochure or perform other actions on a site.
While improving traffic is great, it doesn’t necessarily result in more sales. So how do we actually get our clients more business through organic search? The answer is quite simple: conversion optimization.
Conversion optimization is the most powerful way to improve your clients’ revenue and conversions from end users. We can optimize every element of a site (e.g., technical, links, on-page, social and so on), but if users don’t convert, our efforts toward driving qualified traffic through organic search are not as valuable (unless traffic is your main KPI).
There is an extremely close correlation between SEO and conversion optimization. Therefore, the two must work together to turn visitors into customers.
How Do We Improve Conversion Through SEO?
This is the million-dollar question that a lot of us scratch our heads about. However, there are some things you should do to improve conversions through organic search.
Simply stated, it’s all about intent. Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Digital Marketing evangelist, came up with See-Think-Do: A Content, Marketing, Measurement Business Framework, a framework that categorizes users into different consideration stages based on intent.
See refers to your largest potential audience. Think is the audience “delineated by even the slightest amount of intent.” Do is the consideration stage for users who are actually looking to buy something.
Understanding and making sure you have the right content based on intent at all stages of the user journey can greatly improve your conversion rates. If you serve end users with something that they need in “the moment” — whether they are researching something, thinking about doing something or looking to purchase something — your chances of improving conversions will greatly increase.
Another way to increase conversions from SEO is to look at user behavior and work very closely with your analytics team to uncover why users are not converting.
Numbers don’t lie. Take a look at your analytics and see where users are bouncing at various landing pages on your site. Also, consider answering the following questions from an end-user perspective.
- Is your site easy to navigate?
- Do you use simple call-to-action statements?
- Does your site have a one-step conversion process that makes it easy for end users to reach the ultimate end goal (e.g., a brochure download or purchase)?
- Does your page load fast enough, and is your site mobile-friendly?
- Does your site have content that meets the needs of end users, and is your content valuable?
If the answer to any of those questions is “no,” you need to take a closer look at your website and content strategy and make some changes.
Where Are Your Users Going? What Are They Doing On Your Site?
There are a number of different analytics tools, among them Crazy Egg, that will provide insights from a heat map on where users are clicking on your site.
If you determine that users are clicking on a certain part of your landing pages instead of your call-to-action triggers, make changes and keep testing until you come closer to reaching your conversion goals.
Of course, you should always test different landing pages and elements of your site using A/B and multivariate testing. There are a number of different tools, like Optimzely, that can help you determine what works best for your target audience.
What Are Users Saying?
Another way to find out why your users are not converting is to ask them by conducting surveys using different survey platforms and by conducting usability tests with tools like Clicktale.
This will enable you to find insights into what challenges users face when navigating through your site and find out why they don’t convert.
Conversion optimization and SEO are joined at the hip. SEOs must focus on increasing conversions when delivering qualified traffic to their clients’ websites.
In order to do that, we must make sure all of our clients have sound content strategies based on intent at all stages of the user journey and moment. Then we must work closely with the analytics team and review data, taking the necessary steps to find out why users are not converting and turn them into customers.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.