Posted in How To on January 9th, 2013
Everyone knows that good SEO can bring in new leads and customers to your business. That’s a theory many marketers and search scientists continue to believe and act upon, which is great. Amongst all the hustle bustle of SEO, traffic, analytics, sales, conversions, we tend to forget a simple, yet very important concept – is that traffic all we want? What is our end goal? To get found by a thousand people – they come, they see, they leave while only a handful of them actually sign up or convert to a sale. To increase your sales and conversions, you have to be able to convert SEO traffic.
For example, if you organically get 100 leads for a very high competitive keyword and manage to pull out 10 sales, the possibility that you will end up with 1 or 2 customers who are going to stay and use your product is very common.
The same is true for e-commerce sites who are new to the market and don’t have enough brand presence. Their conversion rates do not improve, being aggressive with SEO just brings more sales, not a better conversion rate.
So the net conversion rate of your SEO campaign for a highly competitive keyword is only 1 or 2 per-cent of the total traffic. If this is the case with your business, you can arrive at two conclusions:
- The keywords you’re targeting is extremely competitive and your marketing efforts are getting outperformed by your competitor’s product.
- There is something wrong in your product, which is failing to make a compelling impact with your audience. Their starting requirement, which is the keyword they typed in at Google, is very high and you’re not meeting their expectations.
So what is the correct way around this?
Welcome to the world of CRO, an acronym of Conversion Rate Optimization. The whole idea of CRO is that you change your marketing and SEO strategies to get more conversions, not just more traffic or leads for your business. The purpose of CRO is to focus on principles that drives more conversions, not just more sales or business.
Let me illustrate this with an example.
The Importance Of CRO
Let’s assume you are a software firm and you sell an invoicing software for businesses. Your product is new to the market, offers all the features your targeted audience wants, now all you want is to get more customers and see how they react to your product.
So you launch an SEO campaign to target the phrase “business invoicing software”. It has good search volume, it is targeted and relates to your business in a profound way. You test with Adword campaigns, you promote the product on social media, you get links from high quality sites but the conversion ratio never crosses that deadly 4% level. For months.
You’re doing SEO, you’re traffic has skyrocketed from 80 hits a day to 600 but the conversion rate is still not improving. When you had 80 hits a day, you were getting 3 customers, now you have 600 hits a day and you’re getting 18 customers. That’s some growth but the conversion ratio is still the same i.e 3%.
The concept of CRO is to improve this conversion rate. CRO does not care about traffic, it cares whether the traffic you’re getting is converting to its fullest potential. Also, CRO measures whether the traffic you’re getting is eligible for conversions, in context to the product you’re selling.
So in this example, you can apply CRO principles to experiment which keywords or phrases results in more conversions, although less traffic. One use case in this example may be like this – the word “small business invoice software” has less search volume but this phrase may bring more conversions, when compared with a highly competitive phrase, say “business invoicing software”.
Find The Right Keywords And Phrases
A highly competitive keyword or phrase just might not be right for your product. it might be right at a later stage but if you’ve just launched your product, it is a risky deal. It does not matter how much you’re spending to get ranked for that particular phrase, or whether you’re ranking on the first page of Google or not.
If it’s not relevant to the user’s intent, it will be difficult to convert them to paying customers. Yes, you will get thousands of unqualified leads but if they don’t convert, it just burns your server resources. In the worst case, it may create customer dissatisfaction and you might earn a bad name for projecting something which you do not provide.
So instead of projecting “Business invoice software for enterprises”, which has a large search volume and higher demand, focus on small things e.g “invoicing software for small businesses”. This phrase has lesser search volume but if your product is fairly new and you’re not ready to take over enterprise and large companies as customers, do not project the same in your SEO, SEM, content or in your social media campaigns. Project what you really are and try to optimize for keywords and phrases the actual audience may relate with.
Found The Right Words? Tally With Existing Data
You must be using Google Analytics to analyze your website’s traffic. Now that you’ve defined a set of phrases or keywords which have low search volume and competition; you need to dig down into your Google Analytics account and check for conversion metrics.
Here, you have two options to consider
- Find whether the existing words or phrases which you chose in step 1 have already produced conversions.
- Set up Google Analytics goals and check the conversion rates for each keyword.
Let’s check the first option – whether chosen keywords are already converting or not.
Within your Google Analytics account, go to “keywords” under “traffic sources” and see the Goal conversion rates for the keywords for which your website already generates traffic. Download a religious historical data for keywords that have a higher goal conversion rate. Match it with the keywords you’re targeting? Do you see an exact match? Do you see closely related keywords? Do you see keywords or phrases that have a high conversion rate but low traffic?
If the answer to any of these questions is a yes, you now know which keywords are to be targeted. In contrast to SEO, CRO works from the inside in, you see your site’s religious data and decide which keywords to target for more traffic or better ranks.
Note: If you do not see the “Goal set” tab, you need to set up goals for your Google Analytics account.
After tallying with your existing Google Analytics data, you will have a clear idea of
- Which keywords and phrases have converted the most?
- How much traffic every individual phrase receives?
In your Google Analytics report spreadsheet, add an extra column and label it as “current rankings”. Compare the data and pattern for Conversion rates, traffic and rankings. There you will be able to decide which phrases to target for better conversions.
Make Good use of Internal Links
You do not control who links to you but you have control on the internal links, the links that are already present on your website. Although, internal links can not outweigh the value and power of external links but you can still use internal links to effectively convert your SEO traffic.
Broadly speaking, proper internal linking can help your website in two ways:
- Internal links can improve the Anchor text juice of a page.
- Internal links can help improve the Pagerank of a particular page and diversify its “relevance” factor.
To devise a rock solid internal linking strategy, prepare an excel spreadsheet with the following layout
In the from: column, enter the URL of the page which has an internal link to your target page. In the “to:” column, enter the URL of your target page and finally in the “Anchor text” column, enter the text which has been used to link from the source page to the target page. If your website is fairly large, it would be a good idea to use an SEO tool like Screaming Frog, which can spider your site and provide the data for all the pages on your site.
A typical internal link data for a single page on your site may look like this:
|/contact-us.html||/blue-widgets.html||Most popular widgets|
Now, in order to optimize the internal links for a given page, you should ensure the following things:
- Avoid linking using common phrases and stop words. Remove very generic words such as “Click here” or “Learn more”. Replace them with words and phrases that accurately describe the content of the target page.
- Make sure the anchor text wardrobe of a given page has variations and it’s not just the same word everywhere.
- Do not hesitate to optimize for the long tail of search. For example, you may want to use this entire sentence as Anchor text – “Best Blue widgets for a business website”.
- Are their broken links pointing from the target page to the source one? If yes, you need to fix them and use a meaningful and “not so overly used” anchor text.
Remember, the ideal goal of any business is not to get thousands of new customers The ideal goal is to ensure better conversions, provide good user experience and improve the conversion rate with time. Once you’ve learned what converts and what does not, you can focus your efforts in the right direction, get more targeted traffic and generate more sales for your business.
Stay up to date
- RT @unbounce: A/B Testing Between Free and Paid Signups: Sometimes Free is Better: http://t.co/MtiATLWOeQ by @wingify #
- Interesting results from our new case study - "A/B Testing Between Free and Paid Signups: Sometimes Free is Better" http://t.co/gmd9jyBFwA #
- @JuliaFok Our $129/mo package that gives 30,000 visitors to test seems like a good fit for you. #
- New post on our blog: Extend Your Conversion Funnel Beyond the "Thank-You" Page http://t.co/rEEtlVrxv9 #
- RT @SantiagoEcomm: @Wingify's #SplitTesting blog is great resource to follow for knowledge & case studies on #ConversionRateOptimisation ht… #
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