As a digital marketing agency we hear clients every day asking us for high positions in the search engines results pages (SERPs) in the shortest amount of time possible. And our answer is pretty much always the same – SEO takes time and good rankings don’t necessarily mean improved revenue (or conversions, sales , transactions, or any other metric you use to measure performance on your website).
To put it simply, there’s no point ranking well in search engines if your website is not optimised for users and conversions.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at what you can do to ensure that your hard earned rankings for your target keywords turn into revenue for your business once visitors reach your website.
While this may seem obvious, a lot of businesses often forget that any digital activity, including SEO, should have clear and measurable objectives. Use Google Analytics or your favourite web analytics package to see how traffic from search engines is actually performing on your website. If you get a good level of search engine referrals each month but very few conversions as a result, it could mean that visitors are not finding what they want. And it also means it is time to drill down into your website data to understand why things are not performing as well as you expected.
Calls to actions
Calls to action (aka CTAs) are the obvious clues you put on your website to give visitors an incentive to engage with you and complete a specific action – these can be displaying your phone number in a prominent place, have “buy now” buttons on product pages… These calls to action need to be based on your website objectives and they are crucial in getting your users to complete desired actions, so ensuring that they are in the right location and use the right wording for your audience is paramount.
Sales funnels and online forms
Most ecommerce websites use sales funnels including a series of forms to fill-in for customers with their details, shipping address, bank details and so on. You need to make sure that these forms are performing as well as possible and that your conversion rates from visits to conversion remain high. Identify potential issues, drop off points and bottlenecks in your funnels as early as possible to make your purchasing process as smooth and user friendly as possible. The same goes for other online forms (quote requests, contact forms, enquiries), never assume anything and look at conversion data to see if there are any potential problems that you didn’t anticipate.
Test, test, test
The beauty of digital marketing (unlike offline marketing) is that you can test solutions quickly and usually quite cheaply. So let’s say for example that you’ve followed the 3 points above and you think you’ve identified some flaws on your website, what next? testing is the answer! If you realise that very few of your visitors actually go further than your homepage during their visit, then maybe it is time to test different calls to action to see if you can lead them to engage with you. This can be as simple as changing the colour or wording of a button or testing a page design versus another (called an A/B test). With this test, you should be able to quickly judge which version is performing best and adjust your website accordingly. The same principle can be applied to an online form where you can test different designs, different fields until you find the best performing combination.
And once you’re familiar with basic A/B tests, then start thinking about multi variate tests (MVT) where separate elements of the page can be changed to find a winning combination.
All of the points above relate to what is now called conversion rate optimisation (CRO), and along with other digital marketing disciplines it is quickly becoming a must for website owners with increasing competition and the need to bring in the best return on investment possible from all marketing channels.
So next time you think about SEO and keyword rankings, make sure not to forget to also think about what your website has to offer to searchers who clicked on your brand.
And as usual if you need help with your SEO and website conversions, contact us, we’ll be happy to advise you on the best solution for your business.
About the author
Etienne is the Head of SEO here at Mahon Digital and he’s been involved in the digital & search marketing industry for nearly 11 years now, working for small family owned businesses as well as international FTSE 500 companies. He’s passionate about all things digital, but more specifically about digital & search strategy and marketing analysis.