The idea of gaining traffic versus conversions has always been a hot topic among those seeking SEO results. The question of traffic or conversions has been debated by the best in the business. In all honesty, the best answer I have heard is… drum roll please: Both.
Ultimately the whole goal of SEO (and PPC) is to achieve both high website traffic and conversions. You need to draw as much traffic to your website as possible, and you also need those “visitors” to convert to customers. Getting those visitors to return to your website as loyal customers is the goal. This is one way to measure the success of your online marketing efforts.
Having a website that gains all kinds of traffic, yet converts little to none of its visitors is of little value. It takes a lot of time and effort to get people to visit your website, and in those few precious minutes, if not seconds, you have an opportunity to convert them into customers.
What are some of the ways you can convert “visitors” into customers, you ask? Excellent question, and a question you need to ask yourself when preparing to invest into any internet marketing (i.e. SEO, PPC, CPC, and on down the line).
Believe it or not, online marketing success comes down to having a solid goal. Start by understanding what your website offers, who your targeted traffic is, and what you want them to do. Here’s an example:
Say, you are a news site that sells white papers and case studies. Your main goal for new visitors may be to get them to sign up for your monthly newsletter. In doing so, you would have successfully drawn a visitor to your site and, in those initial moments (where anything can happen from a bounce to an exit, to action) were able to get them to sign up for your newsletter – a conversion.
While this conversion may not be a direct sale, you have engaged them enough to stay connected. In doing this, there is a strong possibility that they will likely buy a white paper or case study in the near future. Congratulations!
Now let’s talk about a few other types of conversions before we get off the topic. Other types of conversions can be getting people to:
There are a bundle of conversion types you can reach for. In fact, you can set goals in Google Analytics and actually give levels to the types of conversions you have made. This way you can start to separate your traffic and gain a better insight into who you are dealing with to improve the customer experience. Again, it makes no sense to just draw in traffic if you are not also thinking about how you are going to convert that traffic.
Everyone always says to make a good first impression, but that saying isn’t limited to face to face meetings. It also applies to the web. When someone visits your website what is their first impression of your company? Do they think your company was left behind in the Stone Age because your website looks old? Any company that is serious about doing business on the web needs to make sure that their web site represents the essence of their company.
Many companies have put up websites that look awful, but their actual company is really great. How does a company fix the disconnect? First, the website needs to be user friendly. When visitors come, the navigation needs to be clear and concise. This allows the visitor to navigate and find the information they want and need. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to figure out where to go on a website, and clicking on buttons that lead them in circles. It’s like a person walking into a revolving door to get into a building, but every attempt they make either keeps them spinning in the door or leads them back outside. A website needs to be like a welcoming committee at an event that tells a visitor where to go and how to get there.
In addition to knowing where to go and how to get there, visitors need to know that your company exists. Your company could have the best product or service in the world, but if no one knows how to find your website then it won’t be a benefit. Many companies put together picture pretty websites, but they have no keyword density on their pages. Every website should be built with SEO in mind. After all, it’s like having free leads sent to your company. If a company, puts good keyword rich content on their website, (without spamming) then they have a better opportunity to show in the organic search engine listings. Moreover, to complement their high organic rankings, a company can run a paid search campaign that directs visitors to their website. If a company’s site is easy to navigate and people know how to get there whether it be through paid search and/or organic listings a company is on the right track.
Another important factor that goes hand in hand with good navigation and being found is functionality. If a company’s site has good content and navigation, but there are dead links and certain pages of the site don’t work, then a user can get frustrated and leave. It’s frustrating to a visitor not to know how to navigate a site, but it’s even more frustrating to know where to go and not be able to get there.
When building a new website or revamping a current website, remember that your website is your digital business card. If it looks old and doesn’t have intuitive navigation people aren’t going to stay around long.
Landing pages are often underrated by companies who can’t fathom the idea that their website isn’t perfect. However, landing pages are meant to compliment websites, not insult them. In fact, if a company’s website was built with a sound strategy, many of the pages on that website will make great landing pages.
According to Wikipedia, a landing page “is the page that appears when a potential customer clicks on an advertisement or a search-engine result link.” The issue that arises with many companies is that they direct visitors to the wrong landing page, because they don’t have a specific landing page to correspond with an ad or they feel that a general landing page will do the job. Let’s look at it another way. What if you bought a plane ticket to Hawaii, your bags are packed and you board the plane looking forward to sunshine, beaches and surf waves. When the plane lands, to your dismay you find that you are in Nebraska. They have sunshine, but they’re missing beaches and surf. This is the way many visitors feel when they click on an ad only to find the landing page has nothing to do with the ad that they just clicked. Landing pages have to be specific, but they also have to coincide with the ad that a person clicks on. Don’t tell them Hawaii and send them to Arizona.
Another important reason to have a landing page is to get a visitor to complete a desired action. Sometimes a company has a landing page that has the correct information, but lacks a call to action. The visitor gets informed, but they can’t sign-up or buy a product. An example would be a visitor seeing an ad that offers 20% off their blender purchase, if they sign-up for e-mail blasts. The visitor clicks the ad, lands on a product page about the blender, reads the information and decides they like the blender. Unfortunately, as they scan the page, scroll up and down and right to left they can’t seem to find where they sign-up for the e-mail blast to receive 20% off. They check one or two more pages of the website, hoping to find the offer, and then leave in frustration. How could this have been prevented? If the company was willing to tweak the blender product page, they could have put a noticeable button or link that said click here to sign-up for e-mail blasts and receive 20% off. The other option would be to create a landing page specific to that offer. Either way the visitor needs to be able to complete the desired action requested in the ad without being hindered.
Landing pages are very valuable; however they have to be used correctly to maximize results. A landing page must direct a visitor to information that accurately corresponds with an ad’s offer and it must clearly show the customer how to complete a desired action. If the pages within a company’s website offer the above, then they are set to get started. However, if a company is missing any of the above, it would behoove them to add landing pages or tweak the pages of their website.