Thursday, May 19, 2016

SEO and Conversion Rate Optimization

How do you define the success of on online marketing campaign? For many, especially in the SEO world, success if defined by ranking.

To rank at the top of the SERP (search engine results page)--this is the presumed goal of a good online marketing campaign. Or so you would think, form the marketing of any number of so-called SEO firms.

A good ranking means increased traffic, higher visibility, and a feather in your brand's cap. This is all good.

But if your true goal is sales, a good ranking is not the first measure of success. As we noted before:

"A poor website ranking is not the reason your website is not successful, but because you were promised a high ranking within a short period of time, you feel lost. Whom can you trust, after all, if your SEO professional does not even know what he/she is talking about?"

Please Read: "The Difference Between Website Ranking and Website Optimization"

Increased traffic is great, but success requires the right type of traffic: precisely targeted visitors who are truly interested in your product or service. These visitors might only represent a fraction of your real traffic. However small, though, attracting this group should be the ultimate goal of your online marketing campaign.

A still from Wedding Crashers:
The wrong type of visitor will have no connection to your product or service--or, in the case of  Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, to your wedding! [Source]
Believe it or not, SEO (search engine optimization) is not the true goal of online marketing. SEO is simply the simply a catch-all phrase; an easy way to express the work of creating a successful website online. You optimize to perform well on search engines.

But performance is often more precisely defined by "conversions," or what many in the SEO world call CRO--"conversion rate optimization."

A visitor to your site is simply that, a visitor. A visitor might click on your site, browse a few pages, then leave. A site with a high ranking might attract many visitors who browse a few pages, then leave.

The whole notion of ranking begs a question: What is the point of attracting visitors?

The point is conversion. A conversion is a visitor who performs an action on your site, like buying your product or service, or sharing your content, or signing up for your newsletter. Different sites have different ways of defining a successful conversion, yet the essence is the same: A "converted" visitor is a customer.

A simple example reveals the difference between a good ranking and a successful online marketing campaign.

Say one site attracts 100 people and converts 10--for a 10% conversion rate.

Another site attracts 75 visitors but convert 15--for a 20% conversion rate.

The site that attracts 100 people might rank better, but if your goal is a sale (or however you define a conversion), the performance of the second site is more appealing.

Before you downplay the importance of SEO, though, remember: SEO and CRO work in concert to create a successful online marketing campaign. One cannot exist with the other.

The point of organic SEO, by nature, is to attract a precisely targeted audience. The point of CRO is to make sure that targeted visitor performs the desired action.

In the end, the optimization for both SEO and CRO looks similar. Quality content, for example, is the hallmark of both SEO and CRO.

A good online marketing company, however, understands the subtle differences between SEO and CRO and works to optimize both in subtly unique ways. Much of this blog is devoted to the art of SEO--however, conversion, is always our implicit goal.

How to Think About Conversions: The Art of Sales

When optimizing for conversions for our own clients, we define three things:

1. What is the desired conversion action?

2. What sort of action is most likely to inspire a conversion? (For example: Instead of directly attempting to sell, some firms try, first, to convert visitors to a newsletter with the hope that the newsletter will convert readers to customers).

3. What is the best way to inspire a visitor to convert?

Like most business, conversion comes down to the art of sales.

At the lower levels of salesmanship, a salesperson simply attempts to pressure someone to buy something they might not need or want.

If you understand SEO, you know: This type of pressure is opposed to the goal of organic optimization, which defines success by attracting people who really do want or need your product.

In low-level sales, the pitch is bombastic, of the sort that says, "Buy this, or else." That "or else" is a threat, of course. You might attract and convert a certain amount of people this way, but not enough to sustain a long-term, profitable business.

True conversion is not at all about persuasion or pressure; it is about reassuring your organically-attracted visitors that they have come to the right place; that they've found what they were looking for. This sort of conversion requires lucid content that clearly and simply explains your product or service.

Conversion Optimization Marketing with Stepman's PC 

If you're looking for an SEO company that understands how to effectively promote websites with good content that converts visitors, we suggest contacting our sponsor, Stepman's PC: 215-900-9398 Stepmans PC combines traditional marketing methods and organic SEO--with an emphasis on natural website optimization--to design thoughtful, inspiring, and effective content marketing campaigns.