What is it that you want to achieve with your company website? Is the end goal the sheer glory of seeing your web appear high in the search engine pages for random keyword phrases? Or perhaps the c-suite execs push for numbers – the more people that arrive at the site each month, the better?
Of course not.
Search engine rankings and number of visitors are meaningless unless they convert into leads or clients. Even if the only goal of the website is to provide information, it is still desirable that the visitors that land on the site have an interest in the topic and their path through the site to find the information they seek should be productive.
The point of the website is to have visitors interact with it in one or more of any number of pre-determined conversion goals. SEO gets the visitors to the site but CRO gets them to interact with it and hit those conversion goals.
The Objective of SEO
To take the above a step further – what is the objective of SEO? Is it to achieve high placement in the search engine results pages or is it to achieve relevant site traffic?
If all you want is traffic for traffic sake then by all means pepper every page with key phrases containing the word ‘free’ and any number of x-rated buzz words but don’t expect your website visitors to do anything other than suck up your bandwidth.
SEO for SEO’s sake is like a plane without an engine. You can fill it with as many people as will fit but you ain’t going anywhere.
Search engine rankings and number of visitors are meaningless unless they convert into leads or clients.”
Avoiding Ego Boost Keyphrases
Unfortunately when it comes to digital marketing some business owners just lose their minds. For some reason all commonsense deserts them and instead of creating content which provides the most relevant information to their target customer, they start pushing to get ego boost phrases to the top of the serps (Search Engine Results Pages) . Serp domination becomes their goal not client conversion.
Seriously, who cares if your website is in the first position of Google for the term general contractor? Do you think that a motivated buyer is going to search using that term or do you think he is more likely to use a location specific term like Clark County general contractor quotes.
By getting more specific you are immediately reducing the competition for airspace at the top of the serps, in the case above from 54,400,000 down to 804,400 and Google recognizes that you are far more likely to provide a relevant answer to any search query related to general contractor quotes in Clark County (whether or not the searcher included the words Clark County or was simply located in Clark County).
Okay, so you can improve your search engine optimization by using more specific phrases and, if relevant to your business, including location focused content. But this is not exactly news. Google has been geotargeting for several years now and we have covered choosing the perfect long tail keywords in past articles.
Good search engine optimization, like choosing the most effective long tail keywords, can result in vastly improved traffic but remember ‘bums on seats’ is not the end goal. It is what these visitors do on on site that is important and that is where CRO comes in.
SEO from a CRO POV
Wow. Acronym overload. What I mean is let’s forget how search engine optimization can influence your serps and look instead at how it might influence your visitors and increase your conversion rate optimization. If you have chosen to optimize your site for well chosen keywords then visitors that arrive via a google search listing will find what they were looking for. On the other hand, if you have gone for ego boost or ineffective phrases then you will see high bounce and exit rates.
In Google Analytics you can view bounce rate vs sessions for the entire site or drill down and analyze bounce rates for a particular page over time.
You can also identify which pages have the highest exit rates and flag them for review. The Google Analytics behaviour flow chart is also very useful for seeing exactly which pages have the largest drop off and you can view this by Landing Page or by Medium/Source which will help you determine how tweaking site content / keyword selection is effecting your visitor’s path through the site.
With access to your Google Analytics dashboard you can access reports like these any time but it’s possible to set up a specific content conversion report. A good starting point is the Content Analysis Dashboard template by Vagelis Varfis, available in the Google Analytics Report Gallery.
Unpack that template within the Custom Report section of your site’s account in Google Analytics and you have a dashboard which at a glance gives you an overview of:
- Pageviews and Unique Pageviews by Page Title
- Visits and % New Visits by Landing Page
- Average Time on Page and Bounce Rate by Page Title
- exit and page Views by Page
- Goal Conversions
- Page Views by Country / Territory
- Page Views by City
You can delete or add widgets up to a total of 12 which allow you to slice and dice visitor activity just about any way you want. This report can be set to email to interested parties on a regular basis and is a good way to keep your SEO team focused on the CRO goals – converting visitors into customers.
Lock in your learning… more CRO related articles: