The Process of a Conversion Part 2
Website Copy and Code – Search Engine Optimized
Search Engines have two main objectives – indexing sites and ranking sites. The keywords found on a site enable web crawlers to index the site in the correct category. A site that has a central theme, with webpages optimized for specific keywords, is a site that Search Engines can easily index.
- Keywords – Each page within a site can be optimized for a different keyword, as long as that keyword supports the overall theme of the website. For example, a site for a Financial Institution can have webpages optimized for the following: credit cards, checking accounts, savings accounts and credit repair. By optimizing webpages for varying keywords within the site’s niche market, the site has greater potential for ranking in a variety of searches.
- Keyword Tools – Google Adwords provides keyword search data, so marketers can determine user search behavior for specific keywords. This data enables marketers to determine the best keywords to use on their site, as well as the best strategies for using them.
- On-Page Keyword Tools – Keywords used in excess are counterproductive and are considered “spam” by the Search Engines. So while keywords are important, webpages that contain too many keywords will be penalized in the rankings. To avoid overuse, it is important to use an on-page keyword tool that will analyze the number of keywords used within the text of a webpage.
- Meta Tags – Meta Tags are including within the HTML code on every webpage. Located in the <heading> section of the code, these tags give Search Engines a summary of the webpage, as well as the title and the keywords associated with the webpage. These tags serve as a summary for the web crawler, providing a high level overview of the content the webpage provides, thereby making it easier for the web crawlers to index. The information in the Meta Tags is used to display a short snippet, or summary, of the webpage in the SERPs.
- Coding – Creating clean, concise CSS and HTML code is the goal of every webmaster. But creating it with the intent of ranking higher in the Search Engines requires multiple strategies. A few of which include:
- <H1> Tags – Search engines (even after the recent Google Penguin release) use HTML <H1> tags when ranking and indexing a site. By coding keyword text, using a few <H1> (and even <H2>) tags, a webpage will have a greater chance of increased ranking.
- Alt Tags for Images – Search Engines are programmed to “read,” not “view.” So images and pictures are invisible to the bots. Therefore, in order to make the most of every SEO opportunity, images on a webpage should be coded with <Alt Tags> that provide a brief description or a title for the image.
- Site Maps – Site Maps provide Search Engines with a layout of the site, making it easier to crawl and index the site.
- Robot.txt Files – These files provide Search Engines with the information they need to crawl the site, informing them of the webpages that can be crawled and the ones that cannot be crawled and indexed.
**One thing to remember in SEO is that overuse is considered Spamming. In a culture where excess is equivalent to success, this mindset seems counter-intuitive. However, excess on the web can have adverse effects. Moderation is key when implementing SEO strategies, as overuse of keywords, HTML tags, or even excessive link building efforts can cause less than desirable rankings in the search engines. Excess is equivalent to spamming, so use SEO strategies in moderation.
In regard to SEO Efforts, there is one caveat – STAY CURRENT, STAY CURRENT, STAY CURRENT.
Search Engines update their search criteria on a regular basis. When a Search Engine, like Google, who owns over 60% of the market share, makes an update, it can greatly impact SEO strategies. The latest Google Penguin 2.0 release in May 2013, has left SEO marketers scurrying to determine which strategies are still viable, and which will have an adverse effect on a website’s rankings.
By altering their algorithms, Search Engines force SEO marketers to embrace change. Perhaps this is the Search Engines’ strategy for keeping the web current and vibrant – for those who do not stay current with the latest SEO trends, can find their sites buried in the SERP’s.
SEO is an evolving industry and those who dabble in it must welcome change!
We have covered the SEO Efforts needed to drive traffic for a conversion. In the next section, we will discuss the Conversion Rate Optimization Efforts required to complete that conversion.
CRO Efforts – GOAL: Increase Conversions
The objective in the previous section was to increase qualified traffic to the site. The objective in this section is to turn that traffic into conversions. This requires a detailed analysis of how users respond to the information provided on the site.
The Web is filled with posers, so gaining user trust is paramount. A good SERP ranking and endorsements from other sites, augment user trust, but good, beneficial content on a site will go a long way in solidifying user trust. One of the objectives of CRO is that the content on the page will provide users with a benefit. A benefit that causes them to trust the site enough to execute the defined user action that constitutes a conversion.
In addition to gaining user trust, CRO must include the following steps:
- Analyze User Behavior – The web provides incredible analytics for user behavior. By setting up funnels in Google Analytics, marketers can determine at which point users are abandoning the conversion process. In addition to Google Analytics, it’s advisable to study the conversion process yourself, from a user’s point of view. Take screenshots of each step within the process, so you know the exact workflow a consumer will follow during a conversion.
- Optimize Site Content for User Needs – Once the conversion process has been thoroughly analyzed, the webpage copy must be examined. Is the content provided on the site useful? Is it persuasive? Does it evoke user trust? Ex: I may be a user looking for credit repair assistance. If a bank’s website provides a webpage offering credit repair tips, in association with a Secured Credit Card product, then I, as a user, will be more likely to apply for one of their banking products. The free information the bank has shared with me, creates a semblance of trust, making it more likely for me to pursue their financial product, over another bank’s offering.
- Optimize Conversion Tool – A site’s conversion tool can vary, depending on the definition of your conversion. If a conversion constitutes a user filling out an application, then marketers will need to thoroughly evaluate the application to determine if it is too invasive, too lengthy or too vague. By analyzing the tool you use to execute a conversion, marketers can identify gaps in the process that may be hindering conversion rate.
- Conduct A/B Testing – Utilizing testing software, marketers can create two conversion tools with slight variances. Then marketers compare user response to the two versions (A and B) in order to identify improvements that will maximize conversion rate.
- Customer Surveys – Conducting customer surveys is another way to optimize your conversion tool. Both Qualaroo and iPerceptions (formally 4Q) provide great surveys for marketers.
Sarah L. Howell currently serves clients at TSYS Managed Services by providing support for client initiatives via: project management (multiple CAT A projects), consultation of industry “best practices”, issue resolution and client advocacy. Howell also, provides oversight of client billing and contract amendments.
In addition, she has served on two separate teams that utilized her past experience to benefit TSYS in the following areas:
– Business Development – utilizing my past experience in web design and marketing to develop requirements for a new initiative.
– Training – utilizing my past experience as a writer to develop engaging curriculum for new employees.