Is your site getting lots of traffic but no one is buying? Conversely, are your product and website so awesome that almost everyone who visits buys, but no one is visiting.
Search Engine Optimizion (SEO) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) are concepts that can seem to be at odds with each other at times. If you were to think of nothing but SEO when designing your site it would look great to a robot but would be anything but user friendly and the text might be so stuffed with keywords as to make it unreadable for a human.
SEO is for robots, not for humans. Knowing what the robots like today and what they will like tomorrow is often a guessing game. There are certain elements you can always count on such as quality inbound links, keyword relevant text and fresh content. Other parameters are more fluid; constantly changing as the SEO industry figures out new ways to cheat the system.
There are design elements that may be more user or design friendly but do nothing to aid your SEO efforts and in fact may be a hindrance. For instance, if you design your whole site in Photoshop (including text, headers, etc.) and post the images as the pages of your site, the robots can’t read the text. They have no idea of the content of that page beyond the fact there is an image there. Oh sure, you can add meta tags in the background that give the robots more information, but it’s not the same as far as rankings go. That text is now static as well, meaning you can’t easily update the page so the robots won’t consider your content to be fresh.
Flash banners containing information that would really be attractive to your potential buyers can’t be seen by the search engines either, only once the human visits your site will they see it. That great sale you are having? Google knows nothing about it.
Conversion Rate Optimization or (CRO) on the other hand is all about human behavior. What will induce or persuade your visitor to pull out the credit card? How easy is the navigation, how well are the products displayed, is the user engaged, how easy is the checkout, how long are visitors staying on your site? Why should they buy from you instead of a large retailer who has an established reputation? All are things to consider.
Check your reports; how many people abandon their shopping carts? If that number is significant you need to figure out what’s going wrong in the checkout process. Do you have a secure site? One that includes https: and not just http: in the address? Some people won’t give out their credit card unless it’s got that URL even if you are using a secure processor. Is it hard to change quantities? Are your shipping charges too high? Do you ask for too much personal information? These people were ready to buy your product and changed their mind. You need to figure out why.
What is your “call to action”? For instance a sale that is only on for a few more days or free shipping this week only or free giftwrapping but only if they buy in the next 48 hours! A constant call to action showing why they should buy right now. Even if you offer free shipping all the time, you don’t have to word it that way. Get creative! You can say “Free Shipping Today” or “Buy Now for Free Shipping”. Constantly have some kind of promotion going that requires them to buy now.
If you don’t like that much high pressure, then make your softer call to action be why they should buy from you instead of someone else. Make the experience enjoyable, informative, and build loyalty.
Some sites engage the customer so shopping is an enjoyable experience. The customers enjoy the site so much that they keep exploring stumble across products they didn’t even know they wanted! The descriptions of their products pull you in as though you are reading a story. You can envision yourself wearing that parka on your next ski trip as you slide down the mountain and lookin’ good!
Those descriptions probably aren’t keyword rich, as the search engines would want but your customers love them! Can you keep the same tone but sprinkle some of your keywords in? Conversely, if your description simply describes the item but includes all your keywords, your customer may be bored away after the first line. Check out woot.com for a great example of a site that has engaging descriptions but is keyword rich at the same time.
It’s all a balance, what looks good as opposed to what works well. What is user friendly and robot friendly at the same time. SEO and CRO – there is a difference.
Woodshar Professional Services
Came across this great list of 29 Reasons to Keep People Coming Back to Your Blog by a professional blogger. The list is a really good set of tips that each of us should follow when writing our blogs.
Blogs aren’t advertisements for your company. They are a way for your customers (and potential customers) to get to know you – to develop a personal relationship with you as the face of the company. If they like you, they will like your company and do business with you.
Some of my small business clients want to keep it all businesslike. They point to large corporations and how their customer contact is done. What they fail to realize is that they aren’t a large company with an established reputation and relationships with customers.
While studying what the big corporations marketing departments are doing isn’t a bad thing if it gives you new ideas, imitating them isn’t productive. Your small business is a different animal. Personal service and personal relationships are your “one-up” on the big guys. They CAN’T provide that – because they are large and impersonal. You, on the other hand, are poised to be their old friend.
More and more, people are making a conscious effort to shop and do business with “the little guy”. It’s a change in mindset to “shop local”. Connect with people, show them the “face” behind the sale and they will prefer to buy from you rather than the faceless corporation.
Woodshar Professional Services
This is a great new resource for web site and mobile application developers, social media strategists, online retailers, and is just plain interesting to boot!
You can even show them by use simply by mousing over the various tasks. What a great resource to not only have everything in one place, but also to discover new tools for your area of expertise that you might not have discovered.
How will this tool help you? Please tell me if you discover some cool new tool you never knew existed and how it helped you. Looking forward to your feedback!
I found this on the web and thought I would share with my clients:
When creating your Twitter SEO strategies, remember that all your tweets shouldn’t be about your own website and content. This is bad for your website promotion and would turn people off. No one wants to follow a conceited, I’m-so-great prima donna. Besides, if your tweets would be all about your products and services, they would look spammy. Post engaging and useful information, answer and ask questions, tweet interesting facts, and send messages that your followers will find valuable.
Consider a username that’s relevant to your niche or your business. Your username can affect your website promotion since its part of your page’s URL and title tag.
Choose a relevant account name. This will further boost your Twitter website traffic, since the account name is also part of the page title. The account name should be different from the username.
Since your bio serves as the meta description tag, choose your text wisely and keep website promotion in mind.
A tweet’s title tag is made up of the username of the account sending out the tweet and the first 30 characters. Another Twitter SEO tip is to place the keywords in the post’s first few words.
When retweeting, there are Twitter SEO techniques you can follow. For instance, it’s better to place the “RT@username” at the end of the tweet so that you’ll have plenty of room to place the keywords in the tweet. Also, limit your tweets to 120 characters so that there will be space when other users add the RT@username. Otherwise, some parts of your post might get chopped off.
I found this article about Zappos very useful. It gave me some new ideas about keeping social media SOCIAL.
This isn’t traditional advertising folks. The old rules don’t apply anymore. Although we want to keep the professional elements (no typos, spelling, grammar, etc.) the style should be personal and social instead of clinical and informative. I love how their customer service people are encouraged to develop a personal connection and to allow their style and personality to show to the customer.
Many times, when writing yet another dull email to a client about this technical matter or that, I am tempted to put in a little joke or twist on words or other playful expression to break the monotony. Sometimes, the joke is just DYING to get out. I chuckle to myself, but years of business training nag at me and, inevitably, I take it out and send the “businesslike” email. The opposite of social.
So, a new year is time for new methods. Out with the old, in with the new!
I resolve to let my playful side through when it wants to come out.
I resolve to be more SOCIAL in my social media contacts.
What do you resolve to improve in your social media strategy? What can you resolve to do every day to “get the word out” to your customers and their friends? Word of mouth is still the best (and cheapest) advertising.
Facebook is the new happy hour so belly up to the bar and start socializing!