As a business development manager at Search Engine People, I am often approached by business owners & marketing managers who are seeking help with SEO. After some discussion, more often than not, it is realized that the goal is not necessarily implementing good SEO to their website; rather, the objective is to generate more qualified leads.
Of course, in order to generate qualified leads, you need good web traffic, and this is what a good SEO strategy can accomplish. What most business owners often overlook is how their website performs in converting that traffic into a qualified lead.
Let's look at the top 5 reasons why your website may not be generating leads for you.
1. Your Website Is Outdated. It Looks Like It Was Designed In 2008. ("The Foundation")
I tread waters carefully when I critique client's websites.... It's almost like telling someone that their baby is ugly. Fact of the matter is though, your website's design, content, layout, usability... it all matters! I will note again, it's not all about getting your website to rank on page 1.
Technologies evolve at an exponential rate. Check and see if you have the newest version of your web platform, certificates & software. There are inherent benefits in overhauling your website every 2-3 years. In addition to this, you should be updating your website frequently, blogging regularly and always testing your messages to boost your conversions rates.
According to a study from Carleton University in Ottawa, people develop an impression of your website in the first 50 milliseconds of viewing. That's about as fast as a single frame of standard TV!
So if your website looks like it was designed in 2008, and its usability is not as friendly as your competitor's, chances are good that your visitors are bouncing out (without converting)! Oh , did you know that Google now also prefers Responsive Designs? Yes, the foundation matters.
2. You Haven't Clearly Communicated What You Do, Where You Do It, And Why They Should Choose You. ("Who Are You?")
Sometimes it seems like so much focus goes into industry jargon, stock photos, buzz words and those annoying, fast-moving sliders on the homepage - it's hard to decipher exactly what the company does, who they service and why they are the best consideration.
Back to the basics! If you are an electrician in Vancouver servicing the Lower Mainland, offering 24/7 service (when your competitors do not)... Say so!
If you are a software company that caters to small businesses and can help customer save $ by proving X efficiencies, make it known.
In my sales process, I always ask the question, "what is your USP?". If you know, (and you should), what factors makes your business the best choice amongst your competitors, this should be clearly, and very quickly communicated on your homepage and landing pages. Usually, clients have fantastic competitive advantages - but unfortunately, it is either buried in the deep inner pages of their website or not communicated at all.
You have 50 milliseconds to make an impression, give it your best shot and make sure to always test these messages.
3. You Haven't Put Focus On Quality Content That Speaks To Your Targeted Audience. ("Do You Have What I Want?")
Know your services offerings; ensure that each has its own dedicated service page with quality content. Try to avoid having one service page listing all of your offerings with short bullet points. It doesn't do much in informing & converting your visitors, nor does it do you any favours when it comes to SEO.
Make sure you spend time performing good keyword research. People use numerous variations of keywords to search for your product offerings & services. In some cases, the industry specific acronyms, or highly technical terms you may use, may not be used widely by your customers.
A large portion of your web traffic is actually performing research and establishing buying criteria*. This is why content is critical. Know your audience and have quality content that effectively showcases your capabilities. Quality content helps convert, and also has tremendous SEO value.
4. You Don't Have Any Brand Equity Or You Lack In Proving Credibility. ("Can I Trust You?")
Especially if you do not have brand equity, credibility is a key consideration. It is the "why should I trust you?" and this should also be clearly presented to provide a peace of mind and/or encourage your visitors get in touch.
Testimonials, trust badges (ie. BBB), and guarantees are all great examples on showcasing trust signals. If you're an ecommerce, security badges, free shipping/returns symbols and customer reviews can also do a great job in providing assurance and getting those conversions.
5. You Have No Calls To Action On Your Website. ("What Do I Do Next?")
You'd be surprised how many websites I have seen over the years with no phone number or method of contact visible on homepage... or it's very hard to find. This is exponentially more annoying when I am browsing from my mobile device and can't click to call..... I usually end up bouncing out and finding a competitor!
But having a phone number on your website is really the bare minimum. You should be telling the user what to do next - this is your CTA (call to action).
A call to action can vary, pending on your offering: Perhaps it is a "Free Consult", "Free Estimate", "Download Now", "Book Now", "Buy Now", "Order Sample", etc.
In our experience, providing a phone # at the top right hand corner and also a quick form capture (above the fold of your website) works well and is considered to be best practice in conversion optimization. Different folks prefer different methods of getting in touch, so why not cater to your audience? Of-course if your business is mainly email based, you can put more emphasis on the form vs. phone #. We would recommend testing both and see which converts better.
Again, test your calls to action. In conversion optimization A/B testings SEP has performed for our clients, we have seen drastic jumps in conversions by making the slightest changes. Ie. changing colours, swapping a word from "business" to "corporate", or positions of where the forms are, and the like.
Tell your visitors what to do next and make it easy for them to! Don't forget to test to continuously improve your conversion rate.
In summary, SEO is not a stand-alone strategy. In order to generate qualified leads, you must also consider the effectiveness of your website. Visitors will generally pose the above questions when landing on a website. To continuously improve on lead generation, we must ensure we do our best to address these factors and always test!!!
10 Conversion Performance Boosters
- Headline & Copy
- Clear sub headline
- Impeccable Grammar
- Trust Indicators
- Strong Call to Action
- Strong Button CTA's
- Easy on the links
- Use Images & Videos
- Keep it Above The Fold
- Always Be Testing