For many SEO companies, your job is well done when you have accomplished ranking a web site for a selected keyword. After that, it is the website's problem to convert the search engine traffic. But what about those of us who happen to wear the hat of both webmaster and traffic strategist? How can you increase the conversion rates from the traffic you get from your website? The answer is by setting up your pages with a clear directive.
What is a Directive?
In most cases, your directive is to get them to do something and that something usually amounts to clicking a link.
This is good, because link clicking is a trackable event and anything that is trackable can be optimized and improved.
DEFINE YOUR DIRECTIVES
The first step to optimizing a directive is to define what your directives are in the first place.
Most websites can define what their website is about but can't define what they expect their visitors to do once they get there. So, if your primary strategy to finding and retaining customers is built around a newsletter, the directive would be to optimize conversions centered around your newsletter form.
Alternatively, your directive may be to get them to click a particular link that goes to an affiliate offer. Once again, by defining what you want your visitor to do will allow you to focus on the best chances for conversion.
In both cases, by knowing the reason why you are building a page will allow you to focus on elements that will increase conversions.
ASSESS YOUR WEBPAGE ASSETS (AND LIABILITIES)
In a perfect world, directive wise, the webpage would give the visitor 2 options-
- Click your directive
- Click the back button
Obviously, this is the ideal situation for testing because the only conversion variable you have is the one link on the page. In most cases, this is impractical.
Most websites are littered with exit links that contradict your directive. Exit links that funnel a hard earned visitor to another page to further work on your directive is one thing. Exit links that take them away are a completely different matter.
You webpage assets would include things that improve credibility in the eyes of the visitor. Liabilities are links that mess up conversion rates.
An easy way to figure out where your webpage stands is to go to your Google analytics account and using the inpage analytics to determine by percentage what people are clicking on the most and then answering these questions (the inpage analytics won't reflect content click through percentage but will illustrate how people are perusing your website..you can assign goals in analytics to help with this)
- Is what people are clicking on the most improving your goal?
- What links are people NOT clicking on?
Eliminate sources of link leakage
Link Leakage can damage a directive heavily (not to mention be hard on optimizing a webpage for search). The first thing is to eliminate links that don't push the visitor toward your page's directive.
Another link leakage problem may be that the competing links may be out converting your directive. If this is the case, consider eliminating the link. The less links on a page, the easier it is to test.
TEST YOUR PAGE WITH VARIANTS
There are lots of different conversion optimization tools out there but for the sake of this article, you can use google's website optimizer (it's free).
Google Website Optimizer allows you to take elements of a page such as headlines, banners, links, etc. so you can test how effective your directives are in the eyes of your visitors. In some cases, changing just a couple things on your page can result in double digit percentage increases.
Depending on the amount of traffic your page gets, you can set an ongoing test, selecting the "winning" pages and then changing other elements until you squeeze the life out of your directive.
So, in summation, it doesn't matter whether you are a blogger or a small business; your pages should have a clear and concise direction for your visitors. And the only way to do that is to:
- Know what your directives are...
- Know what the strengths and weaknesses of the page in question is (link leakage, credibility portals, etc.)
- Hone your page by testing page variants using website optimization software.