July 2012

Why Does your Conversion Rate Stink? Part 2

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seo marketing design backlinks illustration Why Does your Conversion Rate Stink? Part 2In Why Does Your Conversion Rate Stink?: Part 1, you learned some of the first steps as to why your site might get high traffic, but somehow you still have a stinky conversion rate.  It’s really impossible to cover all the reasons your conversion rate stinks, but cover some of the major reasons, and you should notice a solid improvement in your conversion rate.  Here are some additional reason why your site may not be getting the conversion rate you want:

Slow load times.

People want it, and they want whatever is they want right now!  Everyone knows this is the case in modern society, yet many websites load slowly.  How do you know if yours loads too slowly?  A simple eyeball test is to click on a link, and if there’s more than a heartbeat between the time you click and the time the information your customer is looking for, then that’s too long.  If you want a more technical way of checking your site’s load time, then use the Google PageSpeed tool.  A score of 90 or better means your site is loading quickly enough, and a quick load time also helps with your rankings in Google.

Uninspiring content.

All the big companies have customer persona documents, which are incredibly detailed documents regarding the various customer types they market towards.  The reason they do this is because they can get higher conversion rates by marketing towards a researched persona, as opposed to smaller businesses who haven’t done the research.  You probably don’t have the budget or time to do the research, but you can examine bounce rates in your analytics tool.  Bounce rates, which are when people view one page on your site and then leave, should be somewhere between 40% to 60% in order to be considered “good.”  If your bounce rate is greater than 60%, your content doesn’t mean much to your audience.  Develop more content along the lines of that which sits in the 40% to 60% bounce rate range.

Lack of “trust signals.”

“Trust signals” are things such as testimonials, showing a physical address, displaying a phone number and answering it, and clear, simple, and prominently placed shipping and return policies.  Remember, everything about your site should communicate ease and professionalism.  If anything is difficult or less-than-obvious to do, it’s going to cause at least some visitors to question your credibility and leave for another site that does offer credibility.  The more real you can make your company seem, the better off you are.  If you blog, be sure to talk a little about your employees – people like to know who your company is.

Don’t ask for too much information.

after googling myself i feel happy again 199x300 Why Does your Conversion Rate Stink? Part 2

If a conversion for you means having someone sign up for a newsletter or register a new username, then make the process as easy as possible.  “Easy” literally can mean asking only for people’s first name and e-mail address for signing up.  For each field of information after that which follows, your conversion rates will dip.  The same goes for signing up for user names and passwords.  Make sure your password policy is easy to follow.  Yes, security is important, but users can create perfectly secure passwords with a mix of letters and numbers – there’s no more need to make it any more difficult than that.

An outside eye helps!

Let’s admit it – it’s always helpful to have people available to you who can see the mistakes you are making that you are unable to see.  Do search through your site for all of these problems yourself, but when you’re done, have a friend or professional help you.  It may be hard to admit your mistakes, but when you uncover and fix them, your business’s profitability will thank you!

Dan StelterWhy Does your Conversion Rate Stink? Part 2
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Why Does your Conversion Rate Stink? Part 1

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seo marketing design backlinks illustration Why Does your Conversion Rate Stink? Part 1So, you’ve reached the nightmare scenario for an online company:  you’ve had your SEO services performed, you’ve spent thousands of dollars on them, you rank highly for a number of your targeted key terms, you are getting a decent amount of traffic, BUT you still aren’t getting the number of sales you need to remain profitable!  While back-linking helps your customers find your site by increasing your ranking in the search engine results pages, the simple fact is there’s much more to actually getting people to take the action you want – purchasing your products, or making a phone call.  There are many reasons this could be happening.  Take a minute to read a few reasons why your site may not be converting highly:

Do you have a target market?  Who is your target market?

Bigger companies have what they call a “customer persona” document, which is the result of thousands of hours and dollars worth of research.  This document tells them everything about their ideal customer – what kind of job he or she has, whether they are married, how many children they have, what kinds of vehicles they own, religious and political views, and so much more.  The more you know about your customer and his or her preferences, the more effectively you can sell to him or her.

The challenge smaller businesses will encounter is not having a budget available for research.  If you can’t develop one, you can develop an “eyeball” approach to gauging who your customer is.  Listen to their complaints – that tells you their pain points.  You can also ask basic information on your site’s contact form, but don’t ask too much, because if the form’s too long, people don’t fill out.  You might also offer feedback surveys after people purchase your product or service.  To incentivize them to fill these out, offer a small reward, like a chance to win a $100 gift certificate towards future purchases at your company.  If you serve businesses, you can typically find owner information on sites like LinkedIn.  So, when you think about it, there are many ways to get customer information at low or no cost.

Boring titles/meta descriptions.

Once you have a good idea of who your customer is, you have to know what benefits you offer that sell to them.  Online, people examine and click on attractive headlines first.  Then, they read some of the meta description.  If your site’s title reads “Joe’s Company” and the description begins “We are a…,” you have put your prospects to sleep!  Instead, put a benefit in the title, such as “Find Affordably Priced Widgets at Joe’s Company,” and then a meta description along the lines of, “You can save time and money by purchasing the affordably priced widgets we make.”  This answers the prospect’s question:  “What’s in it for me?”  To himself, the customer says, “Oh I see.  I can save time and money by purchasing these widgets.”

It’s not clear what to do.

Your whole site should be designed with one goal in mind:  getting the prospect to make a purchase or give you a call.  To get the prospect to do what you want, you have to make it very clear and easy.  You also have to use calls to action.  Even though the point of most sites on the ‘net is to sell, people are much more likely to take the action you want if you tell them what action to take.  If you run an E-commerce site, be sure to put your most popular products on the front page.  It sounds simple, but many people don’t do it.  If you run a service-based site, put your strongest benefits on the home page and tell your prospect to give you a call to learn more.

There are many more reasons your site might not be converting, but these are some of the main reasons why.

Why do you think your site may not be converting?

Be sure also to stay tuned for part two, coming next week. In the meantime, you can make your comments or suggestions below.

Dan StelterWhy Does your Conversion Rate Stink? Part 1
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On-Page SEO Tricks You Can do on Your Own

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Many of our clients are ones who typically have enough money to pay for back linking services, and that’s about it.  And, this is understandable for the typical small business, which may be struggling just to stay afloat.  While back linking is the primary factor in driving your ranking up the search engines, it’s far from the only factor.  In fact, there are scores of techniques you can use, each providing varying levels of value, to help search engines find and rank your site for the keywords you are targeting.  In addition to back-linking (also called “off-page SEO”), there is also “on-page SEO.”  On-page SEO is just as it sounds – there are certain things you can do to increase your rankings by making changes on your website’s pages.

The challenge Devenia often runs into is that small company marketing budgets typically can only handle back linking costs.  When we start talking about on-page SEO, most clients just about fall over.  But, every little thing you can do makes a difference, so if you can’t afford on-page SEO, here are a few things you can do on your own:

Make sure your keyword appears in your URL.  If you haven’t designed your site, or if you are willing to make a move, ensure your primary keyword appears in your site’s URL.  Ideally, it is the only words in your URL, but that’s not always possible.

All titles should be keyword rich, but they have to make sense.  Don’t just stuff your title full of keywords.  Not only do people not click on such titles, but Google does not reward keyword-stuffing at any level.  Additionally, your title should use the language of your customer and highlight the benefits they will find on that page.  And, it must be no longer than 70 characters.

Ensure the primary keyword appears in the META description.  Putting your primary keyword in your META description tag doesn’t increase your ranking.  So, why do it?  When people search Google, the results displayed bold the keyword they searched.  If they don’t see their term in bold letters in your META description, they’re much more likely not to click on your link.  Make sure your META description tags also tell the user what benefits they can find on the page, and ensure each one is unique.  The META description and META title tags are particularly important for e-commerce sites.

Target at least 1-3 key phrases per page.  Don’t worry too much about where you place the phrase.  Don’t bold it on your own site.  Make sure your total density is less than 1.0%.  Also, ensure each key phrase makes as much sense as possible where it’s used.  As is the case everywhere else on your site, Google hates kiteyword-stuffing and so do internet searchers.

Good content.  Whatever you write on each page, make sure it provides value to your visitors.  You can add in a little bit about your business, but make sure most of it focuses on what you can do for the customer.  Value-added content inspires people to trust you, which builds long-term sales.  In addition, people may like it so much they link to it, giving you free off-page SEO.

Make your images’ ALT attribute the targeted keyword on the page.  Google also values diverse content types on various pages.  You can tell Google what that content is by modifying your images’ ALT attribute to be your targeted keyword.  For your information, the text in ALT tags is what is displayed if the browser viewing the page cannot display the image.

If you follow these tips, you are on the right track to maximizing your on-page SEO value.  You can do them yourself, but the trouble most people run into is time.  It just takes a ton of time that many don’t have.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy Performing Keyword Research 101: The Basics.

 

Dan StelterOn-Page SEO Tricks You Can do on Your Own
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Performing Keyword Research 101: The Basics

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As we’ve talked with many clients, one common issue often encountered is keyword research.  Currently, Devenia does not offer this service.  Although no clients have expressed their frustration regarding this, it’s pretty reasonable to imagine some are somewhat irritated by this fact.  Right now, our resources are strapped, and we just cannot feasibly offer this service without charging a fee for it.  But, most companies offer this service for free, so charging a fee is not reasonable at this point.

So, that leads you to the most logical conclusion:  learning how to do it yourself.  It takes some time, maybe a couple hours or so, but not a ton.  Here is basically how we would recommend you perform your own keyword research:

  • Know the language of your customers.  If you don’t already know the keywords which people are using to find your business, its products, and its services, then now’s the time to figure out!  Go to SEMRush and type in the URLs of your top 5 competitors.  You’ll learn about 10 of their top 50 keywords for free.  If you’re willing to pay $70 per month, you can see all 50.  But, the top 10 will do.  By researching the competition’s SEO efforts, you will learn some of the more important terms for your industry.  You could also go to their websites directly, and just browse a few pages to identify some other terms for which they might be trying to rank.
  • Generate additional ideas.  The free version of SEMRush won’t give you a complete set of keyword ideas, but it will serve as a starting point.  Google Adwords, however, is also free and will give you a very thorough listing of keywords you can use.  But, only view it as an idea generation tool, and a rough gauge of how much traffic you might receive.  Be sure to use the “Keyword Tool.”  Ignore the “competition” column, as it does not provide an accurate idea of competition – we’ll explain that to you next.  The column to look at is “Local Monthly Searches,” which reflects the number of searches for the term in your country and language.  Be weary of the number of searches shown.  The number is not accurate, but rather it is inflated by Google, as the primary purpose of Adwords is to sell advertising.

 What you will want to note, however, is large discrepancies in various terms.  For example, if the term you are considering has    100,000 or more local monthly searches, it’s going to be tough to rank for, and it’s hard to say how many of those searches will convert into sales for your company.  Are people who are searching for that term really looking for what you are offering?  It’s difficult to tell.  What you can say, however, is that a term with 2.5 million searches per month will very likely receive more traffic than a term with 2,500 searches per month.

  • Analyze the competition.  Analyzing competition is done by simply plugging your term into Google and noting the number of results.  If you receive 207 million results, that’s 207 million pages you are competing against – that’s a ton of competition!  If you have 7 million competitors, that’s a little more doable.  When you type the keywords in, be sure to make a special note of the results that appear.  Do the 1st page results reflect product or service offerings similar to yours?  If so, you’ve probably found a high-converting keyword.  Are the 1st page results way different than what you are offering?  If so, this might be a keyword to pass up.
  • Should you use short-tail or long-tail keywords?  The answer to this is “yes.”  We get this question all the time.  The benefit of long-tail keywords (keywords with 3 or more words) is that they generally convert at a higher rate, and you can rank quickly for them.  If you don’t have a lot of money or time available at this point, these keywords are a great solution to your problems.  Short-tail keywords (keywords 2 words or less in length) generally convert at lower rates, although they receive more traffic and may lead to more total conversions.  But, they take more time to rank for, sometimes substantially more time.

When first starting SEO, the best way to do it is this:  80% of your keywords should be long-tail and should have less than 5,000 local monthly searches.  You can have a high level of confidence they will convert in excess of the fees you pay an internet marketing company.  20% of your keywords should be short-tail.  You can aim for keywords with greater than 10,000 local monthly searches and much higher.  View them as a “healthy risk.”  They might dramatically increase your business, but then again they might also not convert nearly as well as long-tail keywords

Hopefully this post helps shed a little insight onto the keyword research process.  It’s not easy, and nothing is for sure, but if you follow these steps, you can have a high degree of confidence your overall strategy will deliver you a net profit.

Dan StelterPerforming Keyword Research 101: The Basics
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