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SEO & CRO: How to Convert the SEO Traffic #SEMrushchat

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SEO & CRO: How to Convert the SEO Traffic #SEMrushchat

Becky Shindell
SEO & CRO: How to Convert the SEO Traffic #SEMrushchat

Search engine optimization remains a vital part of any digital marketing mix. However, attracting new people to your website should not the ultimate goal of your business. It’s important to take the next step by converting your organic traffic into regular visitors and paying customers.

In the digital era, users have very high expectations and low amounts of patience due to the fact that there are so many websites with vast amounts of content. Because of this, SEOs need to act effectively and fast if you want to convert your SEO traffic.

In order to figure out how make sure your SEO efforts result into high conversion rates, we invited Manuel da Costa and Conversion World to our SEMrush Chat. Manuel is a conversion optimization strategist at Digital Tonic and the founder of Conversion World, which is a free online CRO conference that attracts conversion rate optimization experts from around the world.

Check out the following chat recap to learn how to convert your SEO traffic into real customers.

Q1. How do different categories of search intent (See-Think-Do) impact conversions?

People are complex individuals that make decisions that depend on various external circumstances and their own emotions. “Understanding consumer intent and meeting their needs in the moment are the keys to winning more hearts, minds, and dollars,” says Lisa Gevelber, Google’s VP of marketing. In other words, understanding your users’ search intent will help you to build the best possible experience for your customers.

Avinash Kaushik, a digital marketing evangelist at Google, developed the See-Think-Do framework which helps marketers to put their clients first, evaluate their marketing programs, and align their views of success, i.e., metrics. But how exactly do these categories of search intent impact conversions? Our chat participants shared their opinions and advice on how to craft your CRO strategy accordingly.

  • Understanding keyword intent

Understanding the keyword intent behind your site visitors’ searches can help you to increase traffic to your site and of course, generate more quality leads and drive sales. It’s important to distinguish different types of search queries with specific intent such as, the intent to acquire information and get answers (informational), the intent to reach a particular site (navigational), and the intent to make a purchase or complete a particular task (transactional).

For example, commercial intent keywords are relevant to transactional searches, while low intent keywords are usually used in either informational or navigational queries. You need to pay attention on whether your users are looking for some information or willing to complete an action.

  • Identifying search intent

Data analysis is growing in importance. And there’s a good reason for that. Today, consumers use various devices to find information what they need and make purchasing decisions. Therefore, to better understand your user's’ intent, it’s inevitable for CRO strategists to analyze data on their behavior on your website, mobile version of your site, and within your application.

  • Mapping your customer experience

There are multiple “moments” that occur in a user’s interaction with your site. Some of these moments add value, while others can add costs.

To see what works for you, try to make a list of moments that have a major impact on your company and then map each moment in your list. Think of the small events that lead up to each of your moments and then what happens during and after them. This will help you build a customer-journey map and explore your users’ needs and what they have in their minds. Conversion World recommends you to “look at what is the best conversion point for someone, depending on where they are in the customer journey.”

  • Aligning search intent with the stages of your sales funnel

As a marketer, you want to move your SEO traffic into your sales funnel and then move it down the funnel. Neil Patel recommends to reverse-engineer your funnel which means that you should work out a path that your client could take from the top to the bottom of your funnel. The advantage to this approach is that it allows you to avoid the possibility of an irrelevant audience that will stop at the very first stage of your funnel.

  • Aligning your content with your users’ needs

As we’ve already mentioned, when making a query, your users may either want to complete a certain action or find some information on a website. By optimizing your content according to your customers’ intent and their needs, it will help you gain trust with your audience through your posts, videos, etc. Your goal as a site owner and marketer is to provide your users with the exact type of experience that they are looking for.

“I think, as marketers, we should think like Google and try to answer the question the consumer is asking versus keyword targets,” tweeted Chris Countey‏ @chriscountey.

Check out a few other answers in the following recap.

SEMrushchat Recap Q1

As you can see, search intent does matter. To reach your business goal, whether it’s subscriptions, downloads, or sales, you need to understand the real reasons why your users complete certain actions.

Q2. What might scare users off once they land on a page from search?

There are various reasons why your visitors don’t stay on your website long. For example, it could happen because you’re attracting the wrong audience, or even worse, you could be attracting the right audience, but then scare them off.

Here’s a list of things that can scare your visitors off your site:

1. A web page doesn’t match user intent

You can attract people to your website, but getting them to stay long is a whole different story. You need to keep in mind that your web page should align with your customers’ intent. If they don’t find what they need on your site, they’ll move on to your competitors right off the bat. 

Martin Weinberg‏ @MartinWeinberg reminded about the importance of serving up the right content that matches user intent: “Avoid showing a BOFU to a TOFU! You don’t want to propose marriage on a first date.” You need to nurture leads through the use of TOFU (top of the funnel), MOFU (middle of the funnel), and BOFU (bottom of the funnel) content creation.

2. Cluttered web page

Visuals can be a powerful tool to attract new visitors to your site and tell your brand’s story in a creative way. However, this doesn’t mean you need to use as many images and visual elemants as possible on a single page. You should avoid using too many small pictures, long paragraphs of text on small font, or any other elements that can overwhelm and confuse your site visitors.

A clean and professional design sends the right message to your audience and can help you build credibility with your potential customers.  

3. Content doesn’t match meta descriptions

You always need to make sure that your content matches your meta descriptions. If your visitors enter your site and see something different than what they expected, they are more likely to leave your web page as soon as possible. “Nothing is worse than a company making a promise on an ad/search results, but failing to deliver on that promise,” tweeted Maureen Jann‏ @MaureenOnPoint. You should provide a proper and descriptive meta description that candidly explains what your page is about.

4. Slow website load times

Samantha Torres‏ named several issues that can scare your site visitors off, first one being when sites have slow page load times. This is because the modern web users are highly inpatient, because of this, most will leave your site if you make them wait more than two seconds. Make sure that you don’t use oversized images, too many sliders, and JavaScript effects that can slow down your page. Also, if you’re trying to save money on your hosting, be ready to get what you’re paying for.

5. Not the same user experience on different screen sizes

Not all of your site visitors use the same type of device and there are a lot of different screen sizes on various devices. If you want to provide the best experience to your users who view your site on multiple devices, you need to focus on screen sizes.

Both responsive and adaptive web design are intended to help webmasters to create designs that are optimized for the size of the screen. However, there is a specific difference between these types of designs.

6. Information overload

Users may come to your site in order to find information they need, but if you’re bombarding your visitors with too much information, they may be confused. As a result, they will leave your site as soon as possible. Your visitors may also be confused by excessive number of click through actions. To help with this, you need to provide your visitors with a smooth user experience by guiding them through your site.

Jason Barbato also pointed out another element that can scare users off your site — a long and intrusive submission form. Don’t bother your visitors by asking them for too much information.

7. Poor design

You can’t build trust and confidence with your customers if you have a poor and unpolished design. However, don’t delude yourself with a thought that a good design will guarantee a high conversion rate, because it won’t. Keep in mind that some people may leave your site for aesthetic reasons, therefore, it’s important that you spend enough resources on your website design.

You will find a few other mistakes to avoid on your web page in the following recap.

SEMrushchat Recap Q2

If your web pages have any of these seven mistakes, then you could be losing your potential clients.

Q3. What metrics should an SEO focus on when measuring the quality of organic traffic?

Imagine that you see a significant boost in your SEO traffic, how are going to measure its quality? If you’re unsure, these tips will help you figure out how to evaluate your SEO results and measure your organic traffic:

  • Micro-conversions

According to Google, micro-conversions are activities that your site visitors frequently engage in before making a purchase. In other words, these micro-conversions are typically goals that help your brand to build relationships with your site visitors like joining your email list, downloading files, and creating an account, just to name a few. Each of these goals are a small step on your user's’ path towards your macro conversion, which is your primary conversion goal.

Measuring your micro conversions will show you whether or not your SEO efforts help you to move towards your main objective:  

  • Time on page

If your web page is relevant and interesting, people will spend time on it. At the same time, if they land on a page that doesn’t appeal to their needs and wants, they will simply leave it. Measuring the average time spent on a page will help you understand whether your web page matches up with your user’s intent.

When it comes to bounce rate, our chat participants pointed out that a high bounce rate doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing a bad job. “Sometimes bounces are OK. If you answered their question, it was a good visit. Then, you can pass the ball to the retargeting team,” tweeted Chris Countey‏.

  • Pages per visit

If the number of pages viewed per visit is low, this may be because your website lacks the information or engaging content that your visitors are looking for. This can also reveal other useful information that is related to the success of your SEO campaign, including slow load times, bad first impression, and badly targeted keywords

  • Depends on your content

Understanding user intent behind your site visitors’ queries can help you to create better content that appeals to your audience’s needs and wants. Dawn Anderson pointed out that if it’s commercial content, you need to track your sales, CPA, and conversion rate. When it comes to informational content that can provide your users with answers and solutions, it’s worth measuring relative metrics, such as page visits.

  • Conversions

Whether it’s sales, form submissions, or other actions that you want your users to complete when visiting your website, you must determine what your conversion metrics are. These actions depend on your company’s goals and by delving deeper into it, you can discover useful information about conversions start and end on your site.

Let’s sum up!

SEMrushchat Recap Q3

Using these metrics you can better analyze your SEO efforts to find out how effective your strategy is. This information can show you which parts of your overall marketing mix need improvements.

Q4. What classic CRO elements taken from the funnel/order page could also be applied to generic landings?

If your landing page simply directs a user to your product page or a “contact us” page, it probably won’t see a huge boost in conversions. If it’s too generic for your site visitors, they may end up just bouncing off of your web page.

Our chat guests named these six classic CRO elements that could be applied to generic landing pages to make them more focused and personalized:

1. Value proposition

A unique, relevant value proposition tells your customer why your product or service is special and it explains how it can solve their problems. First, you need to make sure that your value proposition delivers key benefits to your site visitors and gives them a clear idea of why they should buy from you, and not your competitors

2. Security elements

Besides value proposition, it’s easier to persuade your website visitors to complete the desired actions by telling them that your site is trusted. You need to make sure your users feel confident on your site when they provide their information to you. For example, you can do this by including security badges if your website is dealing with high-sensitive data, such as credit card information.

3. Third-party validation

If someone tells you that that a product or service is good, it will reinforce and validate your decision to purchase it. Third-party validation helps you boost the credibility of your business and it increases your chances of building trust with your customers. Do this by including testimonials from your satisfied customers, press mentions, and industry awards so that you can leave a solid first impression with your prospective clients.  

4. Noticeable call to action

Make your CTA unique and eye-catching to grab your users’ attention. Your CTA needs to effectively explain what your landing page is about and why people should follow the steps you want them to take. In your CTA, clearly describe what benefits your visitors will get if they fill out a form on your website, launch a free demo, and/or buy from you.

5. Strong title

A landing page title is a vital element that can also define the effectiveness of your whole page. If it doesn’t grab your visitor’s attention, they won’t bother to read your offer. Make the title of your page unique to try to evoke certain people’s emotions, give them a reason to listen to you, and answer questions that your audience might ask.

6. Email signup and contact forms

A good landing page allows you to capture your site visitors’ emails through a lead form. Unlike a full-fledged website, landing pages have a specific goal, which is getting people to perform an action you want them to complete. The better you make your offer, the higher your conversion rate will be.

When it comes to your contact form, optimize it for your audience based on the funnel stage of your offer. The further down the funnel your user is, the more information you can request of them. Make sure your form is not too long, otherwise your potential customers won’t want to fill it out.

Chris Countey‏ also pointed out that you should capture anything on your landing pages that are measurable: “You might not know what to do with it right away, but capture everything you can.”

SEMrushchat Recap Q4

Now that you know what CRO elements to experiment with on your landing page, you can start testing it to find out what works best for you and your target audience.

Q5. If your site is in the featured snippet, how can you ensure users:

- click and go to your landing page?

- convert from the landing page?

At the end of our discussion, we asked our chat guests a tricky question: Imagine that your website is in featured snippet, how can you make sure your users get on to your landing page and then convert from it?

According to Google, If your website appears in a featured snippet, it means your content provides a clear, simple, and direct answer to your user’s question. Assuming that your audience want to learn more, you can try to heighten their interest by intriguing them and promising that you will provide a more in-depth solution to their problem.

Some of our chat participants believe that if you provide a good answer to both Google and your audience, your CTA will obviously bring your users to the focal point.

Nate Dame‏ and Jacques Bouchard‏ recommended teasing your users with a deeper answer: “Always leave them wanting more! Create a teaser that adds value, but implies a need for a deeper understanding,” tweeted Jacques Bouchard‏.

It’s worth including enough elements to your landing page to trigger a “see more” link that can compel people to click through to your website.

For example, you can add a list that is longer than content in the featured snippet. “Make sure your answer is longer than the snippet so they have to follow the it for more info. Include a CTA,” recommended Rachel Howe‏.

Andy Drinkwater suggested running split testing to discover what works best for you. He believes that it’s better to try slight modifications and not to make drastic changes.

Let’s sum up!

SEMrushchat Recap Q5

Earning high-quality SEO traffic and successfully converting it requires a strategic approach to developing both your SEO and CRO tactics. Hopefully, the tips from this post will help you turn your SEO traffic into paying customers.

Many thanks to our special guest and our other chat participants! Make sure to join Conversion World 2017 on the 9th and 10th of March to get great insight into conversion optimization from the best experts!

Converstion World 2017

Becky Shindell is the US Social Media Manager at SEMrush and host of the weekly #SEMrushchat. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter. You can find Becky at many of the US Digital Marketing Conferences, feel free to say hi!
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