Why is it that some web sites are golden, compelling visitors to buy while similar web sites, perhaps even offering the same products at similar prices, fail to make the grade? It may be dumb luck on the owner’s part, but a more likely explanation is that the golden site is the result of careful design, testing, tweaking and testing yet again. Testing has grown into a core search marketing activity, but strangely, it’s also an activity that many search marketers either choose to avoid or don’t even consider at all.
And that’s a mistake. Good testing can not only help you get rid of stinker ads and landing pages, it can also help you optimize winning campaigns, improving their conversion rates and making them even more profitable. And testing needn’t be difficult or time-consuming, especially if you have the right tools. One of the best tools for helping you test and refine your search marketing campaigns is Google’s Website Optimizer. Even better, Website Optimizer is a free service.
There is a saying we throw around the office, target the root and devour the low hanging fruit. Simply put, low hanging fruit (keywords with high conversion and low competition) are one of the best kept secrets of SEO.
There are more keywords under the surface than their are keywords revealed. Leave it to most businesses to always want to go bigger, better and over the top in an attempt to conquer the most powerful or most searched keywords in a niche or take on the major players for vanity plate keywords.
Not to say that the competitive nature in most of us doesn’t get the best of us, who doesn’t want to rank higher in Google, Yahoo, MSN or Ask? The key is asking yourself about time to market, topical continuity, relevance and conversion and if you would rather keep your eggs in one basket or spread around the risk to offset the odds.
You have to look beyond keyword research if you want to be one of those companies that always appears at the top of search results. This implies knowing how to create traditional appeal in non traditional ways.
However, what does that mean specifically? We know that doubling conversion does not necessarily mean you have to double your traffic.
It means that you just have to create more lucrative cross-sections or co-occurrence of keywords (or pages) that appeal to your target audience. This feat is easily accomplished with SEO and within the context of your pages using cross-sections of keywords that will draw an audience based on the content and market focus.
Last month I had the good fortune of becoming ‘certified’ in Landing Page Optimization through MarketingExperiments out of Jacksonville Beach Florida. Several times a year, their team brings a hundred or so marketers through the 2-day workshop. The material is similar to that of their free Wednesday web clinics but in a much more intense, and hands-on workshop environment.
After attending the workshop I felt a renewed sense of purpose as a search engine marketer towards challenging my clients to focus on and improve their conversion rates, I wanted to provide some of the highlights in my next few columns. Conversion defined
Bob Massa, one of the original SEOs (though I don’t think he likes to be referred to with that label), always talks about SEO from a conversion standpoint, offering quotes like “traffic without conversions is the epitome of futility.”
The SEO space is a bit crowded right now. So many people are fighting for attention that it seems like people are fighting without purpose. There may be more people writing SEO blogs than there are reading them. That abundance of new publishers makes it easy for established authors to build links by re-spinning old phrases with new definitions, but if those links don’t create profit what is the point?
There’s no such thing as a free lunch
Looking back a few years, I can see that I was a bit economically challenged. I tried helping many people for free… but then some of those people I helped for free could never get enough, plus when something is free many people simply do not respect it. I remember my wife reading a book about self-made Internet and info-based product millionaires, and coming across a guy who in the past valued my time at nothing, always reminding me of how poor he was (though never reminding me that he is economical with the truth!)