There are many reasons why an SEO program can fall flat:
- You’re targeting keywords that have very little volume
- You’re targeting keywords from people who have no buying intent
- You’re targeting keywords that are way too competitive
- You’re targeting too few keywords
- You’re targeting too many keywords
Obviously the reasons why SEO doesn’t ever achieve lift-off can go on and on.
But let’s presume for a moment that you’re bringing traffic back to your site from great keywords but you’re lead generation hasn’t improved.
Why aren’t these people filling out your contact forms and reaching out?
Because your website wasn’t properly prepped for SEO.
SEO, Persuasion, and Conversion Optimization: BFFs
SEO and conversion optimization go hand in hand.
Because the goal of SEO is never just to rank for the sake of ranking. Or to drive traffic to your website just to have visitors stay for a few seconds and then hit the back button.
The goal of SEO is to drive more qualified traffic that will ideally increase conversions into your sales pipeline. You can increase traffic all day long, but if you’re not increasing the percentage of visitors who act—then the ROI of SEO is never going to be there.
Here’s something I’ve observed many times from well-meaning organizations who are failing to convert their SEO traffic: they’re not conveying trust visibly or early enough on their website, and they’re not successfully persuading visitors how taking the next desired action will benefit them.
If this scenario is sounding all too familiar, here are two obstacles you need to be aware of and overcome:
- SEO traffic is cold traffic. This is in direct contrast with traffic who already knows who you are and is aware of your brand reputation (such as traffic from google searches on your brand name, direct traffic typing in your website directly, or traffic coming from one of your social media posts). You have to build trust and value immediately from the get-go in order to keep a visitor on your site.
- SEO traffic usually is driven to content marketing pages, not sales pages. That means you have to go above and beyond to work to take a visitor from reading an informative, useful piece of content to persuading them to take yet another action they may not have initially planned on taking. While the chances of a big conversion (like making a sale or taking a demo) might be slim, this is your opportunity to test for and measure micro-conversions: registering for a webinar, signing up for your email list, opting in to get a free resource, browsing multiple pages on your site, following you on social, etc.)
The Importance of Warming Up Cold Traffic
On a recent webinar I listened to from Outbrain, they quoted that there are 8x as many people looking for information as there are those who search with commercial intent.
Here’s the million dollar question: how do you turn casual website visitors into qualified leads? And how do you do this efficiently and consistently every month? In K-12 Education, this is usually a long process that requires multiple touchpoints from many different channels.
As a digital marketing consultant, it’s my job to provide recommendations that speed up trust and conversions. I always assess websites to ensure that they are doing their job to:
- overcome their target market’s explicit and implicit objections
- answer the questions their target market has consciously or unconsciously formed in their heads
- supply evidence to support our answers
- provide clear, compelling, specific, realistic, measurable calls to action (CTAs)
- measure those call to actions appropriately with conversion tracking
How to Increase SEO Traffic Conversions
Conversion optimization is increasing the percentage of those who take a specified action. However, if most of the people who come to your site are looking for free information rather than looking to buy, what can you do to move them to the next stage in the buying cycle?
You must increase the trust and persuasion of your website. Important trust-building elements of a website include:
- Meaty “FAQs” pages and compelling and engaging “About” pages – in Google Analytics I always see these as two of the most visited pages of sites
- Customer and partner testimonials (videos, images, logos and copy are the ideal combination)
- 3rd party affiliations icons and logos (organizations, badges, certifications, memberships, etc.)
- Modern design and visual elements
- Stories and statistics – you must appeal to the left brain and right brain
- Identify and share results: dollars saved, growth increases, years in business, expertise of team members
- Appealing, straightforward headlines that grab attention
- Eliminate vague, cookie-cutter copy in favor of messaging that is about your visitor and their needs, not about your product/service features
- A fast-loading website that is “https” secure
One Last Important Piece of Advice
You cannot be humble on your website when there are conversions at stake. You have to be visible and clear and bold and state the possible repercussions of what will happen should they fail to act. You have to spell out why NOT acting is not in their best interest (yes I know that’s a double negative). You have to appeal to their emotions as well as their minds.
So many good businesses fail to do these basic things, which is why they’re not getting all they can out of their website traffic and SEO endeavors.
Increase motivation, reduce friction, and watch your micro and macro conversions improve.