Goodbye to Ranking-focused SEO – Hello to Conversion-focused SEO
SEOs are good at understanding the influence of links, content, keyword targeting and organic search engine rankings, but few are focused on transforming SEO traffic to leads and sales. Building an analytical-driven SEO process focused on growing profitability of organic search is a significant opportunity.
There’s never been a better time to rethink SEO far beyond the “ranking” or “click”. Google’s algorithm is also becoming increasingly efficient at detecting post-click user engagement and conversion metrics, via a variety of data collection sources. Better engaging websites will also improve rankings.
SEO itself should be more about ‘conversions’ that essentially convert to additional revenues from traffic.
Making SEO more conversion-centric also means that some current SEO strategies and processes need updating to focus on conversions.
How to get your SEO focused on conversions
The following methods may help to get your SEO more focused on conversions:
- Assign dollar value to conversions
Using your web analytics platform, assign conversion dollar values for different conversion types, and following data collection, evaluate for organic keywords and keyword categories. When using an internal tracking system to track referrals, do not limit it to advertising campaigns only – track referral URL traffic too. Proper SEO measurement and metrics are the basis for drilling down on SEO profitability at a deeper granularity level (keyword, landing page, SEO category, geo, etc. and combinations).
- Evaluate and optimize the effectiveness of your SEO landing page in terms of its contribution as an initiator of a successful conversion funnel
Your SEO landing page may receive a lot of organic traffic but not necessarily spark conversions. Analyze the landing pages that do, and optimize.
- Customize your value proposition for major target verticals
Your solution may appeal differently to various market segments. Identify main user segments and customize offerings according to the ‘reason why’ they are interested in your offer.For example, a company that offers moving services may decide to tailor one value proposition for potential clients who are ‘price sensitive’ and another value proposition for those who are sensitive about moving company insurance coverage.You may want to have a separate SEO target page or a more comprehensive SEO ‘hub’ page per value proposition.
- Test your page title and descriptions
These may appear in the SERP listing and may significantly affect how users click your organic listing. Past the click, a more focused snippet will lead to higher conversion rates.
- Re-think internal linking structures (anchor and placement)
Do not think about links only in terms of site structure or PageRank. Test performance of placed links in terms of appeal to users, call for action effectiveness, and conversion rates.
- Build your keyword targeting strategy based on best converting keywords
Often using paid search to identify best converting keywords is instrumental in formulation of an ROI-driven keyword targeting plan.
- SEO click stream analysis (first click or last click?)
Many conversions have a “click stream to conversion”, meaning the same user arrived multiple times via different sources before conversion – from multiple keywords/sources. Most analytics systems assign 100% of the conversion credit to the last click. Be aware of the setting for your analytics system, and take into account the contribution of each click in the stream. Note that certain organic keyword queries should serve well for increasing awareness and building intent, while others, among them brand keywords, do a better job at driving the “last click” conversion and thus are fully credited for the conversion.
Within PPC activity, it is common to scale by identifying new niches, expanding the keyword bedded on, and optimizing a large number of micro segments and ad groups. When the performance of each micro segment is improved, overall performance can improve significantly, and is also where search marketing technology is essential.
As far as the scaling approach, advanced SEO within competitive markets should essentially be the same. By better segmenting SEO activity, as broken down into separate keyword groups and SEO target pages, and optimizing the conversions of each individual segment, accumulated results of SEO activity should significantly improve.
Time to rethink what SEO is all about
SEO has changed and you must change with it to stay competitive. There has never been a better time to rethink SEO, taking action to transform it away from ‘rankings’ and ‘traffic’ and into more systematic, tested client acquisition activity.
By establishing measurement and metrics, analyzing pages within the SEO conversion funnel, customizing value propositions for different verticals, testing SERP snippets, and re-thinking keyword targeting and linking strategies, you can scale your SEO results and discover new revenue potential.