- December 8, 2010
Are you running out of ideas to further optimize your site and online presence for search engines? Did a recent redesign or SEO campaign address ALL of the accessibility, relevance and credibility issues your site faced? Do your internal processes include SEO input and are all your customer-facing teams active contributing to your SEO success?
Congrats, my friend. You’ve reached SEO Nirvana. You should write a book!
In reality, SEO is never done. But for the sake of argument let’s assume you’ve maxed out your SEO potential and need something else to justify your salary and follow up on your “big win”. What do you do next to continue to improve your business?
Focus on Mobile
Mobile web usage grew 110% last year according to Quantcast. While it’s still only accounting for a small percentage of overall web use, some sites are seeing 15-20% of their visits from mobile devices (iPhone, Android, iPad, iPod Touch, Blackberries, etc.)
Most of these devices have fully-functioning web browsers built in and will display your website as it was intended. However, due to limited screen size your calls to action or conversion elements may be below the fold or not apparent.
Additionally, people that search the web on mobile devices search differently. They are more likely to be looking for information “on the go” and adjust their keyword queries accordingly. They don’t want to wade through a dense website to find what they need.
Mobile search results are ranked differently than desktop searches with a higher priority on geographic proximity and “mobile-friendly” site architecture.
Check your website from a variety of mobile devices. Better yet, watch other people who aren’t familiar with the site try to use it. Can they find the right content and take the desired actions? Create custom segments in Google Analytics to identify site usage and conversion trends and anomalies for mobile browsers.
You may not need a full mobile website, but it’s in your best interest to keep tabs on this rapidly-expanding segment of your market. A mobile landing page with all your vital info may be enough, but you won’t know unless you look.
Convert More Visitors to Customers
This sounds easy, but there’s an entire industry building up around Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). In layman’s terms, CRO aims to squeeze more conversions from the same amount of traffic. Instead of spending more money to drive more traffic to your site, optimize the elements on your site to convert a greater percent of visitors to customers.
It starts with gathering the right data. Web analytics tools like Google Analytics, Piwik, and Omniture can provide conversion funnel analysis. Integrating phone call tracking closes the loop on transactions or conversions that take place over the phone instead of online.
Once the key metrics are identified and being recorded, semi-automated tools like Unbounce.com and Google Website Optimizer can simplify A/B and multivariate testing to identify combinations of landing page elements (images, text, buttons, layout) that result in higher conversion rates.
Build Email Relationships
Using email marketing solely to push marketing messages on customers is still effective, but increasingly marketers are using email campaigns to nurture a relationship with a customer by supplying helpful content rather than a salesy message.
People’s inboxes are crowded and a major source of frustration and stress at work and at home. Lighten the burden by giving people something to look forward to and a reason to open and share. Plus, past customers are easier to “convert” than new prospects. Reward your loyal customers with special offers and content that makes their lives or jobs easier.
Finally, use a full-featured email marketing program to measure response and hone in on the messages that your recipients value. I use and recommend MailChimp although there are dozens out there to choose from.
Customer feedback can help you identify gaps in your marketing plans or product or service offerings. There are many, many ways to gather feedback, but I’ll focus on the two most important here:
1. Use survey tools on your site to get feedback on your performance. Similar to a Suggestion Box in your office, online survey tools like KISSinsights or Kampyle can aggregate the data into useful analytics with simple additions to your site’s code.
2. Encourage your customers to create honest reviews on your business listings on local search engines, social networks and reviews sites. Some good starting points are Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing Maps and Yelp. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of these sites so make it a point to target the most important ones for your industry and spread your customers’ love around by periodically mixing up the sites you send them to.
Once you have some positive feedback, highlight testimonials in appropriate places on your site and other marketing materials to provide social proof and 3rd party validation to prospective customers.
Test Bold PPC Changes
Go big or go home. Small changes to PPC campaigns can result in small improvements, but big changes can help get you on the path to better ROI faster. Don’t be afraid to test a new bidding strategy, ad text or targeting method to see what works. If you can fail, “fail quickly” and go back to what works briefly before testing something new. When you find something that works better, stick with it and test yet another bold change.
Use AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE) to test large-scale or bold changes to bids, ad text, landing pages or keyword lists without sacrificing your current performance.
Create Compelling Content
Do something unique. Provide value. “Value” is an intentionally vague (and over-used) term, but by value I mean something that is educational, newsworthy, humorous or insightful. People value their time, so keep it short and easily digestible.
Look outside your industry for content ideas that your competitors haven’t used yet. Then, promote your content across your social media and email platforms for even greater reach. Don’t overdo it on social media or email. Remember what your grandmother said, “Everything in moderation.”
Load times can even affect your site’s ability to convert visitors into buyers. Tests at Amazon.com revealed that every 100 ms increase in load time on their site decreased sales by 1%. Imagine the negative impact of a page that takes 5-10 seconds to load!
Take advantage of caching, Content Delivery Networks (CDN) or private servers to speed up your site and improve user experience. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, ask your nearest friendly web geek to assist. The payoff will be well worth the effort required.