SEO is the art and science of getting your site ranked higher on search engines such as Google. I say “art and science” because while there is a lot of technical know-how to doing good SEO (science), there is also a lot that is unknown and a little creativity (art) is often required. SEO experts know a lot about how and why Google ranks sites the way they do, but no one except Google knows all the rules they use to rank one site higher than another.
Volumes have been written on the topic of SEO. This is by no means meant to be a technical SEO guide. Rather, I want to give an overview of SEO for marketers and business owners who need a better grasp of the basics.
Virtually anything on your site can potentially affect your conversion rates. Different headlines, pictures, calls-to-action, etc., can all affect your conversion rates positively or negatively.
You have to start with your best guess for each of these but after that, you can be very scientific in discovering the most effective combination. Google Website Optimizer let’s you test any number of combinations of ANYTHING on a web page. You load the various elements into Optimizer and each time someone hits the page, Optimizer serves up a different combination of elements.
In order to measure conversion rates, you need a type of conversion that is measurable online. Contact forms, email list sign-ups, and online sales are good examples of conversions that can easily be measured online because you can count the number of responses or sales you get. The other thing you need is a good site analytics program. Google Analytics is the most popular and it’s free, though there are many others, some of which provide functionality that Google Analytics does not.
To get users to take action from your site, you first need to be very clear WHAT action you want them to take. Do you want to generate more calls? Or does your sales team get too many calls from people that aren’t good prospects and you would actually like to filter the number of people who call you? Do you want to generate email list sign-ups, webinar registrations or more ecommerce sales? Most sites want some combination of the above. While you can have multiple calls to action (CTAs), having more than two CTAs can just lead to confusion. Therefore you need to prioritize…
Great marketing copy inspires, motivates and almost compels users to take action. It does such a good job of talking to your customers core needs and concerns that they literally love you just for writing it and feel excited by the possibility that you can satisfy their need. How do you do that? Here are some tips:
The intro text on your site needs to immediately capture people's attention and give them a reason to read more. It shouldn't be a book, more like a sentence or two that pulls them in. The majority of visitors will take a quick look at your site and go elsewhere. If you use Google Analytics, this is called your "Bounce Rate", i.e., what percentage of people go to your home page and quickly bounce away from it. How to you grab visitors and get them to stay? Simple, you speak directly to their core needs and major concerns.
Here's how you do that… (more…)
Most of the clients we work with provide their own copy for their website although an increasing number are asking us to help write the text or are hiring other professional copywriters. If you are writing the content for your website, here are some tips to keep in mind. This is part IV in the series on increasing your online credibility.
Everyone says what they DO on their website. "We fix computers", "We sell homes", "We make BBQ sauce", etc. This is important – people need to know what you do or sell. However, it does little to increase your credibility. People know what you do, but do they trust you to do it well? To do it at a reasonable cost? Within a reasonable time frame? Not likely. The problem is that anyone can say anything on the internet and it's up to us as consumers to sort out the well-made stuff from the junk, the great services from the lousy. Marketers have crossed the trust line so many times in the name of profit that many of us have become slow to trust. How can you build trust just with the words that you use? (more…)
Last time I talked about the fact that credibility is the single most important factor in turning website visitors into prospects and customers. The design of your site was covered as one of the ways of establishing credibility. Here is another. (more…)
NDIC has been a terrific host for our website. During the tragic Asian tsunami in December 2004, our organization was among those called upon to respond. The immediate scaling of our activities stressed every system – phone lines, physical plant, operational equipment, financial processing. Although our website received the most stress due to unprecedented traffic, it never crashed and NDIC’s team made sure it was able to handle massively increased traffic.
Thomas Tighe, Executive Director
Direct Relief International
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