by Kieran O'Brien Kern
Recently, marketers have been fighting the battle of optimizing for humans versus bots, especially when it comes to increasing revenue. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) are frequently in conflict when it comes to desired outcomes and making an impact often requires striking a balance between both disciplines — no cyborgs required.
Conversion Sciences Founder Brian Massey explains that while SEO and CRO may define success differently, — higher results in search engines versus engaging the human on the other side of the screen — their combined purpose of driving a qualified lead to the right place at the right time takes teamwork. “We know that optimizing for humans is not more important than search-bots.”
“While content pages are becoming increasingly more important, marketers have to know how to turn a content page into a landing page,” Massey shares. “A landing page has two very specific jobs: fulfill the promise of the link that sent it there, and ask the visitor to make a choice.”
Content pages often fail when it comes to driving that choice. How do you place offers around the content — whether above, below or in-line, in the frame of the page or in overlays — in a way that visibly, relevantly and effectively asks the visitor to take action? SEO and CRO come together to serve the bots and ask the visitors to become a part of the conversation.
How do we measure that effectiveness? The Conversion Rate Equation is the number of people who take action divided by the number of people who visit the site.
There are two ways to improve the conversion rate. The first method increases the number of people responding positively through better, more relevant calls to action, better-optimized pages, layouts and copy. The other solution is to reduce the number of visitors who come to the page without reducing the number of people who take action.
“We love SEOs that are good at bringing qualified traffic, fewer visitors, but the right visitors to the page. Such that we’re getting fewer people to a page but the same number or a high percentage of them are taking action, and that makes our conversion rate amazing,” Massey explains.
Massey will be leading a pre-conference workshop, “SEO+CRO: A Framework to Increase Revenue,” with Jim McKinley, principal and co-founder of 360Partners. While Massey is the expert on CRO, McKinley will bring his SEO and search marketing expertise to the session.
The pair will feature hands-on activities that teach the concepts behind converting a content page into a landing page, ensuring it keeps the promise of the original link the visitor clicked and asks them to decide whether or not to take advantage of the offer. Massey will demonstrate a variety of techniques attendees can put to use right away. Some of these tools have colorful names such as ‘the jilted lover,’ which is an exit-intent overlay.
“Most sites use a ‘sidecar,’ a ‘subscribe to our blog’ in the side margin,” he notes. However, that area on a site suffers from ad blindness. Because visitors know the side margin often serves ads, they tend to ignore it. He will show other options, including a ‘welcome mat,’ which is a call to action that pops up when a visitor enters a page.
Optimizing a page for mobile leads is another important consideration. Massey shares that as visitors read content on the phone, it’s quite effective to have a sticky offer on the page that leads to the next step. “A ‘coffee break’ pops up in the middle of the content and provides a relevant offer. A ‘wheelie popper’ is a scroll-triggered offer.”
But optimization doesn’t stop with mobile. “All of these mobile techniques also translate well to viewing on a desktop,” Massey says.
Attendees of this workshop will come away with a workbook and notes on how to improve the bottom number (visitors to the site or ad) in the Conversion Rate Equation and how to increase the top number (people taking action).
Massey feels this session is a great opportunity for anyone who has invested or is investing in SEO and wants to get more revenue, leads and subscribers, all in the name of turning traffic into dollars. He promises the half day attendees spend with him and McKinley “is going to pay off for years to come.”
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