Have Rankings and Traffic, But Little to No Conversions Still?

Has this happened with you? You work hard as hell to get good search engine rankings and traffic. But things don’t happen your way even then. At this point, conversions are your only Godot.

In this article, I’ll discuss the metrics that matter most for conversions – usability, content and performance – and how you can make the most out of them.

Usability

Usability is one of the most important aspects of a website, one that terribly influences the decision behavior of your visitors and also the ranking behavior of search engines. Having a website that doesn’t score well in this regard is – how shall I put it politely – the worst thing since untoasted peanut butter sandwich without jam. But what’s the whole idea around usability? It’s how easy and pleasant a site’s features are, according to the usability guru Jakob Nielsen.

Pro Tips:

  • Let your anchor texts look like ones that Web searchers are accustomed to. Anchor texts lose all their value when they don’t look clickable, when they are too long, when they are highlighted the same way as the key points in the regular text and when they too generic to be understood by search engines.
  • In an ecommerce site the simpler it’s for searchers to find what they want, the better. Jakob Neilsen recommends you to even convert your search into navigation when the search is too generic.
  • Your homepage should state simply what you do and how you can help your visitors; MailChimp does it wonderfully well.Have Rankings and Traffic, But Little to No Conversions Still? image FireShot Screen Capture 003 Email Marketing and Email List Manager I MailChimp mailchimp com 252x300Have Rankings and Traffic, But Little to No Conversions Still?
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel if it’s not required. This makes it difficult for people to use and consume the content of your website. It’s always better to make your site look as familiar as possible. This includes things such as placing search bar on the top etc.
  • Never, ever greet your visitors with a pop up, unless, of course, you want them to say the holy words.
  • The world ain’t desktop-only anymore, which means people are visiting your site from mobile devices too. In such a scenario having a site that sucks on mobile devices is not an option. So think about what’s the best mobile option for you among responsive design, dedicated mobile sites and mobile apps.
  • If you run a blog and you generate your major revenue from ads, it doesn’t mean that you’ll let ads dominate your content. Because that’s what your readers are concerned with. Don’t compromise your readers’ experience for a few extra dollars. Google hates this greed too and that’s why it released Page Layout algorithm back in January 2012, affecting 0.7% of English queries. This is what Google said upon the release: “Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away. So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change.”
  • Ensure that your site’s content is readable and the font won’t break on being zoomed.

Content

Content is king and always will be. If it can bewitch your visitors into being your customers for life, it can also prove to be destructive when it’s not being taken care of. Even little things matter in content – did you ever imagine that a simple change from “your” to “my” can cause 90% increase in conversion? Even I didn’t, until I looked at Michael Aagaard’s call-to-action case studies.

Pro Tips:

  • Go Google+: Google has always loved content that wows readers and makes them talk about it. But now Google’s more interested in authors that have a verified online profile. Let’s look at what Google’s Eric Schmidt has to say about this: “Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”
  • Embrace those cool rich snippets that increase the value of your content and make your site more clickable in SERPs.
  • Think about your target audience and make sure that your site’s content is useful.
  • It’s been ages since Matt Cutts said that starting a blog on a website is the best way to get natural links. But unfortunately some still underestimate the importance of regularly updating a blog with, of course, insightful, sharable content. It’s simple: if people love your advice, they are more likely to end up being your client.
  • Don’t invest your energy in press releases and syndications – neither they’re valuable for SEO, nor they’ll get you conversions – do better content marketing rather: guest posts, controversial contents, comics, white papers, podcasts or whatever you think can better help you get what you ultimately want, conversions. Rand Fishkin recently shared wonderful tips on content marketing.

Performance

Those who argue that site speed is not an important ranking factor miss out on that which is at the heart of conversions: user experience. And it really needs no research, no studies to say that speed is the most important factor for a website, one that’s not too daunting to tackle but is often avoided.

Pro Tips:

  • Use content delivery network. The main idea behind it is to deliver data from the server that’s geographically close to your site. CDN not just helps increase response time. It reduces bandwidth and requests, too. Though CDN sounds a little expensive but it’s really, really cheap.
  • Set maximum page size (not more than 50 KB).
  • Embrace conditional or lazy loading technique for images.
  • Combine CSS and JavaScript files.

Yahoo and Google offer some great awesome tips on site performance and also provide tools to optimize it: YSlow and Page Speed.

Wrapping Up

It’s better to understand and embrace this before your business falls apart: rankings (and traffic) are not the most important factor – conversions are.

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