One of the best parts about search engine optimization is that not only is organic traffic some of the most valuable you can get, you can use the process of SEO to optimize your conversion rate as well. When it comes to improving your website’s conversion rate, your SEO audit tool is your best friend.
What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Since you’re reading an article on this blog, you probably already know what conversion rate optimization is. But I like to make sure we’re all on the same page.
Wikipedia defines “conversion rate optimization” as “a system for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers, or more generally, take any desired action on a webpage.”
Boil that down and it’s basically finding out where and why users abandon the conversion, and then fixing it.
The key concept behind CRO is maximizing the value of your traffic, not necessarily getting new visitors to your site. This distinction really matters. Forcing more water through a leaky pipe will fill your bucket, but fixing the pipe will save you time and money doing it.
Now, a short vocab lesson. While some of you might be familiar with these concepts, everyone should know them.
- Conversion: The desired action you want a user to take on your website. This could mean anything from a purchase to an email sign-up. It’s anything that turns a site visitor to a customer or lead.
- Conversion rate: This is the percentage of website visitors who finish the conversion process. You can calculate this mathematically as (Number of conversions/Total number of website visitors) * 100.
- Call-to-Action (CTA): A directive to the user to take an instant action. Usually, CTA buttons (or links) use vocabulary like “buy,” “sign up,” or “order,” but this depends on your website’s goal. CTAs also typically use “now” or some other timely word to create a sense of urgency.
- Conversion/Sales funnel: This is the path visitors take to conversion. This could be, for example, a funnel of home page, category page, product page, and finally, checkout.
- Exit rate: The rate of users who leave your site after viewing a page. This isn’t the same as a bounce rate, because it also includes people who land on the page from elsewhere on your site.
- Abandonment rate: The rate of people who leave the conversion funnel before completing the desired action. This is sometimes known as “shopping cart abandonment rate.”
How Does SEO Improve CRO?
Just like more traditional factors like links, mobile friendliness is an important SEO ranking signal. Auditing your mobile friendliness is a great way to find areas that are turning your mobile visitors off from converting.
But hey, you might be thinking, mobile users don’t convert anyways. Well, hay is for horses.
True, mobile conversion rate is generally below half of desktop conversion rate. But when you break that down by device, you see that tablet conversion rate is about even with desktop, and smartphone conversion rate is trending up every year.
Audit to gauge your website’s mobile friendliness will show you where you can improve your mobile user experience to make users more likely to convert:
- Touchscreen readiness
- Mobile page speed
- Content legibility
- Compatibility with mobile browsers
Even if you don’t have an ecommerce site, or use your website to drive conversions, your mobile SEO will still impact your in-store sales. The majority of visitors from local search results result in a store visit within 24 hours.
Long page load time is the best way to make both human and crawlers leave your website. In fact, if it takes more than three seconds to load more than half of users will leave your site with 80% of them never coming back.
A good SEO audit will alert you if your page is too slow, and find the bottlenecks that are slowing it down.
Shaving valuable seconds off of your site’s latency can be a huge boost to your sales. Just ask Amazon.
Site Navigation Issues
People move around the web, including your site, by following links. Broken links on your site is like closing the gate to your store’s parking lot. If no one can get through, they can’t give you any money. Google also hates broken links because they make their job a lot harder.
An SEO audit will find your website’s broken links, allowing you to open that gate and get traffic flowing back to your store.
Custom Error Pages
This is related to broken link issues on your site. When someone accidentally links to a URL on your domain that doesn’t exist, they need to have place to land dedicated to getting them to where they’re trying to go.
404 errors (aka not found errors) are some of the most common errors your users will encounter. And these errors are very, very frustrating for the, especially if they land on a generic error page.
These generic pages are pretty much blank (save maybe a few lines about the URL not existing), giving them no real options but to give up and close the window. Create a custom page with helpful text and links to get them off the error page. Include some fun images to ease the blow.
Plus, 404 pages are a great way to build some positive brand awareness. They’re a great way to reinforce your culture and values. You can even get some good press out of them (people love sharing funny 404 pages).
While custom 404 pages will still result in Google recording a crawl error, its crawler will have the ability to find your homepage.
If you sell your products on your website, or even if you just collect emails for newsletter and promotions, your audience needs to feel secure in your security. An SEO audit will verify that your website is truly as secure as it can be.
If you’re using a complete SEO audit tool it will include an SEO crawler feature that finds all instances of non-HTTPS URLs on your website. This step is very, very important, even if you have an SSL certificate.
Secure URLs with non-HTTPS images, scripts or videos will throw up a big scary red warning page in users’ browsers.
That’s a really good way to make sure no one visits your website, much less converts.
Get Those Conversions
The five things listed above are very important for getting Google to visit your page and add it to their index. They’re also vital for ranking at the top for your target keywords. And, luckily for the busy marketer, they also cover five important elements of optimizing a website for conversions and lead generation.
So if you find that you have trouble attracting and converting visitors to your website, run a detailed SEO audit to help unlock the potential of your website.
Do you have any tips to add? Please let us know in the comments below.