Promotion, advertising and marketing are all important means to boost engagement and ideally sales but another fantastic way to increase conversions to and on your website can be achieved by good SEO practises.
What this entails is basically maintaining and optimising your website. By ensuring your site is up-to-date and running as smoothly as possible Google bots are better able to index (categorize) and analyse the website. This in turn means that Google can offer up your site in answer to relevant search enquiries, thereby boosting engagement.
Practising SEO on your site is always advisable as it inevitably leads to increased engagement as more visitors are directed to your site but below are selection of the most effective ways to improve conversions:
Do your Keyword Research
First and foremost identify your customers: their desires, what resonates with them and most importantly their search behaviours. By identifying search queries through various services such as Google, of course, but also Reddit and Twitter for example, you can start to see what other words are used in conjunction with your product, business, field, etc. Using these resources might give you another perspective of what topics are being discussed in relation to a product or service you offer.
Google’s keyword planner is another great tool that finds what kinds of words are being used in relation to the service or product you’re offering. If you have a bike shop, a search query may include the city you’re in or specific models, things like that. Narrowing down search intent means that you can cater to the search by targeting a particular area or field within your business.
During your research, if you begin to see that a lot of people are keen on a certain product, cater certain aspects of your site to feature that product heavily. This will ensure that the search results page features your site in reply to this particular query as you have such great content all about this particular thing. This method encompasses longtail keyword research as you’re focussing on a specific target rather than a broad subject eg. bikes vs affordable bikes in Bristol.
Create Great Content
Google bots value content just like the actual readership does, just in different ways. Google bots take into consideration many things when indexing a website but of course they also factor what other websites are linking to yours. This is one of Google’s most important factors that’s taken into consideration; and how many sites (and their ‘authority’) are linking to yours. It’s a simple way to judge expertise and authority if others are also linking because that assumes that the reason is because the content is of a high quality that others choose to link to it.
The most common way to achieve the above is by guest posting, preparing content for other websites to use and then link to your site, or better yet by creating such fantastic content that people naturally want to use and share it. Once you’ve created content of such a high standard, the idea is that others will naturally want to reference and use this work on their own. Of course it can be tricky and time-consuming to create content that is breaking ground so to speak but this is the ultimate goal: to get people to share your work of their own volition.
‘Great content’ may mean different things to different people but ‘great’ to Google translates to E.A.T – expertise, authority and trustworthiness. These are criteria laid out by Google themselves when judging a website. So if you can cover these three points in your website, search engines are more likely to offer up your work in the search results page.
Tick the SEO Boxes
Once you have great content, you’ll want to make sure that it’s ticking all the SEO boxes such as: adding meta description for the bots to read and categorize the work, a title tag which shows up on the results page, external links to authoritative sites and also, importantly, internal links to other pages on your site which again, helps the Google bots analyse your site.
Interlinking like this is firstly a great way to navigate the site easily but it also adds further clicks and page views which lend to overall time spent on site. Site dwell time is another factor that is strongly taken into consideration when ranking sites – time spent on a site is a solid marker for a user’s overall interest.
Keep Page Load Speeds Low
Taking too long can lead some users to leave the page so it’s essential that your site is running optimally. Checking load times is simple enough and can be done via Google Analytics. Once you know the load time it’s then possible to tinker with your site to reduce the load times.
There are many ways to refine your site and rid it of any bloatedness. However, to reduce load time efficiently be aware on which platform your site runs. For example if you run a website on WordPress there are a number of ways to reduce page load times:
- Reduce the amount of plugins, the most basic solution is to do some spring cleaning and get rid of unwanted or unused wordpress plugins. It may be that a particular function is actually being completed by another plugin so make sure there aren’t multiple instances of the same function which will bloat the website.
- Compress files wherever possible. Any images used and even certain scripts too can be compressed. By reducing file sizes it is a clear way to speed up the page load times. PageNinja is a great tool to speed up your wordpress site automatically.
- Finally, keep an eye on upkeep. This can include making sure that the site’s plugins are well coded (can be quite easily judged on reviews and ratings), empty trash frequency from 30 days to 7, enabling caching on your site so that returning users don’t need to re-download files every time they visit the site.
Ensure Mobile Readiness
As smartphones become more capable, intuitive and essential, invariably more searches are coming from them than from computers. In fact Google recommends updating your mobile site to reflect the desktop one as now it’s common for more visitors to land on a page via mobile. This is especially important now that Google indexes the mobile-version of a site before the desktop since July 2019. Meaning that your site is ranked and indexed using the mobile version before desktop. To check how mobile-friendly your site is, visit here.
Once you know where your site sits on the mobile-friendliness scale, you can then work on improving it to ensure that mobile users have just as good an experience as on desktop.
Make the site look good. This could be with images, with more time-intensive ones like infographics (but that also add great value) or it could be simple vector art that adds to the text, or provides a nice way to break up large blocks of text. Background images to keep the pages interesting.
Along with attractive visuals include practical ones too: reviews, testimonials and company logos with whom you’ve worked for/ collaborated with to show authenticity and reliability. Customers are more likely to use and trust a service that has a proven track record.
Remove complications from every page. This ties in with optimising the website as a whole, reducing page load times etc. There’s a reason that websites have decluttered so drastically since the early days of the internet. It’s much easier for the user to see the intent of the page without so many distractions. This can also be extended to filling in forms – use a third party login (google, facebook or outlook account). Most people would usually have numerous online account logins so by removing this roadblock it streamlines the overall site experience.
Use a Live Chat Function
This is an extra that may seem like an unwanted function especially as it may create extra work: replying to (if it’s not a bot) customer queries BUT it can lead to leads! There may be one nagging question a user has and can’t find an answer in the FAQs so has turned to the live chat to ask. Or not, someone may just put their business proposal in the live chat and go from there. It is simply another avenue just like social media where maybe 90% of the time it’s responding to questions but just for that 10% where a conversion occurs it’s worth it.
Author Bio: Jamie FitzHenry is the Director of Grizzly, a digital agency based in Bristol UK that specialises in enhancing clients’ online presence.