So you’ve build an amazing website, and you’re ready to rake in the visitors (and conversions). But the visitors aren’t arriving, or if they are, they’re dropping off, never to be seen again. So what’s happening? And how can you fix it?
A full-funnel search engine optimization plan with conversion rate optimization will address the vast majority of conversion issues. Read on to find out how.
Conversion Optimization Guide
Why is my website not converting?
Most sites that struggle to convert don’t actually have anyone at the conversion helm, so to speak, meaning no one is in charge of owning conversion strategy. That can result in several common issues such as
Misaligned Goals and Strategy: Your website’s objectives (e.g., email signups, product sales, form submissions) should directly support your broader business strategy. If these aren’t connected, you’re likely measuring the wrong conversions or targeting the wrong audience.
- Action: Revisit your business goals. What are the most important actions you want visitors to take on your website? Define your primary conversions clearly.
Unclear Value Proposition: Visitors need to understand immediately what your product or service offers and why they should choose you.
- Action: Craft a concise, attention-grabbing headline and supporting text that highlights the unique benefits and pain points you solve for your customers.
Friction in the User Journey: Confusing navigation, slow loading times, or complicated checkout processes create hurdles. Trust issues as well, including lack of social proof, secure payment indicators, or contact information, which can erode visitor trust.
- Action: Analyze your website’s flow using heatmaps or analytics tools. Simplify forms, optimize page speed, and ensure a seamless user experience. Display testimonials, customer reviews, security badges, and clear contact details.
On top of that, you should do even further research in to the particular nature of the conversion problem you’re facing. Targeting where, exactly, the problem is arising on the user’s path to conversion is crucial to a successful fix. Here’s a few questions you can ask to that end:
Why am I getting clicks but no conversions?
If your ads or organic search results are getting clicks but not conversions, it’s probably because they aren’t attracting the right traffic. If you’re not choosing the right search terms, people will find your content, but it won’t be the people that are likely to convert to customers. This is where a robust search marketing strategy can really shine. Understanding the keywords that resonate with your audience, and aligning both your ad and broader website strategy with those keywords, is going to be key. You need search optimization.
Why is my click through rate low?
If your CTR is low, it could be a sign that your copy isn’t optimized for conversions. If you’re worried about CTR for URLs appearing in search results, focus on the title and meta description. You can learn more about conversion rate optimization (CRO) for copy below. Similar rules apply to social media, though you can also use hashtags to boost your visibility. If the problem is CTR for components within your website, focus on headlines, CTA and button text, images, and video. Make abundant use of A/B tests to try out new copy and images to raise CTR.
Why do I have users but no sales?
When people are coming to your website but not purchasing your products, there are often two main categories that the issue can fall into: you’re not getting the right kind of traffic, or your site has a poor user experience. In the first case, a robust SEO strategy paired with a strong Paid Media strategy can turn this problem around. Paid Media allows you to target the right audience with pinpoint accuracy. Learn more about how to harness its power below. SEO is also closely tied to UX as engagement rate plays a key role in ranking. So many SEO design strategies will also improve the usability of your site.
Solving Low Conversions on Your Website
Now that we’ve narrowed down the problem and defined your conversion goals, it’s time to discuss the best ways to fix these issues. We’ve broken down solutions into three main categories: search engine optimization, conversion optimization, and paid media. Let’s see how each solution can help resolve your particular concern.
1. Address low or poor quality traffic with SEO
Organic traffic (the number of visitors coming through search engine results) is a number you or your marketing team should be very familiar with. It’s one of the most powerful assets in your digital marketing strategy, and it’s really the end-all be-all metric for who is coming and going.
If you don’t know how much organic traffic your website gets, it’s vitally important to set up Google Analytics or a comparable web analytics platform and regularly monitor it for fluctuations. And always remember to compare those fluctuations with changes in your practice.
Google is the world’s most popular search engine. 90% of searches happen there. If your website doesn’t pop up near the top of Google’s results, people won’t know you exist. Optimizing your website’s text, layout, and graphics for the search engine’s algorithms is commonly referred to as Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an $80 billion industry. There’s a reason business owners are willing to hand over money to the pros to get the site Google-friendly: 28% of Google searchers will click on the first result they see. If your link isn’t on the first page? Forget about it.
Google prefers websites that are organized — where information can be easily found. When Google crawls across your page, it wants to find content quickly, so it can share that page with its searchers. To optimize a page for search engines, you need to create keyword alignment within your content, provide quality information to searchers, and send signals to search engines that your content is helpful by answering questions with comprehensive information about the topic.
How do you rank for more keywords? That’s where blogs and creating high quality content for your user comes into play. Search engines prefer content that offers helpful insights into problems or questions that visitors have. Google’s ranking guidelines emphasize that the experience and/or expertise of the content creator is crucial to content that ranks. So to create quality content, make sure you’ve identified a real topic or problem that people are interested in, have researched the problem thoroughly, and provide useful insights that aren’t easy to find elsewhere.
Off-page SEO is another key driver of organic site traffic. Google has eyes everywhere, so the more places your name and keywords pop up — giving Google more opportunities to find you — the better.
This requires blogging and link building. It’s important to remember that Google wants to give their users the most accurate search results possible. Create blog posts that address your customers’ needs, and provide solutions to the common problems they’re looking to solve.
Anticipate what a user might type into Google that your business can address. Things like “how do I fix…”, “where can I find…”, or “when is the best time to…” might be good places to start, depending on your services. Each industry is different, and each business can find different angles for their blog content.
To really step up your organic traffic, you need to have a comprehensive organic strategy. At a minimum, you should have a good idea of what keywords you already pick up, a plan for targeting new, relevant search terms, a site structure that is conducive to search, robust outreach efforts, and a solid understanding of your competitor’s search visibility. To achieve this, you can combine your analyitcs tools with other online SEO tools like SEMrush or Google Search Console.
SEMrush is fantastic at analyzing your website’s organic traffic and comparing it to your competitors’ traffic. Understanding what your competitors are doing is a crucial step to advancing your SEO strategy. Pages are not ranked in a vacuum, but rather compared to other, similar pages. You want to know what’s out there and how you can do better.
In the chart above, your website is the red circle. You can see where you rank against others in your field. (Hint: You should really want to know what the light yellow circle is up to.)
Typically, the more organic keywords you rank for, the more search traffic your website will receive. You can see that linear relationship in this chart.
In the chart above, we’re comparing four websites in the same industry and niche.
The website highlighted in green far exceeds the others in organic traffic. Notice they have the highest amount of organic traffic, and the highest number of organic keywords. But there’s something else going on, too: They have the highest Authority Score, and the most backlinks. Dig into those topics, and see what changes you could be making to increase traffic.
Where does your website rank compared to your closest competitors? Use SEMRush to find out. Make sure to look at their authority scores and overall backlinks, because those are the results that affect the organic traffic numbers.
2. Tackle low engagement with CRO (conversion rate optimization)
Let’s say your organic traffic looks great. Folks are really showing up to see what you’re all about. Your SEO game must be strong!
So why is nobody buying anything? Why aren’t they making appointments? Why is everyone just window shopping on your website?
You probably need conversion rate optimization. These are upgrades you can make directly to your site in order to increase the likelihood that people will click through to other parts or make a purchase. The conversion rate is the number of conversions (leads or sales) your website generated, divided by the total number of visitors. Within a given period of time, how many of your window shoppers are actually coming inside to make a transaction?
If people are coming to your website and not converting, you might have a problem with your conversion rate optimization.
What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the process of optimizing your site and/or landing pages to increase the number of leads you generate. If SEO brings them to the door, CRO invites them in for tea. Once there, they’ll sign up for a service, add something to their shopping cart, schedule an appointment, or fill out a form.
There are more than 5.6 billion Google searches every day. Representatives from Google have said that, for the most part, SEO is about posting high-quality and original content to earn those organic visitors, while CRO is about making the website user-friendly once they’ve arrived.
By combining SEO efforts with Conversion Rate Optimization, you create a lead-generating force to be reckoned with.
How to Optimize Your Website for Conversions
Here are a few general rules if you’re trying to increase conversion rates:
- Have one clear call to action on every page of your website.
- Make sure the purpose of each page is clearly stated above the fold.
- Keep the structure of each page simple and easy to use.
- Perform regular A/B testing to ensure that each component of your site is contributing to conversions.
If your website is promoting a service, your call to action (CTA) might be “fill out a contact form.” So, having your contact form at the top of the page, right next to the main heading, makes it easy to see and immediately accessible.
This conversion is much harder to obtain if you stick the contact form down at the bottom of the page. If your page is too complex to navigate, you can lose visitors, who return to the Google search results to find a site that’s easier to read.
The majority of web searches have information as the intent, meaning the searcher is looking for help with something. Your business might have a product or service that’s the solution to their problem.
Writing an informative blog answering their search query will keep them on your page, which will, in turn, establish trust between your brand and this prospective customer.
If your blog describes a service or product you offer, link directly to that resource, so they can purchase it. Publishing blogs that speak to your ideal client can definitely drive organic traffic to your website.
What are some CRO tools?
To do CRO properly, you have to have tools to help you gather data about your website, and to make changes in a systematic way. You don’t want to go changing things at random with no way of tracking results. So here are a few tools that can help.
At Cordelia Labs, we run tests on a client’s page to identify spots where users are doing the most clicking, scrolling, and swiping. We use a digital heat mapping tool called Hotjar, which records interactions on a web page.
Hotjar will identify the “hottest” places on the page, so we can optimize the page’s layout to maximize that activity. You’ll also get a sense of underutilized resources, such as CTA buttons that aren’t being used. This knowledge can help you create a plan to increase conversions on that page.
VWO is a a powerful testing and analytics tool that is free for A/B testing up to 50,000 visitors on your site. This tool allows you to make adjustments to the front-end user interface (UI) of your website without resorting to huge overall changes.
For example, if your page has a blue background, you could use VWO to create a variation of your page with a red background, to see which one gets a higher conversion rate. 50% of the site traffic will automatically route to the red page, and 50% to the blue page.
After running a test for 1-2 weeks, you can determine what color that web page should be to maximize your conversions. This is great for design experimentation!
The best way to maximize the effectiveness of Hotjar and VWO is to send traffic to your site by reaching customers through paid media, which we’re going to talk more about.
3. Solve misalignment with your audience through paid media
You might be getting traffic, but maybe these aren’t the people you’re trying to reach. Organic search isn’t the only channel to reach an ideal audience, and CRO only works if you’re bringing in ideal customers. So when organic isn’t working quickly or successfully enough, using paid advertising is a great way to go.
Not every business should dive straight into paid ads, especially not before they have a solid SEO strategy in place (always start with organic).
Paid ads, though, are the fastest and most effective way to find the people who are likely to convert and drive them to your website. This increased traffic can really speed up the CRO process by allowing you to test and optimize faster, making this a great time to use Hotjar and Google Optimize.
What is Paid Media?
Paid media is pretty simple. It’s a way to reach targeted audiences by buying ad placements, whether that’s in a search engine, on another website, or on a social media site. Once you decide which platforms your ideal audience spends their time on, you create a campaign to present your goods and services on those platforms. A few concepts you might here in connection to paid media include programmatic display advertising, search engine marketing, and paid social media.
After launching your campaign, you’ll begin to see impressions, clicks, and hopefully conversions on the page itself. It can also position your business ahead of your competitors, especially if you have a very effective campaign.
Paid media strategies
You can run A/B tests to determine which kinds of copywriting and/or graphics are engaging with audiences the most. Maybe your product sells well with funny pet pictures in the ads, or maybe your audience likes nature shots.
Posting version A and version B simultaneously, and monitoring the results for a couple of weeks, lets you make these determinations. Then pick the winning version and run with it!
You can perform these A/B tests with the ads, copy, graphics, and ad settings within each platform. Over time, as you narrow down what works for your audience, your campaign will convert more users at a lower cost per ad (or, in some cases, cost per click).
Get help from a Paid Media agency
Feeling a bit overwhelmed? There’s a lot to absorb here. But start by checking those organic traffic results, and use this blog post as a checklist to diagnose the problems.
If that’s not your bag, you needn’t worry. Paid media agencies like Cordelia Labs can run your digital advertising campaigns for you, handling all the metrics as well. It’s often best to work with an established agency before putting money into paid advertisements without a solid foundation in place.
If your site isn’t selling your stuff, you need to get the right traffic to visit your site.
Search Engine Optimization harnesses the power of organic traffic.
Publish high-quality, original blog content that answers your ideal customer’s questions.
Once you have consistent organic traffic coming to your website, work on your Conversion Rate Optimization to sell your goods and services to site visitors.
After establishing SEO and CRO, use paid advertising to promote your site quickly and publicly — it’s easier to surpass local competitors this way.
Your digital marketing team should be all over this. For a second pair of eyes on your digital marketing, or to get more in-depth support, reach out to us at Big Sea.