When SEO Just Isn't Enough
Sometimes SEO's are mistaken for wizards or witches who are able to wave a magic wand and have a website increase its conversions 1000%. This, in reality is not possible using SEO alone, as there are many other factors that need to be considered first in order to achieve this.
Firstly, SEO is really about driving as much traffic to a website as possible to assist a company in converting as many visitors as possible, whether it be to purchase a product or to sign up to some service.
SEO alone cannot make people purchase a clients product. Once an SEO has driven visitors to a site, his job is pretty much done. You can get to #1 for some popular search term, but if you don't have anything to offer your visitor when they arrive, its like opening a restaurant but having nothing on the menu for them to eat!
If you want to turn more of your visitors into buyers, there a many other aspects of a site that needs to be looked at first and this should come prior to any SEO contracts or agreements taking place.
This is the first on the list as it's the first thing that visitors will see. Your website is a critical part of your branding. If you get this wrong, it could be a major cause of failure when it comes to generating visitors and revenue at your site.
Your site needs to reflect your business, so for example if you have a finance website, the site needs to reflect that. It needs to be professional looking, easy to navigate, explain financial jargon effectively, have good use of web copy that speaks to the visitor and that has many calls to action in place to mentally coax the user into that ultimate goal, which is probably to get their credit card out.
Know Your Visitor
How many companies have websites yet fail to really grasp a full understanding of exactly who their visitors are? Many is the answer to that one.
Any salesman will tell you that if you want to sell to a customer, you need to know what the customer wants and what it is that motivates them to buy. If you can get inside the mind of your prospective customer, you are are already half way there to actually selling them something as you will know what drives them to buy the kind of products or services you have on offer.
Killer Copy That Sells
In the real world or should we say the "off-line world" you have spoken words that you can use to pitch to your prospects. This is not the case with a website(unless you use some kind of promotional video) as it is dependent on the written text or "copy" that you have on your pages to sell to your customer.
Writing effective call to action web copy, is a skill that many sites fail to implement due to either ignorance or due to laziness. There can be no doubt that great web copy that gets into the mind of your visitors, has the potential to increase your sites conversions ten fold.
When people visit your site and see what you have to offer, they have many questions that need answering. As an example lets take real estate. So you are looking for a new home in Spain and you do a search on Google using your search term and you get 10,000,000 results. You then plump for one of the results in the top 10 that seems to have a descriptive title and snippet and you decide to click it and pay them a visit.
In this case it may be that the site is nicely designed, looks professional and feels like these are the guys you would like to find you a new home. But wait, you have a number of questions as buying a new home or investment is very expensive and is not the kind of thing you take lightly. You may have many questions that you need answering such as "How long have these guys been around and can I trust them?", "Is it a good time to buy in Spain", "Will these guys really sell me the right property for me or spend more time on worrying about their inflated commissions?", "Are the fee's they indicate really all I will be paying?".
All these and many more are the kinds of questions this theoretical customer would most likely have. All of these questions must be answered within your sites web copy otherwise you risk no answering your potential customers most trouble concerns.
For me when purchasing something online, its great to be able to see the folks who are behind the site who I may be in correspondence with. This gives you as the owner, a sense of transparency and can help to install confidence in your visitors. It says "hey look, here I am. I'm proud of my site, services and what I have to offer and am not afraid to put my face to it".
Another thing to do is to make sure you have lots of options for your customers to contact either you as an individual, or as a company. So using phone numbers and emails for different departments is great, as are skype and msn contact id's if you provide online support in that way.
Make yourself available and transparent and your customers will feel that they are buying from a human being and not from a virtual shop assistant.
So remember the above points the next time you want to blame your SEO for a lack of sales. There are many things that lead to a conversion and optimization is just a small part of it. Implement some the above and you could be on your way to getting a higher conversion rate!