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Attracting Traffic Is Only Half The Struggle For Business Site Owners

May 18, 2015 1 Comment RSS Feed

Attracting TrafficNo business has a bottomless pot of money to spend on their online presence. What money they do have has to be spent in the right place. Site owners face competing demands: hosting, SEO, content, design, advertising, social media promotion, and so on. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many businesses split the pot in the wrong way; they focus on bringing people to their site, and yet they invest very little in creating a positive experience for the visitors they do attract. They spend on search engine optimization, and ignore conversion rate optimization.

Construed very broadly, conversion rate optimization can be considered the optimization of everything about a site that encourages a visitor to carry out a particular action, which can include buying something, clicking through to the next article, sharing on social media, or signing up from a newsletter, among many other potential conversion goals.

There is a simple truth at the heart of conversion rate optimization: ten visitors who don’t convert are worth less than one visitor who does. Of course, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and other techniques for getting people to the site are important, but it’s a wasted investment if most of them immediately leave.

I would suggest that site owners focus their efforts on improving their sites as a priority. If your site has very low conversion compared to the average in your industry, the answer is not to throw money at a search engine optimizer. Rather, you should be focused on improving things for the audience you already have.

In fact, thinking about things this way can considerably improve your SEO potential. If you create great content and publicize it well, then your site will rank well. Or at least that’s what Google would like you to believe. It’s not entirely true. SEO involves a lot of work beyond of the basics of great content, but it is true that many of the signals that Google uses for ranking content are the same as the qualities that will make users happy: rational information architecture, a fast site, pages organized with a clear hierarchy, more content than advertising, and so on.

Almost everyone knows that the days when a site’s design and content could be entirely dictated by SEO considerations are long gone. Getting people to your site is only half the struggle. The other half is getting them to stay and to do something that’s valuable to you: look at more advertising, give you contact information, buy a product or service from your company. A blunt way of putting this would be to say: get your house in order before you start inviting people to visit.

The SEO you should be doing is entirely compatible with providing an awesome experience to users — in many cases it’s the same thing. A disjointed strategy that concentrates on link building and click baiting at the expense of a great experience is a mistake that will end up costing you attention, engagement, and, ultimately, money.

Posted in: eCommerce