How to Get the Most Out of Organic Traffic

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how to get the most out of organic traffic

While Search Engine Optimization or SEO and Conversion Rate Optimization or CRO are sometimes viewed as polar opposites - the former dealing with technology and how information is read and prioritized by machines, and the latter dealing with psychology and how information is prioritized and presented to people - there’s little doubt that their end game is the same: get people’s needs met.

That’s how businesses make money, that’s how companies earn trust, and that’s generally the job of all online marketers, whether they lean more towards SEO or CRO.

Angie Schottmuller’s recent webinar with Tim Ash covers strategies that work for both fields simultaneously. And with finite marketing budgets and resources, win-win plays for SEO and CRO tend to go a long way.

What is your page the best at?

The first principle that ties in SEO and CRO is the knowledge that each of your pages must be the best answer for one question. For SEO, this is smart keyword and intent targeting - you can avoid content cannibalization if you know the general purpose of your pages. For CRO, this is a smart way to avoid clutter- ensuring you have one clear topic is a great way to avoid distractions when the user is on the conversion path.

One purpose best answerYour pages should be targeted to one question that they answer really well.

So the idea is that you have that one page, and that page has one purpose, and it targets one phrase, and it is the best answer to one question. Depending on how deep you are into the web site, the length of the keyword you’re targeting can get longer.

For instance, the home page of Skechers can target 1-2 brand terms, and it should be the best answer for the breadth and offering of the brand. (Not the place where you should be trying to get people to purchase) The category page of Sony should be able to target 2-3 words related to TV selection, and should be the best answer for the different advantages of High Definition-Ready and true High Definition products.

homepage 1 2 words

The deeper pages should be optimized for more specific phrases containing more words.

The product page for Dell’s product pages should be able to target 3 or more keywords (what’s known as long tail - these are typed by users less, but in aggregate, can be as important as the more searched “head” terms), and those can be the answer to what laptop features you need if you just need web surfing, word processing, and “basic” functions.

When do people convert?

The most obvious conversion is that of the purchase: you put a call-to-action in front of a person who is ready to buy, and the magic happens. That’s a useful thing to optimize, but it’s a very incomplete journey to optimize for.

The model that Angie uses goes through the steps in the funnel on the way to the purchase, and tackles what you can do to avoid losing customers on that path.

  1. Ranking
  2. Click-through rate
  3. Stickiness
  4. Engagement
  5. Conversion

You have to think about those five as separate conversions, and maximize your performance for the different phases.

1. Ranking

Getting ranked on search engines is your first problem. Some solutions to this also solve for click-throughs. For instance, Skechers increased click-through rates by adding questions and answers from experts, but also boosted their ranking for shoes.

Skechers SEO CROSEO and CRO can and should work together.

By adding content that changes regularly, like reviews and question and answer sections, you are encouraging search engines to treat the page as “fresh,” and expanding the amount of content that ties into the question you want to answer.

2. Click-through rate

For the pages that do rank for particular terms, what you need to optimize for next is the number of people who click-through to your web site. There are a couple of things you can do here.

First, you should optimize your metadescription, the organic search snippets that appear next to your result, the way you would optimize a paid ad.

optimize organic like paidThe metadescription needs to provide value.

Second, you should take advantage of rich snippets to make your results more likely to be clicked. Rich snippets can boost click-through rates up to 40%. The simplest ones, like breadcrumbs, don’t take a lot to implement, and those can help ensure visitors are entering the site at the right “level.”

Code Sample:

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/WebPage">
  <div itemprop="breadcrumb">
    <a href="/home</a>
    <a href="/category/">Books</a> > Page Name
  </div>
</div>

For the bigger gains, you can consult schema.org for star ratings and videos:

  • schema.org/aggregaterating
  • schema.org/review
  • schema.org/videoobject

3. Stickiness

Once you actually do get them to the site, it’s pertinent that they don’t leave immediately. What you need to monitor is the bounce rate - the people who leave without doing anything.

People leave without doing anything on your site for a variety of reasons, but most of them are avoidable:

  • Failed promises: if they clicked through to a page looking for available tablet models, you better be taking users to a page that says “select tablet models” in large, noticeable text. If you take them to some other section of your site, or a page that does not make it obvious you can make the selection, you can say goodbye to that visitor.
  • Poor information scent: If your main content displays 45% below the screen, your scent trail is tainted.

Additionally, you can use photos and captions to make the message more obvious - images get processed by the brain faster than text. Additionally, captions get read 300% more than body text.

4. Engagement

It’s not enough to get visitors to click-through to something - your next step is to get them to engage with you on their path to find what they need. There are a number of survey tools to find out what your user’s goals are, but typically, what you’ll need to answer boils down to two questions:

  • What do they need
  • Did they find it

Once you know what your visitors are trying to do and how often they succeed, you can proceed to fix the scenarios where they are failing the most.

5. Conversions

Once they’ve engaged with you, and you’ve provided the relevant information scent for them to find what they need, you’re almost home. So what you need to do is not get in their way.

Eliminate distractions, and do not distract the user from completing the purchase.

Ensuring a Smooth Journey

Ensuring that visitors get from point A to point B isn’t easy, but you already knew that. It helps to break the process down into smaller areas you can optimize with small, tactical decisions. By thinking about ranking, click-through rate, stickiness, engagement, and conversions, you can manage bite-sized efforts to ensure a smoother visitor journey.

We’ve touched on some of the basics of getting the most out of organic traffic, but the whole webinar with Angie Schottmuller is worth a view.

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