Therefore, in your efforts to rank 1st position in the SERP (search engine results pages), you are directly sacrificing conversions, which is ultimately what brings the dough to the business.
However, let’s reverse the picture here. How about if you were to work on improving conversions on your website? Yes, you might be increasing the number of sales for those who land on your website but also, not having a clear SEO plan in mind will also decrease the number of visitors to your site.
But before we move on, this point must be analyzed a bit deeper.
If your website was to encourage visitors to stay longer (increase engagement), interact with the different CTAs of your site (reduce bounce rate), and finally, convert, are you not sending a signal to Google’s algorithms that visitors are finding what they’re looking for on your website? Therefore, your SERP position would be bumped up at the same time that your bottom line starts to improve?
3. Are You Leaving Money on the Table?
Let me put it this way; if you are not structuring your marketing efforts in the right order, most likely you are not utilizing your marketing budget to its maximum potential.
How can we determine if we are getting the most juice out of these three digital marketing disciplines?
Imagine that someone has just launched their retail business, selling assorted gadgets (possibly even using drop-shipping). Now, let’s think about what would happen if they committed to just one of these practices:
SEM minus SEO (just PPC).
As discussed before, how large would the initial budget of this company need to be in order to make this business model sustainable? If you can afford it, go for it, but you are definitely burning your cashflow at a scary rate.
If you master this technique and are capable of bringing your site to the first three of five positions on the SERP, chances are you are on your way to make a profitable business.
But then, what would be the use of attracting many visitors to your website if they are not taking any desired actions after they land on your page. If you are in the business solely to provide content without expecting anything in return, great! But most of us are here to make a living.
CRO would nicely polish the landing pages and product pages, but with neither PPC nor SEO to bring in traffic, it would essentially be pointless. Even a massive conversion rate is useless if there’s hardly anyone visiting the site.
The bottom line is that even using just two of the three would be suboptimal and constitute leaving money on the table. If you can eventually build up enough SEO equity and your conversion rate is healthy, you can pause PPC advertising and see if you can get by without it — but you may not want to. Most big retailers run PPC ads in perpetuity because they continue to turn a profit.
4.What Should Be First?
In most cases, it depends on different factors such as the type of business, the industry you operate in, the level of competition, and so on. But, based on our experience with thousands of clients, the common denominators tend to be similar. The easier way to address this question is by the analogy “before inviting guests, you need to clean your house”.
If your website does not do a good job at showing users what they came for, does not help visitors feel comfortable sharing personal information, and does not clearly tell them what they are supposed to do in order to get what they came for, most likely your website is not going to convert. No matter how many people you bring to a low converting site, your advertising ROI will always be suboptimal.
Moreover, think about the last time you were looking to purchase something online. I guarantee that you saw the same product on several websites at a similar price. Most likely you decided to go with a website that provided answers to the three CRO cornerstone questions that we described in one of our previous posts.
5. When is it time to move to the next strategy?
When you’re pressed for time and have limited resources, you need to operate with tremendous efficiency. By prioritizing tasks that involve each of these practices, you can get significantly increased value in return for your effort. Here are some examples:
- Develop high-converting landing pages. One of the best things you can do for a core product or service is to create a strong landing page to serve as the target of your traffic drivers. Mixing that with excellent content, design, and UX to boost the product conversion rate will then improve the on-page SEO factors to give it strong ranking potential.
- Produce cornerstone content. Through creating high-quality advisory and informative and/or entertaining content for a store blog or guide section, you can achieve several things that will affect everything we’ve looked at, such as:
- Raising your brand authority. The better your content (and the more useful information it provides), the more you will be seen as an authority in your area of the e-commerce world. This will reduce user reluctance while shopping (particularly for high-cost items), earn you better Google rankings, and give your PPC ads some convenient name value.
- Establishing consistency. Users and search engines alike prefer businesses that are consistent in what they say and how they act. Pushing out strong content on a regular schedule, with no duds along the way, will encourage prospective buyers to listen to you and will enable search engines to trust the quality of your site.
- Winning social shares. People like to share content with their friends and communities. Having some great guides or articles on an offer will boost your social shares, which will lend social proof to your core business, get you additional attention and feedback into a positive public perception.
- Target multiple channels. With so many popular digital channels competing to occupy our time, it’s unwise to focus on any one of them in particular. If you’ve spent time and resources on making your website and blog content extremely impressive, you need to get that content in front of as many eyes as possible — and that means cross-platform. What’s more, it isn’t even that difficult to achieve this using tools like Hootsuite (though you need to be careful about the formatting).
6. Measuring Results and Continuous Improvements
Run extensive A/B testing
A/B testing is simply the practice of alternately running two versions of a page. You might change an image, a piece of text, or even a button — you might even change multiple things, though that would make the results less clear. Applying A/B testing across your entire marketing funnel (going all the way from the formatting of your PPC ads to the central CTA of your landing page) will get you the best results, because even a slight improvement to each step will add up to a meaningful improvement to the overall process.
The marketing process doesn’t often succeed through one particularly convincing step, because it’s a slow build, and even the most captivating introduction can be undermined by a weak follow-up. A funnel with no weak links will work considerably better than one with a couple of standouts and a solitary clunker. Remember that mostly everyone who ends up buying from you will need to have made their way through the entire process — one weak link can ruin the chain.
Doing business in today´s economic environment forces business owners to have a solid and consistent presence online. However, this does not need to be another problem to solve in our daily tasks. Thankfully the internet is full of tools and resources to strive in your digital marketing strategy and, yet they require an initial investment, most of your marketing efforts will take you way further than any investment you do in the physical world.
Whether you are an e-commerce or an established business on the high street, if you are aspiring to achieve further growth, my hope is that this article has helped to provide you with a better understanding of the level of awareness you must have to make the most of the online opportunities available to everyone.
No matter how tempted you are to overlook one part of the process (you might hate writing product copy, for instance), it’s vital that you don’t. Whether you do it all yourself, or you bring in some assistance to get it all done, make sure that your strategy encompasses SEM, SEO, and CRO in the right order. Your bottom line will benefit soon enough.
This post was originally published by our guest writer Patrick Foster. It has been now updated and extended for accuracy and comprehensiveness.