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Monday, August 23, 2010

Combining SEO with CRO for an Effective Website

If you have an employee whom you really like, and you think they have a lot of potential, do you keep them employed if they never perform up to your expectations? What if they just aren't motivated to perform the way you know they can?

A lot of companies we talk to describe their websites like this. "We like our website, and it does what we need it to do, but it could probably be better..." What are you expecting your website to do? In most cases, it is a way that companies give out detailed information to potential customers who have already made contact with your company. "If you want to learn more, visit our website..."

Let me make a bold proclamation - this is exactly the opposite of how you should be treating your website. Get someone interested, then put them online. Do you have a phone number, email address, or contact form on your site? If so, then chances are, you want people on your website to contact you... so why would you put people back on your site after they are already familiar with your company? Take the time to give the person the info they need and build the relationship. Don't take a lazy approach and just use your website simply as additional information. That is not how a smart business uses technology.

Let's look at a different approach. What if you reversed the traditional way of using a website. What if the first point of contact was the website. They find you online, then read about you or look through a portfolio, and then click to contact you or pick up the phone and call you. Should you send that person to get answers from your website, or invest some time into them and find out how you can serve their needs?

Go back to the under-performing employee who has so much potential. What if you could invest some time and training into them and get them on the right track? Would you do it? Of course. If they ever reach their full potential, then your business gets better, and they start producing more for the company. Your website can be the same way. What if you could put your website in front of the people looking for what you do or what you sell? Wouldn't you have a better chance of getting more customers? Sure you would.

Don't let your website under-perform any longer. Start researching your industry and identify where the demand is based on how many people search for keywords related to what you do. Then, put together a strategy to get your website in front of those people. Getting your website ranked isn't magic, nor is it impossible for you to compete on a big stage, but it is a combination of in-depth research, highly specific strategy, hard work, and long-term dedication.

Getting people on your site is not the perfect ending. You want to maximize the percentage of people who actually get in contact with you to do business. That is where CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) comes in. Once you are getting traffic, you need to identify what will make more of those visitors react and contact you. The higher your Conversion Rate (the ratio of the number of visitors to the number of visitors that become clients), the more profitable your business becomes, and the faster you grow.

Conversion Rate Optimization, much like SEO, is a process. You should perform A/B testing on changes and monitor results, continuing the process until identifying the common behavior of your website visitors and getting them to make that call or to contact you. When you combine SEO (to get ranked for keywords that bring in visitors) with CRO (turning more visitors into clients) then you begin to see how effective your website can really be.

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