Not a month goes by where we don’t read an article proclaiming SEO is over and social media/PR/Paid/something else is where it’s at. And whilst this is far from the truth for the brands we work with, it got us discussing SEO’s role within the conversion funnel.
Long gone are the days of SEO being a purely transaction activity, where whoever could buy the most links and create the most posts would rank. Your optimisation activity needs to be well thought out, considered, and most importantly, have users at its heart.
When you’re under pressure, big search volumes and vanity rankings that please the CEO can seem like the best way to prove success, but as the old adage goes: ‘rankings for vanity, traffic for sanity’.
Think about the quality of traffic you’re driving to the site. A smaller volume of engaged, targeted users will be much more valuable to your business than masses of broad interest users.
Being number 1 on Google might make your MD happy, but what does that really mean for your business?
You shouldn’t focus on vanity terms but rather utilise the range of search term research tools available to identify the best long tail search terms for your business.
Long tail terms are terms of three or four (or more) words in a query where a more specific product or service is defined. For instance, ‘chocolate Labrador puppies for sale Manchester’ instead of ‘puppies’. The former is more specific and detailed, suggesting the user is further through the purchasing funnel.
These users are likely more valuable to your business and in many cases are easier to reach via search. Ask your current customers and clients about the kinds of things they search for and analyse the terms currently driving traffic to the site to build a bank of potential terms, then use a keyword forecasting tool to sense check.
Building site visibility for relevant topics doesn’t end with rankings, users also need a reason to engage with your site. What is it about your entry in the SERPs that makes a user want to click through to the site?
Granted, the average CTR for position one of Google is 34% but position isn’t the only factor in terms of site traffic. What makes your site stand out against the others in the mix?
Clever use of meta data can draw the user in and give them a reason to click through. A strong title tag should clearly tell the user exactly what the page is about, whilst an engaging meta description acts as your digital classified ad, encouraging click through.
But what about once you’ve got a user to the site, is your job done? Of course not, now it’s time to make the most of all that time and effort you spent to get them there. Does your site have a clear user journey? Are the actions a user should take obvious? Map out your possible journeys, starting with users’ objectives and working back to create an effortless process.
Utilise split testing on your imagery, layout and lead generation tactics, learning incrementally and improving the experience over time to make the most of all those lovely, engaged users who’ve shown intent with their search.
If you need a helping hand with any (or all) of the process, get in touch. We’d love to talk about your requirements over a brew and let our talented team help you get the most out of your site and traffic.