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great yacht navigation
When was the last time you improved your site’s main navigation? You may have created it quickly without much after thought of how your visitors might engage with it. It can actually have a tremendous impact on visitors perception of your website, whether they can easily find what they are looking for, and ultimately whether they purchase what you are selling.

Even in 2014, I am still amazed by how many poorly designed, visitor repelling website navigations I see. It’s one of the things that I always get my clients to focus on improving, so thought I would share some menu optimization best practices. This varies depending on what type of website you have…. so let’s get started! Continue Reading »

Partnership
Today I’m excited to bring you a great article from Rafid Nassir from SEO.co.uk, all about the benefits of combining SEO and CRO.

Peanut butter and jelly. Pancakes and syrup. Beer and peanuts. In all good pairings, each ingredient brings out the best in the other, complementing its strengths and picking up where the other leaves off. SEO and CRO are one of these great pairs: good separate, unbeatable together. And they’re perfectly safe for those with peanut allergies. So, how can you learn to use them effectively together to get even better results from your website? I’ve put together some useful advice and tips to help you start doing so!

You know about SEO, but what about CRO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a term for the collective methods and techniques that online marketers and website owners can use to promote their website and ensure it is more visible to search engines – and to searchers! Practices like strategic keyword use, targeted metadata, backlinks, and of course, offering quality content, all fall under the SEO umbrella.

But what do you want your visitors to do once they do make the decision to click-through to your site? This is where CRO (conversion rate optimization) comes into play; the art and science of improving your website, so visitors click on your call-to-action (or CTA, if you weren’t already overloaded with acronyms!) It includes optimizing your entry pages so visitors click deeper into your content, or creating a streamlined checkout flow so there’s an increased chance of visitors completing their purchase.

A joint effort improves both CRO and SEO success

Many website owners and online marketers fall into a trap when it comes to SEO and CRO. They believe they have to choose one or the other, as if the techniques are competing or working at cross-purposes. You could spend your entire budget on SEO and rank at the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages); if your visitors do not convert though, it’s all for naught. Likewise, if your site is loaded with wonderful content, but no one can find you, that powerful potential cannot be realized.

SEO can help your CRO efforts, and vice versa. How? Say you limit content to one idea or focus per page. This focuses and boosts your search engine rankings by helping them easily and quickly see what a page is about; at the same time, it will make your site more focused for your visitors – a huge win in the CRO column. An easy to navigate and engaging site is also something Google looks out for when grading sites on rankings for relevant search terms, so good CRO also has a knock-on effect on your search rankings too (and therefore your traffic!)

A good strategy incorporates both SEO and CRO and ensures they work in harmony to achieve the strategic goals and objectives of your online business, whether it is increasing sales or establishing your authority in your niche. So, the question now is: how do you do it? Glad you asked!

Tips for a super-powered SEO-CRO team up

While search engines play a major role in your website’s long term survival, you are not creating content for bots or ‘hits’ anymore. Both today’s SEO and CRO practices emphasize the importance of putting people (your visitors) first. Here are some tips to harmonize your CRO and SEO efforts to get even better results:

  • Craft clear, concise headlines. Both search engines and visitors want to know exactly what a page or piece of content is about at a glance. Often, you don’t get longer than that fleeting glance to make an impact and convince your visitors to stick around. Make sure the meta title in the SERPs (search engine results pages) matches the headline on your main entry pages. Include a targeted keyword and your unique selling proposition (what you have to offer visitors), and make sure it uses an H1 tag as Google places higher emphasis on that. This will ensure greatest impact from SEO and CRO together.
  • Engage your visitors to rank higher! Having great engaging content on your website not only engages your visitors better and increases the chances of them sticking around, but its also been shown that websites with higher engagement are given rankings boost in Google, particularly in recent updates. In addition to writing good CTAs and headlines, to increase engagement you also need convey your unique value proposition and entice visitors with a great free incentive to take action on your website (like an ebook or short guide).
  • Include reviews and testimonials. Reviews are the new black. They now have tremendous weight with search engines and, more importantly, with visitors, and they can help you build your credibility and authority. There’s evidence that reviews influence local, mobile, and Google Map searches as well. Therefore its critical you find some great testimonials from your clients and show them clearly on you homepage and product/service pages to get best results. But never, ever, post fake reviews or testimonials – it’s not worth the penalties if, and when, you are caught by Google.
  • Be more social. Make it easy for your visitors to share your best content via social media icons – not only does this drive additional traffic, but more social media engagement makes it easy for search engines to rank your site near the top of the SERPs. Social media signals are getting stronger in search engine results, and Google and Bing both are beginning to give this content weight. So start thinking about this now!
  • Streamline your website’s navigation. Cut out extraneous content in your navigation menus, particularly that which does not serve your goal of converting visitors or add value. This will make it easier for visitors to move around your site, and for search engines to crawl and index it. Limit social sharing buttons to pages where they have the most impact, cut down on menu items, and make sure visitors can get where they want to go easily and intuitively.
  • Be selective about on-page links. Links help visitors dig deeper into your content and stay engaged in your site longer. But they can also be a distraction. Rather than bombard your visitors with tons of links,  instead choose a few strategic links that relate to your main visitor use cases and goals. This gives those links them more weight in search engines and makes your visitors happy.
  • Hurry up! Speed counts. Milliseconds can increase your bounce rate exponentially. Visitors simply don’t want to wait for heavy pages to load, and with today’s world of high speed internet they are pickier than ever. Search engines don’t like slow loading pages either – slow pages do not rank as well as their speedier counterparts. Use Google PageSpeed Insights to analyze your site speed, and then take steps to cut weight and improve load times.
  • Always, always remember the content. Quality content isn’t just king. It’s queen, prince…the entire royal court. Google’s last few algorithm updates have been geared towards rewarding sites with great content and penalizing those with “thin” or spammy content. And, it goes without saying that visitors don’t want to click a CTA or return if the content is of no interest or value to them. Also, longer in-depth content (more than 2,000 words) now often gets higher rankings in Google. So get writing better, longer content to rank higher and engage more of your visitors!

As you can now start to see, SEO and CRO really are a match made in cyber-heaven: the peanut butter and jelly of the virtual world. When used correctly, each can boost the efficacy and power of the other, and will inevitably make you a lot in sales from your website! Far from undercutting one another, they work in conjunction to enable site owners and online marketers to achieve their goals. SEO gets them to your website; CRO makes them stay and convert – and come back!

About Rafid Nassir

Rafid is the Head of Business Development for SEO.co.uk, a leading UK search engine marketing agency. Over the past 5 years he’s had the privilege of helping clients like Radisson, eBookers and Golds Gym think outside of the box to dramatically improve both their SEO and their CRO efforts.

ab testing

Fairly new at using conversion rate optimization (CRO) to boost your website sales or leads? Not really done much A/B testing? Not sure where to start?

To help you get a great kick-start with your efforts, I have created a list of 12 simple A/B tests you should use to increase website sales or leads. They don’t require much website coding or development to get up and running, yet have high potential impact. All you need is a low cost A/B testing tool and to create 2-3 test variations to find which convert your visitors best and increase sales or leads the most.

Let’s get started with the 12 simple yet high-impact A/B test ideas (and nope, not a mention of homepage sliders either, as everyone is talking about these!) Continue Reading »

ecosystem If you are an online marketer or website owner, in case you haven’t noticed, there are now literally hundreds of different tools that will help you analyze, test and improve your websites performance and increase your sales or leads. But it all can be very confusing to know the best tools to use…

You certainly need much more than just a web analytics tool and an A/B testing tool to get best results! You need to use many other types of tools like these:

  • voice of customer tools
  • visual analytics tools
  • landing page tools
  • personalization tools
  • lead capture tools
  • abandonment recovery tools
  • and many more types

These myriad of tools needed to ensure success (that seems to grow by the week) can often make it very hard to understand what types are most important.

To help understand the best tool options and how they should all work together, I created a ‘CRO and Web Analytics Tools Ecocystem’ for a discussion I led at the recent Digital Analytics Hub event in Berlin. It was met with great response, so thought I would expand it and share it with everyone. It now has over 60 tools, in 13 distinct categories!

Download the ‘CRO and Web Analytics Tools Ecosystem’

And a quick update from me – things are about to change around here….

Help Me Help You Better – Quick 5 Question Survey

I’m putting together a redesign of my site (long overdue!) and creating new services to help online marketers and website owners like you improve their website performance.

And I would love your feedback – please take this quick 5 question survey to help me better understand and meet your website conversion, testing and analytics needs. To say thanks, 3 respondents will be chosen at random to get a 30 minute conversion consultation from me.

And going back to the tools ecosystem, if you feel there are other great tools that need to be added, please comment below. And if you found it useful, please help share it by using the social icons below. Thanks!

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Are you happy with how your online business is performing? Are you getting enough sales or leads from your website to make good profits?

Frustrated you can’t seem to hit those heady heights that you’ve been dreaming about?

Well, unfortunately the bad news is your online business is destined to fail

unless you do something truly different than what you have been doing so far. Continue Reading »

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