January 3, 2008
SEO is nice for popularity, but conversion is even better. So, before you go out and start snatching up more keywords than you can shake a stick at, make sure your offer is up to the challenge of enlivening customer attention and viewer retention or your marketing efforts will be nothing more than an exercise in futility.
Are you playing it safe with keyword blinders?, or have you diversified your Search Terms?
It’s better to be safe than sorry as a result of “having blinders on” when it comes to search engine optimization and selecting the best keywords for your offer. Instead of thinking in terms of “the money phrase”, or, as soon as I hit the top 10 for “my ultimate competitive keyword”, that floodgates of website traffic will open, sales will inundate our sales team and we will have to hire 20 people to scale our sales department to keep up with the surge of orders and traffic. This is not to say that things like this do not happen, they do, but rarely as a result of one keyword alone.
Don’t believe keyword hype
The misconception typically originates as a result of assumption, or misinformation gleaned from data mining tools / keyword research tools (it says this phrase gets 20,000 hits per month, so it must), which is understandable. I can assure you, we have dominated multiple rankings in top 10 competitive keywords with double organic listings, only to be disappointed by the lack of traffic that resulted. Yet, on the other hand, been completely surprised when you write or optimize something (supposedly less competitive) and experience surges of traffic for weeks from one keyword you may or may not have expected.
It is important to be clear what search engine optimization is not, in order to know what it truly is. SEO is not the answer to conversion, it is just a tool to rouse the masses to investigate your offer, but ultimately the responsibility lies within the realm of the individual or individuals structuring the offer, to determine just what the anticipated end result will be.
Are your Pages Eye Candy? or do they Own a Focus
The internet is full of hungry eyes with agile minds attached, so many in fact, that your pages may just be another snack along the way. In order to change the menu and make your site the main course, nine times out of ten, some changes need to occur to make the transition from pages with an idle online existence to a page that for lack of better terms, offers you a deal you can’t refuse.
What Can You Learn (and apply to your own site) from a Squeeze Page
First, the headline – Conversion Starts Here. When you look at a typical squeeze page, once you get there, there is no question what the page is about, in fact they make it hard to see anything other than what the topical relevance is when you first set eyes on the page, but why? Because the headline takes up 25% of the screen, is usually in a ridiculously loud color, with quotes and highlighted in yellow. Anyone who fails at that point to surmise what the contextual relevance is for being there, should have their internet license suspended for surfing blind without emotional attachment.
In any case, the point being, the pages, despite how obnoxious they are serve a very fundamental purpose, which is to set the tone and funnel the reader’s attention to the meat and potatoes of the document (typically found at the very bottom alongside a pay pal purchase button). This is were the old adage of (A.I.D.E) attention, interest, desire, execution comes into play in it’s sublime simplicity.
Next, the testimonial, but why? Because they know you are skeptical and they know they need to subvert your defenses in order to engage the rational mind behind the emotional response when you shop (do I need this or do I want this, can I ignore or suppress the urge to purchase, or am I genuinely interested) all the while thousands of queries such as this race through the subconscious and either lead your to (a) move along (b) read further, since your there or (c) take the plunge and purchase, because, what the hay, it’s only money right.
Next, the problem / solution, which is usually built on the premise of using questions to preface it’s significance. Are you tired of? “the problem” Do you get frustrated when? Now you can be free of, by using our super duper X,Y,Z solution for mere chump change (only $39.95) for the ultimate answer to your prayers.
O.k, so I was a bit over the top, but I’m sure it’s not the first time you have seen this pitch, purchased or nearly purchased something as a result of it. Most of us are conditioned not to respond to such an overtly obvious pitch, however, I must admit, I am an impulse shopper and randomly purchase e-books in this fashion and never get around to reading them (the ideal customer for squeeze pages).
Then, the close, here is where they hit you with information about the product or service with the focus is on the “how you can benefit” mentality and inevitably the call to action, ORDER NOW!, ORDER TODAY, ORDER IN THE NEXT 5 MINUTES AND RECEIVE A FREE “rubber ducky, widget,etc.”, once again, it’s all about conversion.
Sure that page may get 1000 visitors that day, and from that 1000 visitors 100 order, that is more than enough to offset the other 900 that did not, so you can see the beauty in their plan. Pages like this could teach a great deal to businesses seeking conversion for their efforts instead of just visitors window shopping and burning up bandwidth, and I must admit even our pages in the main site need to take the positive benefits from such a blatant business model. The squeeze page is just that, a page that funnels their attention to a conclusion and then compels them to take action.
Have you heard of Funneling Attention for Higher Conversions?
Business models that make money are using the funneling tactic to amass massive amounts of income, using a tried and true / simplistic theme. Even though is mainly has it’s place in direct sales, affiliate programs, sales for e-books or inexpensive items. I have seen this tactic used for offers in the thousands and still convert readers (it just took more filler in the middle to build the argument and present the solution). Getting back to the basis of this article, the conclusion is SEO does not ensure conversion, it merely sets the stage.
Branding is one thing, but how many people are online just for the sake of saying ” I am the number one brand for industry X”, perhaps this is important for corporate America, sure, but,for the rest of us out here trying to make ends meet, we need conversion in some way shape or form.
Knowing this, instead of thinking narrow when it comes to using SEO, one could opt for a more holistic approach whereby they identify the behavior of the types of clients they would like to attract, thinking of individuals as opposed to demographics from a one dimensional prospective. If you think holistically, you can cover your bases and optimize entire segments of the niche as well as use multiple tactics and search engines to draw traffic from a variety of queries and implement “attention and retention insurance” for all of your respective offers.
For example, instead of one or two phrases, why not have twenty instead, it essentially takes about the same amount of effort and can be accomplished through modifying slight variations of content and how your build links.
Just having a top 10 ranking does not ensure traffic, simply because, not all keywords convert! It truly is sad to see so many people just scratching the surface for topical relevance, when in reality mosts sites are capable of acquiring heightened depth (for readership) and conversion and could achieve 400% more times the amount of traffic from just applying rudimentary steps to lead people through the “expected action for that page”. But, they have to get there first, so my suggestion in a nutshell is, to optimize root phrases with pertinent keywords instead of simple “exact match key phrases”, use strong internal links to get viewers deeper into the site and use graphics or video’s to cut the bounce rates in half.
We will continue along these lines for the next few days and covering topics related to SEO, conversion, structuring your offer and how the way you craft your content, ultimately impacts the bottom line. Stay tuned for the next post…
Author: Jeffrey Smith is an active internet marketing optimization strategist, consultant and the founder of Seo Design Solutions Seo Company http://www.seodesignsolutions.com. He has actively been involved in internet marketing since 1995 and brings a wealth of collective experiences and fresh marketing strategies to individuals involved in online business.