For a time—when blogs were becoming commonplace, but content strategy was not—SEO guidelines were the be-all-and end-all of content marketing. That led to a regrettable trend of blog posts overstuffed with keywords at the expense of coherence. Though these pages were exploiting Google’s algorithms to rise up the search rankings, they often failed to provide much of value to searchers.
Inbound marketers have gotten better about making content with both optimal keyword distribution and cogent writing, in no small part thanks to Google continually altering its ranking criteria to favor pages with more intelligent content. But no matter how adept you are at integrating specific and potent keywords, a good SEO strategy alone can’t ensure good conversion rates. SEO brings traffic to the site, and then it’s up to the content and the site itself to capitalize on the attention. To troubleshoot poor conversion rates, look to the details. Find where you’re losing prospects and fix the problem using these suggestions.
1. Make sure the content is relevant
Even though this is the most basic requirement of inbound content, it isn’t too hard to get off-message. If you’re not consistently keeping tabs on the needs and preferences of your ideal prospects, you may lose them by producing material that doesn’t resonate.
If you think your content isn’t hitting the target precisely, take these steps:
- Revisit your buyer personas and how they fit your ideal prospects
- Ensure the keywords, landing page, offer and call-to-action follow a matching train of thought
- Ask for feedback from visitors and from current customers who were converted by your site
- Realign your content topics using those insights
Do this recalibration periodically to maintain relevance and lower bounce rates among qualified leads.
2. Make conversion opportunities obvious and appealing
It’s incredible what a little visual enhancement can do to your site. With the right design or placement, sites can draw a visitor’s eyes to what’s really important—conversion opportunities.
To aid that, you can use tools that measure where most visitors are clicking on your landing pages. Perhaps your call-to-action isn’t eye-catching enough to guide visitors from the landing page to the next step.
It’s worth trying some techniques out if other parts of your site are grabbing people’s attention. Try these tips:
- Visual cues work well in the middle of large chunks of text, so try putting a clickable image in your blog posts instead of a simple hyperlink.
- Play around with color and use contrast to highlight your CTAs (for example, if the primary motif of your site is orange, use a bold blue to make that call-to-action pop out from the rest).
- Make the next step as simple as possible. Prioritize one-click options or embedded fields that allow prospects to offer their information in the moment.
3. Never waste opportunities to move along the conversion process
Where the above points focus on adding elements or tweaking existing features, sometimes there’s good reason to seek out addition by subtraction. Too many hoops to jump through will try a prospect’s patience and kill your conversion rate.
Any good writer will quote to you Strunk and White’s Rule 17: “Omit needless words.” Tweak that a little bit and you have sage advice for any landing page: Omit needless steps in the conversion process.
Use well-placed CTAs on the landing page itself, as outlined in the previous point, to simplify the number of steps between a prospect’s arrival and conversion. Also, cut down on distractions built into your page. Always have links not relevant to your CTA open in a separate browser window or tab. Eliminate in-page pop-ups asking for a prospect’s contact information as well. Your prospects will find it redundant and annoying if they have to dismiss it to get to the offer itself.
In addition, tailor you landing pages to the SEO strategy you’ve developed for them. Some should have the offer front-and-center. If a visitor found you with keywords implying they’re ready for a purchase, don’t waste their time by leaving the CTA at the bottom of the page. If you value your visitors’ intelligence and time, they’ll be far more likely to move to the next step of the process when asked.