The art & science of making people do what you want them to do
With marketing budgets increasingly squeezed tighter, digital marketers are looking more than ever at traffic and on-site conversion to identify ways to make it all work harder … for the same investment. For many, it’s like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.
There is light though, trust us, last year our average increase in sales or leads was over 34%. That means our clients are getting at least 34% more sales or leads than before.
By taking an aligned view to search and conversion rate optimisation (CRO), by linking the two you’ll bring more of the right traffic to your site, and converting more of that traffic into leads or sales.
Helping businesses to tackle this challenge head-on is exactly what we do. So, to share a bit of knowledge – and hopefully inspiration – we sat down with our Co-Founder, John Wilkes, to dive a little deeper into the link between search and CRO.
Why do you think we’re seeing a renewed spotlight on CRO?
There’s continuous pressure within businesses to make websites work harder. But, in saying that, there’s often not a lot of wiggle room within digital budgets! I believe this is why we’ve seen a much larger focus on CRO over the past few years – optimising your site to convert more of your visitors into leads and sales is not really an option, it’s a necessity. We see so much wasted time, focus and spend by business not getting the right traffic to their site, and then not being able to convert it.
So, where to start!?
Initially visitors to your site don’t really care too much about the ‘ins-and-outs’ of your company. What they want to know is ‘can you solve MY specific problem’. Once they know that, they will then be interested in YOU. Living by this philosophy is key to optimising your value proposition when testing the information and page layout on your website.
It may seem obvious, but it’s also important to address the mobile and desktop experiences individually – they’re very different. Not only is the experience different but so it is customer intent. In the B2C world we often see consumers use mobile for research but eventually convert on desktop. That varies in B2B where the majority of both research and transactions happen on desktop.
Do conflicts ever exist between search & CRO? Are the two at odds with each other?
CRO gives a guide of where to send paid-for traffic. You only want to send expensive traffic to pages that are converting well.
Paid search traffic is now so expensive to attain that it has to go in parallel with a CRO programme because getting a high conversion rate makes the paid media budget more efficient.
CRO and SEO can however come into conflict. SEO Managers see value in content as it greatly improves the chances of ranking better with search engines. CRO still values content but is more focused on influencing behaviour. They don’t need to be mutually exclusive and we always say ‘if content is King then design needs to be queen’.
Can search efforts ruin conversions on site then? And likewise, could CRO strategies harm your findability?
Conversion rates are directly linked to the quality of the traffic coming from search. If your site sells computers and all the traffic is coming from people looking to buy mobile phones then they are never going to convert. Sometimes simply removing irrelevant traffic can improve the conversion rate.
An overall CRO programme creates an aligned organisational approach. With search costs getting more expensive, search channels need to be more efficient than ever. CRO not only increases overall conversion rate but also makes media spend stretch much further.
Does search guide CRO, or does CRO guide search?
Search is always first. You need relevant traffic coming to your site before you can convert them. It’s the job of CRO to know the ‘intent’ of that visitor. Not everyone is ready to convert straight away and a conversion for someone doing first time research may simply be consuming some relevant content.
Search is about getting relevant people to the site and CRO is about understanding where that person is in the buying cycle and directing them to the relevant conversion point (whatever that is).
What should brands look for in their analytics?
- Comparative performance of devices. Is the user experience much worse on one or another?
- On web pages where is conversion rate low compared to the average? See if there is a technical issue, or if it is a user issue.
- Assess traffic sources – are some channels sending low quality traffic?
- What segments or traffic are performing differently (location, logged-in, returning visitors)?
What are your top 5 tips for aligning search and CRO?
- Do it!
- QA all implementation – are you accurately measuring the relationship between search and CRO?
- Mirror keywords and content themes on the landing pages.
- Make sure CRO doesn’t destroy SEO work.
- Don’t ask for too much too soon from a visitor and respect where they are in the buying cycle.
What should we look out for within search & CRO in 2018?
- Continued mobile optimisation. People search more on mobile but the transaction experience is still not ideal on most sites.
- Voice search
- Attribution modelling
- Customer journey mapping
- GDPR – It will have an impact on some of the tools available for data collection (such as screen recordings), and the optimisation of consent forms – if a visitor has to select multiple opt-in boxes, think about how it is displayed, it can look very overwhelming if not done well.
Last piece of advice?
Strive for continuous improvement in performance. Our motto is ‘progress not perfection’