7 quick tips for improving your SEO

Identify core keywords

Identifying your core keywords is the most important step in creating and/or improving the SEO health of your website. Using tools such as Google AdWords Keyword Tool can help you understand what your users are searching for. Once identified, these keywords and phrases should then be used in your titles, descriptions and content.

Create high quality content

Today, the web is cluttered with low quality content and content that has been rewritten several times. Creating unique and valuable content on your site will not only be worthwhile to your readers and encourage them to stay longer on your site, but will also serve as “link bait” for other websites which in turn will increase your rankings.

Meta Titles

As with the meta descriptions, your core keywords should be used within your title tag of each page on your site. Ensure that you do not have duplicate title tags. The maximum length for your title tag should be no more than 70 characters including spaces.

Meta Descriptions

Creating high quality, compelling meta descriptions will help drive more users to your website from the search engine results pages. Ensure that you use your core keywords within your meta descriptions as these will be highlighted in bold text when displayed within the results pages on Google and other search engines.

URLs

URLs that are dynamic (http://www.example.com/product.php?cat=3&id=23) are difficult to read and may not be crawled by search engine bots. Having descriptive URLs (http://www.clickmaven.co.za/services/seo) will give more benefit for both humans and bots. This may also increase the relevancy of external links that just use the URL as the link text.

Page Speed

Page load speed can play a role in determining where you rank in search results. Using Google Chrome’s PageSpeed extension will highlight exactly what can be done to improve your page load speed.

Implement Rich Data

Rich data (www.schema.org) should be implemented on as many pages as possible. Making use of the available schema’s on schema.org will further improve the overall SEO health of your website.

Something that Marketing Managers in South Africa need to know

Nick Duncan
Nick Duncan - Operations Manager of ClickMaven

It’s surprising how many companies in South Africa are not yet clued up with what they should really be doing online. Apart from everyone jumping into bed with social media, SEO and PPC experts to get as much traffic to their website as possible, they forget about the last crucial step in their online marketing strategy: turning visitors into sales. I’m not saying that it’s not important to get high quality traffic to your site, but what are those visitors doing when they get there? Does their visit turn into a lead or sale? Are they doing what you actually want them to do? It’s pointless spending all that money if you haven’t thought about the end goal – selling your product.

Understanding your current situation

Let’s assume you’re a marketing manager of a big brand in South Africa and your company website does fairly well. By “fairly well” I mean your website ranks somewhere on the first page of Google and the quality of traffic you are receiving is resulting in around a 30% bounce rate (visitors who arrive, view one page and leave). Let’s assume that for every 100 visitors to your site, you get around three to five leads. That, Mr Marketing Manager, is substandard. Your website has the potential to reach a conversion rate of up to 20%, so why are you faffing around at 3% to 5%? The opportunity cost is clearly a bit high – I’ll show you how to fix that.

At this point you have two options; Do it in-house or, get an expert to help you. If you’re willing to tackle this in-house, I’ll provide you with the foundation of knowledge to get you started.

Should you wish to continue, click the “Pay with a Tweet” button in order to find out how you can convert more visitors into sales, in a simple, pragmatic approach.

Conversion Optimisation: A simple, pragmatic approach to increasing sales online.

It’s surprising how many companies in South Africa are not yet clued up with what they should really be doing online. Apart from everyone jumping into bed with social media, SEO and PPC experts to get as much traffic to their website as possible, they forget about the last crucial step in their online marketing strategy: turning visitors into sales. I’m not saying that it’s not important to get high quality traffic to your site, but what are those visitors doing when they get there? Does their visit turn into a lead or sale? Are they doing what you actually want them to do? It’s pointless spending all that money if you haven’t thought about the end goal – selling your product.

Understanding your current situation

Let’s assume you’re a marketing manager of a big brand in South Africa and your company website does fairly well. By “fairly well” I mean your website ranks somewhere on the first page of Google and the quality of traffic you are receiving is resulting in around a 30% bounce rate (visitors who arrive, view one page and leave). Let’s assume that for every 100 visitors to your site, you get around three to five leads. That, Mr Marketing Manager, is substandard. Your website has the potential to reach a conversion rate of up to 20%, so why are you faffing around at 3% to 5%? The opportunity cost is clearly a bit high – I’ll show you how to fix that.

Identifying your goals and getting to grips with the basics

As with every strategy, you need to define a set of goals. However, with conversion optimisation, a “goal” represents a specific action you want users to perform on your site, such as filling in an enquiry form or downloading a brochure. Create a list of the pages that you consider a “conversion”.

For most companies, getting an enquiry through their website can be valuable and can be considered a conversion or goal. On average, every 10 leads should equate to one sale. This is dependent on a number of factors such as your industry, competition, the nature of your product, etc. Along with your list of “conversion” pages, try attributing values to these goals. For example, if your product sells for R1 000 and it takes you 10 leads to make a sale, your value for that goal should be R100. This will help you with reporting and allows you to work backwards to find out which channels produced the most return on investment.

Creating a strategy to reach your goals

At this point it’s important to take note of a few metrics and their meanings before continuing.

  • Conversion rate: The total number of conversions divided by the total number of visitors.
  • Cost per lead: The total cost of the specific campaign divided by the total number of conversions.
  • Landing pages/Pre-sale pages: These are the pages that are instrumental in producing your conversions. Pages such as the “Contact Us” or “Product” page can be considered landing pages.

­Conversion optimisation (which is what you are embarking on) is the process of increasing your conversion rate and subsequently reducing your cost per lead, thereby increasing your return on investment. As fancy as that sounds, it’s really all about common sense and a ton of testing. With the right tools and insight, you can radically improve conversion optimisation.

Most of your strategy should be focused around creating alternative “pre-sale” pages in order to test the effect on your conversion rate. These landing pages need to contain high quality, relevant and well-thought out content and media. The calls-to-action on these pages need to be prominent and produce somewhat intuitive reactions from the user. They need to know what to do next.

Further reading: Smashing Magazine’s article on The Ultimate Guide To A/B Testing by Paras Chopra

There is a vast number of resources online that suggest best practices when it comes to creating landing pages for your products. All of these resources are based on elements that help increase your conversion rate. I’ll be discussing these elements in greater detail in the upcoming weeks. For now, I have listed them with brief descriptions of each.

  • Trust: Does your landing page contain elements of trust? If your visitors are making an online purchase, do you have an SSL certificate? If you do, show them that you do with a badge.
  • Intuitiveness: Do your users intuitively know what to do next? I.e. is your call-to-action prominent and part of the natural flow of the webpage?
  • Imagery: Using the correct images and media plays a major role in conveying your brand message, and how many of your users convert into leads or sales.
  • Content: Is your content of high quality?
  • Calls-to-action: Do you have too many calls-to-action?
  • Layout: Testing different layouts may lead to higher conversion rates.
  • Incentives: Are you incentivising your calls-to-action? E.g. free shipping.
  • Congruency (core value proposition): Is the content on your website all delivering the same message without conflict?
  • Page load speed: Is your excessive page load time tampering with your conversion rate?

These are nine of the many elements that could increase (or decrease) your conversion rate. Finding the right balance between these elements is the key. The only way you’re going to do that is by testing, testing and more testing. You may end up blue in the face, but your ROI will breaking through the clouds.

Further reading: Kiss Metric’s article on 10 Little Known Factors that Affect Your Conversion Rate

 

Tracking and measuring your results

It’s pointless being gung-ho about strategy and then sitting back and hoping for the best. Every scientist needs to track and measure their progress in order to prove their theories. Similarly, there are a number of great tools to use to track and measure your conversions within your website. The three tools I have listed below can help you create the foundation for a winning formula. Used correctly, these tools give extremely insightful information that can help you increase your conversion rate from 3% to over 10% in a matter of weeks. Gets you excited doesn’t it?

Google Analytics

Used to measure traffic, visitor behaviour and to set up goals so that you can track which marketing channels are producing the most ROI.

Google Analytics
Google Analytics

 

ClickTale

This essential tool allows you to record mouse movement, mouse clicks and more. It aggregates all your visitors’ behaviour and supplies you with amazingly insightful reports allowing you to make informed decisions regarding your landing pages and website. My personal favourite functionality is that it allows you to playback visitors’ mouse recordings.

ClickTale
ClickTale

 

Google Website Optimizer

Google Website Optimizer allows you to test various landing pages against each other and provides you with a report on which variation is performing the best.

 Website Optimizer

Website Optimizer

 

Further reading:

Creating a site conversion optimisation strategy by Smart Insights

You’re Only as Good as Your Last Conversion Rate by Unbounce

7 Tips to Convert a Click into a Sale by ClickMaven

 

Resources

Google Analytics – track visitor traffic, behaviour and ROI

Google Website Optimizer – Measure effectiveness of various landing pages

ClickTale – Track mouse movements, clicks and visitor behaviour

ABtests – Library of different theories that have been tested

Copy Compass – a South African SEO Plugin

Copy Compass - Content Analysis WordPress PluginIf you dont already know, Copy Compass is the latest project under the wing of the newly branded digital marketing agency, Talooma. Copy Compass is a WordPress plugin that analyses your copy to best search engine optimisation practices. it provides you with in overall score as well as highlights key areas that may need optimising within your copy.

Copy Compass is the ideal plugin for your blog or website. It allows you to optimise your copy in line with generally accepted SEO best practices.

It is ideal for the casual blogger or the more serious blog master or website owner who wants to ensure his content always ranks well within the search engine results pages.

For many months I have been wanting to release a meaningful WordPress plugin that can actually compete with the international big boys and I believe Copy Compass may just be able to do it.  Many hours worth of research, practice and a whole heap of overall brain cell usage has gone into this plugin. Copy Compass was originally developed in my spare time as an in-house tool for Talooma which was meant to increase the quality of copy, in terms of SEO, and to help our customers rank higher in the search engine results pages. Upon using Copy Compass internally, most of our articles and content have climbed the ranks substantially and much progress has been made.

The complete plugin is not available as yet and only a scaled down version of the plugin has been released into the market. This version includes functionality such as the following:

  • Monitor your reading ease score: This is an indication of how easy or difficult your text is to read.
  • Monitor your gunning fog index:  A useful representation of what grade level you need in order to comprehend the text (eg: Grade 7, 8 etc)
  • Keyword Density: All online marketers know the importance of keyword density and how it can affect your rankings.
  • Basic SEO principles: Copy Compass monitors some basic principles needed to do well in the rankings.

If you have any ideas, suggestions and/or comments about Copy Compass, please do not hesitate to make use of the form on the site. All feedback is welcome.