Can SEO really affect Conversion?
To answer the question, as we have previously written, we need to clarify what conversion actually is.
Most web site owners and managers think of conversion as the act when a website visitor completes a sale of goods and/or services. That thought is true but it is only one form of conversion. Conversion is a term meant to describe the process or act in which a visitor completes the final stage in a process or funnel. The process or funnel is designed to guide a visitor to the eventual goal of a conversion.
So what are types of conversions? Sales of products or services is certainly high on the list of types of conversions. In addition is email lead generation, downloads, phone calls, or even social shares.
We try to separate conversions into two types; Defined or intermediate conversions and absolute conversions. Defined or intermediate conversion are conversions that occur ”middle of funnel” or are designed to be a subset of a larger sales or lead generation strategy. Absolute conversions are when a visitor completes the final step in a sales or lead generation process.
So how does SEO affect conversions? The Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, main goal is to generate traffic to a web site by using optimization to obtain higher search engine rankings. However during the process of performing SEO many conversion factors are and must be considered. Below are just a few.
- Page Titles: Most SEO professionals understand that web site page titles are what Google uses to populate the title of an organic search result listing. These page titles affect rankings but also affect the click-through-ratio (CTR). The CTR is also used in Google’s algorithm as a ranking factor. So it goes full circle. Well written page titles equal higher rankings, a better click through ratio, and higher conversions due to higher quality of traffic.
- Organic Listing Descriptions or Snippets: These descriptions provide little in the way of SEO assistance. However most SEO mavens agree that a lot of effort should be given to writing good meta name descriptions. The search engines bold any words in the description that appear in the visitor keyword search. Also, a well written meta description will entice the searcher to click on the listing. Similar to Page Titles, the CTR will be increased and the quality of the visitor will be further defined thus higher conversions.
- Heading Tags: Heading tags are used by search engines as additional ranking factors. They are the larger and sometimes colored text that are used at the top of page or the beginning of a subset of the page theme. Heading tags start with H1 and go to H6. The heading tag is used as a page headline to alert the visitor and describe the theme of the page. A well written heading tag will prompt the visitor to read the page content. Bounce and Exit rates are therefore decreased and conversion rates are increased.
- Landing Page Content SEO: Well written and defined original page content can do wonders for SEO, especially since the introduction of Google Panda algorithm. Google crawls a web site and places value on the content for ranking. Many SEO’s and web site owners and managers focus so intently on SEO that conversion then suffers. The content might be stuffed with keywords, too many bold and italicized words and phrases, and the page lacks any real funnel or sales process capability. As in #1 and #2, poorly developed pages can kill conversion and in the process increase bounce and exit rates thereby hurting a sites rankings as well.