Monday, February 17, 2014

SEO, Now What?

Search Engine Optimization focuses on the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results [1]. Websites crave these organic results because they are free. Imagine a potential customer searched for “the best looking website” and they found you. Your SEO is awesome! Now what?

SEO, Now What?If a customer feels like this picture when they enter your site, then chances are that your conversion ratios are not where you would like them to be. Unclear pathing can cause a customer to become lost within a website or unsure of their original item they wished to purchase.  

Your customer’s path is the most important concept in digital marketing according to Train and Able [2]. Once you understand the journey you can help guide the path and manage the steps within that journey. This understanding is key to optimize your conversion ratio.

Now What?

It is time to understand your customer paths. Below are three steps you can repeat to help you understand     your customer path and measurably increase your conversion. 


 1. Analyze your business’s knowledge of its customer paths. Are you collecting the data you need to be able      to identify what is motivating or dissuading the conversion? In his book Web Analytics Action Hero,            Brent Dykes gave the following recommendations for identifying a customer’s path with a web analytics        tool:

  •  Start at your homepage/landing page and filter for only entry paths. Applying this filter will make sure that you are looking for the starting point of all the paths you are about to analyze [3].
  •  Review a next page flow report for quick insights by looking at which page a majority of customers went to next. Switch to the tabular view to drill into specific  paths look for common places where cart abandonment occurs [3]. 

       2. Consider testing new things. By testing new ideas you can measure if you are having a positive or negative  effect on a customer’s path. Adobe cited a case study in which Lenovo created a PC finder tool. By              using Adobe Target to test new configurations and offers, Lenovo was able to obtain five times as many        click-throughs and a 17% lift in conversions [4]. Some tools for targeting/testing to consider are:
 3. Find out what emotions and thoughts are driving your customer’s actions. This will help you properly            incentivize your customer to make the next step. If you don’t have the capital to perform your own                market research, then consider using other’s research to help your business. Kern Lewis wrote an                interesting article on this for Forbes [5].

      It does not matter if you are the first or the last organic search; if you do not understand your customer paths then your conversion will never be in its optimal position. You can increase your conversion by identifying your customer’s path, by testing new ideas to direct the path in a measurable way, and by properly incentivizing your customer.

____________________________________________________________________________________

    [1]  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization accessed on 2/17/2014
    [2]  http://www.tainandable.com/?p=235 access on 2/17/2014
    [3]  Web Analytics Action Hero: Using Analysis to Gain Insight and Optimize Your Business Brent Dykes chapter 7
    [4] http://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthof/2013/09/11/adobe-aims-to-democratize-personalized-marketing- with-target-product-update/ accessed on 2/17/2014
    [5]  http://www.forbes.com/sites/kernlewis/2014/02/11/how-to-use-interesting-research-to-help-marketing-your-business/ accessed on 2/17/2014