Joel Klettke is a Search Engine Optimization specialist at Vovia. Joel's also an experienced writer and local marketing expert.

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Carts & Horses: Can Your SEO Convert?

horse-and-cartWhat’s the first thing most businesses feel like they need more of when it comes to online marketing? If they’re honest, most businesses actually want increases in leads – but instead, what they go after is traffic.

Contrary to what you might be thinking, the two are not the same. SEO can bring you a lot of new traffic, but all of the traffic in the world quickly becomes worthless if your website can’t turn any of those visitors into leads. Consider conversion optimization the cart and SEO the horse – get them backwards, and you’re not going anywhere. In fact, you’ll wind up looking incredibly silly and doing more harm than good. If visitors come to your site and find converting a difficult, onerous process, you’ve not only lost the sale but you’ve also left a bad taste in their mouths. They may not return.

Before embarking on a SEO campaign, step back and take an objective look at your website. Here are some of the questions you should be able to answer in the affirmative (at bare minimum!):

Does your site LOOK trustworthy?

While it may seem superficial, having a sleek website design is important for more than just the webmaster’s ego. Are there empty pages where content should be? Are there blatant spelling errors? Does your site reflect the work of someone familiar with building for web – or does it look like your nephew did it for “cheap”? How professional a website looks is a serious factor in building trust with potential customers; design can (for better or worse) denote quality of service.

Is your content written to sell?

Writing your way to the top of the results is worthless if the page people land on is verbose or ugly to read. Write content that is geared for humans who buy things and make decisions. SEO is of course a factor and a consideration, but shouldn’t be the reason your content exists.

Does your site FUNCTION properly?

Make sure your site isn’t plagued with broken links, malfunctioning menus or widgets that don’t work. Before you bring people into your house, clean it up. If you don’t get it right the first time, you may not get another chance.

Does your site have a clear conversion path?

Make it obvious whether you want a customer to call, e-mail, submit a form, buy online or come to your physical location. There should be one clear and obvious conversion path you want customers to take. While variety is the spice of life, giving visitors the option to do all of the above can cause confusion and buyer paralysis.

Have you removed obstacles in the way of a conversion?

Obstacles come in all shapes and sizes, but a few of the more common ones include:

  • Forms with fields that are unclear or ambiguous.
  • Lengthy forms that require complex responses.
  • Pages that are slow or fail to load.
  • Distracting offers in sidebars or footers. Conversion pages should be void of distracting, “shiny objects”.

These are just the basics – there’s an entire discipline that deals with analyzing the website design and traffic flow in order to optimize conversions. That said, just ensuring that the questions above are answered is critical before considering marketing your website, whether with SEO, PPC or social media!

If you’re looking to get moving on an online marketing campaign, know that these kinds of considerations are exactly the kind of thing Vovia excels in. We’ll give you the whole picture – not sell you a packaged service.