As a marketing agency, one of the questions that we hear most often from new and long-standing clients is: "What are the best website optimization techniques I should be using?" While it seems like a straightforward question, there's more to the answer than you might think.That's because there are a lot of different things that go into website optimization. The question then becomes... what are you trying to optimize for?
- Do you need more visitors to the website?
- Maybe you have decent traffic, but not enough leads?
- Or maybe you have a few leads, but they're not converting into customers?
In most cases, what the client really wants to know is how they can optimize their website, so it appears more frequently and higher in the ranking of a search engine, such as Google than other similar websites.
If you're worried about website optimization, first consider your primary goal and then approach the list of things you need to do with that lens in place.
Attracting More Visitors to Your Website
It doesn't matter how pretty your website is if no one visits it. Increasing visibility in search results is where a lot of people need to start with their website optimization tactics. If you want your website to garner attention, then you need a strategy that includes content, coding and other off-site search engine optimization (SEO) tactics.
Search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, are impartial. They aren't concerned with whether your company succeeds or fails. These search engines only want to get the most relevant information to the person searching.
The number one thing you'll hear, over and over, is that you need more content to attract more visitors. That's true. But not just any old content. Make sure it's good content in various formats, original to your website, that will demonstrate to Google that you're an expert on the topic.
Use these tips to attract more visitors to your website through organic (non-paid) searches
- Local SEO: Search engines rely on signals such as local content, social media profile pages, citations, and links to provide the most relevant local results to the user. (Learn more about optimizing your website for local SEO on our blog.)
- Google Search Console: Google offers this free service for company's to track their rankings, see what key phrases are being used to find you and offers an easy way to show Google all of the pages included in your website using an XML sitemap.
- Meta titles and descriptions: These are a small amount of text that explains the content on the page and is stored in the code. Don't overlook these.
- Backlinking: When another website links to yours, it creates a backlink. This is the most important off-site SEO activity to boost your organic visibility. Search engines look for these backlinks because it indicates that you have content that other people find valuable. Never pay for these! And you'll need to monitor for toxic backlinks to your website.
- 301 redirects: Google creates an index of every page you create, by URL. If you change a URL or delete one, be sure you tell Google! A 301 redirect permanently directs a user from one location to another. Maintaining redirects are important for your site’s technical SEO strategy.
Remember, some of these SEO activities can take a little bit to sink in. Don't get frustrated and give up too soon. Run digital ads in the mean time if you need to increase leads before organic visibility strategies are running at full steam.
Converting More Visitors Into Leads
So, there's more to website optimization than just getting a visitor to your website. Now you have to figure out what to do to keep them on the site long enough to become a lead.
USE THESE TIPS TO CONVERT MORE WEBSITE VISITORS INTO LEADS
- Organize content logically: Once you're starting to see an uptick in traffic to your website, you may need to give more attention to getting visitors to stay longer and become a lead. And, now that you've increased the amount of content on the site it may be time to reorganize it (don't forget to use your 301 Redirects), so that Google can see sets of content on various topics. Read more about this in our Pillar Page blog.
- Good design: You want a website design that is attractive and easy for the customer to find what they're looking for on it. (Read more about creating a great website design.)
- Include calls to action: Don't forget to give the visitor something to do. Where would you like them to go now or what action can they take to become a lead? This can be a brightly colored button, an image, or a pop up message that offers an opportunity to become a lead.
- Using the right images: Pictures really do speak a thousand words in an instant. Consider carefully the photography or other images you use and how they represent you. Yes, it can be a little pricey to do your own shoot or buy a really well-composed stock image. But it's so worth it.
- Website navigation: Your website should be easy to navigate and help customers find what they need. It's beneficial to use drop-down menus and links for clients to quickly find information and items.
- Mobile experience: Most of us have responsive websites at this point. But just because it scales to my phone screen doesn't mean it's a good experience. Take a look at how your site is experienced on a modern smartphone and consider what you would like to add or change based on that view.
- Videos: If you can get more video included in your website and on YouTube you can use it draw in more visitors and to keep them on your site. Be sure you use calls to action in the videos too!
In general you want to try to get your visitors to stay and look at more than just the page they arrived on. Coming and going from the same page is how your bounce rate is calculated, and while it's not the ultimate indicator of success, it's one thing to look at. If all of your visitors are arriving and leaving on the same page without becoming a lead, you may be missing something they're looking for (like a call to action or a form to contact you).
Converting More Leads into Customers
As you start to grow your base of leads, you need to get them to come back to the site for more information and to get to the point of being ready to make a purchase (Sales Qualified Lead).
Here are some ways to Nuture leads into customers:
- Artificial intelligence (AI), such as chat bots: Chat bots are handy to direct visitors to content that might interest them. Read more in our live chat vs chatbot blog.
- Live chat: Answer your clients' questions and concerns in real-time. This increases the chances of users interacting with your website because they are having their questions addressed immediately.
- The Marry-Me question: Make sure you have an "ultimate offer" on the site such as Buy Now or Request a Quote. And make it easy to find!
- Progressive forms: Use forms that will ask different questions based on what the lead has already answered to gather information from a potential customer. This builds a better profile about them and helps you customize to the lead's needs during the sales process.
Never Stop Optimizing
If you're able to use these website optimization techniques on your site you'll be moving along the path to being considered an authority on a particular topic or topics. But remember, website optimization is constantly changing and evolving; therefore, it's important to stay on top of it.
At 30 Degrees North, we want to help you optimize your website to help you grow your business. For more information on how to make it all happen download our FREE eBook "25 Website 'Must Haves' for Driving Traffic, Leads & Sales."
Originally published October 2014. Updated February 2020.