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Six data-driven SEO strategies that optimize conversion rates

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Six data-driven SEO strategies that optimize conversion rates


30-second summary:

  • Since Google now focuses heavily on user experience, using data as a pillar to uncover consumer insights will drive your digital marketing success
  • However, marketing teams still need to understand these sources and their areas of impact on the consumer’s experience
  • Atul Jindal helps you cover the ground with his advice and case studies

Studies have shown that businesses using data-driven strategies experience five to eight times higher ROI. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a process that largely depends on data. The core focus for most CRO strategies is to use consumer data to make their customer journey smoother and experience better.

With search engines also increasing emphasis on user experience, we find a point where SEO strategies start to complement CRO strategies.

But your SEO tactics can truly augment your CRO efforts when driven by data.

In this article, I share six data-driven SEO strategies to supplement your CRO efforts.

From content audit to website personalization, read till the end to find out how you can boost your search engine rankings and conversions altogether!

Data-driven SEO strategies to supplement CRO

Data-driven strategies are online marketing tactics fueled by consumer data. Unlike traditional marketing strategies, data-driven strategies are based on data-backed hypotheses rather than assumptions.

This reliance on solid data makes such strategies the star of the modern marketing world.

Here are six data-driven SEO strategies to make your CRO efforts more promising:

1. Website analysis and optimization

Website analysis is a process through which you test various elements of your website. It analyzes the overall performance of your website and highlights areas of improvement.

The elements that web analysis takes into account include the website’s on-page optimization and technical SEO, finding out about the keywords it ranks for, and what rank it has for different keywords.

Using various web analytics tools, this process also uncovers sources where your website gets traffic from, highlights the flaws in your website’s usability and UX, and provides the basis for the website’s load speed optimization.

Through all of these elements, it helps in enhancing your website’s overall user experience and contributes towards conversion rate optimization.

Additionally, it also provides your web traffic’s demographic and interest data, enabling you to optimize the website for a more relevant user experience.

Google Analytics is the most comprehensive and reliable tool to support your website analysis and optimization efforts. It integrates with your website and tracks all the data you need to optimize your website for an enhanced user experience.

A leading marketing automation software company experienced 10x higher conversion rates when they integrated their native real-time personalization tool with Google Analytics to use the personalization data. This was paired with the Google Analytics information to serve personalized remarketing ads through Google AdWords.

Not only did they experience higher conversion rates, but with the effective use of web analytics data, like demographic and behavior information, they also experienced a 107 percent YoY increase in qualified leads.

2. Content analysis and optimization

Content analysis is similar to website analysis, but instead of testing your website’s technical elements, it analyzes your website’s content and overall content strategy to uncover areas of improvement.

Conversion rates are almost six times higher for businesses that invest in content marketing. But results like this manifest only when your website brims with optimized content.

The purpose of your content is to compel users to take the desired action, or in other words, convert.

Content analysis finds out how well it serves this purpose.

You can uncover various metrics with content analysis, like which content type is the most popular among your audience, which content is bringing you closer to your marketing objectives, and which needs more work.

For example, a marketing optimization software company may have blogs and case studies in its content strategy. Their web analytics may reveal that case studies drive more conversions while blogs get the most social shares.

With its content marketing objective being increased conversions, content analysis will help them focus more on publishing more case studies.

An effective content analysis will also uncover whether or not your content matches the search intent of your target search queries. And therefore, whether or not you need to find new SEO keywords and re-optimize. If your content doesn’t match the search intent perfectly, even if it gets traffic, those users will not convert.

So, in essence, content analysis will help increase conversions by helping you create content that is proven to drive results. It will also help save time and resources from being spent on less-profitable strategies.

Here’s a case study discussing how changing content on your website can reflect a spike in revenue.

Brookdaleliving.com, a website offering community living solutions for the elderly, had a disappointing website conversion rate. But then, their website had nothing that would drive conversions.

The digital marketing experts they hired revamped their website and tested two different content types on their landing page – an image and a testimonial video – to see which one performs better.

Ironically, the web page with an image drove 3.92 percent higher conversions than the original page. This may seem like a small increment, but it resulted in additional revenue of $106,000.

3. Website design optimization

Tests like usability testing and A/B testing provide the data that drives website design optimization to improve a website’s design and enhance its user experience.

The purpose of CRO is to make the user journey smoother and experience better.

Website design optimization supports CRO by removing frictions in the buyer’s journey and making it easier for them to accomplish their goals.

But there are a couple of best practices the website design must adhere to to ensure that it really contributes to your CRO efforts.

  1. The design should be simple and somewhat similar to what the users are accustomed to
  2. The navigation bar should be designed intuitively, with the user’s search intent in mind, so they can quickly find what they came looking for
  3. The content arrangement should follow proven design techniques that enhance content readability and value delivery

For your web design to truly serve your business, you will have to continue to test various combinations of website elements, their placements, and designs.

Regardless of how you go about your web design, making the target audience’s journey easier should be at the heart of all your efforts.

Trucker Reports, a trucker’s community that helps truck drivers find jobs, struggled with low conversions.

The CRO experts they hired performed a web design audit and discovered multiple opportunities. Based on these opportunities, they tested different hypotheses.

They tested three different designs against the original ones in their final test and found out that the final design had 79.3 percent higher conversions.

Do you know why?

Because this last design had the least friction and made it easier for the users to convert.

4. Audience analysis

Audience analysis, commonly known as audience research, is the process through which you dig up information about your prospects so you can develop targeted marketing campaigns.

Since user experience is a massive part of SEO and CRO alike, audience analysis holds an important place as a data-driven SEO strategy for conversion rate optimization.

This process uncovers a wide variety of data, from core demographic information like age, gender, marital status, income, education, etc., to online behavior, internal and external challenges, and more.

Audience analysis helps develop a buyer persona, which then becomes the foundation of a highly-targeted marketing campaign.

Audience analysis is a core element of a successful CRO campaign because it makes your website relevant to the users. You find out about their pain points and struggles and are better equipped to address them through your content.

This shows that you care about your customers and inevitably builds trust between your brand and its prospects. Given that the modern customer prioritizes their connection with the brand when making purchase decisions, this bond of trust and reliability results in higher conversions.

Data-backed audience analysis also allows you to segment your audience based on their demographic information and interest. With this level of segmentation, you spend your efforts and resources on people you know matter to your business.

This is why studies indicate a 56 percent reduction in marketing costs for businesses that use audience analysis as a basis for all their marketing efforts.

5. Testing and optimization

Testing is the life of conversion rate optimization. You put samples of your content and design arrangements to test to see which one performs better and optimize using the results of these tests.

These tests are all data-driven, that is, they are based on hypotheses generated from existing data and provide insights into how valid the hypothesis is.

For example, data may show a higher conversion rate on websites with explainer videos. This forms the hypothesis of your test. So, you develop two different landing pages, one with a video and another with an image, to see which performs better. If the videos result in higher conversions, you know what to continue optimizing with!

You can perform different kinds of tests when optimizing websites for conversions. Two of the popular ones include usability testing and A/B or split testing.

Search engines also recommend A/B and multivariate testing for SEO as it improves user experience, which search engines pursue in the websites they index.  

NatureAir performed A/B testing on their landing page to increase conversions. One of the samples had a CTA on the side, while the other had a CTA prominently placed in the content area.

Once the test results were in, they found that placing CTA in the content area increases conversions by 591 percent!

That’s how potent A/B tests can be!

6. Website personalization

According to Google, 90 percent of marketers believe personalization results in business profitability. And why shouldn’t it? In an era with so many similar websites, a web page that offers a customized experience deserves to make better revenue.

Website personalization is a relatively complex process through which you can serve a unique experience to each visitor. These experiences are designed based on consumer data, including their demographic data, interests, search history, and online behavior.

75 percent of consumers prefer that online sellers use personal information to enhance shopping experiences.

People want you to make shopping easier for them, adding a personalized product recommendation on your website will help improve your user experience and could boost sales. They don’t want to go out and search for what they want. They want you to know what they need and bring it to them. And that’s what website personalization empowers you to do.

It improves overall website experience, lowers bounce rates, boosts SEO, and of course, increases conversions.

Serving dynamic content makes the customer’s experience more intuitive and relevant. It lets you put out the content that interests them the most, and hence, contributes to better revenue.

Conclusion

The goal of an SEO and a CRO campaign have become somewhat similar ever since search engines have started giving value to user experience.

There are many SEO strategies focused on improving UX. And these strategies, when backed by data, can lead to increased conversion rates.

Therefore, I have discussed some of the most promising data-driven SEO strategies that can drive conversions in this article.

But the true results of a strategy depend on how well you implement it. So, ramp up your data analysis game, derive insights, implement them, and optimize your strategies for better results.


Atul Jindal is a web design and marketing specialist, having interests in doing websites/apps optimized for SEO with a core focus on conversion optimization. He creates web experiences that bring conversations and transform web traffic into paying customers or leads.

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New Google Ads Feature: Account-Level Negative Keywords

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New Google Ads Feature: Account-Level Negative Keywords

Google Ads Liaison Ginny Marvin has announced that account-level negative keywords are now available to Google Ads advertisers worldwide.

The feature, which was first announced last year and has been in testing for several months, allows advertisers to add keywords to exclude traffic from all search and shopping campaigns, as well as the search and shopping portion of Performance Max, for greater brand safety and suitability.

Advertisers can access this feature from the account settings page to ensure their campaigns align with their brand values and target audience.

This is especially important for brands that want to avoid appearing in contexts that may be inappropriate or damaging to their reputation.

In addition to the brand safety benefits, the addition of account-level negative keywords makes the campaign management process more efficient for advertisers.

Instead of adding negative keywords to individual campaigns, advertisers can manage them at the account level, saving time and reducing the chances of human error.

You no longer have to worry about duplicating negative keywords in multiple campaigns or missing any vital to your brand safety.

Additionally, account-level negative keywords can improve the accuracy of ad targeting by excluding irrelevant or low-performing keywords that may adversely impact campaign performance. This can result in higher-quality traffic and a better return on investment.

Google Ads offers a range of existing brand suitability controls, including inventory types, digital content labels, placement exclusions, and negative keywords at the campaign level.

Marvin added that Google Ads is expanding account-level negative keywords to address various use cases and will have more to share soon.

This rollout is essential in giving brands more control over their advertising and ensuring their campaigns target the appropriate audience.


Featured Image: Primakov/Shutterstock



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Google’s Gary Illyes Answers Your SEO Questions On LinkedIn

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Google's Gary Illyes Answers Your SEO Questions On LinkedIn

Google Analyst Gary Illyes offers guidance on large robots.txt files, the SEO impact of website redesigns, and the correct use of rel-canonical tags.

Illyes is taking questions sent to him via LinkedIn direct message and answering them publicly, offering valuable insights for those in the SEO community.

It’s already newsworthy for a Google employee to share SEO advice. This is especially so given it’s Illyes, who isn’t as active on social media as colleagues like Search Advocate John Mueller and Developer Advocate Martin Splitt.

Throughout the past week, Illyes has shared advice and offered guidance on the following subjects:

  • Large robots.txt files
  • The SEO impact of website redesigns
  • The correct use of rel-canonical tags

Considering the engagement his posts are getting, there’s likely more to come. Here’s a summary of what you missed if you’re not following him on LinkedIn.

Keep Robots.Txt Files Under 500KB

Regarding a previously published poll on the size of robots.txt files, Illyes shares a PSA for those with a file size larger than 500kb.

Screenshot from: linkedin.com/in/garyillyes/, January 2023.

Illyes advises paying attention to the size of your website’s robots.txt file, especially if it’s larger than 500kb.

Google’s crawlers only process the first 500kb of the file, so it’s crucial to ensure that the most important information appears first.

Doing this can help ensure that your website is properly crawled and indexed by Google.

Website Redesigns May Cause Rankings To Go “Nuts”

When you redesign a website, it’s important to remember that its rankings in search engines may be affected.

As Illyes explains, this is because search engines use the HTML of your pages to understand and categorize the content on your site.

If you make changes to the HTML structure, such as breaking up paragraphs, using CSS styling instead of H tags, or adding unnecessary breaking tags, it can cause the HTML parsers to produce different results.

This can significantly impact your site’s rankings in search engines. Or, as Illyes phrases it, it can cause rankings to go “nuts”:

Google’s Gary Illyes Answers Your SEO Questions On LinkedInScreenshot from: linkedin.com/in/garyillyes/, January 2023.

Illyes advises using semantically similar HTML when redesigning the site and avoiding adding tags that aren’t necessary to minimize the SEO impact.

This will allow HTML parsers to better understand the content on your site, which can help maintain search rankings.

Don’t Use Relative Paths In Your Rel-Canonical

Don’t take shortcuts when implementing rel-canonical tags. Illyes strongly advises spelling out the entire URL path:

Google’s Gary Illyes Answers Your SEO Questions On LinkedInScreenshot from: linkedin.com/in/garyillyes/, January 2023.

Saving a few bytes using a relative path in the rel-canonical tag isn’t worth the potential issues it could cause.

Using relative paths may result in search engines treating it as a different URL, which can confuse search engines.

Spelling out the full URL path eliminates potential ambiguity and ensures that search engines identify the correct URL as the preferred version.

In Summary

By answering questions sent to him via direct message and offering his expertise, Illyes is giving back to the community and providing valuable insights on various SEO-related topics.

This is a testament to Illyes’ dedication to helping people understand how Google works. Send him a DM, and your question may be answered in a future LinkedIn post.


Source: LinkedIn

Featured Image: SNEHIT PHOTO/Shutterstock



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Everything You Need To Know

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Of all the many, many functions available in Google Ads, I have a few that are my favorites. And sitelink assets – previously known as sitelink extensions – are at the top of my list.

Why? Because they’re so versatile. You can do almost anything with them if you think through your strategy carefully.

For example, you can use the mighty sitelink in your advertising to:

  • Promote low search volume themes.
  • Push lagging products out the door.
  • Maximize hot sellers.
  • Highlight certain product categories.
  • Answer common questions.
  • Handle PR problems.

And that’s just a start! Sitelink assets can almost do it all.

Best Practices For Using Sitelink Assets Extensions

If you truly want to get the most out of your sitelinks, you need to think about your intention.

To help you with that, I’m going to lay out a few sitelink guidelines.

1. Get clear on your objectives. Before you start, you need to think about your goals. What are you trying to achieve with these assets? Are you advertising products or services? Will the asset work well with both branded and non-branded keywords? Your answers to these questions will help determine if your sitelinks are versatile and useful to the searcher.

2. Use sitelinks as part of your larger strategy. Don’t think of your sitelinks in isolation. You should also consider the accompanying ad, landing page, and other assets. Make sure they all work together in service to your overarching strategy.

3. Use a mix of sitelinks. Sitelinks can serve multiple purposes, so make sure you’re using a variety. For example, you don’t want to use every sitelink on an ad to promote on-sale products. Instead, use a mix. One could promote an on-sale product, one could generate leads, one could highlight a new product category, and one could direct prospective clients to useful information.

4. Create landing pages for your sitelinks. Ideally, you want to send users to landing pages that tightly correlate with your sitelink instead of just a regular page on your website.

5. Track sitelink performance and adjust. It’s not enough to set up sitelinks. You should also track them to see which links are getting traction and which ones are not. This doesn’t mean that all sitelinks should perform equally (more on this below), but it does mean they should perform well given their type and objectives.

Why it’s Better To Use A Mix Of Sitelink Assets

Let’s dive deeper into this idea of using a mix of sitelinks by looking at an example.

In a new client account, we created four different types of sitelinks:

  • Two sitelinks are product-focused (as requested by the client).
  • One sitelink connects users with an engineer to learn more about the product (“Speak to an Engineer”). It has more of a sales focus.
  • One sitelink allows users to learn more about the products without speaking to an engineer (“What is?”).

The “What is?” sitelink is outperforming the “Speak to an Engineer” sitelink when we measure by CTR. While we need more data before making any changes, I predict we’ll eventually swap out the sales-y “Speak to an Engineer” sitelink for something else.

The fact that the educational link (“What is?”) is performing better than the sales-y link (“Speak to an Engineer”) isn’t too surprising in this case. The product is a new, cutting-edge robot that not many people are aware of, yet. They want more info before talking to someone.

sitelink extensions - performance exampleScreenshot by author, January 2023

By using a mix of sitelinks, and assessing the performance of each, we gained a lot of valuable information that is helping to guide our strategy for this account. So going with a mix of sitelinks is always a good idea. You never know what you’ll discover!

Sitelink Assets Examples

Now, let’s look at some specific examples of sitelink assets in Google Ads.

Example 1: Chromatography

Sitelinks extension - Chromatography exampleScreenshot from Google, January 2023

Application Search: This ad is for a highly technical product that can be used in a wide variety of applications. (Chromatography is a laboratory technique for separating mixtures.) So putting “application search” in a sitelink here might make sense. It helps prospective clients find what they’re looking for.

Sign up and Save Big: A good sitelink for lead generation and potential revenue.

Technical Support: I’m not a big fan of putting technical support in sitelinks. Tech support seems more targeted to current users rather than prospective users. But who knows, maybe they really do want to help current users get tech support via their advertising.

Guides and Posters: Again, this sitelink is a bit unusual, but it might be appropriate for this product. Perhaps people are downloading branded posters and posting them in their workplaces. If so, it’s a great way to build brand awareness.

Example 2: Neuroscience Courses

Sitelink Extensions - Nueroscience courses exampleScreenshot from Google, January 2023

I love everything about these sitelinks! The advertising is using them to reach people in all phases of the buyer journey.

For people not ready to commit:

  • Study Neuroscience: This sitelink is broad and informational. It’s helpful to people who have just started to explore their options for studying neuroscience.
  • Get Course Brochure: This sitelink is also great for people in the research phase. And while we mostly live in an online world, some people still prefer to consume hard-copy books, brochures, etc. With this sitelink, the school is covering its bases.

For people getting close to committing:

  • Online Short Course: This is the course the school offers. It’s a great sitelink for those almost ready to sign up.

For people ready to sign up:

  • Register Online Now: This is the strongest call to action for those ready to commit. It takes people directly to the signup page.

Example 3: Neuroscience Degrees

Let’s look at another example from the world of neuroscience education: this time for a neuroscience degree program.

Sitelink extensions - neuroscience degree exampleScreenshot from Google, January 2023

In contrast to the previous two examples, the sitelinks in this ad aren’t as strong.

Academics Overview: This sitelink seems more appropriate for a broad term search, such as a search on the school’s name. If the searcher is looking for a specific degree program (which seems like the intention based on the term and the ad), the sitelinks should be something specific to that particular degree program.

Scholarships: Just as with the above sitelink, “Scholarships” doesn’t seem very helpful either. The topic of scholarships is important—but probably doesn’t need to be addressed until the person determines that this school is a good fit.

Example 4: Code Security

Next, let’s look at two Google search ads for code security products.

Sitelink extensions - code security exampleScreenshot from Google, January 2023

 

The sitelinks in these two ads look like typical assets you’d find for SaaS, cloud-based, or tech companies. They click through to a lot of helpful information, such as product plans and success stories.

I particularly like the Most Common Risks sitelink in the second ad. It leads to a helpful article that would be great for engaging top-of-funnel leads.

On the flip side, I’m not a big fan of the Blog sitelink in the first ad. “Blog” simply isn’t very descriptive or helpful.

Still, there are no right or wrong sitelinks here. And it would be interesting to test my theory that blog content is not a top-performing asset!

Sitelink Assets Are More Than An Afterthought

I hope I’ve convinced you of the usefulness and versatility of sitelinks when created with specific objectives that align with your broader strategy.

So don’t create your sitelink assets as an afterthought.

Because if you give them the careful consideration they deserve, they’ll serve you well.

Note: Google sitelink assets were previously known as sitelink extensions and renamed in September 2022.

More resources:


Featured Image: Thaspol Sangsee/Shutterstock



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