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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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How upskilling your paid advertising skills will tackle economic downturns

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How upskilling your paid advertising skills will tackle economic downturns

30-second summary:

  • Marketing budgets are often the first to be slashed in a downturn – upskilling your existing team with digital marketing techniques can provide huge efficiencies and minimize the impact of cuts
  • Creating an upskilling program does not need to be expensive or time-consuming if a well-thought-out strategy is adopted and results are constantly measured
  • Nurturing your own in-house talent pool also increases business resilience, improves marketing innovation and creativity, and reduces reliance on third-party operators
  • Choosing the right skills for your team to acquire depends both on your immediate goals and long-term business strategy – done right you can steal a march on your competitors
  • Sarah Gilchriest, Global COO of Circus Street, discusses the key skills brands need to cultivate to stay competitive during an economic downturn

We’re entering what is likely to be a pretty tough global recession. As consumer sentiment worsens, brands will increasingly look at ways they can cut costs to protect their bottom line. Unfortunately, we all know that marketing is usually one of the first budgets to be slashed.

It is seemingly much easier to stop a campaign or give an agency notice than it is to sack a developer or reduce infrastructure costs. However, more often than not, cutting marketing is a false economy that worsens the impact of a downturn by slowing a company’s growth. So, is there a way for brands to instead maximize their digital marketing output while also freezing or reducing costs?

The answer may be found in upskilling.

Training while cutting costs?

Now, your first reaction may be that training programs are expensive luxuries that make little sense if your goal is to cut costs. There are a few things to unpack here –

  1. Size and scope of training matter. You can make an outsized impact by training one or two individuals who then share their knowledge with their wider team. The right strategy (which I’ll discuss further below) can lead to a highly targeted program that gives the most critical skills to those who will be best placed to use them immediately.
  2. Next, there are a lot of freely available supporting resources that can significantly reduce costs and help to embed learning.
  3. Finally, let’s put costs in perspective. The ROI on a well-executed training scheme pays for itself and the initial outlay pales in comparison to most other business functions. Put simply, you get a lot of bang for your buck. 

Why paid advertising skills?

Paid advertising makes a lot of sense to focus on for a number of reasons. Generally, compared to other marketing fields, paid advertising is characterized by the sheer diversity of skills and techniques needed to fully execute a campaign. It is incredibly fast-moving and often requires you to leverage a number of different tech platforms. Consequently, many brands outsource this functionality to a network of agencies and freelancers. Those that don’t usually rely on one or two individual ‘power users’ or worse, skills are haphazardly spread among a range of departments leading to bottlenecks and single points of failure.

As such, digital advertising is usually the prime area where efficiencies, greater innovation, and marketing effectiveness can occur via upskilling. It is where your business can do much more for less. 

Identifying the right skills

Getting the right skill mix is where the rubber meets the road. A mixture of creativity, data analysis, platform knowledge, development techniques, and marketing expertise are all needed. To get started the best approach is to fully understand what capability your team has in-house. The crucial element is to remember that a lot of ability might be hidden because it is not used on a day-to-day basis. You would be surprised at how quickly a business ‘forgets’ about the previous experiences of team members after they have been hired.

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Auditing team skills should expand beyond the marketing department

You don’t know what gems are lurking in other areas of your business until you start to look. This is also the perfect opportunity to identify both the potential of your employees to acquire new skills and also their individual aspirations. It is much easier to upskill someone who has a professional and personal investment in learning that particular expertise. The audit itself does not need to be complex – a simple matrix that enables people to categorize their proficiency and outline the areas where they would like to develop will suffice.

When you know what you have to work with, then it’ll become much easier to define the best way forward. Deciding the best skill mix comes down to first working out how to fulfill your most immediate needs. For example, taking a costly service in-house, plugging a weakness – where a team member’s departure would severely hamper your ability to function, or obvious gaps in ability that prevent you from undertaking certain digital advertising activities.

Build on the compatibility between your employee’s aspirations and your commercial objectives

This is then overlaid by areas where your marketing output can most obviously be improved and your future aspirations in line with your commercial objectives. For example, if in the future you want to more heavily target users on particular social media platforms or ‘exotic’ platforms like IoT devices and digital boards. Perhaps you can see the financial benefits of adopting headless CMS tech and would like to put in place the skills needed to make that transition after the recession. Maybe you want your team to have the insight to tell you whether the Metaverse has any potential for your business.

This may sound complex but once you get started the hierarchy of skills you need more often than not becomes very obvious. Remember, one of upskilling’s great strengths is its flexibility – if your needs change or you feel you have chosen the wrong skills – it’s very easy to change track.

Getting started in a cost-efficient way

How you train your team is very much up to individual preferences – everyone learns in different ways. Speaking to your employees and specialists will enable you to build a tailored teaching structure. It can be a combination of in-house learning, online tutorials, accredited programs, or book learning. You do not have to go all in on a full program straight away. Piloting can remove a lot of the risk. Start small – one team or a handful of individuals from across your company – and continually assess the impact.

A mistake to avoid

A common mistake businesses make is they wait too long to get their team to use their new knowledge. This can hold up the process and damage ROI. The best way to embed new skills is to apply them. Ensure that your team has an opportunity to practice their newfound expertise on real initiatives. Then keep a close eye on your business metrics – including team and customer feedback – to determine the impact. Unlike many other departments, digital marketing can have very clear outputs. This will let you know quite quickly if it is working. From there, you can decide on how to roll out your training scheme. 

Marketing doesn’t end with the marketers

As I’ve mentioned, diversifying the skillset of your team builds resilience and promotes more innovation. The reason is simple, if you only have marketing skills in your marketing department, you are naturally limiting the number of people who can provide useful insights that fuel innovation. You reduce oversight and feedback loops, and your marketing output will suffer from a lack of outside perspectives. 

By making your teams multidisciplinary and cross-functional you can spread useful skills throughout your business. Customer service teams can learn the fundamentals of digital marketing, marketers know how to do the basic dev and data work to enable their day-to-day, and your data teams can think like marketers if they need to.

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Preparing for the worst doesn’t mean losing capabilities

If the worst does happen and you do need to make cuts to your team, having key skills shared across your business means that the damage to core functions will be limited.

To finish – I should highlight that much of what I’ve discussed applies equally to business owners as it does to individual freelancers. A downturn can be a daunting prospect if you are a sole trader. Upskilling can be one of the best ways to increase your value to clients now and future-proof your business.

If you have seen business drop off, the time you now have available could be best dedicated to more training. This may sound obvious, but a mistake many people make in their careers is failing to adapt to how demand for skills can quickly change or technology can come along that makes them obsolete. Adding more skill strings to you and your company’s bow is never a bad thing.


Sarah Gilchriest is the Global COO of Circus Street.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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