Successful SEO brings visitors to your site. If you’re an agency, your SEO brings visitors to your clients’ sites. So does getting loads more visitors to these sites constitute successful SEO? I don’t think so.
A website is there to support a business raison d’être. No business is there simply to bring loads of people through the door. It’s there to sell stuff, and to make profits from selling whatever it sells. So a website needs to sell more, and merely getting a ton of people looking through your shop window via SEO tactics doesn’t pay the bills.
In order for a website (and a brick-and-mortar business) to work, it needs to sell more, and SEO alone doesn’t do that. It’s no longer enough – actually, it never was – to just get top rankings in search engines and to bring lots of visitors. To ensure your efforts are productive for your sites or your clients’ sites, you need to envisage the processes a visitor needs to go through in order to become a customer, and to guide these visitors along every step of their journey.
Here are some of the things you need to achieve, if you’re going to sell more from any website:
1. Develop your buyer persona. Who is your typical customer? Don’t look at the past, but look at what your product or service can do, who would typically want this solution?
2. Understand these people’s pain points. What needs or desires do they have that your product or service can satisfy? What are their daily challenges, both inside and outside their business? Are they trying to please their boss? Struggling with child-care? Not having enough hours in the day? Get a clear picture of who the typical person who needs what you sell would be like, before you write any web copy, ad copy etc.
3. Attract people who are actively looking for what you sell, whether it’s a boxed product or a virtual service. There’s no point bringing visitors who’ll never want what you sell.
4. Write ads and page copy that immediately grabs the attention of the visitor, copy that draws them in and leads them down the page, keeps their interest, amplifies their desire and prompts them to take the next action (click). Remember that most people will scan your page, however well it’s written, so use <strong>highlighted or bold</strong> to help them pick out the key message and key benefits.
5. Give your visitors something for free. For large ticket items, the average number of visits a prospect comes to your site before buying may be more than twenty! They want to know they can trust you, they want to research the product, and they need persuading why they should buy from you. Give them free eBooks, whitepapers, reports and product reviews that help them decide. Let them download via a simple form, and you can them drip-feed these opt-in subscribers with more free information that builds on your offering.
6. Make it easy for people to buy. Make it really obvious what they need to do next. Keep it simple. If visitors have to scan around looking for an action button or link, the chances are they’ll leave your site immediately. If you understand your buyer persona, you’ll better understand what you need to do to help them buy.
7. Analyze your visitors’ journeys. Find out where people are leaving your site and why, and then do what you need to do to fix this. Make your copy more focused to your buyer persona. Make navigation simpler. Get your offers above the fold and in the places on the pages that get scanned the most. Improve your site. Enhance your understanding of your buyer persona. Make it easier for people to do business with you.
SEO isn’t just about bringing people to your site. That’s a pointless exercise. Traffic and rankings alone are vanity. Sales conversions are sanity!