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SEO’s working, but what’s next? Site speed optimisation and conversion rate

You’ve just sat down to scrawl through your latest SEO report and your website’s rankings are finally blowing you away.

After months of on- and off-page SEO efforts, you’re ranking well for the right search terms in your industry, your organic search traffic is something to boast about, your bounce rate is on a definite downturn and visitors are spending a respectable amount of time on whatever page they land on.

It’s obvious that whatever you’re offering up to the search engine Gods is hitting the sweet spot.

Not one to be complacent however, a new question pops into your head: I’m finally on the first page of Google. I’m getting in front of the audience I want. Life is good. But what’s next? What else can I do to improve my digital marketing efforts?

You could:

  • Call it a day on your SEO efforts, log out of your Google Analytics account and enjoy a beer. (In case you’re not paying attention, this is the wrong answer).
  • Continue to do precisely what you’ve been doing so far to try to keep those stats looking good (Not a bad choice – but not a great one either).
  • Immediately start an aggressive campaign to improve the speed of your website and optimise elements of the website that will increase the number of conversions that you’re making.

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) and Site Speed Optimisation (SSO) are two services that are sure-fire ways of taking organic and paid traffic that is coming to a website and improving the chances of that traffic converting into a sale or a sign up or whatever desired action you want of the visitor.

Let’s look at the facts:

You — or your SEO company of choice — put plenty of elbow grease into getting you the search engine results you deserve.

To use the metaphor of a website being your digital storefront, SEO involves using search engines to ensure that your store (and not your competitor’s) is the one people are standing out front of when they’re looking for your product or service.

The first thing that could go wrong in this scenario is if a customer wraps on the store window and nobody lets them in. In other words, you’re getting them to your website, but it takes so long to load that they get bored or frustrated and leave.

Google tells us that the average mobile landing page takes over 22 seconds to load, but that 53% of people will leave a mobile page if it takes more than three seconds to load.

Over half of all website traffic comes from mobile devices, but the conversion rates on this platform are lower than on a desktop, telling us that people are creating responsive, mobile-friendly websites that are just too slow.

In other words, a total waste of their SEO, design and development efforts.

The second problem occurs when a person gains entry to your digital storefront, but there are no signposts, guidelines or even a single note telling them where to go and what to do next. This means they spend a few minutes idly drifting from aisle to aisle of your store before leaving.

It’s what happens if your website is not laid out and set up to convert customers at every possible opportunity and fails to tell them what you want and need them to do next in order to get their immediate need met.

According to Wordstream, the conversion rate of the average website is an abysmal 2.35%, which is tragic when you consider that the potential return on investment could run as high as 223%.

Again, a waste of valuable marketing resources and time.

CRO and SSO are the strategies deployed to set up that point of sale and store clerk structure in your digital store.

If you’re wondering where to begin with CRO or SSO, or which one to focus on first, you’ll be happy to know that both can work at the same time, in conjunction with one another.

A CRO and SSO strategy should begin with an audit of the website to create a performance benchmark, taking into consideration factors such as its bounce rate, average time spent on page, calls to action, colours and even the length, originality and quality of the content you post.

Once you have this information, you can then take steps to improve each aspect of the audit, based on proven marketing principles, which can include:

  • Having an anchor text call to action (up to 121% more conversions).
  • Reducing sign up form fields from 11 to 4 (up to 120% more conversions).
  • Changing a green text button to a red one (up to 21% more conversions in this study by Hubspot).
  • Reducing page load times by a second (up to 7% more conversions).

SSO itself can involve dozens of potential changes, including reducing image file size, picking a more robust web host, reducing redirects and minimising the number of plugins.

Once the necessary changes have been implemented, its time to split test to see if your changes have made any improvements. You then continue to make more changes until the desired conversion rate is reached when compared with the original website’s performance as a benchmark.

While there are never any guarantees when it comes to human behaviour and what makes people convert or decide to make a purchase, there’s enough research to point you in the right direction. A dozen minor changes might not have much of an impact by themselves, but collectively they could create an impressive result.

Getting ahead in business involves planning your next move while you’re still making your current one, and your digital marketing is no different. It’s why you don’t need to wait for a second longer to get started on SSO and CRO.

Feature image: Nick Fewings via Unsplash

Author | Steven Slotow

Steven Slotow
Steven cut his teeth as the Tech & Motoring Editor for FHM magazine for 14 years before starting SEO Resellers South Africa and offering a white label, wholesale digital marketing solution to local digital marketers. Now Steven spends his time helping small, medium and large digital agencies to run... More

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