Don’t Blame a Low Conversion Rate on SEO

Written by Nick Stamoulis

One of the most important online marketing tactics today is search engine optimization since nearly everybody that is looking for anything online turns to the search engines. However it’s necessary to recognize that there is a difference between the purpose of SEO and the purpose of a business website.

A business website can serve many purposes, but the ultimate goal of a business website is to be used as a conversion tool. A conversion can happen right there on the website. On an e-commerce site a visitor can make a direct purchase. Or on a lead generation site a visitor can fill out a form to be contacted by the sales department. Or maybe the goal of the site is to get visitors to sign up to receive email newsletters. If the conversion can’t happen directly on the site, the purpose of the site is to get visitors to take some other kind of action like call the business or find directions to drive to the actual business location. The bottom line is that a business website functions as a sort of sales/promotion tool that should improve conversions. Of course, in order for the website to do its job marketers seek ways to get people to the website in the first place.

This is where SEO comes into play. The purpose of SEO is to drive targeted traffic to your site. You’d think that a successful SEO campaign correlated with an increase in conversions but sometimes that isn’t the case or the number of conversions that were expected by the website owner just isn’t there. This is where there is often a struggle between the website owner and whoever is responsible for SEO efforts, whether it be someone that is working in house or an outsourced firm. Website owners want to see that increase in conversion rate which equals an increase in the bottom line and a monetary value that justifies the SEO work.

An SEO professional can essentially do everything right, but they cannot control the business website or the interest in the product or service that you provide. An accurate way to measure SEO campaign results is to see an improvement in the number of visitors that are finding your website through organic search and the keywords that are being used to land on the site. An SEO campaign involves incorporating new keywords into the mix. If people are using these relevant keywords and land on your site, it’s a success.

But what if organic visitors are increasing and the number of keywords bringing visitors are increasing, but conversions aren’t? SEO isn’t the problem. Take a look at your website and at your business model. The best SEO efforts in the world can’t save a website that isn’t user friendly or doesn’t have clear call to actions. It also can’t save a business that simply doesn’t offer the right product or service or a product or service that isn’t the right price. If it’s too cheap, quality is questioned and if it’s too expensive potential clients or prospects will look for another alternative.

SEO is essential, but in order for conversions on a site to improve the product/service and website also need to be great.

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