What is the best ROI that you can get through SEO campaigns? How do you know the end results that can be derived from SEO?
Is it engagement, traffic, brand building and reputation management? Or is it simply lead generation?
You need to keep some best practices in mind while generating higher ROI vs. KPIs with SEO.
Search engines are vital in fulfilling the ‘intent’ of finding information. SEO efforts cannot be directly tied to the final purchase of products and services like paid media/advertising. Constant and dynamic updates are made every day by search engines, making it more difficult for marketers to understand it.
The basic rules are simple and straight: stick to the ‘intent of doing good for users’.
Users come first and then the search engines. In fact, the very foundation of success of search engines is users. Search engines want to serve the best information to their audience. The concept of optimizing content for a visitor plays a very vital role for the marketers.
Boost Organic CTR
Here are few tips on how you can boost organic CTR for your website and also within the internal web pages:
1. Focus on people and consider the latest technology as support
People are our ultimate target audience. Users/searchers use technology to attain their goals.
Online marketers should not forget that technology is user-driven.
- We need to think and adapt to what the users want and need and not the search engines.
- Get to know your audience – conduct offline and online market research. Their feedback will be useful for your success.
- Develop strategies around human beings (target audience) and deploy them to balance both target audience and search engines. Image source
2. Keyword Research and Mapping
Let’s start with the basics. It is important that we have all the right keywords mapped to the right content.
In other words, keywords should develop out of content and not otherwise. Combine long tail keywords and conversational keywords for balanced conversions. This increases conversions on the website with better targeted content.
- With the keyword level data vanishing from Google Analytics (‘not provided’), you need to benchmark page level metrics such as KPIs for your success (page level: traffic, engagement, bounce rate, new visits, etc.).
- With unique keywords mapped to each page, track performance of the page level traffic to mark success.
- Have a content strategy around conversational keyword targeting (with natural language understanding) that includes blogs, forums, etc.
3. Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Ranking
Your SERP Ranking is an indicator of a certain level of success of your SEO efforts. But it is not the complete picture.
We need to remember that organic rankings on Page 1 are just indicators of doing the right optimization. You need an SEO strategy that is defined better to consider these as success parameters.
However, when your audience is finding information on search engines, it is important that you hit the sweet spot on the first page of Google. In short, ranking between 1st and 10th on Google Page 1 does matter. However, rankings above the fold (the part of the screen visible without scroll; usually rankings 1-4) have more visibility; have higher CTR and direct more traffic to the website.
In other words, higher the rankings on search engines, higher the probability of directing relevant traffic to the website and hence conversions. Image source
- Make sure your basic SEO and technical parameters are in place.
- Move inch by inch. Have a detailed plan to test out your SEO strategies, both short and long-term. Create content accordingly.
- Remember to create content for your target audience and not search engines. Analyze your audience’s wants and needs.
4. Title Tag
The title tag describes the theme page in short and appears as a blue link on SERPs. These appear when a searcher types in a query to find information on search engines.
A page title catches attention and influences the searchers to click on the link to your page. A well-defined page title has higher CTR on SERPs.
- Make your page title as natural, relevant and attractive as possible so that the target audience is compelled to click.
- Include your target keywords to impact organic rankings.
- Keep the title within 65 characters.
Make it simple, short, interesting and natural to increase search inquest.
5. Meta Description
While the meta title gives an idea about the page users see on SERPs, meta descriptions help the audience understand what the web page content is about before they actually reach it. While search engines consider meta descriptions as ranking factors, when constructed well, they also influence searchers to click. You need to briefly describe what the page is offering.
- Use it tactically. Have an objective for defining your webpage.
- Keep it natural and understandable for your target audience. Include keywords that snag users’ attention and lead to chances of higher CTR.
- Maintain the optimal character limits for the descriptions. It should be around 150-160 characters with spaces. Write what markets the unique content of the page. Include USPs, value adds, discounts and offers.
- Meta descriptions are indicative of the page theme and may not show in the SERPs. Google also uses other publicly available sources of authority like Wikipedia to show relevant results. So, have a content marketing plan along with website optimization.
6. URL Optimization
The best approach is to frame URLs for people that are crisp, easy to read and remember.
Clear and concise URLs on SERPs reassure readers that a page will deliver on their search and enable better CTRs.
7. Rich Snippets (Structured Data Markup)
a) On-page markup using Schema
Inclusion of Schema markup enables search engines to understand and categorize unstructured data on web pages. This helps provide richer search results and makes it easier for users to find relevant information on the SERPs thereby driving better CTRs.
Customer rating markup on a product page: Improves credibility of the product leading to better CTRs.
b) Google Authorship markup
Linking the content of the author with his/her Google+ profile enables a headshot of the author to appear next to the search listing. This leads to better CTRs for blog posts and articles from SERPs.
8. Call-to-Action (CTA) – Visibility
Apart from techniques to increase CTR through search, the final touch should be well-judged placements of CTAs on the website. This would increase the probability of CTRs and hence, conversions on the website.
As mentioned earlier, it is necessary to rank above to fold in search engines and have CTAs (buttons, forms, etc.) above the fold.
- Test the important pages of the website, the home page, products and solutions pages with Heat Map. Monitor your audience’s movements on your website pages. Then place the CTAs accordingly.
- Competitive analysis tells you how your competition is doing. Draw inputs through the comparison.
- Work on your website design based on your budget and look to improve user experience.
Contributed by Rahul Banerjee – Head SEO, Position2