13 Easy Ways to Increase Conversions with Technical SEO
In a dull corporate world optimizing the website for search and optimizing landing pages for conversions usually is regarded as two separate workflows. Do you want to benefit from some different approach without increasing the workload on your marketing team? Treat every search engine optimization technique you are going to implement as a conversion optimization lever!
1. Catch Eyes: Use Header Tags to Empower Your CTA
Use H1-H6 headers to divide your copy into consumable chunks, summarize your content, and make it easy to scan the text leading your reader to the CTA in a prompt and natural way.
According to the data of American Psychological Association, headline can influence your mindset as you read. And I think you will agree with me that if a user scans the page briefly, and then moves exactly to the point of conversion – the subscription box, purchase button, or the lead form – that's absolutely okay if they only spend a limited amount of time on page and don't read the entire page completely.
The attention span of the website visitor shrinks drastically all the time. Thorough long form content has a chance to be read (and work on the bottom line!) only if you persuade your visitor to do so. One of the ways to communicate your message briefly is to have an eye-catching header and then divide text into easy-to-consume chunks of 2-3 sentences or 50-60 words in length with headers that summarize the full content.
SEO technique to optimize headers suggests adding keywords to the article title (H1 tag) and other headers (H2-H6). Basic requirements for the H1 heading stand that each page should contain only one H1 heading, it must be no longer than 65 characters, title (out of H1 tag) and H1 shouldn't be the same and, finally, every page of your website should have a unique H1.
These noticeable areas can be used to highlight the main key points of the text. They are prominent on-page, and if enriched with the keyword phrases that are really relevant to the content of the paragraph, have a chance to catch an eye of a skimming reader and lead them in a natural way to the call to action you have on your page.
2. Work On The Invisible: META Title and Description Tags
Write meta title and description according to the best practices so that when they are used as snippets on the search engine results page (SERP) they create correct expectations for the visitors and start leading them to the conversion even before click.
Imagine a user browsing on SERP. What makes them click on one result over another? And even more importantly, what will make them stay on page and move further down the purchase funnel once they click? We call it correct expectations.
No conversion will happen if a user doesn't click a link to your website, and the same is true if they don't expect the conversion path you want them to take. Though META section is (almost) invisible to the user who has already landed on the page, correctly optimized title and description have some influence over the appearance of page on SERP.
To be honest, Google can extract any piece of information from the page that it finds the most relevant to the searcher intent and use it as a description. But with meta description optimized with natural language keywords, of appropriate length (it is advisable up to 160 chars but Google like to change its length according to different factors), and with a primary CTA, chances are high that this text will be used on SERP.
For example, my client, online travel service provider, increased the CTR of their pages on SERP and conversion rate of the landing pages without direct impact on the rankings after re-optimization of the meta description of the pages from high search volume keyword stuffed to the text using natural language keyword phrases and highlighting the unique value proposition of the service.
Also, you can analyze competitors titles and description to improve your own. Just crawl the needed websites and check out tags you want.
3. Draw With Words: Use Keywords to Fit Reading Patterns
Use keyword insertion and highlighting in a way that correlates with the natural reading patterns that will not only make the page more optimized, but also will communicate the message in a most easy and natural way.
When we talked about shrinking attention spans, we've already discussed scanning pages instead of reading thoroughly through them. In fact, the patterns human eyes follow when skimming through the page, are perfectly documented.
For example, Adobe in their 12 Do's and Don'ts of Web Design list Z and F layouts as the most popular in the Western world and state: Well-designed websites typically lay out their content in a 'F' reading shape or 'Z' reading shape.
How can SEO help here? With its keyword distinction technique! Try to place keywords in the text following that pattern so that not only search engines use those phrases to rank the page, but also the user scanning the page captures them and is naturally led toward the conversion point.
4. Do It Fast: Optimize Page Load Speed
Increasing the load speed as a part of the technical SEO efforts even by 10% leads to a significant drop in bounce rate for your page. That naturally affects the conversion rate too.
With the global roll out of its mobile first index this year, Google continues to emphasize the importance of the page load speed.
But wait, that's exactly where conversion rate optimization meets search engine optimization!
Research by SOASTA (that is featured by Google as a part of their Partners Help information on the conversions) shows that every 1 sec of additional waiting for the page to load causes in up to 27% loss in conversion rates in a form of bounced sessions. So when working on the load time improvement you actually are working on the conversion rate improvement too.
5. Know Exactly Where Your Customers Are: Use Local SEO Techniques
Address, map, local phone number – parts of the local search optimization efforts - also appeal to your visitors from the neighborhood and make overall business perception more trustworthy, organically increasing conversion rates on the website.
Think With Google regularly publishes data on the increasing amount of 'near me' searches, and it's growing at rate of 500% in just two years!
So, imagine you are on the search for a new product or a service in your neighborhood. Chances are high all the results in the top will be locally relevant, but what site will more effectively persuade you to order from them – the one that has simple product offer, price, and checkout options, or the one clearly showing physical address, map, and phone numbers?
When working with local citations, adding business address to the digital map services also increase chances for customer to convert in form of a call, quote request, obtaining directions without even hitting the website itself.
6. Call Them By Their Names: Voice Search Optimization
Amount of the searches originated from voice recognition devices is growing exponentially. Recent research published by Digital Marketing Depot states: 'mobile-only and voice assistant usage surges by an estimated 130% this year'. When optimizing your pages for voice search, you improve the conversion rate organically by providing people with conversational interfaces, natural language oriented texts, and messages aiming to answer the exact need of the customer.
Remember so-called SEO texts placed somewhere in the footer of Ecommerce category pages? Luckily, these keyword stuffed overoptimized pieces of content targeting search engine crawlers but not customers are no longer able to make its way to the top of SERP. With Rank Brain algorithm, natural language optimized texts created with understanding of the searcher intent have more chances to rank high, especially for the voice search.
Natural language is more persuasive, and well structured, synonym rich content that addresses users' needs in the exact moment of purchase journey not only ranks higher – it naturally leads customer to the next step of the purchase or other form of conversion.
7. Be Better Than the Best: Target #0 position
Pages optimized for #0 positions convert better because of their structure, as the best SEO techniques to target featured snippets include lists, tables, natural language questions put in headers, and logically structured content answering them.
In order to target so-called #0 position or featured snippet placement on SERP, you need to create long form in-depth content, structure it with lists and tables, make sure you are clearly answering natural language questions with expert advice.
Featured snippet once obtained attracts much more significant share of traffic than even #1 position. But that's not the only benefit of this SEO technique. Lists, how-to's, headers that consist of natural language questions with clear answers following them, make content more consumable for the reader and easy to navigate, so properly optimized page shows greater CTR and CR.
8. Haunt Them: Prioritize Mobile Optimization
Responsive design makes it easier to convert on mobile devices and actually any type of devices your users prefer to use.
Holy grail of SEO in 2018 – mobile optimization, that includes responsive design, improvements to the user experience on all devices, content reorganization in order to make it easily consumable on smaller screens, prioritizing speed and load time – ensures that user will find the page in SERP, but also it makes much easier for the user who landed on the page to convert via smaller forms, accessible functional elements, even being on slower connection.
9. Know Your Limits: Reconsider Popups and Interstitial Content
Google penalize websites that interrupt user journey with intrusive ads and popups.
From one side, in order to comply with Google guidelines you need to remove the popup that is intended to obtain the users email, phone numbers, or end them to the selling page. But let's face it: popups do convert! So here to actually get the traffic from search to the converting pages and then convert the visitor, you need to find the sweet spot between being too intrusive (and conversions drop from something so annoying as the multiple pop-up windows appearing on every page of the website user is trying to navigate) and using the popups potential for catching the attention of the user.
A/B tests for the rescue! Use them to test if the attention grabbing techniques you use affect organic traffic, track positions, CTR, bounce, and time on page for the URLs where popups are being used.
10. Speak to Them in Different Voices: Use Social Signals
SEO uses star ratings to grab additional real estate on the SERP, and customers' reviews to add unique text to the product pages. Luckily for CRO, both these techniques make it easier to convert the user who came from search to the buying customer.
According to the Hubspot data, 70% of people are more likely to make a purchase online if the product or service comes recommended by others. So, by including customers' ratings and reviews to your pages you positively impact conversion rates.
11. Use Spider Power: Take Crawl and Index under Control
Technical SEO works with sitemaps, indexing directives to make sure that only relevant, unique, optimized pages are going into index.
According to the case study by Robin Rozhon their client experienced 54.9% revenue growth after eliminating 80% of pages from index.
How did it work? They kept only the pages that attracted organic traffic (read: were perceived as of value for Google and other search engines) in the past, and therefore significantly increased the crawlability and indexability of these pages and trustworthiness of the entire domain.
By keeping only valuable pages indexed, they were able to increase conversions as all the users landing from search were provided with the full-bodied unique optimized product page or category page.
12. Mark Your Data: Implement Microdata Schema Markup
Influence the user expectations and increase chances for the conversion even before they visit your website with address, phone number, and product information in SERP.
For products, you can use the properties like product name, price, availability, and currency, so that they will be provided to the searchers in rich snippet right on the SERP page, or on the Image Search.
For addresses, you can format your offline address, contact numbers, working hours so the searcher in the enquiry state will have an option to call your business or get directions without even hitting the website.
If you want to make sure that structured data (schema markup) is embedded on all necessary pages, you can check it using Netpeak Spider and follow these easy steps:
- Open 'Settings' and then 'Scraping'.
- Select 'Contains' search mode and 'Only text' search space.
- If you need to make sure that a particular item exists, insert itemprop = "name" into the search box (or any other element of the Schema glossary).
- If you need to see the entire markup as a whole, to check, for example, whether the itemtype is correctly set for the whole site/directory, use the search mode 'XPath', set 'Entire HTML element' data extraction and insert // * [@itemtype] / @itemtype.
13. Using Open Graph Meta Data for Social Sharing
Use META optimization techniques that include providing special og: properties to control how your pages are displayed on the social media and influence users' decisions starting from their news feed.
Controlling the way your data is shared on the social media is a simple way to make sure you manage the expectations of the readers before they land on your website so they are already on their way to conversion. You have control over such data as:
- Title (<meta property=”og:title” content=”…” />)
- Description (<meta property=”og:descrition” content=”…” />);
- Image (<meta property=”og:image” content=”…” />);
- Displayed URL (<meta property=”og:url” content=”…” />);
- Twitter Card (<meta property=”twitter:card” content=”…” />)
- Twitter image alternate text (<meta property=”twitter:image:alt” content=”…” />).
This can be particularly useful when you need to use a little bit different messaging on SERP and Facebook or Twitter, for example, optimizing the title and description of the article for clicks from search where user is in the inquiry stage of purchase funnel, and for attention grabbing on social media where users are basically not acquainted with your product or service.
The SEO techniques primary targeting the rankings and traffic to the website can be easily furthered to conversion optimization. By thinking in a wider perspective, you can simultaneously increase the traffic and make it more valuable bringing in more revenue from organic and other channels. Here are the ideas from the post in a nutshell:
- On-page headers and subheaders: use these prominent lines to highlight key points of the page and lead your reader to the call to action (CTA) even if they're not reading thoroughly.
- Meta section: write meta title and description tags according to the best practices so when they are used as snippets on SERP they create the correct expectations for the visitors and start leading them toward the conversion even before click.
- Using keywords: use keyword insertion in a way that correlates with reading patterns - that will not only make the page more optimized, but also will communicate the message in a most easy and natural way.
- Page load speed: increasing the load speed, which is now one of the most important ranking factors for search engines, even by 1 sec leads to the up to 27% growth in conversion rates and significant drop in bounce rate for the page.
- Crawling and indexing: keep pages that can convert your visitors. Use comprehensive indexing strategy.
- Mobile optimization: make it easy for your mobile users to research, interact, and convert.
- Local SEO: people are more likely to convert when your content answers their immediate need exactly where they are, and showing the proximity of your business to the searcher helps with such conversions.
- Voice search: amount of the searches originated from voice recognition devices is growing exponentially, and when optimizing your pages for voice search, you improve the conversion rate organically by using natural language, taking user intent into account, structuring the content in logical easy-to-consume way.
- #0 position: long form in depth content organized with lists, tables, and summarizing paragraphs, can get very prominent featured snippet position on Google SERP which in turn will bring more traffic (gain in conversions from search), improved mobile experience (gain in conversions happen on mobile), and more visits from voice search (improved CR again!)
- Popups and interstitial content: in order to find a sweet spot between showing your CTA prominently as the popup or interstitial ad, and risking to annoy your customer and get penalty from the search engine for intrusive windows, A/B test thoughtfully the amount, timing, and placements of popups in order to achieve the highest conversion rate along with not being punished by Google.
- Social signals: adding social proof to your landing pages (e.g. customer reviews, testimonials, and endorsements) makes your content unique for indexing and ranking purposes, appealing, and results in more conversions.
- Microdata schema markup: optimizing your content with micro schema markup can give searchers access to such information as your address, phone number, product information and prices exactly on SERP so you can have people call (and therefore convert) from search, without even visiting your website.
- Open graph meta data for social sharing: by controlling how the information shared from your website appears in social media, you can start interaction with users who see it in their newsfeed in a controlled manner so the path to the conversion begins on their territory before they even visit a website.
Let us know if you have any other tips to increase conversions using technical SEO in the comments below. By the way, our partner SEO Content Strategist Maddy Osman provides Skillshare classes (which includes an actionable primer on technical SEO). Check them out if you're better at learning when you have someone to walk you through the material :)