If You're Not Focusing On SEO, You're Already Behind

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On July 27, SeeWhy conducted an online poll among 221 eMarketers. The results reveal some potential shifts in focus over the next 12 months: shopping cart recovery, reducing landing page clutter, link building, and transactional e-mail all emerge as top priorities.

The poll also looked in detail at four key areas of conversion to determine their priorities. The four areas examined were as follows:

  • SEO
  • Landing page optimization
  • e-mail marketing
  • Web conversion/shopping cart recovery techniques

Each respondent was allowed to pick only one response in each category, forcing them to choose their top priority.

SEO Priorities

Marketers plan to focus on link building as their top priority in the next 12 months, with 42 per cent stating that it is their top SEO focus. Changes to website pages to ensure they are more SEO friendly were the highest priority for 22 per cent, while 21 per cent plan to focus on social media integration. Site-based optimization (such as sitemaps and navigation) was the main focus for only 15 per cent. There are two notable conclusions that you draw about these findings:

1)     Marketers have taken on board the changes made over recent months by Google to prioritise quality and diversity of links in search results over the content itself.

2)     Social media integration is unexpectedly high. While social media is hot for marketers, in SEO terms this is really cutting edge stuff, and it signals that marketers have recognised the importance of social media in driving traffic. In particular, Facebook’s social plugins, including the easy to implement ‘Like’ button, are beginning to be viewed as a simple ‘social SEO toolkit.’

Website and Landing Page Optimization

Marketers are taking the ‘less is more’ philosophy to heart when it comes to landing page optimization. Just over half (51 per cent) stated that reducing clutter was their top priority, recognising that landing pages have been added to gradually over time at the expense of simplicity and simple, strong calls to action.

20-eight per cent of marketers plan to re-evaluate their text on the page with a view to increasing website conversion rates, while only seventeen per cent are prioritizing removing fields from data capture forms. This is surprising as experts repeatedly emphasise the importance of having only the necessary fields on forms to increase online conversion rates.

E-mail Marketing Priorities 

One third of e-mail marketers plan to prioritise post purchase e-mail marketing (such as reviews and satisfaction surveys); while another third plan to focus on pre-transactional e-mail (e.g. abandonment remarketing including ‘browse-but-no-purchase’ and shopping cart abandonment) in the next 12 months. 20-two per cent plan to focus on relationship building through e-mail marketing, such as loyalty schemes and vouchers.

What’s notable from these findings is the rapid growth in transactional e-mail, whether from a successful or an abandoned transaction. As integration between ecommerce systems and e-mail engines has become much more pre-packaged—with the widespread availability of transactional interfaces for e-mail—marketers are (finally) able to fulfil a long time desire to use website behavioural data to trigger targeted e-mail marketing that is highly relevant and personal to the recipient.

Website Conversion / Shopping Cart Recovery Techniques

organisations know that their hottest leads are with website visitors who have abandoned shopping carts, and 55 per cent of marketers plan to make shopping cart recovery their top website conversion priority in the next 12 months. Marketers also recognise that price promotions are increasingly critical in the battle for online sales, particularly in the holiday season, and 19 per cent intend to focus on onsite voucher pages where customers can view all active promotions. These pages are effective in driving conversions and also reduce affiliate fees to price comparison engines and promotion code websites.

A further 19 per cent are prioritizing incentivized signups to capture e-mail addresses and social network ID’s to enable the build of opt-in lists for e-mail and social marketing.

These results, individually and collectively, illustrate the growing awareness among eMarketers that having a website in isolation is no longer sufficient. In order to achieve conversion rate optimization, organic SEO results—predominately through link building—have been proven to be more effective than PPC and sponsored links, which consumers have grown wary of. Many websites built a few years ago have been added to incrementally and now require simplification in order to ensure the calls to action are more prominent. Marketers also plan to use e-mail marketing for more than batch-based, campaign-related e-mails; they intend to utilise this to build relationships with customers and potential purchasers. Finally, organisations have identified that they are losing a substantial percentage of leads as they have a high form and shopping cart abandonment rate. They are thus looking for online marketing tools that can help them recapture these hot leads through remarketing.

Web analytics visionary Charles Nicholls is founder and chief strategy officer of SeeWhy and author of “Lessons Learned from the Top 10 Converting Websites” which can be downloaded here and “In Search of Insight,” which has established a new agenda for the analytics industry. This post originally appeared at the SeeWhy blog and is republished here with permission. 

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