Researchers are like parachutists. They enter a search query into Google or another search engine and parachute into the middle of your website, potentially landing on an internal page with no context or familiarity with your brand.
Search engine optimization (SEO) actually encourages this behavior. We intentionally optimize internal pages to improve their keyword relevance so that search engines send more searchers beyond the home page to deeper pages within the site. These deeper pages are better suited to match the searcher’s intent and desire to have more keywords than the homepage can target, which tends to produce higher conversion rates for longer keywords.
Use these three tips to encourage Google to send skydivers deeper into your site and to help them achieve their goals once they’re there.
- Give each page a unique keyword theme
Each page on the site should have a unique keyword theme – its own special story to tell. If each internal page is just a slight variation of the homepage’s keyword theme, search engines have no reason to rank for them.
As you do your keyword research, create and maintain a keyword map to ensure that each page on your site remains unique in the keywords it targets.
- Engage seekers where they land
Each page should clearly and instantly communicate interest and value so that people stick around once they land.
When users leave a page after clicking on a search result, Google considers this behavior a negative sign. If searchers as a whole aren’t staying on a page long enough to engage, then the page must not be a good page to send more searchers. Note that this is different from bouncing, where the searcher can stay on the page long enough to engage and consume information before leaving the site.
Nothing discourages engagement like a long, tedious gray text field. Unless you’re hosting scientific articles where the information itself is compelling enough to engage your audience, make the experience interesting by adding things like:
- Bulleted or numbered lists;
- Relevant images;
- Tables and graphs;
- Information tables;
The goal is to use visuals to convey information that would otherwise be written in longer paragraphs of content, then follow it up with the descriptive text required to reinforce the keyword theme. The good news is that these improvements to your pages will benefit your engagement levels across all channels, not just organic search.
- Make conversion elements obvious
In addition to making pages relevant and engaging, make sure each page has a clear path to conversion. Getting more traffic is not your goal. Your goal should be to attract more searchers of the right kind to your pages and help them convert.
Ecommerce pages are simple, or so it seems. While there are many types of e-commerce sites and one size won’t fit all, most will want to display the “add to cart” button in the first view of the page with a clearly stated price. Don’t scroll through your instant gratification shoppers before they can click through to buy your product.
Here are other ways to improve ecom conversion:
- Provide clear, interesting and keyword-rich product descriptions;
- Create bulleted lists of product features for easy analysis;
- Use user reviews as proof points (and as a source of keyword relevance);
- Offer solid product photography;
- Streamlined the checkout process, so you don’t lose customers after adding them to cart.
If people come to your e-commerce site on a content page – a blog post or resources page rather than an ecom page – be sure to provide clear paths back to relevant ecom pages to convert. In-text links can provide an easy way to return to ecom pages, but they are also easily overlooked. Consider using a “related products” module that includes product images designed to grab visitors’ attention and lead them further into the buying process.
For sites that rely on lead generation, be sure to capture lead information on as many relevant pages as possible. On pages where capturing leads isn’t practical or appropriate, consider a banner or visual self-ad that touts your offer in one quick sentence, such as:
- “Get a free quote;”
- “Download your free ebook;”
- “30 day free trial.”
If you manage content – offering content downloads after your visitors complete a lead generation form – make sure you put enough content outside the door on the landing page to entice search engines. research to send researchers by parachute.
Create your internal pages to attract and welcome skydiving seekers. Because they enter more detailed search phrases, searchers also tend to better understand what they want – they are further down the funnel. Help search engines send you those searchers with careful keyword targeting, keep them on your site when they parachute in, and make sure they convert.