Understanding User Signals to Master CRO

The most important thing every marketer needs to know in order to master conversion rate optimization is the implicit assumptions and desires—or user signals, to use the proper marketing term—of their target audience.

User signals are essentially any action taken by a visitor on a site; when looked at over time, an SEO can extrapolate key findings about what their target audience likes on the site, what needs to be optimized, and what can be done away with. Managing the push and pull of what should be on the website is at the core of effective conversion rate optimization.

User signals like bounce rate and click through rate are primary determinants of your site’s effectiveness at serving your customers. They are also used as a proxy by Google for your site’s relevance for specific keywords, which means sites that are optimized for search behavior are likely to rank higher.

But how do you set up an analytics and measurement system to ensure you are converting in the right places in the right ways?

Mastering CRO is only possible if you know how to measure user signals and iterate based on key findings. SEO companies in Long Beach, CA have the analytical acumen required to pull insightful data from user signals. Here are some tips!

How to Identify User Signals that Matter to Your Site

In order to become a master, you need to:

  1. Identify User Signals that Matter to Your Site
  2. Test, Measure, Learn

Let’s look at each of these more closely.

Every site serves a purpose. Furthermore, every page on every site should be architected to support or encourage visitors towards taking an action that supports the overall purpose of the site.

While this might sound like “sales-y” jargon that only makes sense for e-commerce merchants, the proper architecture of a site—in which site navigation is straight-forward – has always been a core recommendation from Google in their Webmaster Guidelines. The principle of smooth site navigation applies to every website, and in order to achieve optimal levels of frictionless viewing, SEOs need to have a desired purpose behind every page they create.

The first step in identifying user signals that matter is understanding what your objectives are for each page. Common conversion goals look like this:

  • I want x % of new visitors to download a free white paper from a pop-up notification

This objective makes sense for a business looking to use quality marketing collateral (a white paper) to generate leads from organic search.

  • I want x % of returning visitors to fill out a quick survey

This objective makes sense for a business looking to gather more insight into their personas.

  • I want x % of new or returning page visitors to follow a CTA link to a service page

This objective makes sense for articles or landing pages geared towards qualified leads or late stage buyers.

Keep in mind that the goals you set should be enduring, while the content of the pages should change regularly as you try to optimize for what the user signals are telling you.

Test, Measure, Learn

Once you establish objectives for each page, you can turn them into goals in Google Analytics and begin tracking user behavior against them. It is in this analytical and iterative process that the true expertise of an SEO comes to the fore.

Start by looking into Google Analytics → Behavior → Behavior Flow → Landing Pages to see how your audience navigates through your site. Take note of where the drop off ratio exceeds through traffic, and presto, you have evidence of friction on the site that can be fixed.

Collect as many of these ineffective pages and begin studying why there are not working. What content changes can be made? Is the layout not smooth? Are there too many steps between the landing page and conversion goal you have set? These are common hypotheses that need to be tested and measured through A/B and multivariate testing until the best mix of site attributes is found—attributes that bring the highest conversion rates for your overall page goals.

CRO Is A Repetitive Process

Conversion rate optimization is the process of continually refining how well you know your target audience. Companies that do it best, by employing the best local SEO services firms in Long Beach, CA, will reap the monetary rewards.

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The 3 Step Process to Landing Answer Boxes

The Answer Box might just be the most lucrative organic search asset you are not optimizing for. But it also might not be for lack of trying.

The answer box, or featured snippet as it is referred to by Google, has been around for a number of years now and continues to pose a considerable challenge for businesses looking to create appealing content that serves searcher intent so well they do not even need to click through.

What is definitely not up for debate is the marketing value landing in the coveted position “0” can bring – especially for lower-ranking pages that can zoom to the top with only a little bit of optimization tweaking. Although conventional conversion metrics like click-through rate are not always the goal here—benefits tend to be more diffuse—by landing an answer box you can:

Now that the benefits are made clear, it’s time to look at some strategies that online reputation management companies in Long Beach, CA use to land answer boxes for their clients.

Step 1: Find the Opportunities

The research stage must always begin with collecting keywords and phrases that actually show featured snippets in the SERP. Most of the SEO platforms these days have a featured snippet tracker to make this easy for you.

Research what types of questions your personas are searching for and what sort of unique content you can spin up in response. Also, research your competitor’s domains to see if there is an opportunity to outdo them. Getting concrete answers to these questions is absolutely crucial for success because focusing on the wrong terms or misjudging the intent will greatly limit the effectiveness of your work.

The goal here is to collect keywords that you already rank for (in the 5-20 range) that could, with a little bit of content optimization, land an answer box.

Step 2: Pick the Low-Hanging Fruit

The next step is about acting on the key findings in the research stage. Identify the terms you already rank for and start thinking hard about how you can optimize the content to land an answer box.

There are some common formatting features that Google tends to prefer – namely, questions or graphs/charts. Scan through your current batch of content and see how you can change the formatting to optimize in one (or both) of these ways. It can sometimes be as simple as taking blocks of text and breaking it down into a question and answer format. In other situations, you might want to go out and do some additional research on data trends and add it to a core page as a chart. These little changes require much less work than creating content from scratch – but that’s not to say you should ignore featured snippet optimization when creating new content.

Step 3: Optimize and Repeat

Once you have a system in place for researching keywords and implementing the right format to match searcher intent, all you need to do is execute, learn, adjust, and repeat. This cyclical process works for new keywords and fresh content as well!

Make Answer Boxes A Competitive Advantage

The answer box is a competitive advantage that steals clicks away from your competitors, allows you to optimize brand exposure on a budget, and can even increase click-through rates on existing pages. Following this three-stage optimization process should help you experience some of these benefits and start to build a feedback loop where visitors come to you for answers and then return to buy.

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Are You Ready to Sell to the Government?

PC: http://warrenharmer.com/governments-can-help-small-business-heres-how/

There’s an old adage that says when you are selling to the government, the hardest part is getting in.  In keeping with this, preparation is one of the most important keys to success. Check out the following five steps in to figuring out if you are truly prepared to sell to the government.

Step 1 – Conduct an honest assessment of your long-term commitment to the process

The path to selling to the government is a unique one, different than selling commercially and one that requires that you understand the unique process details. There are very specific procedures to follow and there may be many roadblocks along the way. Evaluate if your business is ready to go the long haul and if you have the patience to see this through until the end. Rather than thinking in terms of short-term gains, consider your long-term ROI and how you will take the appropriate steps to get you there. Recognize that you will need to invest in order to get in the door in a meaningful way. You will have to build and/or outsource an  infrastructure to ensure that not only can you deliver what you promised; you can maintain and support it. You may also need to be prepared to offer a free or steeply-discounted trial to prove the validity of your solution. Recognizing this and the fact that you may not even break-even on your investment for many years, is an important step when deciding to sell to the government.

Step 2 – Evaluate your commercial success and recognize if your solution is appropriate for the government

Commercial success may both be an advantage or a hindrance when it comes to selling to the government. While you may have had success in the commercial sector with your solution, this doesn’t give you an automatic triumph when it comes to the government. While a commercially successful product or service may provide a springboard into the government, your solution needs to be a good fit for a government-specific problem and the people who are evaluating your product want to see that you’ve done your time in terms of completing the process. Your credibility isn’t defined by your commercial success or even your success in other government agencies. You will need to build this credibility up over time and look to develop personal relationships with the stakeholders in the government.

Step 3 – Figure out how you can establish your own referenceability

The government is staffed by people who control huge budgets but work for average wages, so they won’t appreciate the fact that you may stand to make more in one sale to the government than they make in a whole year. The people who will be evaluating what you have to offer appreciate and respect personal relationships and want to see the big picture – the person, the company and the technology. It may take a while before someone is comfortable enough to give you a shot, but once they do, if you have a product that solves a government problem and you treat the people and the unique process with respect you’ve created referenceability for yourself, and may be able to  take your solution on to other levels or departments in the government.

Step 4 – Create a dedicated team with government-specific training

Selling to the government can be an onerous task and because it requires specialized knowledge and follows a much different process than selling in the commercial sector, your team should consist of people who are dedicated to this process. They should be skilled in what is required to sell to the government. By having a dedicated team, this also shows the government that you are willing to invest your time and money into this process, which is a definite green check mark in your box. From here, you can develop government-specific marketing and infrastructure investments as much of your  commercial expertise  will not work in most situations.

Some organizations choose to  outsource much of the process, including but not limited to:

  • Sales/business development
  • Bidding, contract management and compliance
  • Support and maintenance
  • Billing and collections

Step 5 – Acknowledge the government budget cycle and set your goals around it

The government budget cycle runs from October 1st until September 30th. The bulk of the technology buying is done in August and September, but in order to make a sale at this time, you must have already been in the process well before this time. By starting early in the government’s fiscal year, you may see some success by the end of it. Don’t expect to pitch a solution in the summer and have it reap benefits by fall. Again, patience and long-term planning is the key to your success when it comes to selling to the government.

To reach Peter Ostrow, contact him at postrow@technicalcommunities.com.