Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is increasingly important – not just for visitors already on your site but also for SEO. Why? Because providing a good user experience plays an increasingly significant role in search engine visibility and rankings, as search engines obviously want to rank sites that they believe are providing users with a good experience and meeting their needs. For this reason, CRO and UX should be an important consideration for SEOs.
Here are 15 quick wins to help ensure you have the foundations in place for a good user experience and CRO.
1. Reviews And Ratings
By displaying authentic reviews on your Google Knowledge Graph and in key places on the website, such as the homepage and product pages, you are showing users that you can be trusted to deliver a great service. It also shows search engines that you have a solid reputation.
Having a visible rating system on products is also a great way of assuring customers that your products have been tried and tested.
2. Calls To Action
These should be used on a case-by-case basis as you won’t want a large number of confusing buttons on your site, and nor would you want large buttons everywhere as this would devalue the user journey. Choose your goals and have calls to actions reflect this. Make sure users can always find an action or way to convert on each page and use buttons that will stand out and achieve this.
All of this should be tailored to the user and the goals you want them to fulfil whilst on-site. Using one of the brand colours for the button reinforces the messages and, in my experience, helps conversions massively. You can always split test colours and button positions.
Don’t oversell! Try and mirror your audience’s language, show the clear benefits of your brand, use colour and have a clear path for the user – that way, the website will sell itself.
3. Convincers And USPs
Use engaging symbols and messages highlighting your USPs that encourage users to choose your business over a competitor. Whether this is a banner showing that you offer free shipping, a link to your weekly deals or a showcase of a special offering, these USPs don’t take many resource but they do make a huge difference to the user’s experience of the site and they can also give you an edge over the competition.
4. Trust Badges
Including badges that users trust on a website reinforces its credibility and definitely boosts conversions, especially for ecommerce.
I recommend the following:
- Add well-known security company trust badges, especially in the checkout process
- A review badge to show your product or service is part of a strong review platform
- Become a Google Certified Shop
If part of an industry, link up with authoritative brands from that industry and put their badges on your site. Be shrewd about the type of badges you have but also position them carefully: in the footer is often your best bet.
5. Site-wide NAP And Copyright
An obvious one but also one of the most important. Clearly display your brand name, key contact information and copyright. Ideally, put this within your site header or footer but make it easy to find.
6. About Us Pages
When it comes to earning trust for visitors and potential clients or customers, pages such as “About”, “History” and “Meet the Team” are often underestimated. Of course, their importance will vary by industry: someone shopping on Amazon is not likely to be interested in “meeting the team”, but someone looking to choose a new marketing agency is much more likely to want to see who they’re working with.
It’s always worth looking at pages like this in Google Analytics and looking at the user’s journey to conversion. For example, what is the conversion rate of users who did view one or more of your “About” pages versus that of those who didn’t? These pages may be more important than you might first think.
Although a standalone element of SEO, a clear and effective navigation structure is an important consideration for CRO.
Run usability tests to gain insight and understanding to gauge whether users on desktop and mobile are finding your pages, white papers and content in the intended way. Find out where users are dropping off or bouncing back, and if these are key pages or pages that you’d expect to encourage users to take another step, look into the reasons why.
There are some good companies that offer free or low-cost usability tests, and asking for samples that are unfamiliar with your brand or website will help determine whether the customer journey is mapped out well enough. Alternatively, get friends, family or colleagues to use the site and provide their feedback – an outsider’s eye is sometimes more valuable than a trained one.
8. SSL Security – Take The Leap To HTTPS!
Get that SSL certificate you’ve been talking about and migrate over to HTTPS. Whilst there’s been some disagreement on whether being on HTTPS does boost rankings, even if it’s just for the added security and trust, it’s definitely worth it.
Treat moving from HTTP to HTTPS like a site migration – get those internal links sorted and map out all the pages. Don’t leave any internal links pointing to HTTP versions of your pages and don’t forget to add badges to your footer to show that you’re secure!
9. Click-To-Call Phone Number
An obvious one but one I never overlook with any client. I tend to recommend including this within the site header so users can easily get in touch, particularly on mobile. Even though ease of communication for mobile and tablet users is the primary aim here, I also believe that openly displaying contact details gives the impression that the brand is open and happy for phone calls and engagement, thus instilling further trust in it.
This can be added by a simple a href link, such as: <a href=”tel:03303530300″>0330 353 0300</a>
10. Mail-To Email Address
Adding mail-to functionality to a website is another simple measure that goes hand in hand with click-to-call. Not only does it help mobile and tablet users to get in touch with ease, but it’s also another item that you can track and monitor.
You can add this by creating a unique id for call tracking, adding your email and creating the link like this: <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>
11. Verified Business Listings And Profiles
This is another simple one, but having verified listings is crucial for building authority and trust. Whether this is Google My Business or a Twitter profile, it all adds up. I also have a list of solid platforms that are my go-to for local clients, as well as verifying Google My Business pages for each location. Don’t forget Yelp, as they now feed Bing Maps so it’s really important to get that listing right.
You can also use social to promote the latest customer reviews or testimonials.
12. One-Click Checkout
One that’s often missed! Make the checkout process as quick and pain-free as possible. Don’t put hurdles in the way. If users want to buy without signing in and giving you their email address, let them. There will be users who are happy to give their data away and others that don’t want to, but at the end of the day, revenue is nearly always the most important metric, so the sale is what counts for ecommerce. Keep it simple and try not to put people off!
13. Pricing Transparency
Being transparent with pricing is a winner from me. For example, with smaller items, it’s extremely beneficial to offer free shipping as this is a strong selling point and can be the difference between customers buying from you and from a competitor. So factoring postage and packing costs into your prices and making it clear to users that there are no extra costs can be an effective CRO technique to consider.
14. Strong External Links
As most SEO professionals will tell you, it’s still all about the links. Make sure they aren’t just strong, but also relevant. If you’re a florist, you wouldn’t be likely to have a natural link from a transport company, for example.
If your company works with trusted brands, place their logo in the site footer or within an affiliate or partner section of the website to show that affiliation can further cement your brand authority.
15. Test, Monitor, Adjust
CRO and providing the best user experience is always going to be an ongoing process of refinement and monitoring. It’s very important that you monitor the impact of any changes carefully. I regularly use annotations in Google Analytics whenever I make notable changes to the user journey, navigation or key pages, so that any changes in traffic of behaviour can potentially be mapped and investigated further.
Of course, there are many more things you can and should look into to ensure you’re giving users the best experience and ultimately driving them to convert, but hopefully these 15 points have given you a few places to start.