While it might not be your first thought when you are trying to boost conversion rates and conversions on your e-commerce site, maybe you should take a look at your organic SEO when you start to see a drop in your conversion rate. Other ideas like a site redesign or even hiring a CRO firm are costly and even unnecessary. A CRO firm alone will bring with it a team that includes a project manager, a UX designer, a UI designer, a developer, a data analyst, and a strategist and possibly more. So before you go throwing your money at a drastic approach, why not try some subtle maneuvers that will help realign your conversion funnel, make your content more engaging and personal, and bring your conversion rates back up?
The Conversion Funnel
The traditional conversion funnel looks something like this:
Some e-commerce sites have more steps, some have less. Amazon, for instance, has between 2 and 4 steps, and already assumes Intent. For most Amazon users those steps are Evaluation and Purchase as they already know what they want, they just need the cheapest of that item. Sometimes Amazon users also go through Awareness, Consideration, Evaluation, and Purchase.
That being said, most e-commerce sites are not Amazon (sorry), and especially B2B sites will take users step by step through their conversion funnel in order to complete a sale. In fact, studies have shown that typical companies are about 57% of the way through their decision process before they even engage a sales person.
When your e-commerce site first launches, the conversion funnel usually looks like the above funnel: users slide seamlessly from one step to the next as they discover your product, educate themselves, and then make a purchase.
Over time, however, the conversion funnel can begin to look a bit more like this:
Or if things have really gotten out of hand, it could look like this:
So how did things get so bad when you haven’t been actively trying to sabotage your own site? The short answer is usually that organic SEO has been ignored, or that conventions (like product names) haven’t been followed.
Example A is what happens when your e-commerce site grows without necessarily thinking about organic SEO or the ramifications of adding lots and lots of pages or products without a solid SEO strategy. Maybe your sitemap is a little cattywampus now, or you have product pages with more weight than product groupings, or you have elevated your best selling products to the same level as your main navigation pages. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to knock your funnel back into alignment including:
- Keyword research and optimization
- Site architecture optimization
- Landing page optimization
Keyword Research and Optimization
Ensuring that your keywords work in line with your conversion funnel will ensure that you have the best chance to capture conversions no matter where a user enters the funnel:
- Start with your broadest keywords and make those the focus of your broadest pages
- Narrow your keywords step by step – sometimes this means adding a single word
- Your final keywords should be the product pages where exact searches for specific products allow users to purchase in only 2 or 3 steps.
Here’s an example of using shoes:
- Broad keywords: Shoe, shoes, men’s shoes, women’s shoes
- One step lower: Men’s basketball shoes, men’s dress shoes, etc
- One more step lower: Brand X men’s dress shoe, brand Z men’s dress shoe, etc
- One more step lower: Brand Y men’s brown dress shoe, brand Y black men’s dress shoe, etc
- Final step: Brown brand Y men’s dress shoe -user’s size
You will notice that we have optimized pages lower in the conversion funnel to correspond with long-tail keywords. Users who are searching using long tail keywords are already showing that they are further down the conversion funnel than someone who uses a broad keyword.
Site Architecture Optimization
With site architecture, you simply want to follow two rules:
- Don’t let your users get lost, ever
- Follow your keyword optimization to create a succinct and leak-proof conversion funnel
Landing Page Optimization
You can use landing pages to shore up leaks and cracks in your conversion funnel. Again, following your keywords from broad to specific, create landing pages that correspond with where a user’s using the keyword you have optimized the landing page for would be in your funnel.
For instance, you wouldn’t want to create a landing page focused on “shoes” with an “Add to Cart” button simply because a user searching for shoes is also looking for help and more specifics. A CTA with a promo like “Get 10% off your first order!” or “Browse our clearance shoes today! Up to 70% off!” will be much more enticing for someone who is effectively letting you know that they want to browse your e-commerce site.
Your e-commerce site should be littered with calls to action. They are an essential part of any conversion funnel, play a massive role in organic SEO, and increase conversions rates by up to 332%! CTAs create a sense of urgency, but they also act as a great hook in the user journey to help them move to the next step in the conversion funnel.
Your CTAs should also be optimized similarly to your keywords, but not necessarily with keywords. Here are two examples of CTAs along the conversion funnel that work with and without keywords:
- Shop Men’s Shoes
- Browse Men’s Basketball Shoes
- Check out the latest Brand X Basketball Shoes
- Add Brand X White Basketball Shoes to your Cart
And without keywords:
- Learn more!
- Download our Free Guide!
- Sign up for our Free Webinar today!
- Talk to a Sales Rep about our product now!
The goal with CTAs is to advance users to a predictable next step that also increases their likelihood of converting. For B2B sites, this means plenty of education and many different touch points for each and every customer.
Organic SEO and Site Speed
Nothing kills conversions like a slow page load speed. If a user clicks on a product and that product takes too long to load, they are simply going to find the same product on a different website if possible. Your e-commerce site needs to be as fast as possible in order to avoid unwanted drops, exits, and bounces from unhappy users. 80% of all users that have a bad experience with a website will never visit that site again.
To optimize your e-commerce site speed:
- Make your images the lowest possible quality that you can get away with
- Utilize lazy loading
- Avoid having all of your products on a single page if you have more than 30 products
- Make use of browser caching, especially if you do not have constant product changes
Organic SEO and Conversion Rates
Organic SEO is the perfect way to ensure that your conversion funnel is in line, not leaking conversions from any odd jumps in page, logic, or even wording, and that it stays in line no matter how big your site gets or how many products you add. Organic SEO ensures things like product naming conventions are in line with product page titles, meta descriptions, and alt and title text behind the product images. Organic SEO makes it extremely easy for search engines to show any page in your site to the correct query, thus making it extremely easy for that searcher to seamlessly figure into your conversion funnel without any hassle.
Organic SEO is more and more about optimizing for users and user intent. Bringing user intent onto your e-commerce site through organic SEO means that users will be able to find what they are looking for no matter where they enter your website, which increases their likelihood of making a purchase. When your e-commerce site’s SEO is out of line or out of order with your conversion funnel, your site will suffer and your conversion rate will also suffer.