#22/25: Convert!

You should view design as the creation of a new solution to a problem.

  • What are your web site’s goals?
  • What is the value of each goal to your organization?
  • How many goals does the web site need to deliver in order to be a success?

Traffic x CR = Success, if either Traffic or CR is zero, then there's no success

  • Creativity is forward-looking, asking “What could we do?”
  • Analysis looks backward and asks “Did that work?”
  • Both combined are needed for repeating success

Instead of relying on a small number of generic pages, you will create a range of specialized landing pages, each one designed to be found by specific toes of visitors with their own specific needs


Keyword Research
You want keywords with:

  1. High relevance
  2. High traffic
  3. Low competition

Ultimate SEO

Make better content, which people want to share. You have to promote your articles first but you don’t have to do strange SEO tactics to get better traffic.

At its highest level, SEO actually becomes PR. If you create newsworthy, interesting and valuable things, then you just have to get your word out.

A man who goes into a hardware store to buy a quarter inch drill bit does not need a quarter inch drill bit – he wants a quarter inch hole.


All you sell are solutions to needs. What problems do you solve?


Instead of looking at the tool, describe how it solves a need or problem for the person who buys it. List as many problems as you can, and state the solution to each problem.


  • Proposition: gap between needs and solutions – translation of features into benefits
  • Internal (company) vs. external (customer) perspective
    • just because your company is organized in one way or another doesn’t mean that your website has to organized in the same way



  • It’s better to get 20 #1 for less popular terms than 1 #1 for a more popular one


Awareness Ladder


  • No Problem -> Problem -> Solution exist -> your solution -> Benefits -> Convinced


  • Everybody starts at “No Problem”
  • One buys only after “Convinced”
  • Each step has to be followed



  • What is the current level of awareness?
  • What will get their attention?
  • What is the next step from there?


Step 0: No Problem

  • The problem is education which is costly
  • You have to create a need first
  • Go where potential prospects are and educate them


Step 1: Problem

  • People want to learn about their options
  • Keywords are related to problems


Step 2: Solution exist

  • They look for solutions, maybe brand names


Step 3: Your solution

  • Address concerns about your solutions
  • Present benefits


Step 4: Benefits

  • Go deeper, talk about the future with your product
  • Use testimonials, press articles, etc.


Step 5: Convinced

  • Now you can go to the buying part


Semantic Matrix Method

  • Your solutions addresses several problems and maybe have different treatments
  • Start off with (Problems) x (Treatments) => Permutate
  • Depending on your solution, this can generate a wide range of content to create


How to create large amounts of content?

  • The assumption is that the knowledge is already in your company
  • Hire a journalism student / graduate, they should:
  • Arrange 30 minutes interviews with practitioners (in your company)
  • Record the interview
  • Ask them questions, prospects want to know
  • Write it down in an easy to read format


 Keyword / Adverts

  • Always look first at the highest step on the Awareness Ladder where you know there is market and which you don’t currently address
  • Competitions are a good way to get into a publication
  • Try to get in first into an interesting problem / topic
  • On step 0 banner-ads can work quite fine – just inform them about your new product + social media / forum participation


High exist rates (outside of support, etc.) can mean with low time on site

  • visitor didn’t know what to do next
  • wasn’t convinced
  • other random stuff


law of Multiplies – if you change the conversion rate on any step this will influence the CR in the same will


  • Always answer one question: “Am I in the right place?”
  • Every page is an ad for the next step – which can be anything
  • Consider the awareness ladder, you want to catch the immediate need of prospects
  • Proposition should be specific, you-oriented, be clearly beneficial and should offer a immediate solution



  • Your initial message don’t have to convince, it has to engage
  • should be
  • relevant
  • speak to self-interest
  • emotional
  • Try to group customers in your offering, e.g. moms with kids, farmers, etc.
  • If you advertise on a external platform, name its name, e.g.
  • “Exclusive for XY readers”You-oriented language – people want to hear about themselves
  • Differentiators should be binary. Don’t use “high quality” because no competitor would claim “low quality”



  • What can you say about your product that your competitors can’t
  • What do your prospects don’t know about you?
  • What delights your customers?


Promise to solve a problem

  • Triggers an emotional response
  • Reminds people of their concerns



  • Always look for emotional reasons that would compel a visitor to proceed
  • “Adding quote marks to a headline often increases believability and you can do it, too!”


Designing for Attention

  • Getability: I’m in the right place
  • Noticeability: Size, Contrast, Boldness, Color, Position, Space, Movement; Avoid these attributes on non-relevant elements
  • Navigation: Where you are and where you can go
  • Imagery: Use actual product images, Human faces work great,
  • Test:
  • Check headlines only
  • Remove all words on the page
  • 5 Second test



  • Affirm positive signs
  • People should imagine their life with your product
  • Stick to the facts
  • Use performance indicators


Resolve concerns & build trust

  • Answer “What if …” questions
  • Guarantees
  • Get feedback
  • Testimonials: Shipping page, near point of payment, with benefits & features
  • Talk like your customers


Build interest

  • Offer free useful information
  • Don’t try to sell now, wait till the customer wants to buy


Make it easy

  • Consistency
  • Be brief
  • Simple language
  • Readable text


Call to Action

  • Focus on CTAs
  • Low CR = a step is probably missing
  • Target the “maybe” crowd (no stays no, yes stays yes)
  • Sell without hesitation or shame
  • Show one clear path forward
  • Use you-oriented language in links
  • Use catch-alls, e.g. live chat, faqs, etc.
  • Ask only necessary details



  • Target early opportunities
  • Where do visitors leak?
  • Simplify as much as possible
  • Define your offering
  • Rate keywords by relevance
  • Create core content
  • Add more funnels
  • Generate traffic
  • Consider Step 0



Reading Best of inbound: April to June


Anchor Text Optimisation Best Practices

  • Variation: synonyms, plural/singular, adjectives, combine keywords, natural language,
  • Branded keywords
  • Natural links: click here, go, link, url
  • Onsite: self-explanatory title tag, URL, h1 tag

Ultimate Guide to Increasing Ecommerce CR

  • Great product presentation: HQ images, copy, videos, customazation
  • Free shipping(!)
  • Clear sales and special offers
  • Make it easy to buy: no registration required, fast support, etc.
  • Persistent shopping cart
  • Offer live chat / support
  • Process indicators: 3 easy steps, for example
  • Offer multiple payment options
  • Improve your search(!!)
  • Create better filters
  • Product reviews
  • Test: UX, A/B, MVT

Ecommerce SEO in 2012

  • Content creation became very important
  • G+ is become more important thanks to rich SERPs
  • Schemas, XML Sitemaps and Site speed
  • Product can be content: esp. customization, product hacks, APIs, UGC, etc.
  • Videos

On-Page Optimization of Ecommerce Websites

  • Customer reviews: collect them, negative reviews are great
  • Q&A content
  • Incentivize social sharing; think about affiliates in an other way
  • Breadcrumb navigation
  • Phone number as trust and support signal


Noob Guide to Link Building

  • Your highest anchor text distribution should be branded
  • Use share of voice to calculate possible financial impact of higher ranking
  • Special content
    • Egobait: crowd sourcing, best of, interviews, awards
    • Data viz, e.g. infographics, videographic – precontact influencers
    • Ebook and guest post
    • Blog contest
    • Throw an event: meetup, conference, party, dinner
  • Learn about your audience: social listening, Facebook, prospecting
  • Quick wins
    • Ask for links
    • Profile links
    • Directories
    • Local organizations: BBB, Chamber of Commerce, etc.
    • Joining the conversation: boards, blog commenting, Q&A


How to perform a great SEO Audit

  • Start crawling the website as bot (no css, cookies, JS)
  • Accessibility
    • Robots: .txt, meta tags
    • Errors
    • XML Sitemap
    • Flash / JS
    • Site performance
  • Indexability
    • site:example.org vs. actual counts
    • Are you ranking well for branded searches?
    • Penalized? Check first, if the page is really penalized
  • On Page Factors
    • URLs: short (<115chars), relevant keywords, subfolders, use hyphens instead of underscores
    • Check for duplicate content (parameters in URLs)
    • Content: at least 300 words, it is valuable?, keywords?, easily readable?, indexiable?
    • HTML: Markup, titles, meta-description, h1, frames, canonical?
    • Images: alt tag and file name
    • Outlinks: trustworthy sites, relevant, anchor text, links broken?
  • Off Page Factors
    • Popularity: gaining traffic, compare to others and backlinks
    • Trustworthyness: Google’s safe browsing, siteadvisor, hidden keywords
    • Backlinks: how many unique root domains? What percentage if nofollow? Natural anchor text distribution? Relevant backlinks? How popular/trustworthy/authoritative are the backlinks?
    • Social Engagement: retweets, +1s, fb likes, etc.
  • CI (see next section)

Guide to Competitive Research

  • Questions:
    • What is their link building strategy?
    • How do they use social media?
    • SWOT their strategy
    • How do these elements work together, i.e. digital strategy
  • Backlinks
    • Top Backlinks: What can are they?
    • General Backlinks: Content marketing, guest blogs, etc?
  • Anchor text: distribution, coupled terms, branded?
  • Link Building
    • Press releases
    • Directory submissions
    • Blogger outreach
    • Content marketing
    • Infographics
    • Social bookmarks
    • Local influences
  • Social Media
    • Where are they active?
    • How do they promote their estate?
  • Observe continuously: google alerts, twitter search, etc.

Guide to Link Building with Local Events

  • Event page on your website: info about the event, etc.
  • Find event directories for your city
  • Look out for event data providers
  • Always do CI
  • Search for local blogs / groups who could be interested in your event
  • Advanced: 2nd tier linking the event site, citation building with your local address, schemas, search for external speakers
  • Build a email list, create wrap-ups, ask for links
  • My tip: encourage attendants to blog and twitter about the event

#96/111: Conversion Optimization

What is it about?

Increase your profit by 40% just be changing your slogan. Sounds suspicious but it is possible. You’ll just need tons of good ideas, some time and testing. Saleh & Shukairy talk about conversion optimization and how you can increase your profit over time.

What can I learn?

Personas: I talked about personas some time ago but this book used them really in detail, which was refreshing. The idea is that you define imaginative customers and think about them if you do any decisions in marketing/sales. This will help you especially if you got different types of customers. However, it is important that you do your market research first. Lots of people fall into the trap that they just make up personas without knowing their prospects/customers.

FUDs: Fear, uncertainty and doubt. This is why people won’t buy from you even when you got a product they would buy. You can use your personas here, again. Think about their fears, uncertainties and doubts when browsing your website, e.g. “is my data secure?”, “what happens if I want to return the product?” or “does this work on my computer?”. You probably can’t convince people that they should buy your product if they don’t like it. But you can help people buy your product if they are afflicted by FUDs.

Iterative testing: I talked about testing some weeks ago in detail, so I won’t say that much about its basics. After initial testing, you shouldn’t just assume that now everything is perfect. The idea behind iterative testing is that you design your product and presentation and slowly change it element by element. This will improve your presentation and product step by step. Amazon does a great job doing this. They won’t relaunch every few years with a completely new design. Rather they change just some elements a time.


I don’t like this book as much as Always Be Testing, mainly because most content is in both books. Conversion Optimization doesn’t really bring new concepts in the game which aren’t already known. The book is OK. If you haven’t read anything about testing or conversion optimization, I would recommend Always Be Testing.