How to lose visits and alienate searchers.
Here at Creare, we often write posts offering tips and tweaks that you could try to improve the traffic to your site and the conversion rate of the site; and don’t worry as we will continue to do so! However, this week I’ve decided to flip this role and provide you with some examples of things you shouldn’t be doing. If in the below content you read something and think ‘I do that!’ I’d suggest you look to remedy it asap as it will be having a negative effect on your site and its performance.
As there are so many different things that could be affecting your website, I have, for ease of reading, split these into three sections; PPC, SEO and Web Design.
It’s very easy to send unqualified traffic to your site with PPC and if you are not careful, you could waste a lot of money doing it. Therefore, try and avoid the following:
1. Terrible Ad Copy
Carefully plan your ad copy so it’s relevant to the keyword it appears for and is appealing. You only have two lines of 35 characters to catch a searcher’s attention. Lazily written, horribly generic and misspelt ad copy isn’t going to entice anyone to click on your adverts, so ensure you invest some time and plan wisely.
2. Poor Landing Pages
You have to imagine the page a searcher lands on after clicking on your ad is their very first impression of your site. As first impressions count, so does your landing page.
Plan carefully which page you land traffic on to ensure your bounce rate isn’t through the roof, but also try to make the page as relevant as possible so you benefit via your quality score.
3. Wrong Matching Types
Unless you’re going for maximum exposure or have a bottomless pit of money, I can’t think of many circumstances when you should be using broad matches. I’m not going to explain here how matching types work but as a general rule, stick with phrase or exact matches. You’ll have to spend less time on negative keyword lists and you’ll eradicate your adverts showing on completely irrelevant searches.
As optimising a site for the search engines involves on-site and off-site work, there is plenty of scope to do something that will ruin your rankings or conversion rate. Be wary of:
1. Not Playing By The Rules
In the current climate, with Google making new algorithm updates every couple of months, it’s important to play by the rules or your rankings could take a big hit. By playing by the rules, I mean sticking to white hat SEO techniques and not taking part in any dodgy practices. If you require clarification of what I mean by dodgy, please see the following posts on black hat techniques:
2. Overdoing The On-site SEO
It’s incredibly easy to go over the top with on-site SEO and cross the line from a website that focuses on a certain theme to a website that is interpreted as SPAM by the search engines. Be careful not to go over the top and end up with a website that doesn’t read well or make any sense. After all, Google has always said it’s about original content that is of value to the user.
3. Once You Reach The Top That’s It
It’s amazing how often you hear of people falling into the trap of believing that once their listings are at the top, they can stop working on SEO related practices. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that with the search engines continually refining their algorithms and your competition working to topple you for their own gain. SEO is like anything else you want to be the best at; once you become the best, you have to keep working to remain the best.
4. Poor Meta Description and Page Titles
Just like your ad copy in PPC, your page title and meta description are what makes up your organic listing on a search engine. As such, these snippets of content are the very first information a potential site visitor will see about your site. If your meta description and page title are not well written and enticing, your search engine click through rate will suffer; despite what ranking you are.
Once you’ve got visitors to your site, you want to keep them there and make them convert into either an enquiry or an online sale. Simple aspects of design can affect your click to conversion rate.
1. Slow Loading Sites
This can be a major problem as a study conducted recently found that 75% of site visitors will leave and won’t visit a site again if the site takes longer than 4 seconds to load. Slow landing pages can also affect the results of your SEO and PPC so make sure you test out your site and if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load, speak to your web designer and hosting company to see what they can do to help resolve this.
2. Not Considering User Experience
At the end of the day, a website’s main function is attract visits and persuade them to do something; be it enquire, purchase or simply read an article or download a file. As a result, it makes sense that one of the most important aspects of the site’s design should be the user experience. Cluttered, hard to navigate, slow and generally poorly designed sites will seriously affect your site’s conversion rate. A study I recently read suggested 30% of traffic will leave a site within seconds if the website is poorly designed and they cannot find what they are looking for within a couple of clicks.
Put yourself in the shoes of a user when you navigate your website; I guarantee that if you consider this, your website will work a lot better for you.