SEO companies have been around long enough now that most people understand the basic concept. But if you ask most people what they think it's about they'll usually say the same thing: more traffic. Most SEO folks I've met simply re-affirm this. The trouble with traffic-focused SEO is that it ignores the most important thing about a website.
Put plainly: your website isn't there just to look pretty. Design is important, but the difference between attractive and effective is conversion. Conversion is when a reader does something rather than clicking away from your site. Whatever action you'd like site visitors to take — whether it's calling you or signing up for your newsletter — you need to guide them toward it. The design should be built with this in mind, as should the content.
Traffic needs focus.
Writing generic content meant to help the site rank better may indeed increase traffic. But if the website isn't equipped to convert that traffic into business, you're spinning your wheels.
Traffic is important, of course.
Without it there would be no potential for activity on your site. But there should always be a plan for what's next. Doubling your web traffic, depending on your circumstances, can be a long process. But doubling your conversion rate when it's low? A lot of times there are some straightforward fixes you can implement quickly for immediate change.
Conversions involve a series of little nudges.
It starts with design that visually compels toward certain actions, and continues in the tone of the content. But it also involves the right calls to action.
As unnecessary as it might seem at first, you have to ask your prospects to take action. Even if they like the look of your website, and even if your page content was interesting and informative, their natural inclination may not be to reach for the phone or sign up for something.
The absence or presence of those words matters more than you might think. In fact, some studies show that changing one word in the call to action text increase a site's conversion 48%. (In that example, changing "Create Your Account" to "Create My Account" made all the difference.)
The takeaway is this: websites are more than attractive images stuck together by code. Develop with a plan and you'll get what you need.
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