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How to Optimize Your Website for SEO and Conversions

September 28, 2023

Kate Parish

Search engine optimization (SEO) and conversion enhancement are two of the most important aspects of a website running. The former determines how discoverable your business is on search engines. The latter makes sure the website fulfills its purpose: encouraging people to do something.

As you’ll see, these efforts work together, and you can’t just settle on one of them. But what do SEO optimization and boosting conversions involve? 

This guide will underline the basics of SEO, including on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. We’ll see how to persuade more people to take the desired action, including:

  • Subscribe to your email newsletter
  • Buy products
  • Purchase a subscription
  • And more

At the end of this post, you’ll understand how to improve the user experience, engagement, and crucial website metrics. The result? More sales, revenue, and customer satisfaction. 

Ready to make some waves? Let’s roll up our sleeves, team up, and transform your website game.

It’s all about your target audience

What do all your marketing strategies, be they SEO optimization or conversion rate optimization, have in common? They require a deep understanding of your target audience. Your messaging should resonate. The website should speak to the needed customer segment, i.e., developers from software companies, teenagers, business executives, students, freelance specialists, etc.

Some crucial aspects to focus on when determining the target client include motivations, preferences, and pain points. By leveraging this information, you can tailor the content, design, and overall strategy to fit their unique needs and interests.

How to create detailed user personas

A list with the demographic information a user persona should contain

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In addition to considering demographics, creating user personas also assumes the psychographics of your potential clients. 

Here’s a how-to list in detail:

1. Gather data

Data is everything. You may collect it through analytics tools (Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, for example) and web scraping technologies. Or you can directly ask consumers about their preferences via surveys, quizzes, and interviews.

2. Identify patterns

Look at the collected data. What similar characteristics and behaviors did you spot during your analysis? Categorize the audience based on these traits. However, make sure that the data you’ve collected and the way you’ve collected it is not against any privacy laws and consider using a privacy management software to safeguard such sensitive information.

3. Craft narratives

Come up with the ideal customer persona and fictionalized profiles for each segment. Think of names, backgrounds, preferences, and challenges. Answer the following questions:

  • What products and services are they willing to buy?
  • What are their budget possibilities?
  • How do they prefer to communicate, through which channels, and what legal agreements?
  • What stages do they go through, from seeing a link to the website and completing the order (from awareness to decision)?

Mind current audience behavior

If you’ve been running the business for some time, you can tap into your current metrics and audience patterns. Consider tools like Google Analytics, Hotjar, and Crazy Egg to analyze user interaction with the website. 

These platforms provide data on metrics like page views, bounce rates, click-through rates, and heat maps.

However, to make sense of that data, you need to make some effort, for example:

Identify high-performing content

Such content receives the most views, shares, and comments and keeps people on the page longer. Found such pages? Consider what visitors find relevant there.

Spot problem areas

High bounce rates may be a sign of problems with the user experience or the relevance of the content. For instance, maybe your website loads too slowly, and it’s time to implement speed optimization tactics. Look over underperforming pages for any possible upgrades.

Track conversion paths

Understand users’ journey before converting — which pages do they visit, and in what order?

Leverage feedback

Direct user feedback is a goldmine for website optimization. Tools like UserVoice and Qualaroo facilitate real-time insights through feedback widgets and on-site surveys. That’s why a lot of websites implement a feedback button to have the users easily submit their feedback. Consistently analyzing and acting on this feedback can pinpoint areas for improvement and foster a user-centric website experience.

Dissecting SEO strategies: On-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO

A list of three aspects of SEO strategies

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SEO denotes improving the website’s performance on search engines. The goal is to attract as many organic visitors as possible, increasing the number of clicks you don’t pay for. 

 A screenshot taken on Google search

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But SEO optimization isn’t just about achieving higher position rankings or driving people to the business. Good SEO creates more opportunities for conversions.

In this section, we’ll examine various areas of website SEO to improve. Disclaimer: You can do a lot more than merely insert relevant keywords.

On-page SEO elements

On-page SEO optimization helps you make sure that Google is aware that your content represents user intent and contains their search terms. That’s where you need to optimize content, HTML structure, and links.

Incorporate unique graphics to enhance your web page’s visual appeal and engagement. Optimize and resize your images to make your content more scannable and digestible.

Title tags and meta descriptions

Consider title tags to be your website’s headline. Viewers will see it in search engine results and decide whether it meets their needs. 

For example, if a person is searching for top smartphones under $1,000, the title “Tips to Choose the Best Smartphone” may be far from what they need.

On the other hand, meta descriptions are summaries under the title. Google can automatically generate them, or you may create your own. As you have more space to describe the page, encourage people to click with calls to action, such as “explore,” “learn,” “read,” and similar.

Keep the meta-information clear, concise, and relevant. Strive for 50–60 characters in the title and 150–160 characters in the meta-description to avoid truncation in search results. Tools like ToTheWeb can help keep tags to the appropriate length.

Include a primary keyword naturally, preferably closer to the beginning of the text. You can check how the snippet looks on websites such as HigherVisibility.

Headers and content structure

Headers (H1, H2, H3, and so on) also impact SEO. They make the content more readable for people and crawlable for search bots. Thus, guarantees a clear text hierarchy. 

Add an H1 tag to the primary title, followed by H2s for main subsections and H3s for subtopics.

Internal-linking strategies

Your website pages shouldn’t exist in isolation. Interlink them with one another to guide users to the needed section. Doing so creates a cohesive network where people can access related content.

Suppose a person has visited the website to read about Magento speed optimization. They may not know that one of the possible ways to speed up the store may be converting it into a progressive web app (PWA). 

That’s where you may organically include links to your articles about PWA development, PWA examples, and Magento PWA themes. And who knows, maybe they’ll need a consultation after reading the guide? Approach it as an opportunity to include a link to your service page.

What’s more, internal links serve to spread authority across the site. 

Pro Tip: Steer visitors in the right direction by linking high-traffic pages to high-conversion pages.

Off-page SEO strategies

Off-page SEO optimization describes strategies to improve your positions in search results outside the website, such as:

That’s where you need to build backlinks, promote branded searches, and boost social media engagement. 

Backlinks act as the word-of-mouth of the digital world. They tell Google that other websites refer to you as a trusted source. 

And Google perceives them as a ranking factor. The rule of thumb is to acquire external links from credible websites for search engines to trust you.

You may try getting as many backlinks as possible, and many websites may be ready to help you. Yet, quality wins over quantity. One link from five reputable sources in your niche brings more value than five links from only one authoritative source or one link from ten untrustworthy websites. 

How do you determine the most suitable website? Leverage tools like the Moz Domain Authority Checker or Ahrefs Website Authority Checker.

A screenshot of the Ahrefs Website Authority Checker

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Technical SEO considerations

While keywords and off-page SEO are visible to a regular user, technical SEO denotes behind-the-scenes processes. It makes sure web pages are crawlable and understandable by search engines. It also explains the website’s purpose and the relationship between its elements. 

Here is where you should check the following technical aspects:

Site speed optimization

Have you ever given up on a website because it took so long to load? You’re not alone. 

Site speed determines the website’s position in search results and the overall user experience and satisfaction. Check your speed and obtain advice using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights. And always aim for super-fast load times to please visitors.

Mobile responsiveness and mobile-first indexing

Statista states that mobile devices accounted for 58.33% of website traffic globally in the first quarter of 2023.

Statistics from Statista on global mobile traffic from 2015 to 2023

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Given the increasing demand for mobile browsing, having a mobile-friendly website is essential. Plus, Google uses the mobile version for indexing and ranking. 

So, run the test through Google Search Console and make the required adjustments. Make sure your website works and looks amazing on every device and explore PagerDuty alternatives to enhance overall performance and reliability.

XML sitemaps and robots.txt

To give instructions to search engines, leverage XML sitemaps and robots.txt files. The sitemap is a file. It lists all the website pages to help search engines find them. 

On the other hand, robots.txt files act as the bouncers of your website, instructing search engines which pages to ignore.

SEO optimization in the context of content marketing

You may have used and heard the phrase “Content is King” repeatedly throughout the years concerning SEO optimization. However, let’s face it, not any content can claim the title. The information must be compelling, informative, and spread widely. 

How can you reach that goal? Here are some points to keep in mind.

Keyword research for content creation

Keywords are essential to attract the intended audience and help search engines connect the dots between your content and user requests. 

There are two types of keywords: long-tail and short-tail. Both have their strengths and weaknesses:

  • Long-tail keywords are specific, often longer phrases that users type into search engines. An example could be “best Italian restaurants in downtown Chicago” vs. just “restaurants.” Despite having a lower search volume, they often get more targeted traffic, which boosts conversion rates.
  • Short-tail keywords like “shoes” or “pizza” are more generic. There are many more chances that people will search for these words. However, high search volume comes at the expense of more intense competition and lower chances of attracting the targeted audience you’d like.

What is the role of semantic search and topic clusters?

Exact keyword matches may be good, but they no longer influence search results. Google also considers the context and intent behind a search query (known as semantic search). So if you ask, “What are the ways to get a property in the US?” and then ask, “How much is it?” Google will comprehend what “it” means in your request. It considers user search history, location, global search trends, and spelling to return the most precise answer.

What it means for your SEO optimization: focus on creating high-quality content around topics, not just single keywords.

Another term to bring up is topic clusters. It involves developing and grouping relevant content around a central topic and linking related pieces. 

As a result, you cover the issue from every angle, going deeper into details, which improves the user experience and demonstrates your subject matter expertise.

Content formats that engage

Different people require different treatments. Diversifying your content is important because the audience could favor one type over another. You can choose from a vast range of options, including:

  • Blog posts: Great for in-depth explanations, sharing expertise, or storytelling.
  • Infographics: Perfect for visually representing data or processes.
  • Videos: An engaging way to showcase product demos, interviews, or how-tos.
  • Podcasts: Ideal for thought leadership and in-depth discussions.

Evergreen Content vs. Timely Content: What Should You Favor?

The short answer is that both deserve a place in your content strategy. While evergreen content remains relevant over time, timely content reflects current events or trends. 

So it helps to cater to constant needs like “how to tie a tie” while staying abreast of what resonates with the audience. Despite having a limited lifespan, timely content can quickly boost traffic.

Don’t forget that the user is always at the center of SEO optimization. They’ll keep returning for more if you give them value and address their issues. 

How user experience (UX) impacts conversions

While SEO optimization receives attention for generating traffic, user experience (UX) is another crucial topic. Why? Because it ensures that traffic converts. 

Remember: humans make clicks, so the website should make them feel comfortable. The following details will improve your website’s UX.

Intuitive site structure

Users should be able to find the desired page within minutes and with the fewest clicks possible. For example, one of the long-standing best practices in UX design is the “three-click rule.” 

According to this theory, consumers should only take three clicks to find the information they want. It’s an excellent principle to remember, even though it’s not a rigid rule.

Prioritize hierarchical structure as well. Create broad categories in the navigation menu to provide quick access to primary pages. 

For instance, an eCommerce site might start with “Men”, “Women”, and “Kids”.

Adidas’ homepage illustrating three main categories in the navigation menu

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Then, drill down to specifics and group secondary pages under relevant categories like “Shoes,” “Apparel,” and “Accessories”. 

If you’re running an online store, separate product pages from informational pages such as “About Us” or “Blog.”

Adidas’ homepage illustrating subcategories in the navigation menu

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Leverage breadcrumbs and descriptive labels that are understandable for your audience. For instance, “Mobile” is more universally understood than “Handheld Devices”. 

If your website is content-heavy, consider adding search functionality to bypass the need to navigate multiple pages. By leveraging breadcrumbs, descriptive labels, and search functionality, alongside e-commerce CRO services, you can optimize your website for better performance and increased sales.

Crafting compelling CTAs (calls to action)

CTAs are buttons, links, and other means of guiding users to the desired objective:

  • Sign up for a newsletter
  • Make a purchase
  • Download a resource

They should clearly explain the purpose of each website element, so you should prioritize the following:

Clarity

What is going to happen after clicking a link? Don’t be too vague. Instead of writing “Submit,” use “Download Your E-book” or “Start My Free Trial.”

Persuasiveness

Use action-driven language and verbs like “Get,” “Try,” “Discover,” and “Learn” rather than “Click” or “Go.”

Benefits

People want value from their actions, whether a product purchase or a book download. Specify the product or service benefits, not features. “Get Weekly Insights” is more lucrative than just “Subscribe,” right?

Colors

85% of consumers say color impacts their purchase decisions. Red often implies urgency and confidence, so you can find them in promotions and clearance sales. It also might mean “Stop” and “No,” depending on the context. Green, in contrast, indicates agreement, harmony, and stability.

Placement

Make sure CTAs are appropriately positioned and suitable for the surrounding material. Having one at the end of an informative blog post or a product page makes sense. But evenly distribute them so that they don’t seem too dense. 

Assume you want immediate action. Then, position the button above the fold. 

If you want visitors to decide after reading your arguments, postpone the button to the end of the content.

Analyze and refine

Understanding your site’s analytics is a requirement for any SEO specialist, marketer, or website owner hoping to increase the site’s traffic and conversions dramatically. It offers exact directions to help you reach the desired destination quickly. 

First, connect the website to Google Analytics. Check the correctness of the added tracking code on every website page. 

Exclude internal traffic like the internal IP addresses of your team from the reports. And connect other Google services, including Google Search Console, to monitor indexing status, search queries, and crawling errors.

Additionally, ensure that any filtering or analysis excludes internal IP addresses to maintain accurate data.

Set up event tracking to see micro-conversions, like downloads, video views, or button clicks. Identify the conversion process’s weak points and high-exit pages. Perhaps you could simplify the checkout page or reduce the number of fields on a form. 

To find the perfect variant, leverage A/B testing and employ tools for this task, such as Optimizely, VWO, or Google Optimize.

Conclusion

SEO optimization is more than just speed or design. It’s the culmination of multiple strategies working in harmony. 

Every aspect we discussed, from content to technical facets, contributes to transforming visitors into loyal customers. So, to improve your search rankings or conversion rates, keep adapting, stay informed, and refine your approach.

Kate Parish
Latest posts by Kate Parish (see all)

Kate Parish

Kate Parish, chief marketing officer at Onilab, Magento development agency. She shares her expertise in SEO, branding, link-building, and digital marketing tools for attracting, nurturing, and converting the target audience into loyal customers.