The Big 5 of Website Optimisation
I’ve been thinking about website optimisation quite a bit recently and how data unpins all forms of optimisation. It’s clear that there are many different ways of optimising websites but here is my top 5 list of concepts to consider when optimising a website:
Search Engine Optimisation is probably one of the more well understood and mature forms of optimisation. It’s maturity has by no means reduced it’s value and one paragraph is no way to respect the importance of SEO. SEO is fundamentally improving the position of your website on search engine results pages based on certain target keywords.
Research shows that 75% of search users don’t navigate past the first results page. Research also shows that higher page rankings foster trustworthiness, higher traffic volumes (no-brainer) and ultimately higher conversion rates (not so obvious but an important factoid!). The graph below shows that the difference between a #1 ranking and a #10 ranking is a factor of 15!
So how do you improve search rankings? Volumes of books have been written on the subject so I won’t pretend to know everything but here is a concise summary of what I do know… Page hygiene factors such as strong, relevant, unique content (visible to website users) and appropriate meta tags (not visible to website users) play an important factor in page ranking. Search engine bots also rank the significance of content based on site organisation indicators such as navigation and cross linking. However, nothing trumps in-bound links from popular, reliable sources. The more your website is linked to from external websites such as social media sites, blogs and other authoritive sources – the more likely Google and other search engines are to index your content regularly and improve your ranking.
2. PPC Optimisation
Pay-per-click (PPC) optimisation is the process of improving ad copy and target keyword choice in order to increase the ROI of SEM ad-campaigns. PPC starts with choosing keywords, creating ad-groups, writing ad copy, optimising landing pages and making bids. The entire process is underpinned by constantly re-evaluating the keyword bid prices against targets and ensuring conversion rates on the landing page against the target keywords are working at the appropriate level. There is no point in spending loads of cash on a PPC campaign if your landing environment and subsequent conversion funnel is not optimised for the keywords you are targeting.
Google and Bing provide tools and resources for advertisers which enable you to segment and target specific audiences (eg mobiles, etc). Segmentation and targeting is an effective way of excluding audiences which are not part of your target market. The performance and campaign analytics provided by the ad platforms combined with data from your on-site analytics require constant monitoring if you are to ensure you are getting the most out of your PPC campaign.
3. Landing Page or Conversion Rate Optimisation
So you’re getting people to your website through SEO and PPC – now what? Understand your customers – do you know how and why people are arriving on your website and what they are expecting? Are your ad groups landing people onto the correct landing page? Is it clear to the user what the next step is? I believe there are 2 mechanisms of landing page optimisation: UX improvements and testing.
UX improvements relate to the content layout and usability of the landing page. See my earlier post on website usability heuristics for more details. The second mechanism for landing page optimisation is testing – or test, test test! A/B and multivariate testing removes personal bias and leverages the behaviour of your website users to determine what designs, copy and layout works. Develop baseline tests which track user journeys to identify gaps in the conversion funnel and to identify and develop test ideas.
4. Information Hierarchy
Site organisation, navigation and information hierarchy are important factors in guiding the user to achieve the next step of their journey on your website. Additionally information hierarchy is an influencing factor in your SEO, PPC and landing page optimisation activities. The ability to find relevant information and navigate the website easily is an essential element of usability and optimisation.
5. Site Performance
31 Jan 2014 / @pareendaya / 0