18 Dec 2012

The Secret to Natural Site Conversions for Usability and SEO – Grand Finale

This is the last in our series on The Secret to Natural Site Conversions for Usability and SEO. You now know the secret to a holistic approach is text for search engines and humans. Where do you put it?

Start with your homepage and put your company or web site name in text above the page fold. It amazes me how many web sites do not put their name on the homepage, but they think they did. They may have it in their logo, or image based navigation, or in an image heading. They may even have their company name in a low contrast gray colored tiny font text in the footer and believe we not only will find it there, but will remember it forever. We won’t.

Add your company or web site name or top search phrase used to find you in a text tagline or slogan underneath your logo. A friend whose site I work on decided to muck around with it and removed the text tagline I had put in. To his amazement, the site no longer came up in searches for his best search phrase and this was because he took it out!
Every page needs your web site name, company or brand in text above the page fold. This is not only needed for search engines, but it’s important for people.

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Everyone who visits your web site has a different way of taking in information. Our brains are different. Our reactions and decisions are based on an enormous variety of impulses and signals. Our ability to get to your web site can be just as varied and mysterious. Some of your guests require assistive technology. Many searchers look up sites on mobile devices. You must have page text that is visible, readable, memorable and motivating enough to keep search engines crawling and people reading and performing tasks. If you haven’t held their attention, you haven’t helped them remember your company. They can’t refer you if they don’t recall who you are. Search engines can’t present your homepage if you don’t put the company name on it in a way that search engines can “read”.


Engage and Inspire

The reason for site abandonment is simple. There is not enough information to successfully complete a task or make good choices. The fact is, most designers are graphically oriented and adding text for people and search engines is cruel punishment. Your products may be the type that need a story or added details for making choices. Approach your site designer with ideas on how to tell your story. They can make the impressive pictures and choose perfect colors. You can write the details.

Are you an artist selling your paintings online? Chances are your site has a gigantic image or rotating show taking up the entire top half of the page, and that’s it. Who are you? What inspires you? Where is your work presented? Do you have any events? Your preference is likely to have one piece on a page with minimal text other than the name of the work. This is not enough to sell it or even get people talking about it. Add a link to an additional page that contains a smaller version of the piece and tell its story. Place a small contact form on that page and social sharing icons, especially Pinterest so that visitors can share it. You will optimize that page for search and visitors rather than the one with the solo image.

Another approach for conversions text is helping your site visitors visualize your products in use. The ideas for this are endless. Your text topics come by understanding your target market, in depth. What do they need to know about your products that images alone don’t explain? How heavy is it? What are the ingredients? How many ounces in the bottle? Who made it? What country was it made in? How will your bathroom accessories look with white cabinets or marble counter tops?

Expertise and credibility are commonly overlooked on all types of web sites. Here again you can inspire by telling a story about a recent award. What happened at the awards ceremony? Who was awarded from your staff and why? Do you have experts who like and use your products and services? Let them write about you. Invite them to share tips with your readers. If you sell products in the health field or natural healing genre, share your research. An entire page can be devoted to answering just one question on the safety of an ingredient or process.


Be There in the Engine

The final piece in your holistic approach is tying your page text with your title tag and meta description. These two are in your source code and first seen by search engines. They may also be the introduction to your web site or landing page. Therefore, your title tag must be unique and contain a trigger word to motivate someone to click the search result. Your meta description must expand on that with a sentence that compels and inspires.

Offer searchers a reason to go to your site. Be sure it’s different (and better) than your competitors. Is something free? Do you offer a trial? Free samples? Membership perks? Luxury items at discount prices? This is your search results content hook. When your visitor arrives, you must follow that up with more page text written precisely for each user type you are targeting.

In other words, you have placed the invitation in your source code, search engines found it and presented it in their search results. When your visitors arrive it’s your turn to take over.

Use your words.