11 Dec 2012

Answering the “How”: The Secret to Natural Site Conversions for Usability and SEO – Part VI

To increase web site conversions your web site should be designed as a guide on how to do something. Web site user abandonment occurs when the way how is blocked.

This is the sixth installment in our series, The Secret to Natural Site Conversions for Usability and SEO. We’re organically increasing web site conversions by taking advantage of the opportunities to answer these questions – Who, Where, What, Why, When and How. Since your content is interesting to both search engines and humans, you have many chances to persuade your guests to take action, starting from their search query results.

How do you make your products?

Those of you who create funnels in Google Analytics know that there are many ways to get pages to rank by simply asking a question and answering it on the same page. This is why natural blends of usability and SEO are fun to experiment with.

Remember, Use Text

Not all types of content can be optimized naturally, but simple text opportunities are everywhere. These are the places we look for to modify and revise for persuasive marketing.

  • Introductory content
  • Headings
  • Sub-headings
  • Taglines or slogans
  • Navigation links
  • Embedded text link anchor text
  • Picture captions
  • Product descriptions
  • Side bar content
  • Quick link navigation boxes
  • Footer text
  • Bullet points

How to Increase Conversions Using the “How” Element

Every part of the WWWWWH organic optimization approach has its perks depending on the type of web site being designed. For ecommerce, “What” is more important, where as a web site that relies heavily on a web-based application may require more from the “how”. No matter what kind of web site you must market, they all will address key questions that start off with “How”. Here are some brainstorming ideas to get you going.

  1. How long does it take? Filling out forms with many steps is daunting enough but worse when there are no user instructions. Just by adding some quick help text, you can insert your brand, product name, or benefit. Example: “You’re only 3 steps away from owning your very own [insert product name here.]”, “How long did you wait in line for your new [product]? With [your company name] you can own it by tomorrow, free!”
  2. How can I contact you? This question is on many minds and yet so easily forgotten in web site text. Try simple  statements like “Contact [brand/company] by calling ……”, “[Company name] is open ….” , “How would you like [company name] to follow up with you?”
  3. A huge conversion boost comes by offering video demonstrations. Surround your videos and pictures used for demonstrations with text that explains how something is being done. If there is a reason to link to a page for more information, the call to action should include a “how” incentive such as “To learn how to [build the product name] or contact [the company name] or register or sign up or etc.”
  4. How many times have you wanted to learn how to do something and you decided to ask a search engine? What you get in the way of answers varies from forum threads to outdated blog posts and if you’re lucky, an actual page with a current answer. So here’s how you can help searchers. Research the questions they have regarding your reputation, products, company, services, and anything you may do such as teaching or being a travel guide or etc.  Ask the question your visitor may ask in a blog post, article, product page, video (transcript), PDF, document, rules page, healthcare instructions – you get the idea. The question is put into a header tag or boldfaced and the answer is provided close by. This approach is designed to attract your targeted guest by knowing exactly what they need and want. You will not only provide their solution but you may have other interesting content to share with them as well. Reach out. Help. Be the site with the current, accurate, helpful answer and inspire your guest to stick around as long.
  5. Help your visitors visualize how your products look. I saw a site the other day that used models to show how the brand’s clothing might look but they took a brilliant extra step by letting users mouse over the model to see her measurements. Wow. This is an incredible way to show how a piece will look and it helps customers make better choices. The downer was that it was a JavaScript pop-up display. A way to do this using text might even be accessible and indexable. For example, “How does [brand name, product] look on a [describe the specs]?”
  6. Help your visitors imagine how your products will make them feel about themselves or with others. Perfume sites are one type that must create a story to sell scents.
  7. In your homepage introductory content, answer important how-to questions that you know your visitors want answers for. Don’t forget addressing ALL your user types (mental models) when phrasing your questions and answers, and picking out your terminology. Remember that the best conversion triggers are those that are a direct soul-to -soul-like connection that happen instantly. Not everyone asks questions the same way.
  8. This one is my favorite because I’m sorely lacking in the ability to picture anything. For users like us, we will reward you by showing us HOW your couch will look in a tiny living room. A well-known designer fabrics company not only fusses over their product images, but they have entire sections devoted to how to use their products to perform every possible miracle from bringing a chair back to life to creating the bedroom of your dreams. Another luxury site I like has the most exquisite bathroom décor and accessories that is totally out of my price range, but I “Pin” them anyway because a girl can dream, right? The only issue I have with them is in picturing how their products would look in my luxurious bathroom (in my other life in the Hamptons of course.) The lesson here is to create a mood and help your visitors imagine your products in use by combining content and pictures. Tell us a story. Describe how easy it is to do what you do.
  9. Closely related are sites like jewelry and crafts, and even unique niche sites for collectors, bargain hunters, moms to be, car parts, any type of teaching topic and hobby sites. When you can explain how to do what you do in your content, chances are good your pages will not only rank but if you have social sharing options, you can increase your social signal to search engines.
  10. There are all kinds of ideas to try and angles to stretch and pull. Take your cell phone GPS Navigation application for example. When you ask for directions, it may ask you several questions such as “How would you like your route?” and it offers options like no tolls, no traffic, fast or slow, etc. A waiter may ask you, “How would like your steak done?” and you will provide the answer. Take a cue from your world to get fresh ideas on how to help your site guests make good choices.

You’re working on natural ways to market your web site because for starters, all of these suggestions are free to do for a do-it-yourself site owner or anyone on a small marketing budget. By following this series, you may end up knowing more about natural SEO and usability conversions optimization than your hired marketer. The benefit to you is creating a positive site experience all around, for you the owner and your customers.


  1. Randy Carlisle April 1, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Just finished your six-part series and now I have a framework of tips and ideas for creating a site that is optimized for the search engines, my visitors, and for conversions.

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