3 Proven Ways to Convert Traffic From Search

  |  March 13, 2012   |  Comments

Marketers can optimize the website experience to improve conversions from paid search traffic. Here's how.

Most marketers have discovered effective ways to drive qualified traffic to their websites by optimizing paid search campaigns. But for all of the effort that organizations put into testing and optimizing AdWords buys, many overlook ways to improve the rate at which traffic converts after a search campaign successfully brings them to their website.

Currently there is a 92:1 ratio in the amount of money spent to encourage consumers to visit a website versus the amount spent to convert them after they've clicked through to the brand. With an average online conversion rate of just 2.5 percent, marketers are presented with a huge opportunity for improvement by investing additional resources into making the website experience more relevant for traffic driven to their sites via paid search.

Here are three ways for brands to optimize the website experience to maximize conversions from paid search traffic.

1. Make Every Page a Landing Page

An important first step toward maximizing conversions from search traffic is echoing keyword copy with website messages that reinforce the trigger that brought the visitor to your site in the first place. Keyword copy can have multiple triggers up front, but the key is understanding what will resonate with visitors when they arrive at your website after clicking on an ad and carrying that messaging throughout the entire user session.

To optimize the customer experience and achieve improvements in everything from your add-to-cart rate to the total number of conversions, marketers must find the right messages that resonate with customers and be agile enough to change those messages.

Additionally, what a potential buyer sees on the landing page is often different than what happens in the shopping cart. Reinforce the search keywords word for word on the landing page and deliver messages based on what you know about the customer on product pages and in the cart. Understanding which of these value messages resonates most with the customer, and reinforcing them at each point throughout the buying session will help boost site performance.

2. Include Anchor Links to Search Terms Throughout a User Session

You have a pretty clear idea of customer intent when a visitor arrives at your website via paid search. With this in mind, a core principle when optimizing the site experience for search traffic is to give visitors an anchor that allows them to easily get back to the product or category page that relates to the ad they clicked.

For example, visitors who click on ads related to the term "waterproof jackets" should see a banner that reinforces this offer on every page throughout their visit, including checkout. While they may want to look at related products like sleeping bags and tents, the original intent of the visit is clear. Provide a visible anchor display that will take them back to the area of the website that allows them to follow through with their intent to buy.


This example of a multipage campaign provides message uniformity by reminding visitors of why they clicked on your ad, and will also deliver a consistent site experience from click to conversion.

3. Use the Visitor's Location to Your Advantage

Geo-targeting is a powerful tool that online marketers are using to maximize their relevancy to the customer. While core best practices like telling site visitors when they're visiting from a state with no sales tax can significantly boost conversions and average order value; identifying the location of website traffic can also be used to maximize business efficiency on the operations side.

Try leveraging shipping logistics to improve conversion rates and impact your bottom line. In most instances, for example, standard shipping time is three to five days. But if someone within 90 miles of your fulfillment center purchases something on your website, you should communicate the fact that they'll receive their order more quickly even with standard delivery, calling out a service differentiation from competitors and a benefit specifically for that customer.

This type of targeted communication leads to a better and more relevant customer experience. And when brands relate customer interactions back to internal business operations, they will improve efficiency and pass along additional benefits to the consumer.

Meeting the Opportunity

While the mindset to optimize search keywords already exists within most organizations, the next level is to translate this into practice on the website. There is a huge opportunity to significantly increase online conversion rates by implementing smart website optimization tactics that are proven to improve the bottom line.

We've reached a point where marketers need to be much more demanding and expectant of what technology can do for them. Brands have access to a wealth of information and powerful technologies, but in order to be successful in a highly competitive environment, they must aggressively pursue the types of changes they can make on the website to help them achieve business goals.


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Nathan Richter

Nathan Richter is the global director of client solutions at Monetate, where he advises top enterprise clients on website optimization. A veteran of digital marketing and online retailing, Richter has extensive hands-on experience helping enterprise clients implement successful multichannel marketing campaigns. Richter has directed online marketing and site optimization programs for David's Bridal, QVC, The Franklin Mint, and dELiA's.

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