Webmasters are charged with two primary objectives: 1) attracting qualified site visitors, and 2) converting them to become engaged buyers, members, donors, volunteers, or supporters. In their competitive enthusiasm for scoring high search rankings, however, many web developers focus on the first objective at the expense of the second. They optimize sites so heavily for search engines that they have little appeal to the interests or needs of the ultimate visitors, human beings, and therefore become ineffective for sales conversion.
Recently, a client asked us to look at their search rank, which was fair but not as strong as it could be; they were particularly frustrated by a local competitor, a much smaller player in the market, who consistently scored higher in search results. At only a glance, the cause was obvious. The competitor’s website displayed a classic case of “cramming,” body copy jam-packed with as many key words and key phrases as possible to boost the site’s relevance in the “eyes” of search engine spiders.
Here’s only one paragraph from that website’s home page (with place names changed to mask the site’s identity); the entire site reads this way:
“Are you looking for the best piano moving company in Tampa, Florida? We have Florida movers in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and now have movers in Lakeland, Florida. Our movers provide timely and professional moves in the Plant City and Winter Haven area. We simply provide Florida’s best Moving Services.”
Although this trick is effective for attracting visitors to the site, the approach is shortsighted. It fails to engage visitors and therefore stands little chance of converting visitors to take action—the very reason most web sites exist.
Furthermore, Google — by far and for years, the top-ranked search engine — announced at SXSW that it’s preparing to roll out an algorithm update that will “punish” cramming sites. So, cramming will soon risk not only sales conversion but also search rank.
A Better Approach
Attracting site visitors through organic search is vital — but it’s not everything. The challenge to an effective website is balancing its power to not only attract but also convert. When a site is effectively optimized for search, it ranks well in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) and then delivers what a well-targeted visitor seeks once they arrive at the site — informative, useful, engaging, entertaining content. Such content will convert a significant percentage of visitors into active buyers, members, donors, and supporters.
Don’t get overly focused on search rank at the expense of sales conversion and at the risk of being blacklisted.
Do craft strategically key word-rich copy that flows naturally, provides the visitor with the value they are seeking, and delivers the desired result—sales conversion.