What is conversion optimization?

When answering the question “What is conversion optimization”, a definition is an excellent place to start.

Conversion optimization is defined as the method of creating an experience for an individual visiting a website with the goal of increasing the percentage of page visitors that convert into buyers, customers, or leads. It is often referred to as CRO, short for conversion rate optimization.

Does your website take action?

Conversion optimization is the art of creating a website layout that leads visitors to take the action that you want them to take. The reason that one would implement these tactics, is if said person desired people to interact with the site in a specific way. An example of this would be to lead people to sign up for an email list.

It’s All About Testing

When considering the question “what is conversion optimization” one must realize that to optimize their conversion rate they must find out why individuals do not convert, and then fill in the gaps. CRO requires a structured systematic approach when attempting to improve the conversion rates on your site. One must use insights, user feedback and analytics to track what individuals do on the site; Google analytics is an example of one of these tools. Crazy Egg is another one of our favorite testing tools. Your CRO strategy needs to work around your company website’s own specific goals, and move the visitor in the direction you wish them to go.

In the introduction, we briefly defined CRO as the method of using analytics and user feedback to improve the performance of your website. Here’s an even simpler definition: conversion rate optimization is finding why visitors aren’t converting and fixing it.

Simple, right?

So, what is the conversion optimization testing process all about?

A few important concepts regarding conversion rate optimization are the use of techniques such as calls to action, a/b split testing and multivariate testing.

  • call to action: a statement that invites the visitor to take an action. An example would be “Click here to buy now”.
  • A/B split testing: the act of taking one page, measuring the conversion rate, and then comparing it to the analytics of how another page attempting to accomplish the same action is faring.
  • Multivariate testing: the addition of more variables into your split test such as testing headings, images, and messaging.

If you are attempting to make the visitors to your site take some sort of action, then CRO is an important subject to look into.

What is conversion optimization? Longevity Graphics offers conversion optimization:

or Click here (this is one of those calls to action, did you notice?)
to contact us for your free consultation.

When I was in school, I learned that having my websites’ code be 100% W3C standards compliant wasn’t just something to brag about, it was something to be ashamed of failing at. It’s an attitude that I’ve maintained while working at Longevity Graphics, which has lead to some pretty frustrating days. Some of our clients’ sites use CMS’s such as WordPress, Drupal, or Perch that have their own code structure that is not compliant with W3C standards. Even social media applications such as the Facebook ‘like’ button and Google Plus buttons don’t validate!

It got me wondering whether validation is truly crucial. Specifically, I wondered how important W3C validation is for SEO. I did some research, and while I found some contrasting views, W3C validation does not seem to be an important factor for SEO – with some caveats.

Out of curiosity, I used the W3C validator to check Google’s home page for errors. The result was 34 errors and 3 warnings. It shouldn’t be surprising, however, as Matt Cutts himself has said explicitly that W3C validation does not offer a ‘boost’ to the ranking of any site (see Matt Cutts’ explanation here). If you don’t want to watch the video, I can paraphrase: Google cares more about loading times, browser compatibility, usability, and content than validation for the sake of validation. This should be enough to end any debate, but there are a few things to bear in mind even if 100% W3C validation is not a factor in itself for SEO.

The first thing to remember is that many of the factors that W3C validation is based on are also important to SEO. For instance, the use of alt tags on images is mandatory for validation and it’s also important to use relevant keywords in alt tags for SEO. So while W3C validation is not directly beneficial to SEO, there are a lot of overlapping standards. Having clean code should also help to increase load time, which is a ranking factor for Google. Improving load time will enhance the crawlability of the site (especially important for large, deep sites such as online stores with dozens or hundreds of product pages). Smaller files and cleaner code will help you to reduce the fatigue of search engines while crawling your site, so they will be less likely to time out and not index deeply nested pages.

The bottom line is that the W3C validation points out a lot of issues that, when fixed, help to keep the code clean and easier for crawlers to index. A couple of validation errors on a page is not the end of the world. However, we should take as many steps as possible to increase the crawlability of the site to ensure that all content is being indexed.