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The Importance of Website Design in Converting SEO Leads

Aug 12, 2015
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website design and SEO central flGenerating SEO leads is great, but if none of them convert then what is the point? At the end of the day, it is all about nurturing our leads through the buyer's journey with the goal of converting some into delighted customers. SEO at its core is a long-term marketing strategy. It takes time, focused research, great execution and yes even a little bit of luck. We can, however, increase the conversion rate of the leads we generate by simply tweaking our website design.

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In order for the rest of this post to be helpful at all, we must start with this simple truth. Your website is not about you, it’s about your visitors. Too many businesses center their websites strictly around promoting their company and forget that the average visitor is not as interested in the company as they are in finding a solution to their problem. 

Why Design Matters

Content is king, right? The reality is, you can have the best content in the world but if it is presented poorly, it will get ignored. The way your site is designed has the potential to either encourage your visitors to engage or send them looking for a new solution. This may mean you have to set aside some of your preferences in order to increase conversions. So let’s get practical and talk about a few ways we can improve our website design and increase SEO lead conversions.

First Impressions Last Forever

As the saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” For most of your potential clients, your website is that first impression. "80% of consumers start the search for a product or solution online." (GE Capital). So whether you’re an online business or have a physical location, having a website design that connects with your visitors is extremely important.

Trash Your Slider:  While a slider on the homepage may look cool to you, research shows that users just ignore them. A study by Notre Dame found that “Approximately 1% of visitors click on the slide.” All of these clicks were made on slide 1 with the subsequent slides getting no love at all.

Motivate Your Visitors: Replace your slider with a compelling header image and add a Call-To-Action. Research has shown that only 20% of your visitors will scroll past the fold. Now, just to be fair you can have success adding the CTA lower on the page, but you have to motivate your viewers. CTAs lower in the content can have a higher conversion rate when the viewer is motivated by what engaged them at the top of the page. The best thing to do here is test. Using a tool like Hotjar, you can see how your viewers are interacting with your content and then make adjustments to improve the engagement.

People Hate Waiting: “The change in a website bounce rate spikes to 100% when a page takes 4 seconds or more to load. It jumps to 150% if a page takes 8 seconds or more to load.” (Source: Mobile Joomla) You may be wondering what speed has to do with website design. The answer, everything! A site that is bloated with multiple CSS and Javascript files will increase the load time and in return cause a number of your SEO leads to leave the site. By simplifying the design of your site and removing unnecessary code you will increase load time and the amount of people that actually get to engage with your content. 

Mobile is Not the Future, it’s Now: Having a site that is truly mobile friendly should be one of the first things on your list. Search is being dominated by mobile and creating an experience for your mobile SEO leads is key. Responsive design is all the rage right now and done right can be very effective. But it is important to realize that not all responsive sites get the job done. In fact, “62% of companies that designed a website specifically for mobile had increased sales.” (Source: Econsultancy) So test your mobile experience and make sure that it lives up to your users' expectations. Some of your best customers may have gone elsewhere due to a bad mobile experience.

More is Not Always Better: The last bit of advice is simple. Don’t add elements "just because". Everything you add to your design communicates something to the visitor. Make sure that your design encourages the user to continue. Having too much going on can overwhelm your visitor to the point where they leave instead of engage.

Search Engine Optimization is a powerful strategy to generate long-term success online. But in order to have success, you need to realize that SEO is just one part of your overall inbound marketing efforts. In order to convert your SEO leads you need to have a website that engages the visitor to take action.  We’ve pretty much made all of the mistakes above and by refocusing our website’s design we have seen higher conversion rates and in return have grown as an agency. If you have any questions or other insights that you have learned in your journey comment below and let’s continue the conversation.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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