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12 Make Money SEO Tips 2007 part 6

6. Site Navigation and Usability

Navigation and usability is a fundamental element to search engine optimization. It is also one of the first things I look at when a potential client comes to Stickyeyes for a consultation.

Unfortunately in most situations there is a Director, Manager or Webmaster that is married to the current design. If we see a need for a complete redesign, hopefully we are lucky enough to be given the “nod,” but in most cases that does not happen, so we are forced to change bits and pieces.

Before I touch on some good tips, let me just say this to the site owners, webmasters and upper-management people out there. If you are not ranking well, not getting a good click-through rate, experiencing high bounce rates or cart abandonment, or you get a myriad of traffic without a minimum of a three percent conversion rate, then you probably have usability issues.

You have more than one choice.

  1. You can let a professional redesign your website; choose a good one and this will almost guarantee every element I mention above will be resolved.
  2. You can let a professional create microsites in subdomains with full access to tinker around, test and improve. This way your “top-secret” back-end won’t be exposed (or cause any infrastructure or complicated matrix/server issues).
  3. You can let a professional change elements within your current site and test them; a good professional will certainly know what they are doing.

At the end of the day what I am getting at here is that this is a serious fundamental element in a successful website. To use my company as an example, we typically sit down with 10 or 12 of our best people when looking at the website’s functionality. This is a very strong focus group because we also know end-user behavior. Keep an open mind to these types of suggestions because they are usually one of the major issues most websites have.

So on to more tips.

Be sure you have definitive CTAs (Call To Actions) throughout your site, preferably in the navigation bars. These can be Call Us, Contact Us, Get a Quote, Add To Cart, Sign Up, Request Information or whatever. These CTAs should be in an abridged form that has as few fields as possible.

I recently looked at a website (a major name that you would recognize) that sells insurance online. Being an ex-insurance agent I know the information that they need to give a quote is certainly not 15 pages long. We actually timed it at close to 20 minutes to complete.

Look at your checkout procedure. Whether it’s for an ecommerce site selling widgets, or an insurance company trying to give a quote, the information that is required should be kept to a bare minimum. Human nature is the “path of least resistance” and you can scare them off with a daunting list of required fields when all they were looking for was a quick comparison quote. People don’t want to have to give this personal information away in the first place, and doing it online is an even scarier scenario, but now you want it all!?!?

Cut this down to just a few fields over a maximum of two pages…and even just one if possible.

Using JavaScript/AJAX style forms are great. With these you only show a few fields at a time and if the appropriate radio button is selected, it opens additional fields to be filled in. The idea is that if you get them mentally committed by filling out a few fields, they are more likely to fill out the remaining fields.

Placement of “information request” forms are important as well. If you carry hundreds of products, don’t put a “request more information” button or form in your side navigation bar. Put one below each product and add script that will pre-fill the request form so that all the end user need do is add minimal personal information.

For those that are etailers, or those who have actual physical products that they sell (not necessarily affiliate marketers) and are competitive with their competition and their pricing, put a Low Price Guarantee like the one that you see here. You’ll be surprised at the increase in sales opportunities that you will see.

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One Response to “12 Make Money SEO Tips 2007 part 6”

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