Assume Once upon a Time You Get All the Traffic, but Your Landing Page Fails to Convert, So Your Paid or Free Traffic is Useless

Kang 👑
You can have all the rankings and traffic, but if your pages aren't designed to convert, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a complete waste of time.
One of my partner agencies is sending me a lot of business, but their landing pages are horrible. I kind of gave up after trying to fix them after giving them a heads up.
How much should SEO users be responsible for the conversion copy?
39 👍🏽20 🤭60
47 💬🗨

Mart 🎓 » Kang
This is, in my opinion, one of the single most important topics in all of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)… I've said a lot of this before, but I'll summarize my perspective:
1. Ranking high organically, even on Search Engine Result Page (SERP) 1 position 1, can serve multiple purposes, but not all of them are "business growth" related. For example, brand awareness by itself does have value… and that value depends on multiple factors, including: newness of your brand, changes in the competitor landscape or marketplace, etc. If one's objective is simply "brand awareness", then there are other ways to achieve this faster and more effectively than through organic optimization. Another reason I have seen, over decades of SEO work, is that brand owners have ego-driven objectives (or from an agency or consultant's side, a need to show our prowess and capabilities for bragging rights or as part of a client acquisition approach). Again, if this is what one wants, sure, why not?
2. For me, my own companies, and my brand and agency clients, I am rather unconcerned with ranking, compared with being totally obsessed with a) getting the click competitively, and b) warming up the clicker to convert more quickly once they hit the destination. These, to me, are essential and inextricably intertwined. Ranking is cool, but not as cool as getting the click. I would choose ranking in position 5 and getting the click over ranking position 1 and not getting the click every single hour of every single day. Then, getting the click is cool, but not as cool as getting the conversion action you are looking for. I would choose to get a lot less traffic and a much higher rate of visitors taking the action you want every single hour of every single day. And THIS is the realm of what I term LINEAR CONNECTIVITY: the art and science of preparing the clicker to see the closest possible representation to the solution they are searching for the INSTANT they hit the destination of taking the click.
I can only get back to the fundamental problem: low barrier of entry in digital marketing with complete lack of academic degree availability.
In such environment, partial and incomplete digital marketing disciplines live standalone.
In medicine, there is a doctor. There is no standalone pharmacologist or radiologist. Imagine how much damage would those people do without the understanding of the medical big picture.
SEO is tiny. No, it really is. If observed alone, it is just a single book and a single exam. It is still a serious discipline that requires hundreds of hours of structured studying, but so does radiology as well. A future doctor, or engineer, or a lawyer, will go through those famous 10000 hours before taking responsibility to affect other people's lives.
So yeah, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) without Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and many other digital marketing pillars can be a waste of time. Or at least a huge waste of leaked money. An SEO can ignore it in big organizations where a different department is taking care of it. But how often is that? 1%? 2%?
Hardly earned organic lead that finally lands on the website needs to be converted into a customer. If that happens 1% of time while in reality that can happen 3% of time, it means two thirds of SEO was wasted. It means that the website could perform 200% better! What an enormous waste.

Petter » Miroslav Mišo Medurić
SEO is still to some extent data driven. The keyword analysis lies as a foundation, and while a lot of people in SEO (and virtually no client) truly understands this – the keyword analysis is pretty much the peak of consumer insight both qualitative (if the analysis is exhaustive and drilldowns were thorough) and quantitative (as in you cannot hope to match the amount of data elsewhere unless you're willing to pay a substantial amount of money).
Applying the words that you speak rather than the ones that the experts apply is in itself something that lifts conversions.
User Experience (UX) is rarely as qualitative in approaching how to better serve the customer journeys, why? Because I have to this day only met one UX'er that applies keyword data to better understand who he's designing for when helping to define a brand design handbook.
CRO's (the ones without SEO) tends to focus in on what already is, they often neglect to see that they might be focusing on something that is trending downwards – and has been for years.
So while you are right – SEO is just one dicipline, we do have a say over content, structure, links, brand perception and every other digital traffic channel that exists in some way or form.. The other channels in and of itself rarely has this kind of options to them.
And since SEO is not a protected title like doctor is – we have to live with the fact that not all practitioners will be great at it. Some will do more harm than good – but overall, the ones that doesn't opt for the quick wins (buy Private Blog Network (PBN) links today, get a penalty tomorrow, mitigate with more links etc.), but actually sees SEO as a part of something bigger – will most likely do more good than harm. I for one do not accept that only 1-2% of us deals in SEO matters without opting for manipulative techniques.
Mišo » Hans
Nicely said! I absolutely agree that keyword research is essential.
Now, be honest: if keyword research was a subject in the high school, how long would it take to master it with a great professor? A month? What about the rest of the 4 or more years?
A recommendation you made to avoid jargon is a great one. That is one of the things CRO takes care of.
The fact that you met only one UX-er that applies keyword data or a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) that neglects it, only gets me back to my point, because it works both ways: It is all Digital Marketing. it is all ONE, single thing. UXer or a CRO that doesn't understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is as potentially bad as an SEO that doesn't understand User Experience (UX) and CRO. And much more.
I don't think that only 1-2% of us deal in SEO matters without manipulative techniques. I am sorry if I wasn't clear. What I meant is that 1-2% of situations are those where we work with big companies that have serious marketing departments that take care of UXCRO and other things. In that case, SEO as a standalone job makes sense. But that is just technical SEO requiring hard skills.


SEO and Content teams need to be aligned, otherwise you're wasting time and the client is wasting money, with no Return of Investment (RoI)
In the event the client has their content creation in-house, getting buy-in from the client to connect the content writers with the SEO (agency, contract or in-house) will generate revenue. Easier said than done though.
I still find it funny people think SEO is only about keywords and ranking, when one goal of SEO should always be to boost revenue and business growth.
Truslow 🎓
How much should SEO users be responsible for conversion copy? It Depends.
SOMEONE needs to be responsible for it. If a client has someone who does that already – then fine, we'll work with them to try to deliver the traffic they are looking for (and not just "any old" traffic).
But if they don't have someone on that – then we're not going to even start an SEO program with a client unless part of the end goal is those conversions – be it leads or sales or whatever generates the cash flow. And so, if no one else is doing that – then it's our job/responsibility to bridge that gap between SEO and the sales team – otherwise we're just sending sewage down the pipe.
I completely agree with Truslow and others here.
I'd like to caution SEO users against thinking they have to do it all though. I've been seriously studying conversion optimization for at least 8 years now and I'm not done. Before that I studied web design and development, sales, psychology and marketing. I have over 25 years under my belt doing it all, and I still consider myself a novice because there is no end to learning. That's too much to expect of yourself. Good news is you don't have to. Same for me. I'm reaching out to others for help. Just understand and accept that the client needs much more than SEO, then get yourself with a team and be part of another. And, please stop selling your SEO services to small businesses. I get them a year later and they are not happy. Sell them results.
Everyone here should look at Portillo's CRO group seriously… yes you can spend millions of dollars on SEO but if they're not converting, a huge percentage of the money is wasted.

Chad » David
Do you happen to have a link to that group? I didn't find it in the search
Kang ✍️ 👑 » Chad
It's here.
Conversion Rate Optimization Junkies

If you were hired to do SEO, the deliverable, at least looking at things strictly and pedantically, is traffic.
You bring traffic to their website and landing pages. If traffic doesn't convert, it's not really your problem.
Why do I say this? Because larger companies that have inhouse folks to "do marketing" are the decision makers.
From my experience, there is the problem. Marketing hires have low barrier of entry. And we end up working with leas the team based on their experience of "sitting across a brilliant marketer for 10 years at my previous job" and their assistants that "want to test the waters in marketing". They decide what copy ends up on the site. Voting is the method of decision making, not expertise. So you end up with a landing page decided by a committee that has no grasp of basic conversion concepts. Trying to convince that group is bloody impossible.
So, in that kind of a setting, there's little way to improve anything a Ross the real customer journey. You are forced to do what you do. Until your job as an SEO pro gets boiled down to "write 4 blogs per month" as if SEO is just blogging.
Kudos to clients that don't get SEO, but also don't pretend they do, and let us do our thing. I've seen sofar that usually, if you're in a direct communication with the owner/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), things can improve. If there a "marketing team", usually "yere screwed."

Kathy » Mateski
Exactly why I turned down a $50K contract. I knew where it was heading. It was already evident from what I could see on their website. And I why I don't take on enterprise clients anymore.
Mateski » Kathy
I'm planning to close down this account too. Too much hassle with their internal team. Feels like wrestling a bear over a berry.
The sad thing is that the very people hired to grow the business are actually the ones screwing things up.
I'm with this client for some 8 years. In the first few years I've grown their organic traffic 29-fold. Once they hired a guy to run the marketing, we've dropped down 30%, and are holding that volume for 3 years now. Everything has to be put up for voting. It's ridiculous. And this is a guy who says he's knowledgeable about marketing because he spent several years across the desk of a marketer who's an expert.
I couldn't believe he's making that claim in front of the owner and several sales folks… and they all bought it.
Strange world.
Kathy » Mateski
My experience too. It's so frustrating. And you're just the outside contractor. What do you know, right?
Mateski » Kathy
Yeah, completely clueless.


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