A web site has become a complicated mess is when, as a visitor, the site has lost its ability to get you to what you want in a clear, efficient manner, or when as stakeholder, the administration of content has become unmanageable and/or ROI has stagnated. In the latter case, the challenge is usually vocalized as, “Traffic’s down,” or “Leads are dropping” or, worse, “We’ve done all this SEO stuff and our conversions are still at 1%.” In every case, this is followed by, “What are we doing wrong?”
Unfortunately, the process of fixing these kinds of issues is like fixing a bad renovation on a house. The homeowner’s problem might be that the roof is leaking, but the resolution of the issue may be multi-faceted; from structural to finishing. The same is often the case with web sites. Designers can increase conversions using web design by testing and moving conversion points to more visible areas on the page, but the real issue may lie in the wrong visitors are landing on that page. You may be successful in getting more leads by improving the design and/or language of the conversion point, but it’s just as likely that the marketing funnel is too wide and too many visitors are landing there. Bringing in more traffic may push up your site’s total numbers, but if the visitor’s time on the site drops, likely conversions are dropping too.
Working like a good general contractor, it is important to identify the core issues and renovate the structure. For a website, this structure is the content silos and how content is indexed and found by the search engines. This means paying particularly close attention to the content in four areas: keywords and key terms for search, the site architecture, the metadata in the code, and the search-friendly content strategy itself. Trying to remedy problems with a site’s lead generation, conversions or ROI before investigating these primary targets is like putting new shingles on a roof without shoring up the ridge beam and rafters. It’s only when the content conduit is free of compromise that testing can begin.
In Part 2 of this series, we will look at how keywords and key terms