What is conversion optimization?
The visitors to your website are worth nothing if they don't make a conversion (an action) that has value for your business - for example, a purchase or a newsletter subscription. Any good online marketing strategy therefore includes not only the objective of increasing traffic to the site, but also the objective of increasing conversion rate.
The conversion rate is the proportion of visitors to your website that you manage to convert. Increasing your conversion rate from 2% to 4% may not sound like much, but it could actually mean doubling your revenue. Conversion optimization (also called CRO) can therefore be a powerful tool to increase the return you get from your marketing budget.
How we optimize for conversions
There are four main areas that affect the conversion rate of your website: usability, design, content and technical platform. We work in all four areas, and our work and solutions are always based on sound analysis - not subjective and ideological opinions.
For example, a conversion may occur when a user makes a purchase, requests a quote, contacts you, books a meeting, downloads a catalogue, orders a sample or signs up for a newsletter. Together, we set the objectives for our work and, through close cooperation, we keep you up to date on our work and results.
The five phases of conversion optimisation
A typical optimization process proceeds in the following five phases. The process can be performed once or repeated until we achieve satisfactory results.
1. Collection of data
We base our work on sound analytics and quantitative data about the visitors to your website. This allows us to set realistic targets for our work and gives you the reassurance that our proposed solutions are not just out of the blue.
Among other things, we collect data from Google Analytics. If required, we can help you set up additional analytical tools that provide a better and more accurate data basis about your visitors and their behaviour on your website.
We analyse the data collected to find out how visitors behave and interact on your website, where they don't behave as desired and where they drop out. The analyses allow us to identify problems and inadequacies on your website and thus identify where there is potential for optimisation improvements.
In addition to data-driven, quantitative analysis, we perform qualitative and technical analysis to uncover, among other things, the personal and emotional experience of your website and whether there are any glaring flaws.
3. Observations and hypotheses
Based on the analyses, we will prepare a report with hypotheses on the causes of the inadequacies we have identified and how to address them. Our proposed solutions may include minor changes such as a change in the colour of a button, or they may include more substantial changes such as a restructuring of your payment flow.
In some cases, we propose several solutions to the same challenge, and then later (phase 5) we test both solutions to see which is best. We work from basic principles of user-friendly design and user interaction, and we know the psychology behind user behaviour and decision-making.
4. Design and implementation
Our proposed solutions take the form of clear and application-oriented written recommendations. We will review these solutions with you personally, so that we can discuss them and you are in the best position to implement them on your website. We will be happy to present the data and arguments underlying each proposal.
Together with you, we will draw up a plan for implementing the proposed solutions. We'll also help you prioritise the solutions and identify any quick and easy targets, so you get the most impact from the least amount of work.
In many cases, it is impossible to know in advance what works and what does not. The solutions implemented therefore need to be tested so that we can assess whether they are having the impact we expected. We help you develop and conduct tests of the implemented solutions, and we help you analyse and evaluate the data that comes out of the tests.
We use split tests (A/B split testing) to test different solutions and ensure that we implement the most effective one. Split testing makes it possible to show one version of the website to half of the visitors and another version to the other half. This allows us to assess which solution has the greatest impact on visitors.
What is a good conversion rate?
We are often asked what a good conversion rate er. This is very difficult to answer, because it depends on many different factors, including what industry you are in, how competitive it is and what type of conversion (a purchase, a newsletter sign-up, etc.) we are measuring. It is not unusual for a conversion rate to be between 1% and 3% or even below 1%, but in many cases it is much higher.
When entering into a partnership, it is not relevant for us to assess whether your conversion rate is good or bad. We'd much rather focus on where you are now and whether there's an opportunity to improve your conversion rate - whether the starting point is "good" or "bad".
In some cases, our analysis shows that part of your marketing budget is better spent on search engine optimization - attracting more relevant visitors to the site rather than adding value to existing visitors. In that case, we would of course recommend that you work on this instead.
Optimisation of user signals
Optimisation of user signals is basically a simple process of identifying pages with bad user behaviour and then improving the pages by putting yourself in the users' shoes and correcting the cause of the inappropriate behaviour. In other words, you need to establish what users' intention is in visiting the pages so that you can give users what they are looking for.
Pages with poor user behaviour can be pages with a low click-through rate, a high bounce rate and/or a short time spent. You can use the general statistics above as a benchmark, or you can compare pages across your site and pick out the pages that are performing relatively worst. Remember that context is important when assessing whether a behaviour is positive or negative.
Two tools are central to the work on user signals: Google Search Console and Google Analytics. Both venues are free to use and if you have followed our recommendations in our SEO bookyou already have both tools set up on your website. In the following pages we will review selected features of the two tools in relation to working with user signals.
Challenges in optimising user signals
The first challenge in working with user signals is that behind many seemingly negative numbers there can be positive behaviour. Therefore, it is not enough to look only at the numbers, but also at the cause of the numbers. For example, a high bounce rate may be good on a page with opening hours or a page with a risotto recipe - in both cases, users find what they are looking for on one page.
The next challenge is that there is no single solution to correcting bad behaviour. You don't know for sure the cause of users' behaviour, so you have to test different solutions based on assumptions about why users behave in a certain way. Work with a few parameters and a few changes at a time to isolate the impact of each change.
You can benefit from A/B split testing, where you test several variations of the same page to assess which variation encourages users to your best behaviour. Remember that A/B split testing only works if you have a large enough number of visitors that a few offending users don't go in and skew the results in a misleading direction.
Bad behaviour can be caused by the content of the individual page not living up to users' expectations, or because you don't have good USPs. But it can also be because the website as a whole has structural, layout or technical inadequacies - for example, a confusing menu structure, small and unreadable text, a large number of annoying ads or a slow load time.
This leads us to the final challenge, which is the practical implementation of the corrections on the website. If it is just a matter of changes to the textual content, it is probably a very simple task. If, on the other hand, it concerns the technical and structural aspects of the site, making the necessary changes can be both time-consuming and costly.
Optimising behaviour on your website
There are many different factors that can influence user behaviour on your website. In this section, I will therefore only discuss some of the most important factors. To start with, I will give you some concrete tips for mapping behaviour on your website.
Mapping user behaviour on your website
Data about user behaviour on your website is available in Google Analytics. Click on 'Behaviour' in the left menu, then on 'Website content' and 'Landing pages'. You will now see a list of pages on your website and for each page you can see the bounce rate, session duration and average number of page views per session - for users where the page was the first touch point on your website.
SEO work only concerns organic traffic (visitors from Google), so you should set up a filter in Google Analytics so that you only see data for organic traffic. Click '+ Add segment' at the top of the page, select 'Organic traffic' and click the 'Apply' button. Then click on the 'All users' box and select 'Remove' so that you remove data for all users and only have organic traffic left:
Please note that Google Analytics may be set up for English, and that menus and buttons may therefore not have the English names that we have described and shown above. The page shown in Google Analytics looks similar to the screenshot below. You may want to select a shorter date range at the top of the page to view the most recent data. We recommend that you choose either a 14 or 28 day interval - the pages displayed should have at least 50 page views each to ensure statistically accurate data.
You can change the sorting of the list by clicking on the column headers. You can also enter a web address in the search box above the list to display specific pages or specific sections, if the sections of your website are separated by unique names in the web address.
Identification of areas for action
The task now is to identify significant pages on the list where user behaviour is poor. You can use the general statistics first in this chapter as a benchmark, or you can compare pages across your website and pick out the pages that are performing relatively worst.
In the above example, there is a large difference in both the rejection rate and the session duration of the pages shown. The rejection rate is between 29.46 % and 69.51 %, while the session duration is between 0:50 min. and 5:39 min. The large variations suggest that the problem is not with the website as a whole (e.g. slow load time), but with the content of the individual page.
The side with wood briquettes stands out because it has a high rejection rate (69.51 %). On the other hand, the session duration is good (4:43 min). The side with electric suspension stands out because it has both a high rejection rate (53.41 %) and a low session duration (01:51 min). These pages are thus two examples that can be further worked on, based on the selected data points.
The cause of the bad behaviour can be investigated by manually reviewing the pages - technically, structurally, content-wise as well as layout-wise, and if possible from both a computer, a tablet and a smartphone. You may wish to enter the pages into Google Search Console to see the keywords they are being found for and then assess whether the pages are providing a good response to those searches.
In the example below, we have entered the page with the electric socket from before in Google Search Console, and we can see that the page is mainly found for the keywords 'wire holder', 'lamp socket', 'socket with wire' and 'lamp hook'. Based on these keywords, we can make a content assessment of the page and evaluate whether both text and products meet these keywords.
Optimisation of user behaviour
There can be many causes of undesirable user behaviour, and there are correspondingly many optimisation options that can be the solution to the undesirable behaviour. Therefore, in this section, we will limit ourselves to reviewing a number of common options that influence the user signals we have mentioned earlier in this chapter in different ways.
- Load time. The faster your website loads, the more likely users are to stay on the site. Pay particular attention to load times on slow mobile connections - according to a study last year, 53 % of mobile users will leave a website if the load time is longer than 3 seconds. Read more about speed optimization.
- Mobile friendliness. The more mobile-friendly your website is, the more likely mobile users are to stay on the site. You can segment data in Google Analytics so that you only see mobile traffic data (just like you segmented organic traffic). Read more about mobile-friendliness.
- Navigation. The simpler your navigation, the more likely users are to see more pages. Important pages should be directly accessible from the main menu. Less important pages can be linked to from important pages. If you have an e-commerce website, pay particular attention to the navigation from adding an item to the basket to purchasing it.
- Internal links. The better you are at linking between pages on your website, the more likely users are to see more pages. Examples of internal links are suggested posts, text links, related products and the like. Where possible, link between pages that have a thematic relevance to each other. Read more about internal link building.
- Contents. The better the content on your website is aligned with users' keywords (see Google Search Console), the more likely users are to stay on the site. For example, the intent of a keyword can be met with a long text, a graphic, a bulleted list, a phone number, a price list or a product overview.
- Structure. The more inviting large amounts of text are, the more likely users are to read the text. Structure the text in short, easy-to-read paragraphs. Use headings, sub-headings and bulleted lists as appropriate. On product category pages where text is not the main feature, it is useful to place text at the bottom of the page.
- Pictures and video. The more forms of delivery you use, the more likely users are to interact with the content on your website. SEO-wise, we often focus on the written word because that's what Google understands best. However, many people prefer images, video or audio - or a combination of these.
- Search. The easier it is for users to find what they're looking for, the more likely they are to stay on your site. A clear search box can make it easy for users to find the information or products they need. At the same time, you can use data from the search function to see what your users are looking for, so you can give them just that.
- Call-to-actions. The clearer your call-to-actions, the easier it is to encourage users to take a valuable action (a newsletter sign-up, a purchase, a download or similar). Know your users' customer journey and make the next step in the customer journey clear to users so they can easily continue.
Evaluation and adjustment of the action
If you have a large website that is updated frequently, Google will usually detect changes to the site in a matter of days. In other cases, it can take up to two weeks for Google to detect the changes. Therefore, when evaluating your work, you should disregard data for the first 1-2 weeks after you've made your changes to make sure that the changes have taken effect.
We recommend a test period of 14 days after your changes are registered by Google, compared to the last 14 days before the implementation of the changes. Compare data on user behaviour on the site during the two periods. To isolate the impact of your work, make no other changes to the page during the test period.
If behaviour has improved, you can optimise new pages based on the lessons learned from your work. If behaviour is unchanged or worsening, you need to try a different solution based on assumptions about what you can do better. You may want to test several solutions in parallel on different similar pages, for example to quickly test different call-to-actions.
Data-driven conversion optimization
Based on analyses of your website, your visitors and their behaviour on your website, we develop concrete solutions on how you can optimise your website and thereby increase the conversion rate. We then help you prioritise, test and evaluate the solutions to ensure you get the most out of them.
Our approach to conversion optimisation is holistic and user-centric. This means that we work with design, usability, content and technical platform, and that we thoroughly understand the assumptions, motivations and needs of your target audience. We often consider search engine optimization and Google Ads in our work, so you get more relevant and converting visitors to your website.