People and businesses often use digital marketing with the main goal of reaching a specific audience. Social media allows you to get in touch with people who know you and to advertise specifically to other target groups.
To reach audiences who are not familiar with you or your company, “being found” (ranking high for relevant search terms in search engines) is an effective strategy. In order to allow all those acquaintances and strangers to connect with you digitally, appealing content and a pleasant digital experience are also important. That’s what this article is about; about those digital marketing optimization techniques.
Optimization techniques reinforce each other
The time of haphazardly creating pages, adding keywords and doing link building to be found in Google is over. Search engine algorithms are constantly being improved. Their goal; rank the most relevant websites based on the searcher’s needs.
Relevance and authority are thé keywords in today’s SEO game
Search Engine algorithm improvements are based both on having relevant content on your page, and on having a fast-loading and accessible website. One of the factors on which the algorithm is also based is the on-page behavior of the users who end up on your website. Take bounces as an example: many ‘bounces‘ (visits that leave your web page quickly and without interaction) can negatively affect your ranking and thus lower your position.
Some jargon and abbreviations bingo
Not only SEO and SEA are important to attract traffic to your website, but also CRO or Conversion Rate Optimization. One of the main goals of conversion optimization is to improve the UX (User Experience) of your website with the main goal of more conversions. CRO specialists use various methods to improve your website, with A/B testing being the most important method. A/B testing can be applied to all optimization strategies to test and optimize, but it does not work equally effectively in all situations. In this article we provide some insight into the differences between SEA, SEO and CRO, and when A-B testing works and when it doesn’t.
If you’re unfamiliar with technical jargon such as those abbreviations above, no worries. Here’s a brief introduction to each;
In this article we zoom in on optimization techniques that can be used before, during and after developing digital communication solutions and content. That is why we do not include (rapid) prototyping, design sprints and user testing in this article. (Rapid) Prototyping and design sprints are more suitable for conceiving, designing and optimizing new functions, product(s) or major changes. We can do that too, so are you interested? Feel free to click through to my 2nd conversion goal.
In all phases of your digital project. Yes. You read that right. In all project phases. Even in the quotation phase when creating a briefing.
It is a common misconception that SEO, SEA, CRO and / or A/B testing are only useful techniques to be applied to optimise live websites or (web- or mobile)applications. In fact, these techniques are just as valuable during (re)design and (re)development of new or existing websites and apps. That is part of what we hope to offer you in this article; the recommendation to use these techniques to your benefit as an integral part of your (re)design, (re)development and optimization activities. So early on – when you are considering creating a new website, or migrating an existing one.
Applied SEO during the design phase of a new website
Proper SEO is not just a methodology or a toolset, it is mostly a strategic way of creating and publishing content to built out your authority. SEO tools can help you create a strategic content architecture framework, often referred to as topical authority, that allows you to categorise your content and keywords around content hubs. SEO tools can help you ensure the content is created in such a way that both users and search engines can read it easily. For example, it may be relevant for your content strategy to ensure the new CMS support structured data and meta tags. A solid SEO strategy is also vital to any content migration. SEO strategy and 403/404 redirects ensure your ranking is maintained first, and continues to boost your SEO performance.
Applied SEA during the design phase of a new website
Advertising means connecting with your target group where they are. And connecting on an emotional level. SEA data, statistics and tools can be used to achieve those goals. For example, it can be useful to determine the channels (socials or websites) and content preferences of your target group. Their keyword use, engagement data or demographic details can be found via SEA methods. There is a wealth of insights, data and best practices offered by popular social advertising platforms such as LinkedIn’s Research & Education database.
Applied CRO during the design phase of a new website
CRO starts with having clearly defined conversion goals. Based on those goals, CRO strategy can be applied and tested in a design prototype, using a clickable model and a test lab. Or just by field testing a wireframe or content sample. A fun way methodology can be paper prototyping. Just draw your layout, navigation or content and give someone a knife saying ‘this is your mouse, now click’. By watching whey they ‘click’ their knife you get valuable insights on what draws their attention and if- or how you could influence their behaviour in ways that benefit your goals. Of course you will need to be relevant to the user, but assuming you have that covered, this method can help you make that relevance more obvious and navigable when you’re designing your digital marketing interaction, or creating your content. You can also explore persuasive design best practices, but it’s probably best to not move to the dark side of that force.
Pro tip; don’t disrupt user flows by being overly creative and by messing up well established digital affordance principles.
Applied A-B testing during the design phase of a new website
A/B testing can be applied within all three of the above mentioned optimizations during the design phase. For example you can post some content on an existing blog and analyse traffic to test your SEO and keyword strategy. You can launch a trial ad on some advertising networks to assess whether or not it creates clicks, and you can prototype and A/B test some design variations, as long as you keep in mind that the low volume will not generate a sufficiently large statistical basis. Also, be vigilant about possible confirmation bias when doing your testing. Peer reviewing both your plan as well as your results is always a good idea and can help improve both the designs as well as the projects’ success.
During the development phase the different techniques can be used as follows;
During the production phase the different techniques can be used as follows;
Aside from A/B testing your SEA and growth marketing, CRO in a website or app production environment often revolves around the combined usage of techniques like user surveys and interviews, and tools like Google Analytics, Hotjar or Optimizely. The last one is in itself an A/B testing tool. The end goal here being to get that user to stay on your website longer, engage with the content and features more, and to click through to those conversion goals you outlined in the design phase.
Want to approach optimization yourself? Here’s a suggestion of where to start;
Contact us if you feel a Loyals Group professional can help you on your way. Or beyond.
Or, for more information from our specialists on optimization, take a look here:
Neem contact op met onze specialisten Christiaan & Tibor