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The bridge between conversion optimisation & search engine marketing

February 17, 2016

Tony Grant
Tony is our conversion rate optimisation expert. Tony has an unnatural passion for UX, customer behaviour and data-driven insights.

Driving visitors to your website is great; but turning them into customers is a different kettle of fish.

This article tells you how search engine marketing (SEM) and conversion optimisation work hand-in-hand to achieve your goals.

The role of SEM is pivotal to any company’s digital success. At a basic level, the role of SEM is to increase the amount of qualified traffic driven to your website. The intention is that visitors will end up responding to your specified call to action – which could be to fill out a form, download a brochure or subscribe to a newsletter.

Why you need conversion optimisation to accompany SEM

You have 50,000 visitors to your website. 50% that leave your site without consideration of your product this leaves you with 25,000 visitors.

Industry experts believe between 30-70% of visitors have intent to buy. Around 12,500 realistic visitors ready to purchase.

Your sites conversion rate is 1-2%. You generated 250 transactions/leads, which is great. However, you have 12,250 visitors who did not convert – do you still think increasing acquisition spend is the way forward?

Increased traffic leads to greater online visibility of a product or service, but if a website is not optimised correctly then it is missing key opportunities to convert visibility into action, and visitors into customers.


The shop on a high street

Your website is like a shop on the high street.

So, you have a shop on a busy high street full of people looking for the shops and items they need. SEO & PPC are your shop window, the bright lights and big signs of offers that lure customers into your store. This is where conversion optimisation comes in. Once the customer has been attracted in is the layout of the store and friendly, efficient assistance to help customers find what they need quickly and easily.

Think of conversion optimisation as a systematic approach used to understand, locate and provide solutions improve the layout of your store. Only then can the shop reach maximum customer appeal and function as expected.

How do we improve conversions?

The simple answer is continuous improvement. This starts by collecting data on your website visitors and beginning to analyse their behaviour, which will allow you to uncover key gaps and barriers that tend to reveal why visitors aren’t converting as expected.

Google Analytics allows you to collect data about visitors to the website, which means you can start making crucial commercial decisions based on empirical data. Numbers don’t lie they are ‘fact’ and not what you perceive is happening. You can use Google Analytics to uncover weaknesses in your customer journey.


Look out for:

  • High bounce & exit rates
  • Page loading time
  • Device / browser usage

If you are able to determine what visitors are clicking on and what information engages them, this can provide you with an invaluable insight to make changes and keep testing until you come closer to reaching your goals.

The idea of testing is considered a major part of conversion optimisation and ties in with achieving continuous testing. Visual Website Optimiser (VWO) is an A/B and multivariate split testing tool that identifies winning variations. The importance of testing becomes clear once you embark on your first experiment, you will be fascinated by the results.


Whilst SEM remains an incredibly important aspect to any digital marketing campaign, this is only half the story.

Businesses need to pay close attention to their visitors’ behaviour and allow them to find their way to the checkout easily, with as few barriers as possible.

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