February 20, 2008
Most marketers would be thrilled with an SEO strategy that delivers a 240% improvement in Web traffic. But converting more of those visitors into leads is even better.
One marketer built on the success of an SEO campaign with tactics to maintain traffic and increase conversions. Includes a new content strategy with a link-building campaign and homepage design tests that lifted leads 58%.
Poland-based Argos Translations redesigned its website in 2006 with a search engine optimization strategy and saw a 240% boost in Web traffic. But Marketing Manager Michael Malik wasn’t satisfied.
“The increased traffic is great. It’s something you can show off to management. But more traffic doesn’t do anything for your business unless it converts,” says Malik.
Argos caters to businesses in need of document translation, foreign language voice-over talent and other services. Malik used keyword-rich content and enhanced page headers and description tags to boost Web traffic. But for 2007, he needed to develop other tactics that would keep Web traffic flowing while converting more visitors into leads for the sales team.
To keep boosting Web traffic and convert more leads, Malik and his team turned to a new combination, including:
o New content
o Page design tests
o Additional SEO tactics, such as link-building
Here are the four strategies they used:
-> Strategy #1. Develop new language versions of the website
The company’s customer base is primarily US- and UK-based firms that do business in Europe, so their website was originally written in English. Malik wanted to branch out to Eastern European companies that needed translation services, so they created two new language versions of the website: Polish and German.
- To optimize the new versions, Malik and his in-house team of translators conducted Polish Web searches to identify key words and phrases for their services. The list was sent to a colleague fluent in German for translation into that language.
- They double-checked those terms with online services that help identify keywords. The process identified approximately 30 terms per language.
-> Strategy #2. Create new white paper to qualify leads
Next, Malik and his team developed a white paper that would resonate with their UK-based customers: how banks, airlines, telecommunications providers and other companies could capitalize on a recent wave of Polish immigrants moving to Britain.
In particular, the white paper focused on the best way to take advantage of this economic opportunity: Reach recent immigrants by marketing to them in their native language.
Visitors could read only a portion of the article online; they had to provide a name, email address and phone number to download a PDF of the entire article.
Malik identified key words and phrases from the text that would position the white paper on search engines, such as:
o Poles in the UK
o Polish immigrants
o Immigration in Britain
o British economy
Then, they used those terms in the page header and description.
-> Strategy #3. Boost incoming links from relevant sites
Search engines analyze the number and relevance of incoming links to help assign a website’s natural search results. To maintain the rankings achieved through the previous year’s SEO efforts, Malik increased the number of links back to the Argos homepage.
Here’s how they did it:
Step #1. Conduct searches on the company’s top 20 keywords and find the top-10 sites in the search results.
Step #2. Analyze all websites linking back to those 10 sites and identify the ones with the highest Google page rank.
Step #3. Send emails to the most relevant and highly-ranked third-party sites asking to trade links.
The email message was a straightforward explanation of the company’s intentions, saying Malik’s team had found the site on the Web and noticed it provided a link to one of their competitors. It then explained why linking to Argos would also be relevant and offered to trade links between the two pages.
-> Strategy #4. Test design and placement options for links to Web forms
Besides the white paper, Malik’s team used two other primary features to collect contact information from site visitors:
o Request form for free translation quote
o Online promotions, such as 20% discount for new customers, that require registration
They conducted several A/B tests to determine whether changes to the design and placement of those links on the homepage would boost conversion rates.
o Placing links in the top left, top right, center left or center right of the page
o Using an image of a cake, a flower or a piggy bank for the online promotions link
o Using a photograph of a man’s face or a woman’s face for the quote- request link
Malik didn’t expect another year of triple-digit traffic growth. But he didn’t want traffic to stagnate either -- and the 2007 efforts paid off:
o Web visits increased 24%
o Page views increased 34%
o Bounce rate decreased 12%
o Time on site increased 46%
They also converted more of that traffic -- their primary goal. Web leads increased 58%. “As happy as I was in 2006, in 2007 I was ecstatic for having leads go up,” he says.
The Polish and German versions of the page were big contributors to the traffic growth. Web traffic increased 30% month-over-month after launching those new versions and that increase has been sustained into 2008.
The white paper also provided a big boost, becoming the fifth most visited page on the company’s site.
Tests on placement and design options for its promotions and quote- request links showed that the center left of the homepage was the best location. The image of the piggy bank for promotions and a picture of a woman’s face delivered the best conversions.
The results of the link exchange program have proved difficult to analyze. Malik knows the campaign generated new inbound links for the Argos homepage, but he can’t be sure exactly how many because each time he checks Google to see new links he finds different results. He suspects the ever-changing nature of Google’s site-indexing program causes those fluctuations.
Malik has seen evidence, however, that new links are improving the site’s search engine rankings. Two months after launching the link-exchange campaign, the site’s rank for the term “localization services” improved from a top-30 placement to a top-10 placement.
The 2007 results demonstrate the value of building on SEO results. And Malik and his team have already identified a strategy for this year: they’re focusing on additional homepage design tests and techniques to further improve conversion rates.
Useful links related to this article
Creative samples from Argos Translation’s SEO Campaign:
Wordtracker - helped identify Polish key phrases: