When SEO, PPC and User Experience Meet – Wildcard Friday

By Nik


I bring this concept up for a reason; not enough online store owners follow-through with their ideas. In other words, a great promotional idea is not messaged in their advertising, or great e-mail ads are not represented on the site. Getting sales from your marketing is all heavily weighed on meeting expectations.

Here, we’re looking at a pretty common SEO issue. One of the short-comings of SEO is that websites very often have to utilize their homepage for the most important terms of their inventory, but the terms don’t represent the entire inventory, just small pockets of it. Sometimes there’s a terrible disconnect between what a person was promised by the search result and what they actually see. When typing in the term “shoes” for example, they get a site that has shoes, dresses and so much more. But this visitor just wanted shoes. Now they must navigate to the shoe section. Very often, they need to look through navigations that give no great prominence to the link that relates to the top searched term for that page.

The static fix is easy. Here we’re looking at Zappos – this is what shows up when you click on Zappos after typing in “shoes” into Google. Zappos has made sure to utilize a highly prominent portion of the space to take a visitor to their shoes sections. But it’s still not nearly as nice as their women’s shoes page. It would be a bad idea to forward a user to the shoes page, but not such a bad idea to forward the user experience to the homepage. So there’s a dynamic solution for that. Zappos can introduce their more user friendly elements from their shoes page in the homepage when a visitor enters through this type of keyword. That would help connect the experience to the expectation better. Utilize keyword triggered experiences is a difficult task and one that requires extensive coding, research and testing to get it to a point where you are improving conversion rate and not disturbing the optimal balance of your website.

Pre-visit messages are very important. They set expectations of promotions as well. Here, we’re looking at a current Macy’s scenario. I typed in “shoes macy’s” into Google and was returned 2 pieces of advertising. Correctly, Macy’s has utilized PPC as a vehicle to communicate real-time promotions. This is a great practice – you should always utilize PPC as a vehicle to set that expectation. In many cases, that’s the difference between PPC and SEO and a major reason to be visible in both areas. SEO results here showcase value propositions, but it is difficult to control when a meta description will be indexed and published by Google, so trying to make changes to short-term promotions is very difficult and not a very good practice. On the other hand, if there was a standard shipping policy that Macy’s offered, it would be good to put that in the meta description. That’s not the case.

But there is indeed more to this case. I clicked through the PPC ad for “Free Ship w/ $75 Order Online Today!”. Unfortunately, as soon as I clicked through the ad, I was shown a different ad: one that quashed my initial enthusiasm. I was now being told that free shipping was only for orders over $99. Well – before I end up in the shopping cart with a sign that says I need $300 in my cart to get free shipping, I would probably leave. Making sure your connections between your advertising and your actual on-site promotions are in tune with one another.

Getting your SEO, PPC and Conversions in line is a difficult task. So often, the greatest challenge is communication. Well, take it from us: it can be accomplished. Typically, our clients entrust their entire SEO, PPC, Conversion and E-Mail Marketing with our team so that we can work together in the right way.

You should do the same:

  1. For SEO, aim for the right keyword to the right page with the right message. Tie your description to longer promotions to get the most of your SEO investment and set motivating expectations.
  2. On the PPC end, make sure you properly (hint to Macy’s) message your pay per click ads. Stick with timeliness because it makes all the difference in the world. When you have longer promotions, invest in several different messages to optimize through the lifecycle of that promotion. That’s a great opportunity to make more from your investment.
  3. On the conversion end, be cognizant of the different sources of traffic that are bringing you visitors. Expectations will range from one source to the next and for sources like SEO, the expectations will have a great variance there within. Utilize multivariate testing wherever possible to overcome the hurdles and realities of SEO and the lack of control you may have from other sources of traffic. Connecting with the users expectations is a must and can be difficult.

If you’re looking to optimize your site experience through multivariate testing, give us a call and we’ll show you the right approach to getting the most from all your marketing efforts. Same goes for making sure that your PPC efforts are always representing the right message at the right time. If you’re looking to grow your revenue with the leading marketers of online stores, call us at 800-504-4324.

Thank you, have a wonderful Wildcard Friday and enjoy the weekend!