How to Make Them Stay: SEO, Avocado Toast and Growing Your Online Influence

They Came to My Website But Then They Left

How do you turn website visitors into customers? Search Engine Optimization is not just about getting your website to show up in a Google search result because Search Impressions are meaningless if people don’t visit your site. It’s almost as bad if people visit your site and then quickly leave. You need to lay out the welcome mat and then make it easy and inviting for visitors to take whatever next step is logical for your business. That could mean signing up for an email newsletter, booking a phone call, or following me I mean YOU on social media.

Right now your website visitor is not yet a customer. Your ultimate goal is to convert visitors to customers/clients who invest. If you try to force that step too quickly however, they will likely leave and not be back. What to do?

Don’t Be Creepy: a Conversion Case Study in Avocado Toast

If your SEO is working well, a website visitor has arrived on your site because search results suggested that your pages and posts could solve the problem or answer the question this person has. Let’s consider a cooking blog.

I Google “avocado toast recipe” and my attention is drawn to the website of a food blogger. So far I see the meta title (1), meta description (2) and perhaps a picture of the finished recipe.
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Hmmm… that looks like some delicious avocado toast. I click on the search result and am taken to the website of someone who nailed it in the first step of SEO–getting their site to show up well in search results–Minimalist Baker.

Clearly Minimalist Baker knows about more than just rockin’ avocado toast because there are 3 elegant calls to action on her site that in no way make me feel like I’m being backed into the corner at a party by someone a little too zealous to sell me insurance.

Number 1:
At the top of the page, a catchy question: “Need Dinner Ideas?”
Probably if I’m Googling recipes I do. Minimalist Baker has a solution for me: I can sign up for an eBook.

Number 2:
Next to that tantalizing image of smashed avocado is a button where I can subscribe for email updates. I like this approach because the button is easy to find but it’s not assuming too much– I haven’t made the toast yet. I don’t know if I want to subscribe or not.

Number 3:
More FREE stuff: an entirely free cookbook? 100% delicious? Cool. Even if I haven’t made the toast yet, maybe I’ll get this free thing while I’m here.

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increase-web-traffic-example

What’s in this for me? Well, I came for avocado toast and I’m leaving with a bunch of free recipes and more ideas delivered to my inbox. Probably I’ll be back too — it was so much fun. Thanks Minimalist Baker!

Lessons in Building a Brand from the Baker

Since this is an SEO blog and not a food blog, let’s talk about why this food blogger’s website is such a good example of converting visitors to customers/clients/followers. First, you can have more than one call to action. Second, calls to action can be small steps– notice in this example I was never asked to actually buy something. That could be too much too soon. Finally, I was invited in but never aggressively forced into a decision to commit. She invested in me, the site visitor by giving me something free. It wasn’t entirely free because I had to pony up my email address. Email addresses mean that she now has another way to engage with me where she can send me content. I’ve moved beyond anonymous site visitor. I’ve been “converted” and she’s building a brand.

Remember That Pioneer Lady?

There’s a long history of bloggers who leverage an impressive following into greater opportunities. Consider the brilliant blogging success story of Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman. Drummond started a blog back in 2006 about her life homeschooling on a ranch. She featured original content, photos and her own recipes. Today, she is a published author, photographer and TV personality. Her blog has millions of followers. More potent than any promoted flash sale, expensive Google adWord or stunning website image is a growing list of dedicated followers.

But Be Cool With Your Call To Action!

If you move in too soon on the Call to Action, you’ll lose me. Had Minimalist Baker chosen a popup that instantly blocked the recipe and asked if I wanted to join her email list, my answer would have been no. “I just got here, don’t rush me.” I’m all for Popups but when using these wonderful little nuggets of JavaScript, timing is key. You need to build some trust with your site visitor before asking them to take action. At the same time, make sure your call to action isn’t buried in several steps. It’s kind of like making a customer walk all over a store to find something they are looking for. They may become frustrated and just order it on Amazon.

It’s About Building a Relationship

With all of these websites, social media platforms and eCommerce sites, the internet is by default a pretty impersonal place. If your site is different– if it makes a visitor feel welcomed and engaged, you will set yourself apart from your competitors. You will build relationship and that can do amazing things for the success of your business. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go make some avocado toast.

Quick SEO: If You Only Have Five Minutes

A Fast and Powerful Shot of SEO

Search Engine Optimization is an incredibly powerful tool to grow your business and quick SEO as an overall strategy is not advisable. But taking action–even if it’s small is so much better than doing nothing! Today, I present a fast, furious and effective hit of SEO to wet your appetite. Do it! You have nothing to lose, other than 5 minutes and it might be the 5 minutes that land you your next big client!
Quick SEO Shots of Greatness

#1. Does Your Web Page Have a Call To Action?

It’s great to see big numbers on web impressions and site visits but you really know you’ve got a website that works for you when website visitors are taking a next step to connect with you. This area is a really important one and worth more than 5 minutes of your time, but to get the ball rolling and feel a sense of accomplishment TODAY, add a link to your desired “next step” on one or more of your web pages in the main content– not the sidebar widget or footer area.

It could be a simple link taking the user to your contact page:
Contact Starcatcher Creative

Or it could be a button a visitor clicks to schedule a complimentary consulation:
Schedule a Consultation

Or it could be more interactive. Popups can be annoying but if done tastefully, they are a great option for user experience.
One of my favorite WordPress plugins is Popup Maker. You can check out the documentation here for this free and flexible plugin.

#2. Run a Reading Ease Test on Your Website Content

I love reading Hemingway but not when I’m researching products and services on the web. Interestingly your SEO can be dinged if your writing is too complicated. Copy and paste the content of your web page(s) into a Flesch readability tester. I like Readable. You can even get information like how positive or negative your writing is and whether it sounds more feminine or masculine. Know your audience and make sure your content reads well for your target demographic in addition to scoring well.

#3. Who Are Your Biggest Competitors On the Web?

You probably have a good sense of who some of your competitors are but do you know how their websites are performing compared to your own? I love the search tool www.serpchecker.com. Enter the search phrase that you want to research and see a list of top performing websites. Lots of customizations available within the site and a paid tier with tons more searches provided. Warning: this site can be addictive if you are a competitive person! Quick SEO Competitor Research

#4. Quick SEO Local Checkup

If your business is focused mostly on local clients, a simple and very powerful step is to make sure that your mailing address is on your website. You can link to a Google map if you want but just having your address there provides a point of authentication and can help your business show up higher in search results for potential clients searching in your city. Speaking of, do you have a Google My Business account setup? If not, drop those tacos you’ve been eating since number 3 and go do it now! This is huge huge HUGE for a quick, SEO conquest.

#5. And Finally, Know the Numbers

In order to see how effective these 5 minute shots of SEO Greatness are for you, check your Google Analytics account. If you haven’t been there for a while, spend a few minutes looking at the graphs showing your site’s performance over the past 7 days, 3 months and year. Google Analytics for Quick SEOIf you see positive changes at certain points think back to what you were doing at that time… did you get noticed on another blog or news site? Did you run a promotion? Does your business peak at certain times of the year such as summer vacations, new years resolutions or camping gear? Understanding the trends around your website traffic can go a long way in terms of helping you use your future five minute bursts in ways that will benefit your business.