There's no arguing that optimization is important, allowing your marketing to target the right people and ensure search engines celebrate your content. But could your efforts to make the most of your content actually be harming it in the long run?
Don’t let data lead you astray
Optimizing your content, whether a landing page or blog posts, helps it to be seen by people who will be genuinely interested by what you have to offer. But just because this is directing readers to your website doesn't mean it will have the impact you want it to have. These micro-conversions, such as signing up to a newsletter or submitting contact details, can be misleading.
For example, if your analytics show that certain blog posts are bringing a lot of visitors to your website, who then subscribe to the newsletter, you may think this is a marketing win. This encourages you to keep doing more of the same, which both limits your creativity and also limits how far visitors progress in the user journey.
An increase in micro-conversions doesn't necessarily mean your users are getting closer to more meaningful actions, and they may not even be quality leads.
Think about your customer experience
A lot of the tips and tricks used to boost the performance of your content are useful but it's important that you think about how they impact your brand before you adapt your marketing strategy.
Advice around limiting your online copy and removing unnecessary navigation or CTAs is typically based on making the user journey as streamlined as possible, making it easy for visitors to access what they need to. However, limiting yourself to what you can put on your website can very much damage your conversions if you're not thinking about your consumers.
- Why are they on your website?
- Where did they come from?
- What do they need?
Answering these three questions should be at the heart of any website design. If you don't know the answers, you should prioritize consumer research until you understand more about their motivations and pain points.
You should definitely focus on being as concise as possible (nobody wants to read a short essay before finding out how to buy your product) but this shouldn't come at the expense of giving consumers the information they need. Without this, your visitors may make micro-conversions but they're unlikely to make more meaningful actions, like a purchase. You shouldn't be bound to any 'rule' of optimization if it means limiting the value consumers can get from your content.
Beware of short-term conversion boosts
Incentives or competitions that aim to boost a brand can be an effective way to increase conversions but you need to ensure there are measures in place to make this a long-term relationship. It's unlikely that customers will do anything beyond micro-conversions as part of a competition so you need to find a way to make the most of this sudden enthusiasm for your brand.
For example, if you want people to sign up for your newsletter in order to be entered into a prize draw, ensure you have an email marketing campaign planned based on taking consumers from this interest stage to further down the marketing funnel.
Initiatives are a great way to boost brand awareness but they won't develop into a long-term relationship on their own.
Get to know your customers
The key to any marketing strategy is truly understanding your consumers. Optimization is important to get your content seen but you also need to do this in a way that doesn't compromise the value customers get from you. Practices like including keywords can help your content appear to your target audience but this should be part of a wider content marketing strategy that answers key questions or challenges your consumers face.