Optimising conversions right from the search result

estate-agentFocusing on conversions usually means looking at what happens on your website once people have arrived, but conversion optimisation can start with the search result. When your site appears in search results, does the headline and description attract the right kind of clicks?

Consider one simple example. A search for ‘wedding planner Southampton’ will reveal a number of relevant websites. Among the results on the first page of Google, how will the searcher decide which one to click on? The text can help you stand out from the competition.


Looking at the two search results above, which one would you be most likely to click on? I would prefer the bottom one, which seems to tell me more about the service while the top one is just full of repetition of the keyword and not really informative.

Holiday homes versus holiday property

Being seen in the right search results is also important. Let’s say, for example, that you are a property company selling villas in Spain. You might think the phrase ‘Spain villas’ or ‘villas Spain’ would be the hero phrase to focus on, but most of the results for that phrase are related to villas for rental. The search engine algorithm knows that the majority of people looking for villas in Spain are looking for holiday accommodation, so it shows rental websites first. If you put all your energy to get your property sales website on page one for that phrase, you might be wasting your time. It would be like trying to sell Pepsi to the cafe at Coca-Cola headquarters.

If you change the phrase to ‘Spain villas for sale’ or even ‘Spain property villa’, the results are dominated by property sales. Understanding how search engines match common phrases to specific types of results can help you ensure you are focusing your keyword strategy on the right phrases.

Bakery shop window

Conversions start from the shop window

Many businesses know that the biggest challenge is getting people through the door. However, you need to get the right people through the door. Search results are your shop window – your way of attracting passing trade and encouraging the right kind of people to visit your website.

See also: How we used machine learning to sell more flowers

If your search result appears to offer what people are looking for, and if the website they land on continues to offer what they are looking for, there’s a better chance that they will continue through to conversion.

Steve Masters profile picture
Steve Masters

Steve (RIP) was Services Director for Vertical Leap. He started professional life as a magazine journalist, working on music magazines and women's titles before becoming a web editor in 1997, then joining MSN to work purely in online publishing. Since 1999 he has worked for and consulted to a broad range of businesses about their digital marketing.

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