Brands have heard for years that they need to make crucial changes to their site to remain competitive. From more user-generated content, to mobile responsiveness, to offering a dozen different payment options, the alterations are made … to no avail. There’s no surge in non-branded site visitors — let alone any notable lift in sales — but they continue to spend more on other traffic-building opportunities with the hope of increasing conversions.

The thing is, just like any part of a digital marketing strategy, there’s no quick fix for increasing search rankings or improving conversion rates. Brands have to take a step back and spend their resources on understanding the unique SEO and CRO roadblocks they’re facing, and how to growth their online market share and, ultimately, demand.

The solutions for this all-too-common problem were revealed on 24th August, when 55 digital marketers from varying industries joined our exclusive breakfast event in Toronto. The gathering was hosted by two of our Ayima Vancouver team members — SEO Director Karen Bone and Senior CRO Specialist Kamil Kholousi — in partnership with the Canadian Marketing Association.

Throughout their discussion, Karen and Kamil took a deep dive into site changes they have helped to implement for a number of clients during their careers. This helped to highlight the hidden and frequently overlooked layers that can wreak havoc on a business’s efforts — and how to fix them.

The core of their message was understanding how a search engine works, which is a fundamental aspect of making any site changes. As Karen noted, years of making changes without a proper strategy can lead to layers of unwanted pages being crawled and left behind in a search engine’s index. It’s something she’s seen far too many times, she said, where brands are unaware of what’s actually been stored in the index — and what’s being shown to users.

Karen then outlined a step-by-step approach for how to clean out any unwanted pages from being crawled or indexed. This forces the search engines to see only the pages you want them to see, placing a higher value on those specific pages (authority) and no longer diluting their value across unwanted or duplicate pages. The result is a website with higher authority, more relevant pages appearing for search queries, improved keyword rankings, and an increase in traffic to a brand’s site.

Of course, to capitalize on that uptick in user interest, sites must be properly optimized for conversions, which is where Kamil took over. He emphasised that brands need to stop looking externally when they’re trying to have an impactful test hypothesis. Instead, he stressed the need to look inwards and find out what is truly important to a site’s visitors. Brands must learn to understand the roadblocks facing their users, because only then can they expect to create a bold enough hypothesis that impacts conversion.

Don’t simply remove those roadblocks, Kamil notes. Instead, learn how they may have impacted user motivation. Doing so can present opportunities to optimize the conversion path, such as when and how brands should present value propositions. This makes all the difference when converting potential customers, because as Kamil said, “It’s not the message, but how you deliver the message that sets you apart.”

When you consider that 69% of Canadians use search engines to make a purchase decision, it’s no surprise that Kamil and Karen hosted a packed house that morning. That’s a massive audience for brands to capitalise on, making it more important than ever for them to understand how they can maximise online sales.

We want to give a major thanks to the Canadian Marketing Association for partnering with us for this event, and we’re looking forward to hosting more in the coming months.

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