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Search Engine Optimization with the Conversion Funnel

The conversion funnel of internet marketing is not a web-specific idea. In the years before WWW, it was known simply as the sales funnel. The stages of the conversion funnel can be characterized in the same way as the stages in the sales funnel. These are:

• Awareness
• Interest
• Desire or Decision
• Action

While the specifics of each step will be different for every business, the consumer mindset will always move roughly along these lines. In many cases, there will be specific pages of a website that correlate to each of these stages in the internet marketing conversion funnel. Where search engine optimization focuses solely on the ‘awareness’ phase (an essential activity, but only one piece of the web marketing strategy puzzle), the conversion funnel includes several more steps. Today we are looking at broadly defining the steps, as well as measuring your current success in each and optimizing the funnel overall.

Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action

The awareness step is most often measured by your exposure to the general web surfing public, through search engine optimization and internet marketing. You might measure the ‘awareness’ people have of your brand and products through the number of positions for important keywords on the search engines, or the number of impressions for a banner ad or PPC search engine marketing ad.

Interest is perhaps the easiest part of the conversion funnel to quantify. Any visitor to your site can be considered to have shown ‘interest’. This step can be split further for better accuracy in funnel optimization. Visitors to the home page constitute one level of interest; visitors that look at product specifications or pricing constitute another; visitors that check for physical store locations might constitute another.

When people take more definite steps towards completing the ‘action’, they show a desire. In optimizing your conversion funnel, you might determine this step as filling out a contact form (and hitting submit) or adding a product to the shopping cart. Beginning the checkout process is still within the realms of the ‘desire’ stage.

The ‘action’ is determined by the site wide goal of your web marketing strategy, and a visitor hasn’t reached this stage until they have actually clicked that ‘submit’ button. this stage

How to measure the volume at each stage of the conversion funnel

Use a web analytics tool such as Webtrends, or a free version such as Google Analytics, to define each part of your conversion funnel. Tools like Webtrends offer much more complete business intelligence than free options like Google. Companies have access to customizable reports, expert help with the product, and more accurate data. While Webtrends is considered the gold standard in website analytics, other programs such as Mint and Bango are also popular with some segments of business.

Optimizing each stage of the conversion funnel
Your internet marketing service will use A/B testing, or multivariate testing if your site traffic is high enough, to determine at which stage of the conversion funnel you are losing prospects that would otherwise continue with the process. They will look at page elements like:

• Headline
• Image
• Body copy
• Call to action
• Submit button appearance and placement
• General page layout
• Form length and feat

InetAsia Solutions is a new breed of internet marketing consultancy.Check out our website to find out more about search engine optimization and much more.