A large part of SEO focuses on getting people to your website – but what about after traffic has arrived?
A great deal of time is spent ensuring your website is targeting the right keywords, that you have landing pages set-up to handle this traffic and that both your organic and paid visibility meets the users intent. However, how do you keep people on your page?
More specifically, when you’re trying to reassure users of your credibility, you need some sort of ‘proof’ or reassurance that your advice is genuine. If your website exists to offer some product or service – and you’re looking for users to convert via purchases, sign-ups or some other metrics – how can you let new visitors know that your genuine? For someone who is unfamiliar with your business or service, why should they choose you over someone else?
It isn’t enough just to get them on your website. A good SEO agency will ensure that you have measures to remove any doubt in a visitor’s mind.
As the name suggests social proof refers to elements that proof your service through social means. Often, this means showing other businesses or customers that have previously used your business and are happy with it.
There are a few ways you can do this:
- Use social media to highlight positive reviews, responses and experiences
- Use logos and brand names from businesses or organisations that have used your service
- Mention any rewards you’ve received, or publications that have praised you
- Use sheer values, such as the number of users/products sold
How impactful is this? If you’re selling a product or service that has hesitant customers, showing that they are not the first to use a product makes a big difference.
Case in point: Voices.com increased conversion rates by 400% in 2009. A big part of this was due to adding social proof – using the logos of well known enterprises that they work with – on their site.
Reviews fulfil a similar niche to social proof, but they go into more detail and can often be aggregated into a one-glance feature. It’s why the likes of TrustPilot are used on various websites. With just one quick look, users can tell what your average reviews are like.
In fact, studies suggest that more reviews – even negative ones – can be beneficial. After all, a product that has over 30 reviews has been used plenty of times, where as a product with a a handful, or even zero, reviews looks uncertain.
Furthermore, external reviews can also feed you traffic, as well as improve your organic listings if your name and link appear on various platforms.
Yotpo also found similar results in a massive case study. Looking at 30,000 businesses, they found reviews where a strong factor in organic page visits.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with posting select reviews, either. Similar to company logos, testimonials and direct review snippets can be a powerful convincer. However, this is something that needs to be selective and used correctly. Don’t overload your website with reviews, as the emphasis should still very much be on your own text, images and products.
There’s a strong trend these days known as FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out. In other words, many people are more likely to purchase if there’s a possibility of missing a chance to do so later.
It’s also why sales and promotions work well, as well. By limiting the period these products are at a better rate, people feel more pressure to buy now, rather than later.
This is why many shops highlight how much of a given product is left in stock, or why Groupon shows how much time is left on a given deal.
It can also be used with selective targeting. Ticketmaster used it with users that have looked at specific events, but didn’t purchase a ticket, reminding them of how much time they had left to book. The result? A 7.46% increase in conversions.
Obviously, this is only useful for tangible products. If you’re trying to get people to sign-up or download a service, this won’t work. You’re not going to run out of downloadable files or e-mail sign-ups, so this technique would look out of place. However, when you have limited stock numbers, use this to your advantage.
Add FAQ - Answer Questions Pre-Emptively
When you know a large portion of your users will likely have the same questions, why not just go ahead and answer them?
This way, users aren’t left uncertain and you’ve demonstrated a sound understanding of your target customer, helping to create a smoother relationship. Adding an FAQ page worked for the charity Kiva, giving them an 11.5% increase in conversions!
From an SEO perspective, you can do a lot of research here. Look at competing websites, forum questions and even keyword tools such as answer the public to determine what the most common questions are. But it’s not all about targeting keywords – use your own intuition and experience to answer questions that you know will get asked.
Alternatively, if you’re willing to try some A/B testing, you could try breaking down FAQ segments, offering select information on specific pages. You could try including the most important details on specific product pages. This is one solution for stores that have a multitude of products, as a combined, generic FAQ page would have too many product-specific questions. Save the main FAQ for important information, such as purchasing, delivery and other generic requests.
Putting It All Together
While this sounds like a lot, it really is only a few minor tweaks here and there. In essence, you’re optimising your site by adding key markers that either confirm that others have used your website or service, or you’re answering any questions or concerns your users might have.
Whichever options you choose – and it’s often best to try different combinations – placement is also key. These social proofs, reviews and FAQs need to be somewhere where your users can readily find them. If they’re not above the fold on your home page, will users scroll down to see them?
Many of these elements are not things people directly seek out, yet having them clearly displayed puts them at ease straight away. Don’t hide them.