SEO

Your Conversions Are Falling. What Now?

A significant drop in you conversion rate can send up a red flag quickly. Chances are, your

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See if you can find the search marketer without a disaster plan.

client will be calling you as soon as they log into their analytics. If conversion rate goes down, so do sales. Not to mention that your cost per sale rises.

But don’t panic.

It’s almost inevitable that your site or your client’s site will malfunction at some point. Whether it’s your fault, your developer’s or your client’s, it’s important to have a disaster plan to minimize recovery time. Here’s a guide that you can use to figure out what is wrong ASAP.

What Items To Examine:

Traffic Sources – New traffic sources can play a large role in your overall conversion rates. A new source with a huge amount of traffic can easily sway your conversion rate both positively and negatively. Prior to adding the traffic, set expectations with the stakeholders. Tell them that performance metrics will fluctuate.

You also need to look at your current traffic sources. Second-tier engines frequently add and remove publishers to their networks, causing performance fluctuations.

Page Load Speed – This can be a big factor in your conversions. A longer conversion process requires a minimal load time because people are impatient. Watch the exits and exit rates for pages in your conversion process for signs that pages are loading too slowly. Frequent QA of your conversion path will pay big dividends.

Search Queries – Examine inbound search queries for irrelevant search terms that result in bounces. Query-mining should be done for both organic and paid traffic.
Google can be very liberal with its broad-match keywords, and you could get matched to irrelevant terms. Query for new negative keywords weekly. The same is true for organic keywords. A jump in ranking for an irrelevant search term will probably hurt performance.

Broken Links – A lot can go wrong when you present the opportunity to convert across your entire site. For example, broken links can occur when your site is updated or when your dev team makes changes. Run broken-link tools frequently to stay on top of this.

Targeting Changes – Have there been any major changes in the targeting options of your search or display campaigns? It’s easy to mistakenly change key settings when uploading, editing or copying campaigns from one place to another using tools like Adwords Editor or Adcenter Desktop. It’s a best practice to always log into Adwords or Adcenter and review your campaign settings to make sure there was no error during upload.

Seeing your conversion rate drop is never something you want to deal with, but it can happen. If you have your client on the phone looking for an answer, go through this checklist to rapidly diagnose the problem and get on with the recovery.

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Justin Freid heads up the paid search efforts at TBG Direct (@tpgdirect). Justin is also the founder of Front Street Consulting, a Philadelphia SEO Company. Follow Justin on twitter @justin_freid.

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One thought on “Your Conversions Are Falling. What Now?

  1. Fab tips! It’s amazing the panic that a fall in conversions can create! Its happened to SMEketing and to our clients in the past, but we always find that a little time spent investigating (online, on Google Analytics, talking to the IT dept, investigating changes in the industry, examining seasonal changes) normally always provides the reasons why pretty quickly. It’s always worth taking the time to find out the cause first before jumping head in and buying more ads, changing landing pages etc.