By Tom Kuthy, VP, Strategic Partnerships

To many practitioners in our industry, search marketing is defined by two basic disciplines: pay-per-click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO). Undoubtedly, PPC and SEO are powerful marketing tools and the expert provision of those services has led to fantastic ROI for many of our clients. However, I believe that the ultimate search marketing tool is Web Conversion Optimization (WCO).

WCO is the art of getting web site visitors to take an action that the website owner wants them to take. That action may be making a purchase, filling out a lead form, downloading a brochure, or simply interacting with some crucial content. A visitor that simply “bounces” out of the site before they take the desired action is of very little value to most marketers.

In my opinion, search marketing professionals who do not offer services designed to get site visitors to take action (i.e. “convert”), are not offering their clients a full suite of search marketing tools. However, WCO not only rounds out the services that all web marketers need, it also happens to provide the absolute highest potential for ROI.

That is a pretty bold statement, so let me back it up with a simple illustration. The following example is actual Omniture data from a prospective client for one month last year. A hypothetical increase of 20% in conversion rate is compared to a 20% increase in paid or natural visitors:

Click to view larger image.
Website Conversion Optimization Impact

As the above example illustrates, a 20% improvement in conversion rates delivers 7 to 9 times as many incremental orders as 20% increase in paid or natural traffic. That is the POWER of WCO!


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