Conversion Rate Optimisation
Google Business Profile Management
Table of Contents
What is Conversion Rate Optimisation?
It’s one thing to optimise website for the terms being targeted to attract potential business and clients, but business can leverage the gains made from obtaining more traffic even further by optimising the rate at which those users convert into sales/leads/enquiries.
For example – if you have a website selling “Green Widgets” and you receive 100 visits a day, of which 1 visit results in 1 sale – you have a conversion rate of 1%.
The aim of conversion rate optimisation (also known as “CRO” and/or “split-testing”) is to improve the rate and volume of conversions from the traffic you are getting – i.e. if the changes you make result in the new test page producing 2 conversions per 100 users, your conversion rate will be 2% and you will have effectively increase your conversion rate by 100%, or, doubled the volume of conversions for the same amount of traffic.
Whilst this might sound like a fairly straight-forward premise – it is considerably more complicated to do well. For a start – there are many things that could be changed on individual pages, or across an entire website that will affect the conversion rate.
Customer journey analysis to improve conversion rate is in the game plan of 60% of online marketers.
Understanding Conversion Rate Optimisation
Often, people can be tempted to ask someone else “what’s a good conversion rate for a site in (business type)”?. Whilst this might sound like a good start, the stark reality is that every single website will convert at a different rate – how well another site converts will not correlate well with what you do to your site due to one reason – the number of differences and variables involved is vast – far too vast to be able to categorically say that any particular industry or niche will convert at a given rate.
How does Conversion Rate Optimisation Work?
In short CRO is done by taking an existing page, making one (or more) copies of it, then running the new version(s) in parallel with the original, tracking the results to a point of statistical significance, and then once the experiment is finished – proceed with the “winning” version of the page.
Why should you do Conversion Rate Optimisation?
Ultimately it’s about efficiency of your website – the aim being to increase the number of conversions (leads/sales/subscriptions) from the volume of traffic the site already gets. It’s not unusual to be able to increase revenue more easily by optimising your conversion rate than it is to just throw more traffic or links at a page. One of the main benefits of CRO is that successful test and implementation of the winning version will still be effective as you acquire more traffic – think of it as “an incoming tide raises all boats”.
Requirements for successful conversion rate optimisation
Some of these might sound obvious, yet they are often overlooked by beginners in the field – some initial factors that are essential to be able to optimise your conversion rate.
- A working analytics platform with current data and conversion tracking set up (Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics etc)
- A way in which to test different versions of the same page that doesn’t cause issues with the search engines (if you have 2 or more pages with almost identical content it can cause problems for all the pages involved – there are specific ways to handle this to avoid that confusion)
- A reasonable understanding of how statistical measurement works – primarily “Statistical Significance”
Types/approaches to Conversion Rate Optimisation
There are essentially 2 different approaches to take with CRO, which one you take will likely be dictated by the volume of traffic you already have, and the amount of time you can afford to run the test for.
The first, simplest (and to some extent quickest) way is simple A/B testing. A/B testing in a nutshell involves taking a page you want to improve the conversion rate on, create a copy of it and change ONLY 1 prominent thing on that page and then run both pages at the same time, alternating traffic between the 2 pages. After a period of time you will be able to see which of the pages converted better.
The second method is to run multivariate tests – similar to A/B testing in the sense that you have more than 1 version of a page, but multivariate testing involves running multiple versions of the same page in order to be able to test several different changes at once.
Which Type of Conversion Rate Optimisation Testing is Best?
Neither is any better than the other – the difference between the 2 methods is dictated by the volume of traffic the website gets and the amount of time you can afford to wait to see “statistically significant” results. The term “statistical significance” refers to having sufficient/enough data to be able to state that the outcome of the experiment is based on enough data to make the claim that the result did not happen purely by chance.
A/B testing requires a lot less traffic to reach a threshold at which statistical significance can be calculated, because you are only testing 1 differentiation between 2 pages – whereas, multivariate testing is only really feasible for high traffic sites/pages because you are then comparing many changes across many versions of the page.
What can be tested?
Within reason, it’s possible to run tests on almost anything that can be seen on a page by a user – anything from the general background colour, images, fonts, wording and even page layout.
What should be tested?
As the saying goes – “just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should” applies here. Every website is different, and every company has different needs and expectations. If this is your first time testing, it’s wise to think carefully about what can be changed, what it can be changed to, and what you expect the potential results of that change to be. A good place to start is with CTA’s (Call To Action) text/links/buttons.
Use Conversion Rate Optimisation to Improve the Monetisation of your Existing Traffic
How often or how many tests can I run?
This to some extent depends on the size of the site, the amount of traffic, and the current rate of conversion. Beyond that, you should only run 1 test (or suite of tests if using multivariate testing) per section of the website.
It is possible to run multiple tests concurrently provided the test pages don’t overlap and are not used in multiple tests. It is not uncommon for sites to always have at least one test of some sort running all the time, with other test campaigns ready to run as the previous ones reach statistical significance, or exceed the point at which they are capable of providing a definitive “winner”.
What cannot be tested?
You might think it’s possible to test no end of things, and to some extent that is true – however, some things are not practical to test – a common request is to “test whether having more links to a website page will improve it’s ranking” – A/B and Multivariate tests are not for things like that because it’s not feasible to have 2 (or more) versions of the same page about the same subject on your website and have those pages indexable by the search engines.
(all this would do is confuse the search engine about which page it should rank in the results and likely end up with both/all version of the page dropping in the search results – not an outcome anyone wants at all)
The downsides of conversion rate optimisation
When testing anything there is always a possibility that what you introduce as a test will result in fewer desired actions (i.e. you might decide to change the background colour on your “Buy Now” button from red to green, with the assumption that the green colour is more conducive in encouraging people to buy)
– whilst a negative test result in this context might be disheartening and potentially cost a handful of sales during the test period
– the experiment itself still provides you with the gain in knowledge that that particular test now makes it clear what doesn’t work – leaving you to be able to move on to test something else.
How long do tests take?
Testing time varies massively depending on the volume of traffic and current frequency of conversion, but some ballpark figures for guidance:
Assuming the current conversion rate is around 1%
The page to be tested sees more than 100 users a day
It’s feasible to expect to see a statistically significant result in about 2 weeks if you are running 1 variant in an A/B test environment.
Multivariate testing requires a lot more data to run and is only recommended for pages where daily traffic is substantially higher than that required for A/B testing. Pages with traffic greater than 500 users a day could potentially show results in a few weeks if running only 3 or 4 variants – the more variants you want to run, the more traffic is required for the test to reach statistical significance (a “result”). Bear in mind that as you increase the number of variants, the more traffic per variant will be required.
100% of Google Business Profiles give you the opportunity to build a free website: When creating a GBP, there is an option to also create a basic, free one-page website within the platform. This website can be used to display information about your business, an appointment link and a link direct to your phone number.
Accelerate Revenue Growth with Conversion Rate Optimisation
How can you reach statistical significance more quickly?
In short – it’s down to the volume of traffic the pages to test are getting. There are approaches that can be used to increase traffic to a page legitimately using paid ads/traffic.
Whilst this can be done (literally just set up an ad or content campaign and point it at your test pages), but you need to take into account that paid traffic can often behave differently to other forms of traffic – what appears to be a great result for paid traffic, may well not perform anywhere near as well as traffic only from organic sources, and you would likely see a different outcome again if you look only at traffic from referring sites.
Understanding that different traffic sources will produce different results is important when split testing.
Can/should you stop Conversion Rate Optimisation experiments early?
Often when a CRO test is launched you can see what would appear to be an early winner – which leads some to conclude that their theory was right, end the experiment and declare victory before reaching any statistical significance. Resist the temptation to do this – experienced CRO professionals and statisticians will confirm this can lead to poor assumptions and lead you to make incorrect decisions, and subsequently implement changes that do not have the intended effect.
How do I get started with Conversion Rate Optimisation?
As you can probably tell – there are a number of things to take into account before diving into CRO, and for the tests to be productive, planning, setup and attention to detail are key. There is no fixed, “out-of-the-box” solution that will work for all websites, so we recommend an initial consulting call about the suitability of your site and its current performance in which we can help you decide upon the most suitable platform to use to run and measure your tests, and help you assess where it will be possible to see useful results quickly that should increase your conversions.