Buzzwords. They’re always out there. It’s what everyone’s talking about. Currently, there are two internet buzzwords that, when uttered, come with the assumption you know exactly what they mean. But do you? SEO (which is really three words) and conversion. Has anyone ever said you need to “up your SEO” or “boost your conversion rate?” If so, don’t be alarmed. They’re not being crude. They’re just using (and maybe even showing off a little) their knowledge of the latest internet buzzwords. I recently had a conversation with a children's book author about her business. She said, "my business coach told me I had to do something about my website. He said I need to ‘up my SEO.’ but I don’t really know what that means.” She’s an author, right? She isn’t in the business of computers or technology or internet sales. She wants to continue to write children's books, not morph into a computer geek. She knows though that if she can improve her website, she will undoubtedly increase her book sales. She confessed she was at a bit of a loss. These two buzzwords, SEO and Conversion, go hand in hand. And they are two of the most basic concepts to understand about your website. SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. Forgive me if this seems incredibly obvious, but the search engine is the vehicle that helps you search for something on the internet. Search engine optimization is . . . well, optimizing your website for the way internet users search for what you offer. Let’s say, for example, you sell vacuum cleaners. When someone goes looking for a new vacuum cleaner on the internet, they'll plug “vacuum cleaners” into the search panel, and Google or Bing or Yahoo begins the search. Within a few seconds the search engine produces a list of places to shop for a new vacuum cleaner. The more specific the search—e.g. bagless upright vacuum cleaners—the better defined the search results will be. A search for “vacuum cleaners” on Google yields 385 million results (wow, that’s a lot of places to shop). A search for “bagless upright vacuum cleaners” on Google narrows it down to only 1.69 million results (wow, still a lot.) What does that mean for you, the business owner? It means that the better your website describes what you do or what you sell, the easier it is for the search engine to find you. This, in turn, gives the customers what they’re looking for. The more the search engine keeps finding you when people type in certain keywords and phrases, the better the search engine likes you. Your website’s search engine results keep ranking higher and your business will begin to appear higher on that very long list. You will have optimized your search engine ranking and eventually you would claw your way up on that list of 1.69 million businesses that sell bagless upright vacuum cleaners. Now, SEO is not trickery. It’s honest, straightforward marketing of what your business does. If your business is to provide service and parts for vacuum cleaners, you wouldn’t claim on your website that you sell vacuum cleaners—because you don’t. Conversion is the other half of the equation. Sure, lots of people may land on your website. But if you don’t have what they’re really looking for, the visitor will bounce, meaning they won’t stay on your website long enough to click beyond the home page. They didn’t find what they were looking for at a very quick glance (only a few seconds), so they hit the “X” and they leave your website. It’s the equivalent of someone walking into your store, scanning from the doorway, then turning around and walking out. Didn’t see what they wanted, so on to the next store. If this keeps happening, the search engines figure out that the way you’ve described your product or service has not adequately described what the searchers are searching for. An unscrupulous company might even try to trick searchers with a lot of inaccurate, misplaced keywords and phrases. If your website isn’t written well enough to help browsers find what they’re looking for, not only do you lose potential customers, you also start to lose your search engine ranking. So, if I’m looking for bagless, upright vacuum cleaners, and your website immediately tells me you have them, I’ll stick around. I’ll explore your website, and hopefully buy. Maybe I'll even come back more than once and become a loyal customer. What you’ve done is convert the shopper into a buyer. Conversion is simply getting the customer to buy or sign up or download what you have, based on the idea that that's what the customer came looking for. When your website has an honest, detailed and targeted description of what you sell or what service you provide, you help people find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. And that’s it. You now know the basics of SEO and Conversion and how they can help or hurt your website’s performance. How is your website performing? Do potential customers and clients land on your website and stick around? When was the last time you reviewed the written content of your website? Maybe I can help. Contact me for a free consultation about your website.