If you’re like most search mar­keters and adver­tis­ers, your goal is to acquire new cus­tomers, new clients, and/or drive online sales. Your suc­cess is based on dri­ving online traf­fic, but more impor­tantly, on dri­ving online sales/clients/leads. So how much time do you spend on acqui­si­tion vs. conversion?

If you’re spend­ing money to drive users to your site, you should also be mak­ing sure that those users are con­vert­ing. This can be done by opti­miz­ing the entire path, from the key­word to the ad to the land­ing page, in a process I like to call Path Opti­miza­tion. Path Opti­miza­tion means that you are opti­miz­ing both your acquisition-driven SEM cam­paigns and conversion-driven land­ing pages, together. This cov­ers a user’s entire path from the search engine through to the land­ing page conversion.

Here are some sug­ges­tions to help you get started:

  1. Mes­sage Match: Is your ad copy reflected on your land­ing page?
  2. The Search Fun­nel: Do the key­word, ad copy and land­ing page all speak to the same user intent and stage in the search fun­nel (infor­ma­tion, con­sid­er­a­tion,  trans­ac­tion)? Tip: If you’re a Retail com­pany and your “infor­ma­tion” fun­nel key­words aren’t con­vert­ing, con­sider iden­ti­fy­ing a sec­ondary met­ric which may be more appro­pri­ate, such as newslet­ter or email reg­is­tra­tions. Or, lower goals as appro­pri­ate know­ing that 80% of searches are in this cat­e­gory, and are the least likely to con­vert com­pared to the other two stages in the funnel.
  3. Bounce Rate: Are there SEM land­ing pages with high bounce rates? Is it pos­si­ble the bounce rate is high due to inef­fi­cien­cies with #1 and #2 above rather than the land­ing page itself?

As an online adver­tiser, our work doesn’t stop with traf­fic. We need to ensure those site vis­its con­vert. We can increase ROI by opti­miz­ing both acquisition-driven SEM cam­paigns and conversion-driven land­ing pages, and we need to look at both.

I’d love to hear what your expe­ri­ence has been with Path Opti­miza­tion. Please leave a com­ment and tell me what’s worked well for you.