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Why is my Conversion Rate so Low?

Advertisers often wonder how they can improve their Conversion Rates and without doing a full diagnostic review of a website, it's hard to say exactly what should be done to improve Conversion Rates.  However, there are four quick areas that I always look to first when trying to improve Conversion Rates; Keywords; Ad Copy, Content, and Technical.



Do the Keywords you bid on closely relate to your products/services?  If so, I'd say you're off to a good start.  If not, it's wise to only bid on Keywords that do closely relate to your product/service.  Searchers are seeking a specific solution to their need and if your site doesn't relate to the Keyword they searched on, chances are they'll leave right away.  By bidding on relevant Keywords, you'll be able to attract the right, qualified traffic who can interact with your website and evaluate your products/services.


Besides the Keywords you think are relevant to your business, you should also look at the Keywords that your customers think are relevant to the product/service they're looking for - what are they searching for?  For example, I might be a landscaping company and only bid on different "landscaping" Keywords, but maybe my customers are searching for words such as "lawn maintenance service" or "professional grass mowing service."  This is just one example, but the main point to know is that there are many variations and synonyms of words that searchers type in when researching.  Making sure you find all of those variations will not only help you attract more traffic, but it could also help you attract more qualified traffic that will convert.


Finally on Keywords - make sure you're using Negative Keywords to block your Ads from serving for searches that do not closely relate to your business.  Again, using the landscaping example from above - let's say that your landscaping company only wants to attract new 'commercial' accounts, you could use Negative Keywords for words such as 'residential' to try to restrict your Ads from showing to customers searching for residential landscaping companies. 


Tip: Use Google’s Keyword Planner and Search Terms Report to find new Keywords and potential Negative Keywords to add.


Ad Copy

Ad Copy is the first thing a customer sees about your business and it should be used to only attract qualified searchers.  Searchers who be interested in your Keywords, but not in the market to make a Conversion from you, are probably not the searchers you want clicking on your Ads.  

To improve Conversion Rates and attract qualified searchers, Ad Copy should:  

  1. Cleary identify the products/services you're offering
  2. Set searchers expectations on what they can find on your site
  3. Answer the question the searcher is seeking
  4. Accurately describe your business and products/services

When writing Ad Copy for Conversion Rate, it's less important to focus on Click Through Rate (CTR), and more important to focus on Conversion Rates.  Yes, CTR can help with your Quality Scores, but if the Copy is misleading and you receive Clicks but no Conversions, you're probably not going to be too happy with your ROI.  From an ROI standpoint, you only want to attract searchers who have a strong chance of converting from you.


If Ad Copy clearly states what searchers can expect to find on your site, if it clearly states the nature of your business, if it informs searchers of your promotions, if it clearly defines what products/services you offer, you have more likelihood to attract qualified searchers who will convert. 



Content optimization could be a whole separate article because when it comes to websites, Content truly is king, especially when it comes to improving Conversion Rates.  Once you attract qualified searchers who are ready to convert, they have to be able to easily convert on your site.  Websites need to provide the right information and make it easy for searchers to find what they're looking for.  Keywords and Ad Copy can funnel prospective customers to a website, but the Content needs to "close the deal."  Here are 9 areas to review as it relates to the content on your site - 

  1. Key Information Above-the-Fold - after searchers land on your Landing Pages, is the information they're looking for above-the-fold, or do they have to scroll to find it?  Make the important product information directly in front of searchers when they visit your Landing Pages.
  2. Thorough Details - make sure your site is content-rich and provides accurate, thorough descriptions of your business, and your products/services.  Offer images, videos, specifications, ratings and reviews, etc.  Give customers as much information and data as you have so that they can make informed decisions.  Not only will this give them information, but it will instill confidence in them and help them feel comfortable about doing business with you.
  3. Product/Service Availability - if you're an eCommerce site, are your products in stock?  If you're providing a service, make sure that customers can schedule an appointment/hear back from you in a quick timeframe.
  4. Value – make sure that your products/services provide a good value for searchers.  Don’t necessarily focus on being the lowest price, but focus on providing the best value to your customers (and make sure your website tells them what that value is).
  5. Checkout Process – the next step for a searcher to take after visiting your Landing Pages should be clear to them.  Make sure your “next step” buttons stand out to searchers and they know exactly how add an item to a cart and checkout/complete a lead form.
  6. User Experience – your website should be simple to navigate and be aesthetically pleasing for searchers to look at.
  7. Unique Content – your website should offer unique content that is exclusive to your business.  
  8. Contact Details – make sure that your contact details are easy for searchers to find.  If searchers have questions, provide an easy for them to interact with you.
  9. Shipping/Return Details – (applies mainly to eCommerce) prominently display your shipping information and costs, and let searchers know how they can return something and what your return policy is.


Content is so important to drive Conversions that you should consider content optimization as never-ending.  Always be on the look-out for how you can make your site’s content better.  Consider running Google Content Experiments to test different variables.



Finally, make sure your Landing Pages and website are technically sound.  Technically sound means that there are no barriers from a technology standpoint that would prohibit, or deter, searchers from converting.  Here are four quick areas to review - 

  1. Page Load Time - make sure that your pages load quickly and that all images and graphics are clearly displayed to searchers.  If pages take too long to load, searchers are going to leave.  You can see your page load time in your Google Analytics Account, or by using Google’s Page Speed Insights.
  2. Mobile Optimized - make sure if you receiving mobile traffic that your site renders well on mobile device.  Also, make sure that searchers can complete a Conversion on mobile devices.  If not, you may consider using a mobile bid demultiplier.
  3. Browser Capability - make sure that your website, and all the images, videos, functions, and features, are available in all browsers, especially the top browsers your traffic is coming from.
  4. Simple Checkout/Form Completion Process - make sure that your system allows searchers to easily, and confidently, checkout/complete your form.  This includes, but is not limited to: secure ordering, simple and short forms, and do not require any unnecessary information and steps.



In closing, the four areas above do guarantee success or high Conversion Rates, but they're a great place to start when looking for ways to improve.


about Brian Valentini

Chicago-based husband and father who likes sports, traveling, and laughing. Excited about the field of Digital Marketing, especially Paid Search. Work-life = Vice President/Director of Search Marketing at DigitasLBi, a global digital marketing and technology agency.

Neha Gupta Top Contributor
February 2014
Amazing Stuff!
Rakesh Kumar Top Contributor
February 2014

Great tips for improving conversion rate. It would be wonderful source for all advertsiers.

February 2014

Thank you, Neha & Rakesh!

Nisal L Rising Star
February 2014

Nice one. Thanks alot Smiley Happy