smd 2010

Before Search Marketing Day SEO Conference: interviewing Stephen Pavlovich

The Friday interview with Kaspar Szymański has initiated a series of interviews with the speakers invited to the Search Marketing Day conference that is taking place next week. Today it is Stephen Pavlovich’s turn – an expert on conversion optimization (CRO), with around 800 Twitter followers. Stephen works at the Oxford-based agency Conversion Factory which specialises in conversion optimizing for market niches with high levels of competition. Tell us more about Yourself?

Stephen Pavlovich: I’ve been doing conversion rate optimisation for more than five years. I started out doing SEO for an ecommerce site. When we ranked first for our main keywords, I looked into conversion rates instead. Three months later, sales had increased six times over.

Please make Polish readers familiar with conversion rate optimization (CRO). What are you doing at Conversion Factory?

Conversion rate optimisation is when you improve a website’s sales funnel: from the acquisition of new customers through to lifetime customer value. It means optimising the effectiveness of landing pages, emails and advertising so more visitors do what you want.

At Conversion Factory, we work with clients in industries like gaming, finance and ecommerce. By working together, we increase their conversion rate. This increases their sales – and it also allows them to invest more in SEO, PPC and affiliate marketing.

What is the biggest Conversion Factory’s achievement? What about taking part in CRO project conducted for one of the largest international SEO sites?

We’ve added millions of dollars to our clients’ revenue (our best result was an increase of over $20m). But we don’t name our clients publicly: we don’t want their competition stealing our tactics!

Your favourite CRO myth?

That it’s about testing small changes. It’s not – you should find out the reasons why visitors aren’t converting, and then fix them. There’s a time for testing small changes – but it’s at the end of the process.

Hottest CRO topic at the moment?

CRO is expanding rapidly, so there are plenty lots of hot topics. Personalisation of websites is becoming a big deal. Also, linking conversion with social sites like Facebook and Twitter is becoming much more important.

When should you stray off the white hat CRO path?

It’s possible to do black-hat CRO… but I don’t recommend it. There’s really no need to – it’s much easier, and much more profitable, to build a company that your customers love and want to return to.

How is SEO related to CRO? Can CRO do harm to SEO?

SEO and CRO go together. There’s no point having traffic if you don’t have conversions – and you can’t have a good conversion rate without traffic!

In fact, when a company uses CRO, they often have more money to spend on SEO. Their website is immediately more profitable. This means that they can invest in more links or more ads and still be profitable – and capture market share at the same time.

How long before the actual conference presentation do you finish preparing it? :)

CRO is a fast-moving industry, so it would be bad if I didn’t keep updating it right to the last minute ;)

Search Marketing Day will take place short after SMX Advanced in Seattle, an event full of leaks and novelties. At the same time it is the largest conference in Europe before the summer break. Will your presentation contain an overview of latest changes in SEO?

SMD is primarily a search conference, so my goal is to show people how they can use CRO to increase their market share. In particular, we’ll discuss the psychological tactics that you can use almost immediately to boost your conversion rate.

CRO is cool because…

…it makes everything more profitable: SEO, PPC, social. It holds everything together!

CRO would be better were it not for…

…bad statistics. If I had a penny for every case study posted with misleading data, I’d have about 25p.

Your favourite blog or twitter?

@betfairpoker. This is how corporate Twitter should be done!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>