Article: How One Word Or Even One Letter Can Boost Conversion Rates By Over 400

by Eric Graham

Recently I was reviewing the keyword specific conversion rate data of a consulting client of mine. I have been working with this client for a few months now, helping her improve the sales conversion rate of her website and we have had very good results, taking average conversion rates at her site from below 1 to just over 4.3.

(Your sales conversion rate is simply the number of unique visitors your site receives vs. the number of sales you make. If you have 3 sales for every 100 visits your conversion rate is 3.)

Now, one of the keys to improving conversion rates is to continually test and measure every detail of your website, marketing and traffic. While reviewing the data from one of her Google Adwords campaigns I stumbled across a few hard to explain results that perfectly illustrate the very large effect small differences can have on conversion rates.

The keyword piano lessons had a conversion rate over the last 30 days of 5.09. The keyword piano lesson had a conversion rate of only 1.64. Both of these keywords had the exact same Adwords title and description, the same average position in the search results and the exact same landing page on my clients website. The only variable is one letter in the keyword an s. Lesson vs. Lessons. Thats it Yet the plural version of the keyword (piano lessons) out sold the singular version (piano lesson) by over 300

Another key phrase that had an even larger variation was how to play the piano vs. how to play a piano. Common sense would say that these two phrases would convert almost identically Wrong.

Again, with identical titles, descriptions and landing pages, How to play the piano converted at 5.92, while How to play a piano only converted at 1.42. That is a whopping 417 difference between a and the

Shortterm variations and fluctuations in the conversion rates of individual keywords or landing pages are common. However, the data on both of these keyword pairs was measured over a full 30 days and several thousand clicks for each keyword. I dont have any easy answers why adding an s to a key phrase or changing an a to the caused such a difference in conversion rates.

Sure, you can guess at it and draw a few conclusions such as plural keywords convert better than singular keywords or using the in a key phrase is more specific and targeted than using a. However, these conclusions are just guesses. The only real conclusion you can draw from this case study is that you have to test EVERYTHING

If one word or one letter can have that big of an impact in an Adwords campaign, then a similar change in your main headline or guarantee can have an equally significant impact.

The lesson here is to test, test, test. What should you test?

Test headlines.

Test guarantees.

Test bonuses.

Test colors.

Test subheadlines.

Test your copy.

Test different prices.

Test layouts.

Test autoresponder messages.

Test your USP (Unique Selling Proposition.)

Test ads.

Test keywords.

Test policies.

Test images and graphic design.

Test deadlines.

Test navigation.

Test your checkout process.

Test font sizes.

Test payment options.


Now, when you are testing a change, only test one item at a time. This part is critical. Testing only one change will help keep your results as accurate as possible. If you change 4 items at once and see a 1 boost in conversion rate, it is possible 3 items are helping and 1 is hurting, so your conversion rate boost would have been greater with just the 3 changes.

The bottom line is this

If you really want to take your websites sales conversion rate to the next level, you must absolutely commit to a focused and longterm campaign of testing and optimizing every aspect of your site. You never know when a small change is going to give you huge results

Copyright 2004 Eric Graham

Want to improve your conversion rates? Eric Graham is the CEO of several successful online companies. A top authority on eCommerce & Internet Marketing, he's an indemand speaker & consultant. Visit today for an indepth evaluation to boost YOUR websites conversion rate

About The Author

Eric Graham is the CEO of several successful online companies. A top authority on eCommerce & Internet Marketing, he's an indemand speaker & consultant. Visit for a FREE subscription to his eCommerce Mastery newsletter.

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