Don’t ever underestimate the value of a call to action. You may think you’re not influenced by them, the same way you may think you’re not influenced by advertising that you don’t pay attention to. But there is always a subliminal element to calls to action, the same way there is for advertising.Case in point. Recently, my 16 year old son was sitting on the couch playing a game on his iPhone. Every so often, I would ask him a question about events over the weekend, or what he wanted for dinner … you know, regular attempts at conversation. Granted, I was watching TV but I wasn’t particularly engrossed in the program and he certainly was engrossed in his game. I received the occasional grunt or generous two-word reply. Meanwhile, I happened to notice that whenever the commercials were on, he seemed to subconsciously tune in to them. Although he could barely focus on what I was saying, any time there was a call to action from the TV, such as “Take a look!” or “Check this out!” his head popped up and he did indeed take a look and check something out! It was like witnessing some kind of cosmic remote control in action.
Through the looking glass
Think of the story of Alice in Wonderland. Remember the bottles labeled “drink me” and the cakes iced with “eat me”? These calls to action were so tempting they led Alice down the rabbit hole into a whole new world, and Trouble with a capital T! But calls to action ain’t just calls to action. And here’s why …
Keywords in hyperlinks improve search engine ranking
Whenever you use a call to action in a newsletter, on your website or blog or anywhere else where what you want the visitor to do is click, be sure that you hyperlink key words! “Click here” seems simple and elegant but it does nothing for your SEO. “Visit the wordmistress blog for copywriting tips and small business information” makes a far greater impact as far as Google is concerned. It also makes the call to action far more tempting. The keywords/key phrases “copywriting tips” and “small business information” tell Google the relevance and value of the traffic taking the hyperlinked path. We’re all guilty of using “read more” and “click here”. But it truly pays to add more value to your hyperlinks.
Create links and calls to action throughout your website/blog
Think logically. Show your visitors where to go and how to get there. It’s not enough to just have good navigation, comprehensive menus and a site map. Where do you want your visitor to go after they read your latest blog post? If the topic is directly related to a service you offer, then hyperlink to a more detailed page about the service. Let’s say your business is a restaurant and you’ve just created a blog post about your latest, greatest catering job. You’ve explained the intricacies of ensuring all the food was served at the appropriate temperature, you’ve painted a verbal picture of the atmosphere and you’ve provided a recipe for the world’s most succulent flash-fried scallop canapes. You’ve got your reader conjuring up a reason to hold a cocktail party! Do you really want them wasting even a moment trying to figure out how to find out more about your catering services?
No! You hyperlink to your Catering page! And certainly not with “click here for more information”. You create a keyword hyperlink and link directly to the Catering page (not open in a new window). You would use words such as “Catering magnificence for your special event.” Now you’ve used the keywords “catering” and “special event”, you’ve kept them on your own website and you’ve added some SEO love as well.
Always create external links so that they open in a new window
If you need to refer your visitors to view information on a website outside of your own – say if you want to prove the legitimacy of your argument or the authenticity of a source – then you must create the link to open in a new window. If you don’t, then you will be sending your visitor away from your website and they may just not find their way back. We’re not talking Hansel and Gretel breadcrumb trails here. Most people are extremely easily distracted when using the Internet. One thing leads to another and another and another. ALWAYS have a link to an external site open in a new window. ‘Nuff said.
Spend half an hour today going through old blog posts and existing web pages and see if you can add some SEO goodness. And if you need help, CALL NOW!!