Conversion Rate Optimization with Rand Fishkin [Video]

You’re trying to ask a girl out. You can focus either on getting your looks right, shave, comb your hair, put your nicest cloths on, maybe even take a bath or you can focus on the whole approach thing.

Which is most likely to get you the girl?

You’re right, you need to have both aspects covered in order to make her see what a catch you are. So, why do people usually focus on the superficial part?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) begins with finding out the two whys:

1. Why haven’t people taken the initial step by signing-up for newsletters, subscribing to RSS, following you on Facebook, Twitter… basically by going for that call-to-action.

2. Why qualified leads don’t fully convert, even though they’ve subscribed and have been nurtured by freebies, PDFs, white papers, newsletters, free assessments, coupons, etc.

You can find out the answers by analyzing your website and user behavior or by simply asking your visitors (using SurveyMonkey or similar service).

The video is great. I’ve watched it a couple of times and if you want more conversions for your website I highly recommend you watch it, too.

If you really don’t have 20 minutes to spare, I’ll try and sum it up for you.

There are two things you should take care of when you do conversion rate optimization and you should definitely spend more time and money on the second one:

  1. Optimize call-to-action
  2. Optimize content that accompanies your call-to-action

1. Optimize call-to-action

You can go knock yourself out with ways to make your calls-to-action more attractive:

  • call to action copy
  • social proof (likes, follows, testimonials, etc)
  • location on page (above the fold, bellow the proposal)
  • appearance (color, width, etc)
  • different versions based on browsing behavior
  • different versions for different posts/pages


You can test all sorts of things and discover which call to action copy performs the best. But, don’t expect a whole lot of improvement just by changing your calls-to-action.

Conversion optimization is a never ending process.

Besides this, there’s something else you can do to optimize your conversion rates and this goes deeper than just putting some new clothes on.

2. Optimize content that goes with your calls-to-action

Your whole website is one huge converting entity. If you’re looking for some serious conversion improvement, you need to do an overhaul beginning with:

  • making pages load super fast
  • optimizing pages so content on page matches user intent, matches call-to-action copy
  • having great design (everybody likes pretty things)
  • using tools that help you identify conversion friction points (unbounce, Google Analytics, ClickTale, Qualaroo, SurveyMonkey)
  • not forcing people to register, ever (this is a major turn off)
  • going concrete & emotional, not abstract & intellectual (use common wording, don’t try to be a smartass)
  • putting “free” in your call-to-action copy (“free newsletter” or “sign up for free”)
  • having more product / service details (add more photos, descriptions)
  • having product / service video (and optimize it so it’s interesting to watch)
  • not copying others (what works for others might not work for you)

“Full package” is what most people (girls) respond to. Conversion rate optimization is a process of becoming complete. It takes a lot of time and effort, but in the end you may even get to choose the girl you like. If you think this method can be improved, please use the comment section bellow. Any thoughts are welcome.

note: I want to use this opportunity to thank Randy Fishkin for providing us with such a great SEO material over the years. Thanks man.

Dragan Nikolic

Dragan Nikolic

Co-founder and Editor at ThematoSoup
WordPress and SEO is what I love working on. When I'm not doing website audits, I write about WordPress and manage WordPress projects. Feel free to connect with me.
Dragan Nikolic
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7 thoughts on “Conversion Rate Optimization with Rand Fishkin [Video]

  1. No matter which industry you’re a part of, or what ever it is you’re trying to achieve true results require you to work from inside out. Unless you’re doing all you can to become best version of you (same applies to your products, of course), there’s only so much makeup and clothing can do.

    P.S. This is not a comment, it’s my life 🙂

    1. Damn it, makeup and nice clothing work so well for girls. I wish websites were female, so CRO would be much easier on SEOs.

      Is this a sexist observation? Hope not, all I’m trying to say is that there’s nothing wrong with clothes and makeup, but working from the inside out is more interesting and exciting as it takes you to a level you’ve never been before.

      … and than three more levels higher than that –

  2. I agree with your 2 optimization focii, but I also try to test/optimize the design of my site when I go through a redesign. There are too many instances of redesigns freaking out the user base. Ahem, Digg.

    Last redesign, I used a Survey Monkey to show my users the different design options that I was thinking about (I learned about using them for this kind of thing from here: I think I nailed the right design because I did not have any freakouts. I also, put the design possibilities on my Facebook page to again get some validation before going live with my thoughts. Lastly I used a 1 month of subscription of to actually do some data driven CRO on the redesign.

    1. Oscar,

      Thanks so much for pointing out the importance of design in CRO and for mentioning Opimizely (I’ll make sure I add those guys to the list of services that might help people optimize websites for conversions).

      I think it’s marvelous idea to test designs with the community you’re a part of. Could I be a part of your design validation on Facebook?

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