Some of the most important marketing tactics among sites with the highest conversion rates include testing, audience targeting and mobile optimization.

Traffic is no longer the ultimate goal of SEO – it’s also about conversions. Websites can have plenty of visibility and completely own the top results for certain keywords, but a campaign won’t be self-sustaining without clicks and conversions. Consequently, brands are starting to think in terms of updated best practices – but which ones?

As Brafton reported, as many as 73 percent of online companies don’t know the motivation behind customers who leave without converting. Capturing even a tiny chunk of this lost business can significantly improve a company’s bottom line, so it can be helpful to understand what the most successful businesses do. Fortunately, recent research from Adobe illuminates some secrets about what separates the top fifth of websites.

It’s lonely at the top (of high-converting sites)

According to the 2014 Digital Marketing Optimization survey, the average conversion rate for sites across the web is 2.6 percent. However, the top 20 percent of converting websites have an average rate of 4.6 percent. What are they doing that other businesses can learn from?

70 percent of the top-converting sites test web copy frequently.  

1. Testing: The single-most important factor appears to be testing. Brands that try multiple versions of landing pages, blog copy, social post titles and email campaigns end up in the highest echelon of conversion rates. Almost three-quarters of the top group (70 percent) are frequent testers, while only 46 percent of the bottom 80 percent experiment with campaign copy.

2. Targeting: Winning converters also cast a smaller net – they selectively target their audiences 43 percent more often to make sure they attract qualified leads, which are much more likely to convert than other visitors. As Brafton reported, longer dwell time is strongly correlated with social shares and conversions, and users who interact with websites longer are often interested in niche content designed with their specific interests in mind.

3. Mobile: Over four-fifths (83 percent) of the top 20 percent claimed mobile was an important consideration for their web marketing campaigns. One of the most important recent developments in mobile marketing isn’t so much that content needs to be optimized for the mobile experience, but that it can be consumed on any device seamlessly at any time, on any platform.

Conversions should be the ultimate goal of content marketing and SEO, so marketers looking for more content ROI should consider how they can bring these strategies to their own campaigns to join the companies at the top. If you can’t beat them, join them.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.