In a recent teleconference, I was asked several questions about specific problems people were having converting clicks to customers.

In the first article of this series, we defined conversion, including what you should look for and what factors have the biggest impact on conversion rates. The second article covered measurement, including measurement tools, the differences between log- and browser-based measurement, average conversion rates and why it helps to track how people use your Web site.

In this final part of this series, we'll be looking at where traffic arrives from and how that affects conversion, specific search engine queries, PPC issues and other general topics.

How do keywords affect your conversion rate in terms of search engine optimization (SEO) or search engine marketing (SEM)?

Keywords are important for two reasons.

First, by using the keywords that relate to your reader you will be listed by search engines—which means that people can find you. Notice that I phrased the last sentence carefully. I said, "keywords that relate to your reader." It's important to understand that what you consider keywords might not be the keywords your visitors are using to reach you.

Second, and more important, keywords help to qualify your audience after they have arrived at your Web site. If you click through from a search engine to a Web site and the headline or first paragraph does not strike you as relevant to what you're looking for, you're likely to "bounce" (leave the site). The keywords that you use help to assure your visitors that they are in the right place.

Good use of keywords embedded in your copy and content will help you to attract the right kind of people. Second, they will help to effectively qualify them as being in the right place. If you manage to both attract and qualify, the readers are then more likely to click through to find out more about what your Web site is about. If they do that, there is a much higher chance that they will convert to your desired goal.

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Steve Jackson ( is editor of the Conversion Chronicles and CEO of Aboavista, a Finnish company that improves Web conversion rates.