Pre Click Optimization Strategies and Tactics

As an SEO and PPC manager, I’ve spent a lot of time in my career looking for ways to squeeze every ounce out of pre click optimization. Broadly, pre click refers to anything that happens before the users arrives at the website. While it’s tempting to belive that all you need to do to be profitable with digital marketing is make the right pre click optimizations, in many cases it’s no longer correct. Even with excellent pre click optimization, many campaigns will not be ROI positive without a robust post click optimization effort. In this post, we’ll outline the key elements of pre click optimization for paid and organic traffic.

Paid Traffic Pre Click

Paid Search

Whether you’re using paid search or paid social, the pre click levers are similar. These can be divided into audience and message. On the audience side, choosing which keywords to bid for is the basic idea in paid search. These can be segmented into research intent, purchase intent and brand intent. The main way to drive efficiency here is to make sure your text ad matches the user’s intent as closely as possible. This can be further refined by layering audiences on top of keywords with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA). We’ll dive deeper on RLSA in a future post.

Paid Social

When looking at paid social, you’re generally choosing an audience based on demographics and interests. There’s plenty of mud in the water of both of those audience definitions. For instance, many people use an incorrect birthdate as a tool for privacy protection. That leads to an advertiser who wants to target say 55-64 year olds serving some portion of the ads to a 15 year old who put his birthday down as 1/1/1960. On the interest side, it’s easy for facebook to be tricked into believing you want to buy something when you’re actually not in market. I’ll gve a quick personal anectdote here. I like/follow many real estate related facebook pages. This isn’t because I want to buy real estate right now, but instead because an early focus of my career was selling digital advertising to real estate agents, so I was liking pages on Facebook for both prospecting and ongoing education reasons. In any case, the messaging end of this lever can be useful to let engaged users self select. The right messaging can drive engagement with only the part of the audience that is actually in market.

SEO Traffic Pre Click

This is much more complex. You’re not directly buying the attention. Instead, you’re trying to convince the algorithm that your content is relevant and useful for the user’s query. To accopmlish this, you optimize elements like on page content, links to the page, and webpage meta data. Common tactics for page content include using the keyword you’d like to rank for in the title of the page, h tags, and image elements. Getting links to your page with anchor text that both matches the keywords you’d like to rank for and actually compells the user to click through to your site is the best practice for the link buidling pre click optimization element. Meta data, particularly the meta description and any structured data elements that are shown on the SERP (search engine results page) are primarily useful for encouraging the user to click through to your site. Just because you’re #1 for keyword x, doesn’t mean that you’ll get as many users to your site as possible without thoughtful meta and structured data optimization.

Pre Click Optimization Wrap Up

Pre click optimization tactics vary depending on the channel you’re using. Offline channels could also be considered pre click. Tactics to improve the number of people who come to your website after hearing a radio ad, or seeing a billboard could also be considered pre click optimization. The more usual interpretation of pre click optimization, though, is in the digital context. The key concepts to keep in mind are understading your audience, their intent, and matching your messaging to that intent.

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