Search engine optimization (SEO) and Conversion rate optimization (CRO) can both be highly effective for improving your digital marketing strategies and ensuring business growth. When it comes to SEO and CRO, it’s not about either or, but instead using both to maximize outcomes. Effective SEO can help bolster conversion rate optimization, and sound CRO can boost search engine optimization. Let’s look at both concepts and how you can integrate them.
Search engine optimization refers to steps you can take to make your website, content, and other assets more attractive to search engines, like Google and Bing. The primary objective of search engines is to help users find the answers they’re looking for. In practice, a search engine will present the best possible and most relevant content to users. The content you find on the first page of SERPs (search engine results pages) is often some of the most well-optimized and most authoritative content on a given topic.
So how do search engines find and analyze content? Google, Bing, and other search engines send out bots to scan websites. The data gathered is then analyzed by a variety of tools and algorithms, which will more or less “grade” your content. These bots try to determine both context and quality of a given web page.
These bots and the algorithms that search engines use look at many different factors. For example, a search engine may evaluate how long your content is. An article on “how to leverage SEO” that is 2,500 words long will likely contain more information that’s useful to users compared to a similar article on the same topic that’s only 300 words long. For this reason, longer articles often dominate the first few pages presented by a search engine.
Quality is also crucial, however. Search engines may look for grammatical mistakes and can punish poorly written and edited content. Furthermore, many users like images and infographics. For this reason, a web page with high-quality images and infographics can also boost search engine rankings. Additionally, users like websites that load quickly and are user friendly. If your website loads slowly, search engines might not reward your site with an impressive ranking. Website usability in general is also crucial. If your website is optimized for desktops but doesn’t offer a responsive design that works well on mobile devices, you may receive lower rankings. It’s often just as important as focusing on keywords!
The above considerations bring us back to the basic function of SEO – creating a website that prioritizes usefulness, authority, and user experience. By doing so, you can improve how search engines perceive your website and subsequently increase your rankings.
Effective SEO will drive traffic to your website. But what happens next? Will customers buy your goods and services? Will they sign up for your newsletter or download your white paper? The answer often comes down to how effective or ineffective your conversion rate optimization is.
Most websites and webpages aim to “convert” users. This means getting users to take a specific action, like sharing your article on social media, buying a product, or signing up for notifications from your company. CRO efforts aim to increase the percentage of conversions your website generates. Right now, you might have a conversion rate of 1% on an eBook landing page. With effective CRO, your team might be able to bump that rate up to something like 3%. This can translate to more downloads and, potentially, more sales.
CRO can involve more than landing pages. You can also apply CRO principles to your emails to customers, paid advertising campaigns, social media, and more. When utilizing CRO, you’ll want to take a holistic approach so you’re not missing out on any of your platforms. Additionally, you’ll want to maximize your results by combining your optimization efforts across the buyer’s journey.
How SEO Improves CRO and Vice Versa
Some companies make the mistake of putting SEO in one silo and CRO in another. A business might hire an SEO specialist and a separate CRO specialist, meaning your SEO services will fall under an entirely disparate strategy than your CRO. But if these two parties don’t communicate, it could reduce the effectiveness of both your SEO and CRO. A much better approach is to integrate your SEO and CRO efforts.
In practice, SEO often involves a broader approach to making a website user-friendly. This could mean improving loading speeds, ensuring legible fonts, and offering a steady stream of great content. Conversely, CRO is often hyper-focused on certain elements of a page or other asset. Where SEO may focus on an entire article, CRO may emphasize only the call-to-action at the end and a button users can click to sign up for emails.
SEO and CRO can have a big impact on one another. For example, while engaging in CRO, you may change a landing page’s design to boost conversion. However, if your changes hurt SEO (for example,by removing keywords or trimming out large chunks of content), your brand may not actually benefit. These adjustments could reduce your website traffic and result in lower conversions overall.
Of course, CRO and SEO can also work together to produce positive impacts. For instance, you may notice that a sales page has a low conversion rate. After testing it on your smartphone, you notice that the mobile experience is poor and it’s hard to find the “buy now” page. This prompts you to redesign the mobile experience. The new page is faster, with a better layout and improved content. The end result? You might notice that not just the conversion rate is increasing, but also that your page has moved up the search engine rankings.
In the above situations, you’ve mostly stumbled upon the vice-versa effects. In an effort to increase clicks in this thought experiment, you’ve also improved the user experience and thus SEO – but these SEO improvements were largely unplanned. In real life, you and your hired SEO services provider can actively tie together both SEO and CRO. For example, you can set out from the get-go to build a great user experience and fast-loading site – understanding that by doing so, you’ll improve both SEO and CRO.
Get Started on Your Strategy Today
Achieving your goals depends on having a unified strategy. Rather than working with separate providers, consider what a combined SEO and CRO approach can do for your business. If you need help improving your traffic and converting those users once they find your site, we’re here to help. Contact Digital Current today to learn more.