Imagine if SEO and CRO got along swimmingly. Wouldn’t the world be a much more wonderful place?
Even better, wouldn’t it be great if we dispensed with the acronyms and talked like real human beings?
So, what are SEO and CRO?
Three letters for two techniques that form the backbone of modern commerce. Who’d have thunk it, eh?
- SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It refers to the process of engineering a website so that Google loves it enough to push it to the top of the most relevant searches.
- CRO stands for conversion rate optimisation. It is all about encouraging website visitors to do whatever it is you want them to do while browsing.
Both terms share the word ‘optimisation’ but are so often referred to separately. They appear to live completely different lives. Yet, in reality they’re intrinsically linked.
So, the question on your lips is undoubtedly – is it possible to increase efforts in both of these practices at the same time and benefit from increased sales?
But first let’s talk about their differences
Before we consider how SEO and CRO might play well together, let’s think about their key differences.
CRO is all about increasing the number of times visitors to your website end up purchasing something. Or, completing a specific action such as making an enquiry or signing up to a sales demonstration.
To that end, CRO is focused more intently on people once they enter your website. SEO, on the other hand, is focused on drawing people to the site in the most efficient way possible.
This is perhaps the most important difference between the two. CRO won’t increase the number of visitors to your website, but it will make more use of them once SEO has done its bit.
Although it’s open to debate, it’s a commonly held belief that CRO is also less expensive to implement than SEO. It can also have a more immediate impact in terms of tangible results.
SEO campaigns are typically long-term and you’ll often pay for them accordingly. By comparison, a relatively small budget can ensure your CRO efforts bring in new customers pretty quickly.
Where do they intersect?
This is where it gets interesting. SEO and CRO can’t live without one another. Well, they can, but you won’t get very far.
For instance, if your website takes an age to load and has irrelevant content for your target market, Google will probably push it down the ranks. Thus, your CRO efforts will never have a chance to work.
A lot of SEO work also centres on creating relevant landing pages for products and marketing campaigns. If they’re not well optimised, or if your SEO results in the wrong type of visitors, there’ll be lower engagement and consequently lower conversion rates. Simple.
If you create a brilliantly-optimised web page for CRO, it’s likely to gain inbound links because people will see value in the page. They’ll feel compelled to link to it. And guess what? Inbound links are an essential part of SEO.
Lastly, both SEO and CRO rely heavily on web analytics. Neither are techniques that should remain untouched after the initial implementation. They’ll quickly be left behind as the market and its customer base evolves.
With data from web analytics, both SEO and CRO can be monitored in tandem and changes made to increase engagement, reduce bounce rates and raise those all-important sales figures.
4 reasons you need both CRO and SEO
We’ve hopefully convinced you that CRO and SEO are the greatest of bedfellows. But, you may still need a bit more convincing to invest in them wholeheartedly for your marketing strategy.
Here’s four reasons you can’t survive without either in the digital economy.
You won’t waste money on chasing visitors
If you spend a considerable sum on a long-running SEO campaign, it’ll be as good as throwing money down the drain without CRO.
Chasing website visitors is only worth it if you know that they’ll understand what to do to become a new customer.
You won’t waste money creating a brilliant sales pipeline feeding machine
Your website should work effortlessly to drop new, tasty leads into your sales team’s inbox. With CRO, it’ll do just that. Unless you fail to attract the visitors in the first place.
Poor SEO tactics will result in either irrelevant or very minimal traffic to your site. And that pipeline will never begin to fill up.
You won’t waste time optimising the wrong pages
By using web analytics, you’ll be able to see exactly which pages need to be fixed from either an SEO or CRO perspective (sometimes, both).
For example a landing page with a high bounce rate might indicate that you’re not using the right keywords. It could be that the visitor journey is a bit wonky. By A/B testing SEO and CRO changes, you’ll get to the nub of the problem far quicker.
You’ll gain much higher revenues in the long run
The ultimate reason you should invest in both CRO and SEO and give them the same amount of head space is because they’ll result in higher sales for your business.
More importantly, they’ll also result in higher sales over a much longer period of time. A well-optimised website will be capable of sustaining increased sales in a way that makes budgeting and forecasting an absolute pleasure. As opposed to a finger-in-the-air job.
Wrapping up SEO and CRO
A word of caution. As important as SEO and CRO are, they’re rarely something you can do in-house.
That often means investing in the services of an external agency or freelancer. But, be careful not to relinquish all control. After all, you know your business goals and the customer base better than anyone. Therefore, any CRO and SEO campaign should be aligned with those goals and you should be given as much control and input as possible.
It’s time for CRO and SEO to really get on, because it benefits us all.
If there is anything you would like to add to the discussion, feel free to comment in the space below.