“SEO and CRO are the ultimate elements for a successful lead generation strategy. However, when these forces are combined in the right way, you’ve hit the jackpot! ”
If you are wondering if Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) can play nicely together, the short answer is yes! In this article, we will talk about how they can work together harmoniously and why the correct execution of both is vital to your business success.
- The importance of SEO strategies
- Be intentional with your content marketing strategy
- A/B testing
- Traffic without conversions is pointless
- Improve your CRO strategy
- What happens if you focus on SEO and ignore CRO?
- How can SEO and CRO work together?
- Benefits of SEO and CRO working together
- The future of SEO and CRO in marketing
The importance of SEO strategies
In theory, CRO aims to improve your website CX (customer experience) and UX (user experience), which Google looks for when it puts together its search rankings. Then, SEO optimisation comes into play when your website starts to receive more traffic, which can lead to more conversions and sales for your business.
However, as good as this may sound, your ROI metric stands in how well SEO and CRO work together. If done correctly, you can optimise your online presence for both customers and search engines alike in less time. So let’s start with the basics by looking at what an SEO strategy should look like. We could write thousands of words on what it takes to build a strong SEO foundation or why SEO is so important for a website, but that’s not why we’re here. Check out our Beginners Guide to SEO to start on the right track and Understand SEO Terminology so that you can do SEO keyword research like a pro!
A successful SEO strategy should fuel the inbound marketing engine to regularly bring new prospective buyers to your website. While conversions are a meaningful metric, you will never achieve them without website visitors, right?
Be intentional with your content marketing strategy
It’s well known that content and SEO go hand-in-hand. In simple terms, when people search for something on the internet, they expect to find the content that can answer their questions and dilemmas.
As marketers, we aim to create content that can match exactly what buyers search. And we do so through SEO optimisation which includes keyword research, on-page optimisation and more, to make sure that our pages get the chance of ranking on Google’s first page. We have a great blog on Search Engine Results Pages if you want to find out why being number one on Google’s search engine results pages for your chosen keywords is a big deal for your business.
Although this approach is effective, we must not forget about how CRO comes into play when writing your content, as it doesn’t apply just to your landing pages. There are many elements of CRO that apply to content too.
When brainstorming topic ideas and doing keyword research, set a goal for every single piece of content you plan to write and publish. Start by asking yourself, “What action do I want people to take when landing on this page/piece of content?”
Once your goal is crystal clear, incorporate it as a CTA (call-to-action) on each page that you publish on your site. But always be mindful of your readers and the stage they are at in the sales funnel! Someone that clicks on a beginner’s guide to sky diving might not be interested in booking the next sky diving trip right away.
A great idea would be to lead your visitors into signing up for a newsletter with a strong CTA that doesn’t sound too promotional. Always make sure to add value to people! By creating your content marketing strategy in this way, you will familiarise yourself with thinking beyond just website traffic. You will start focusing on conversions and thus getting back much more!
Back in the day, A/B testing a website used to be a big worry for marketers. Usually, the following 4 factors were (and still are) hot topics in the world of digital marketing:
- Content cloaking
- URLs and content duplication
- Failed redirects
- Slow website loading
Performing a website UX review should be one of the most essential steps in your optimisation routine because UX is at the core of both SEO and CRO, and this won’t change any time soon.
If you are experiencing slow, glitchy, and hard to navigate website pages, this will hugely impact your traffic and conversions. Your goal should be to improve your site routinely to make sure that visitors will have a smooth browsing experience at all times. There are many website testing tools that you could use for free, such as GTmetrix, to check how fast your website is loading. Essentially, A/B testing is a process of testing multiple variants of a website page to see which one converts at a higher rate. The most common variants marketers should consider are:
- Lead forms
- CTA buttons
- Website page layouts
We have a quick and practical guide on How to Run A/B Testing for Conversion Rate Optimisation, packed with valuable information for you to check out.
Lately, people became hesitant in running A/B tests as they worry this can affect their overall organic website rankings. Let us tell you the truth – Google not only encourages testing, but it even has its own Google Optimise built-in tool, which is one of the best website A/B testing tools available, with plenty of solutions to help you deliver what customers want and need.
A crucial thing to know is that you will never get significant results in your A/B tests without having a high number of website visitors. We recommend using an A/B test sample size calculator to better understand how many unique visitors your website has and take it from there. Also, Google Ads is another great platform for A/B testing, especially if you are not getting enough traffic to your website. PPC testing is much simpler than many other kinds of A/B tests, and it usually involves tweaking or changing one or more of the following elements in your Ads:
- The headline
- The body copy
- The ink
- The keywords the Ad displays for
Traffic without conversions is pointless
A big mistake in digital marketing is that the focus tends to fall mostly on vanity metrics such as social media followers, downloads, page views, etc. But they don’t mean much if visitors aren’t converting from them, and these metrics will never help you build an effective lead generation strategy in the long term.
If the keywords you are ranking for are irrelevant to your value proposition, there will be a significant mismatch that will get harder and harder to optimise. If you are running an A/B test on your site and you see increases everywhere else, you are most likely not getting enough intent from your chosen keywords in your organic traffic. Note that organic traffic is the biggest converting channel, and due to Google’s sophisticated algorithm, intent and match are very high. Also, remember that Google will always rely heavily on non-UX signals, such as having keywords in H1s.
There are a couple of metrics that you should avoid obsessing too much over, and these are:
- Facebook fans and likes
- Total links (avoid building backlinks on every random site that you can find as this won’t necessarily rank your site on Google’s first page)
- Traffic and Page Views (new visits aren’t much worth the expense if the traffic doesn’t do anything on your site)
- Email open rates (whilst it still is one of the most effective marketing mediums at generating high ROI, it doesn’t mean that the 4% of email receivers that click through to any links or offers you send them will convert, so instead, focus on improving your offers to drive more conversions)
- Time on site (just like bounce rates, in can vary greatly by industry and type of content, and it doesn’t tie back to the number one metric you should focus on, which is ROI – as long as your customers are converting, focusing on their time spent on the site is pointless)
We can’t stress enough the importance of SEO for online businesses, the reason why sometimes the best thing to do is to find reliable and professional search engine optimisation services to help you rank your website and content higher.
Improve your CRO strategy
A successful CRO strategy should focus on optimising your website to ensure that potential customers have a seamless experience on your site, which results in conversions. There are many types of engagement (or conversions) that people can get when landing on a website page, such as:
- Making a purchase (the ideal scenario)
- Sending a direct message via chatbots
- Adding items to a wish list
- Subscribing to the newsletter
- Downloading content
- Participating in a survey
- Leaving comments
- Sharing content on social media platforms
- Using sales discount codes
- Any other KPIs that are important for you and your business
With these in mind, you must ensure that your website is designed to help people take those actions. CRO is an ongoing process that needs to be done to ensure your site works at its full potential. To put you up to speed, we have a great article on 5 Common UX Design Mistakes That Kill Your Conversions that you should read. Ultimately, your process of conversion rate optimisation should follow these steps:
- A/B testing to identify problem areas
- Conduct qualitative and (or) quantitative research to gather data about problem areas
- Check your competitor’s websites to gain insights into what’s working for them
- Create a clear and detailed conversion road map for your website and what pages need to get fixed
The benefits of CRO are endless because it speaks to the human behaviour of needing things to be effortless. This results in happy customers who will make more purchases, therefore your business will get the chance to thrive! Whilst this is an entirely different topic for another time, our top tips to improve your CRO strategy are to:
- Find the best content language for your audience(s)
- Build better forms and mix them up (shorter forms for simple and cheaper products, and longer forms for more expensive products)
- Keep an eye on the user’s conversion funnel (whilst making each stage more and more engaging and persuasive than the previous one)
- Improve your text readability so that users can grab the information within the shortest period possible (check your font size, background colours, and how you arrange your content)
- Use high-quality visuals
- Include compelling CTAs by creating a sense of urgency (this will significantly help you to turn micro-conversions into macro-conversions)
- Add reviews if you have them to build trust and credibility
- Incorporate chatbots and live chats if possible for a faster service
- Pay attention to what people want, and try as much as you can to meet their needs
Once businesses grasp the numerous benefits of CRO and how it could lead to massive growth in conversions, and ultimately ROI, seeking professional conversion rate optimisation services could help you reach your goals time and again.
What happens if you focus on SEO and ignore CRO?
As mentioned before, it’s not enough to get people on your website. The ultimate goal is to offer them experiences that compel them to take your intended actions. When SEO ignores CRO, you will end up with large amounts of “vanity traffic” that we discussed previously.
This means you will start seeing traffic that looks amazing in a graph line but very disappointing for your bottom line. SEO must be complemented by some form of conversion optimisation if you want to have the desired impact on your bottom line. Remember that CRO and SEO are always tightly linked, and the other way around!
As an example in the image below, the header of the website uses a very popular keyword, “digital marketing services”, however, from a CRO perspective, it’s not the most engaging punch-line for a user to see as soon as they click on a landing page link, right?
Instead, a better way to accomplish your SEO and CRO goals would be to create a headline that is more engaging and appealing to people, whilst still incorporating your targeted keywords, such as this:
What happens if you focus on CRO and ignore SEO?
You need visitors before you even think about converting them, and this is the main issue in focusing on CRO whilst excluding SEO. CRO needs SEO to deliver the traffic that your future A/B testing and experimentation will rely on.
We’ve seen many businesses investing in CRO and ignoring SEO and still surviving somehow, but they miss out on massive opportunities to increase their conversions. Even without improving conversion rates, an increase in your organic traffic will always produce more overall conversions. SEO not only drives reliable traffic that fuels CRO testing, but evaluating these tests through an SEO lens can help you avoid making big changes in the future that could affect your organic search traffic.
As an example in the image below, the header of the website doesn’t even contain the keyword “digital marketing services”, and having only “services” is way too broad and generic. However, the banner visual is very appealing, featuring a video with a laptop that shows animated metrics and a lot of engaging elements that keep the user engaged and interested.
A better way to get more from your website would be to have both visual elements that spark people’s interest and well-targeted keywords incorporated. In this way, you can please both Google’s algorithms and your potential clients (see the image below for a very good example). Who said that SEO and UX design can’t go hand in hand as well?
Just like many things in digital marketing, SEO and CRO are the most effective when working together. They are kind of like the digital marketing version of the chicken and the egg. Realistically, it doesn’t matter what came first, what does matter is achieving a balance between these two key statistics.
How can SEO and CRO work together?
As a business owner, whether your conversion goal is to drive people to your store, have them use a discount code or share a piece of content on their social media, your website must be both aesthetically pleasing and SEO friendly. SEO drives traffic, and CRO converts traffic.
We are going to explore 5 ways in which you can integrate SEO and CRO below.
1. Keep things simple
Most failures and problems in digital marketing come from making things more complicated than they should be. Try to consider the following tips:
- Optimise the number of internal links on your website pages – by doing so, you will give more value to your visitors by offering them exactly what they are looking for
- Have a clear purpose – avoid pointless content and visuals, and add CTA’s that will better inform and persuade your visitors
- Social proof is the king – give visitors proof of previous customers that have seen real results after using your product/service
- Simplify website navigation – reorganise your website menu to make it easier for people to find what they are looking for, and to help search engines to crawl and index your pages (remember that website UX is very important!)
2. Create relevant content
We have three words for you – keywords and blogging.
For more information, check out our previous section on SEO, and additionally, check out our articles on how to write a blog post that converts and how to write persuasive copy for your landing pages to drive more sales for more valuable tips and tricks.
3. Create smart headlines
When you start searching for stuff online, you want to see links that make sense instantly. With this in mind, it’s imperative that both search engines and potential customers know what your pages or content have to offer by only having a glance over your headlines.
Ensure that the meta titles in the SERPs match the headline on all your main entry pages. Even better? Include a targeted keyword and your unique selling proposition to achieve the best impact from SEO and CRO working together. Other useful tips for creating powerful headlines are:
- Use specific numbers and data to make your headlines more enticing to readers (research has shown that numbers in headlines tend to generate 73% more social shares and engagement)
- Use a unique rationale (an underlying reason why something should be done by your readers, such as “7 things I wish I knew when I started my own business”)
- Call for attention (make your headline unique, be ultra-specific, convey a sense of urgency, and make it useful)
- Use emotional words (known as power words such as amazing, eye-opening, breathtaking, sensational, etc.)
- Measure your headline’s performance to make sure your time isn’t wasted (look at customer inquiries and social media shares to start with)
4. Increase engagement
Engaging content on your website doesn’t only engage your visitors for the short term, but it also boosts your Google rankings for the long term.
And we are not only talking about creative Ad copy, website landing page content and blog posts. Even engaging content on eBooks and guides is a great way to attract potential customers to engage and convert on your website. For more information, we have a great article on the difference between SEO copywriting vs SEO content writing that you should head over to after reading this one!
5. Improve page loading time
In today’s world, speed is crucial. According to Google, almost 60% of mobile users abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load. With this in mind, you must ensure that your website loads fast to avoid search engines punishing you by lowering your rankings. Some valuable tips to improve your website speed are:
- Configure a fast infrastructure
- Host your site on a dedicated, high-performance server
- Use a CDN (content delivery network)
- Use Gzip for file compression
- Reduce the number of HTTP requests
- Streamline your HTML
- Optimise all your images
- Clean up your media library
- Clean up your database
- Avoid URL redirects
Benefits of SEO and CRO working together
Whilst it’s pretty hard not to write a whole other article on just the fantastic benefits of CRO and SEO working together, we’ll keep it simple with the following 7 benefits:
- Higher ROI – your website can achieve more organic traffic and convert at a high rate whilst improving lifetime customer value and retention
- Improved matching of search intent – a successful SEO strategy comes down to how efficiently you’re matching search intent and CRO by offering clear website pages without ambiguity
- Better website UX – a better website experience means happier customers, which tend to convert into returning customers
- Faster site speed – speed is a direct SEO ranking factor, but it’s vital for CRO as well
- More credibility & trust – CRO impacts a site’s perception of quality and authority, once landed on thanks to a good SEO strategy
- Improved quality & quantity of data – CRO focuses on knowing your audience at their core, and combining data between SEO (how people access your site) and CRO (what people do on your site and why) gives you a wide range of valuable insights that you can use to inform any future digital strategies
- Higher PPC performance – SEO and CRO work in unison to optimise your key pages for traffic and conversions, which directly impacts the overall experience you are giving people through your PPC campaigns – this translates into a better landing page experience, site speed and overall relevance, leading to a reduction in your PPC costs
The future of SEO and CRO in marketing
Considering Google’s algorithm is continuously improving and changing, it is worth knowing that the way SEO and CRO work together can change. For example, Google has just confirmed its long-awaited Page Experience algorithm update. This means that Google will start using page experience as part of its ranking systems. The update considers various signals that go into creating an optimal browsing experience for users, which Google assesses to give a website an overall “page experience score”. This score can be viewed in the new page experience report in Search Console. These are the signals of achieving a “good website page experience score” that you should keep an eye on:
- Core Web Vitals
- Mobile Usability
- Security Issues
- HTTPS usage
- Ad Experience
However, one thing is for sure. CRO helps businesses identify poor messaging, bad website usability and user experience. All these metrics can greatly help you provide a better experience for searchers, which search engines will definitely reward you for. It’s a cycle of mutual benefits.
SEO and CRO will continue to grow together, so we believe that businesses will start investing a lot more into Customer Experience (CX) to get even more value out of landing pages with a lot of organic traffic. Likewise, a strategic approach to SEO increases conversion volume and target visitors. Customers will never convert if they aren’t on your site in the first place, and the other way around, as there’s no point in getting people on your site if they are not going to buy your products or services.
If there’s one thing you should take away from this article, it is to integrate your SEO and CRO efforts and start seeing them as one cohesive part of your lead generation strategy. How?
- It has to be an operations & culture shift – thinking about how you can trigger this change in your business by getting people to sit together and have brainstorming sessions (this will help develop more diverse thinking within your company)
- Encourage tailored training across different channels – understand what crossovers channels are there
- Find a process that works for you – assess the type of work needed, involve the right teams and people, put together a plan to action, test and keep learning
As we like to say, SEO and CRO is a balancing act! Efficiency is key in digital marketing, so we hope this article helped you better understand how these strategies can help your business and why they are so connected. If you still have questions, or you would like to find out how SEO and CRO could help your business grow, book your FREE SEO consultation or FREE CRO consultation with us, and let us help you achieve the match made in marketing heaven to skyrocket your sales!
At Lnet Digital, we know the ins and outs of how to best balance SEO and CRO for your online marketing, and we can help your business drive traffic to your website whilst closing the deal by making people stay and convert in no time! Get in touch, and let’s get the ball rolling!