Do higher conversion rates depend on SEO and CRO working hand in hand? Many digital marketers will focus on search engine optimization and let another team take care of what happens after a visitor landed on a page. Does it make sense? Are conversion rates not intimately related to SEO? Is CRO not depending on how well SEO professionals do their job?
Once upon a time, a CMO analyzed SEO results, while wondering if CRO was getting enough attention… Beyond the humor (and the alphabet soup that makes the marketing industry sound like government agencies), SEO and CRO should both equally take credit for higher conversion rates.
What do SEO and CRO share that can lead to higher conversion rates?
SEO, Search Engine Optimization, is the art of better ranking your pages on search engine results page (SERP).
CRO, Conversion Rate Optimization, is the art of transforming a visitor into a customer.
The 2 fields already have ⅓ in common: Optimization.
Both strategies work towards the same goal, albeit possibly not consciously. What would the benefit of ranking first (due to stellar SEO work) if once the visitors land on the page, they don’t purchase, subscribe, watch your video (whichever your conversion goal is)?
On the other hand, CRO done well means your site is a model of user experience, call to action is irresistible, products are efficiently displayed and testing is ongoing so you can constantly improve, yet the conversions don’t happen because nobody can find you.
Here is a perfect example of SEO/CRO collaboration gone awry.
The search yielded a few results and the San Diego Tribune was ranked 4th. Not a bad performance, good enough that we’d want to check the content.
SEO done right. There was focus on keywords, meta description was good, the source reputable enough that we’d think they could provide useful information.
Obviously, all SEO factors were reunited so Google deemed it worthy to rank well.
Sadly, the content is gone. We won’t even spend time talking about the format, layout and uninviting navigation. Any visitor landing on such page feels cheated. And conversion is unlikely to happen (mainly because nothing happened that could convert anyone, be it merely to subscribe to a newsletter).
Higher conversion rates happen when SEO and CRO know what the other is doing. And let’s not forget that CRO can help SEO in more ways than we realize: acquiring customers, followers, viewers and subscribers, generating positive reviews and shares and traveling across social media will put a site on the SERP map.
Where do SEO and CRO meet?
Search Engine Optimization focuses on allowing access.
Conversion Rate Optimization focuses on convincing to act.
The objective once a visitor finds a page is to give him the information he was searching in the first place. Both areas can find a compromise in good practices (why would you not want to insert the focus keyword that got you a prospect in your page content?).
Ultimately, SEO work is not over simply because CRO has to take over. Both fields have the user intent in mind. A site that doesn’t log satisfying conversions loses its purpose and SEO becomes a moot point.Let’s not forget that Google Analytics also measure engagement (such as time spent on a given landing page). That metric alone is proof that CRO is complementary to SEO. If the time spent is insignificant, a lot of hard work is lost.
Higher conversion rates do indeed depend on a collaboration between SEO and CRO. Visibility is one step towards conversion. Conversion is one step towards loyalty. By integrating practices and sharing credit, SEO and CRO focus on keeping customers to achieve what they both aim for: Optimization.