As the best digital marketing strategy, SEO can drive enormous traffic to your website. Ranking at the top of search engine results pages provides unmatched brand exposure and has a major impact on your sales.
Unfortunately, simply getting more website visitors doesn’t always help. This is especially true for sites plagued by numerous issues and landing pages that don’t correspond to the user intent. People checking these web pages will be nothing more than glorified clicks, never turning into paying customers.
This is why you need to use search engine optimization and conversion rate optimization for maximum efficiency. Combining the two is crucial for a healthy digital marketing strategy, allowing your brand to grow and attain real, tangible followership.
The main problem when using only SEO
Marketing experts often go overboard with search engine optimization.
Most professionals working in this field are economists, engineers, and mathematicians. As such, they often get lost in the numbers disregarding their underlying effects. From an SEO perspective, their main goal is to increase website traffic and the number of links. While doing so, some marketers completely neglect engagement metrics.
As you can presume, this is a major issue for any ecommerce site. These businesses can’t survive without sales, especially if their marketing budget is already strained by high SEO expenses. And while most owners understand that a good SEO strategy needs time, they’ll eventually pull out their resources.
Even if you’re a search engine optimization expert, you need to coordinate your SEO and CRO efforts. Generating more traffic which doesn’t correspond with more conversions, is usually a bad sign. Even if you show clients how you increased organic traffic to landing pages, they’ll still focus on the bottom line.
The main problem when using only CRO
Using only CRO doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Having a well-optimized site is a waste of money if there’s nothing to see your posts. Of course, you can always pair up conversion optimization with PPC or SMM, thus completely skipping SEO. Still, this doesn’t change the fact you’ll have to spend money to generate traffic.
Impact of CRO and SEO
Not only does CRO work within search engines by increasing click-through rates, but it also affects every landing page on your site. With this approach, you can create content that speaks to users. CRO also allows you to design highly-converting product pages and merge important articles into a conversion funnel.
SEO and CRO teams should always work together. This will ensure that you’re getting only relevant traffic and that most of your visitors are potential clients. Both of these approaches put emphasis on user experience, and by implementing them simultaneously, you’re setting a good basis for a healthy brand.
Our recommendation is to start investing in SEO and CRO as soon as you create a website. While you can start with only search engine optimization, you’ll never get optimal results until you involve a conversion optimization expert.
Furthermore, having both teams on your payroll simultaneously will make it much easier to plan and execute an overall marketing strategy.
8 Best CRO/SEO practices
Like SEO, conversion optimization starts with website creation. Every single thing you do on the platform has some sort of impact on the visitors and can mold their opinion about the brand. Without further ado, here are 7 best practices that combine SEO and CRO:
1. Improve basic website experience
Everything starts from your website. Users form their first opinion about a company even before they land on your pages. Slow loading speed and broken design on phones are often mentioned as the most infuriating things during web browsing.
When a person eventually lands, you need to consider the impact on website design. Although your pages should be light to allow faster loading speed, they also need to be visually appealing. This is especially important for an ecommerce store, as you need to ooze authority.
A good architecture allows you to convert site traffic at a high rate. As people are moving through your funnel, they don’t want to take additional steps. According to an unspoken rule, your target audience should reach any page on the site in just three clicks.
Of course, these few things are just the tip of the iceberg. You can optimize just about any line of text, image, or pop-up on your site for better conversion.
2. Target audience through keyword research
When doing keyword research, most SEO experts focus on traffic volume and difficulty. These two metrics show us whether pursuing a specific phrase is worth your time. But you don’t get a clear picture unless you also consider the intent behind the keyword.
Basically, every piece of text we create on the site should lead to direct or indirect conversion. Bringing in visitors with no commercial value is a fool’s errand and will only drain your budget. So, you need to analyze each phase and how it relates to your business.
Ideally, you should only pursue money keywords that traditionally lead to product pages. However, these ones are usually hard to optimize for. So, search engine experts drive traffic to informative but relevant content, and then through links, they funnel traffic to landing pages.
Whatever the case might be, don’t try to generate traffic for phrases that have nothing to do with your product or service.
3. Create content based on intent
Not only should you drive relevant traffic, but you should also make sure they’re satisfied with your pages. The last thing you need is tricking users into reaching your pages only so they would bounce back immediately.
Make sure your SEO content matches search intent. You should try to answer all the questions revolving around the topic. Furthermore, make sure that the page is properly formatted, readable, and with lots of information that you can’t find anywhere else.
By providing actionable insights, you can ensure that the visitors will stick for a while longer. Google takes note of their behavior by tracking engagement with the page. Nowadays, things such as click-through rate, time spent on page, and pages per visit determine the relevancy of your articles.
4. Optimize content based on user data
If you already made a fantastic article and gained a few links but still can’t reach the top spots, you should make additional tweaks. CRO aims to continuously update articles until your marketing team finds the perfect formula. In most cases, these updates are the only way to reach the top of search engines organic results.
The best way to optimize existing pieces is by analyzing the visitors’ behavior. You can do so by using heatmap software and session replay software. These tools show you how people interacted with the site, where they clicked, and when they bounced off the page.
By noticing patterns, you can tweak sections of the article that aren’t working. Besides using these tools, you can boost your performance with better images, videos, and better interlinking. Google Search Console and Google Analytics can also be invaluable in such cases, giving you additional UX information that you can’t find elsewhere.
5. Improve titles and meta descriptions
Not to be snarky, but the common reason why articles fail is that no one’s clicking on the link.
Blinded by other factors, many experts forget to optimize title tags. Not only should the heading be intriguing, but it also needs to properly describe the content. Otherwise, there’s a chance that people will quickly bounce after reaching your pages.
Like titles, make sure that meta descriptions accurately describe the content. Unlike the title, which should be intriguing to the point of clickbait, the meta tag should focus on providing relevant information to people browsing search results.
6. Use CTAs
CTAs have such an enormous impact on your conversion rates that we had to create a new section to explain the concept.
CTA, or call-to-action, is a short text that implores the audience to perform a certain action. In most cases, it comes in the form of a link, video, image, or button. By clicking on it, the person triggers an event or is led to another page.
Despite CTAs being such a powerful tool, you should use them strategically. Spamming links throughout your copy rarely brings desired effects. Instead, you should add the trigger when you think that the visitor is warmed up to purchase and can easily be converted.
Here is the breakdown of the most common CTAs used by marketing teams:
- Lead generation
- Form submission
- Lead nurturing
- Demos, trials, quotes
- Article CTA
- Purchase CTA
- Social CTA
Lead generation CTA can be used to describe just about anything. Generally speaking, a business owner can use it to guide a person in a certain direction, bringing them closer to a purchase. As a term, “lead generation” can also refer to purchase CTAs, form submissions, and a few other CTA types.
These CTAs are used to drive traffic to landing pages. Although this method doesn’t always imply a purchase, it’s the closest thing to it. A person usually goes to your converting pages and can check out your offer.
Ideally, you should place this call-to-action at the bottom of the page in the form of text. However, lead generation CTA can also refer to pop-ups that collect visitors’ data depending on how you’re using it.
Form submission is one of the trickier CTAs to pull off. As the name implies, it encourages a visitor to fill out a specific form and submit it. Most people are reluctant to leave the information on a site, but they might do so if they have a good enough incentive. With this method, you can grab visitors’ data, most notably their emails.
Lead nurturing CTA isn’t necessarily looking to close a sale. Instead, we use it to improve the relationship with people who have shown interest in our brand. In most cases, lead nurturing CTA comes in the form of various downloadables such as case studies and PDFs.
Basically, this type of CTA leads users to pages that give them access to free stuff, whether it’s product features or content. Companies use the concept to build authority or show expertise.
Demos, trials, quotes
We decided to put demos, trials, and quotes in a separate category. This is a type of CTA that’s somewhere between lead generation and lead nurturing. Demos and quotes are the last steps before conversion, giving users additional insights as to what service or product entails.
This type of CTA is meant to drive a person down the funnel. They’re usually placed at the bottom of the article leading people to other non-conversion pages. Article CTA is meant to slowly build authority and reputation while answering additional questions that a person might have.
Although this type of CTA doesn’t necessarily help your sales, it can do wonders for your page performance.
Purchase CTAs are the most straightforward, most aggressive type of call-to-action you can use. They lead visitors directly to product pages. In some cases, they might even lead to a cart. You can easily recognize this type of CTA by words such as “Buy now!”
If article CTA is meant to improve your SEO, this CTA helps your social media presence. By pressing a button, a person can share an article on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Social CTAs are usually grouped together in the top corner of the site.
7. Reduce distractions
There’s a thin line between being actionable and being distracting. Generally speaking, having videos usually helps your conversion by providing a better user experience. However, this type of content might also prevent users from taking specific actions that you want them to take. Similar can be said for images.
People who land on your pages shouldn’t struggle to read your text or buy your products. The whole process should be as simple and intuitive as possible. We’ve already mentioned how to make browsing easier, but these principles can be applied to just about anything.
8. Reduce the number of products
This tip ties to the previous one. Basically, you should only sell products that move. Having extra items in your store might seem like you’re giving people choices, but you’re actually reducing conversion. Some people might get overwhelmed by all the options, filters, and whatnot, dissuading them from making a purchase.
Among others, you should focus on products that help your long-term development. Cross-selling might seem like a good way of making extra money, but it’s actually alienating people who come to your store for specific items.
Lastly, make sure that the purchasing process is simple and that potential customers don’t have to spend too much time executing it.
3 Risks when using CRO and SEO together
Most companies understand the value of SEO and CRO and how to mesh them together. Unfortunately, even if everyone is on the same page, there are still moments when there might be friction between the teams. Here are the most common risks you might encounter when using these two approaches together:
1. Team budgeting
It’s really hard to determine whether SEO or CRO has more value for your company. While most people will tell you that search engine optimization is more important, as it drives traffic, you still can’t sell without conversion optimization.
Ideally, you should keep the budgets for these two processes separate. Neither team should know how much the other is making. Keep in mind that both departments are responsible for the end results, so it’s hard to measure how much each one of them participated.
2. Page testing
The rule of thumb is that you should only experiment with underperforming pages. Still, if an article is getting no traffic whatsoever, you won’t be able to extract any valuable user data. In other words, you won’t be able to perform conversion optimization.
SEO and CRO teams often have different points of view on which pages you should tinker with. As it usually goes, each team tries to make themselves look good. Because of that, they might make certain decisions that would negatively affect the project’s success. Occasionally, one team might suggest alterations to a page that is on the verge of a breakthrough.
3. Content planning
Another common point of the friction comes during content planning. Sometimes, SEO agencies try to prioritize pages that can drive lots of traffic quickly. However, CRO teams might challenge them by focusing on keywords according to user intent.
Even if this particular situation doesn’t happen, there might be some disputes regarding which page should go first. Luckily, this is one of the simpler issues on the list. You can easily solve the problem by using both keyword suggestion lists.
Our company provides top-tier SEO services while adhering to the best CRO practices. By hiring MiroMind, you can significantly reduce your marketing costs by getting the best of both worlds!