SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has been the top marketing strategy for the last decade for good reason. Billions of searches are submitted on Google everyday, and with nearly 30% of those searches ending in a click, being the top of the results can be a big boost for your website’s traffic. In order to be found and make the most of your new traffic, you need to know how to optimize. Read on to learn how you can optimize your website for online success.
There are many ways to optimize your website for SEO: increasing site speed, to building authority through backlinks, and upgrading the site content. When done correctly, your website will rank at the top of the search results for relevant search queries (aka “keywords”). This will result in more people clicking on your link and visiting your website, but that traffic alone isn’t enough. SEO is great at bringing in quality leads, but you still need to turn those leads into revenue. CRO, or Conversion Rate Optimization, does just that.
Instead of guessing what content and design choices will improve your sales or increase appointments, CRO puts these questions to the test. Using tools and techniques like Heatmaps and A/B Testing, CRO enables you to learn what makes your audience tick. You can learn (with data) what parts of your website are working for your users, what elements are distracting, what users want from your site, and what changes you can make to turn browsers into buyers.
There are clear links between these two optimization strategies: SEO increases traffic to the website, and CRO turns that traffic into revenue. Now you may be wondering, “Can I optimize my site for both?” The answer is, Yes.
Some users new to the marketing game have expressed concerns that A/B testing may hurt SERP rankings, or that Optimizing or that SEO best practices may conflict with what your users want in CRO tests. These concerns are understandable, but are easily avoidable with a little strategy. As long as your CRO knows what your SEO is doing (and vis versa), you run simultaneous campaigns. In fact, those campaigns can benefit each other! Here’s how.
How SEO and CRO Create the Optimal Website:
- Optimization is about improvement: both SEO and CRO are strategies to optimize your website. For this reason, many of the technical changes recommended for one strategy are also recommended for the other. Loading speed, easy navigation, and quality content are basic optimization aspects recommended by experts in both fields.
- SEO brings traffic to your testing page: CRO is all about data, and quality data requires a large sample size. A solid sample ensures that the results are statistically valid and will hold true in retests or a live implementation. When it comes to A/B testing and heatmaps on websites, a “large sample” means “lots of traffic”. That’s where SEO’s organic traffic boost comes in handy.
- CRO increases your SEO standing: “What’s good for your audience is good for the algorithm”. That’s the long and short of what Google has been telling SEO’s for years now, and it turns out that it’s true. Not only does A/B testing not hurt your SERPs rankings (Google does not penalize tests) but the improved user experience will actually give your SERPs rankings a boost!
Now you know why a joint Optimization strategy works, but you might now know how to get started. Here’s a basic rundown.
Steps for Creating an Optimization Campaign:
- Select your target: With SEO and CRO, you need to start with a target page. Your target page will need to meet the requirements of an SEO landing page, and a good CRO testing page. This sounds tricky, but it is easier than you think. Narrow it down to two aspects to start: SEO keyword relevance and CRO traffic requirements. Everything else can be met after you optimize!
Pro Tip: consider your customer’s journey when creating your joint campaign. Optimize your site in the same order that your ideal customer will be traveling through the website and down the marketing funnel.
For example: homepage -> product page -> cart page -> checkout page.
2. Define your Page’s Purpose: Every page on your website should serve a purpose. The “purpose” is generally defined by a call-to-action, an instruction to users for what they should do next. Some pages have multiple calls-to-action, but they should all be aimed toward the same purpose.
For example: the purpose of a product page is to convince the customer to add the item to their shopping cart, but they may also have the option to add an item to a Wishlist.
Defining the purpose of the target page will help you understand what you need to optimize the page for, and assess whether the page is a good fit for the SEO and CRO campaign you had in mind. You may find that the purpose of the page is not in alignment with the keywords you wish to target, or the metric you want to measure on your CRO tests. If that’s the case, don’t panic! You can use this opportunity to adjust the page’s purpose to fit your goals, or choose a page more inline with your strategy.
3. Check the Tech(nical): Both SEO and CRO have some technical elements to them, and before getting into the nitty gritty of the content, you should check the technical aspects of the page.
- Checking that the page is live and accessible on the site
- Making sure the page can be indexed by Google bots
- Checking your that CRO tools are installed properly
- Checking basic technical aspects like loading time and flickering.
4. Test the Content: “Content is king” is the unofficial slogan of SEO, but’s also vital for your CRO efforts. Content is your everything on the page. It tells your users what the site is about, why they should choose your product/service, and what they should do next. Your SEO ranking is largely determined by having quality content on your site, and CRO can help you determine what “quality” means to your users. Remember, if your users like your content, Google will like it too!
5. Redefine and Refine: Neither SEO or CRO are a “one and done” deal. SEO doesn’t stop once you have a single keyword ranking, and CRO doesn’t end with a single test. Both require upkeep to make sure your website is keeping ahead of the curve in terms of algorithm changes, and audience preferences. It’s important to periodically check in on pages you’ve already optimized to keep your optimizations up to date.
In summary: When it comes to optimizing your website, you don’t have to choose between SEO and CRO strategies. You can have it all! Optimizing your website for customers is the same as optimizing your site for the algorithm, all it takes is a little planning. A joint campaign will help you create a website that is optimized to the max.