Tug of War Between SEO and Conversion: Which One Should You Consider First?

Tug of War Between SEO and Conversion (CRO)

Understanding SEO:

Search Engine Optimisation is a process of getting organic traffic on search engine result pages. This process improves the search engine rankings of a website. Search Engines like Google, Bing use bots to crawl pages on the internet and collect information about the pages and categorize them under different indexes.

An index can be imagined as a library where the librarian finds a book (a web page) to help the reader find what he is looking for. After that Algorithms analyze the pages in the index based on their ranking, to determine the order in which such pages should appear on the search result page for a particular query.

Benefits of SEO:

  • Promotes brand awareness and encourages people to purchase your product/ service. An SEO-optimized page will attract more audiences and leave a positive impact on their purchasing decisions.  

Understanding CRO:

Conversion Rate Optimisation is a process that increases the chances of visitors completing a particular action. Conversion Rate is the ratio of the total number of visitors to your site to the number of visitors who take a specific action. Optimizing this rate will improve the conversion ratio and hence will increase the number of people making purchases. Digital marketers use CRO to improve sales, traffic, revenues, etc. CRO primarily focuses on the user, improves their search experience, and increases revenues of the business. CRO technique focuses on 3 main factors:

  • User experience (referred to as UX in terms of marketing)
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and customer retention 
  • User’s marketing behaviour
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SEO and Conversion Optimization

Benefits of CRO:

  • Understanding your customer- For an online retailer, the most important thing to focus is on understanding the customer. It will give you an insight into what they need and whether they are going to buy your product or not. Gathering such information, you can stock your products as per their needs and market them effectively. Conversion optimization helps you develop a buyer persona for your online store.
  • Attract more traffic- When you understand your customer well and know what they want, you can provide them with a great shopping experience. With such great experiences, the customer will want to shop with you again and again. This will increase customer retention and will widen the scope to attract prospective customers.
  • Increase profits- Improvement in conversion rate will lead to an improvement in business profits. CRO provides immediate profits to the company without paying any third-party agency.  
  • Acts as a trump card- While optimizing your site for CRO, you carry out multiple tasks. So your competitors can not find out easily how you are optimizing your product page. CRO thus acts as a trump card for your business.  
  • Upgrades brand perception- An effective conversion rate optimization ensures that your website looks legitimate. This will help build customers’ trust and encourage them to go ahead with making the purchase.   
  • Reduces customer acquisition costs- Increasing your conversion rates will help you gather funds that can provide financial assistance to your company for running social media campaigns or PPCs. Your customer acquisition costs will be lower since you focus on improving conversion rates and converting the visitors into your customers. 
  • Grasp your website traffic- Efficiently optimizing CRO helps attract more organic traffic to your website. CRO is about attracting traffic and also converting such visitors into customers. 
  • Enhances customer retention and CLV- Marketing strategies are built to get more clicks through a link/ visit a page/ purchase an item. To get the most out of it, your website should be well optimized. CRO helps give proper directions to the customers to make a purchase. If correctly done, your business strategies will yield great positive results and will make the customers keep coming back to your website, resulting in higher customer retention and CLV (customer lifetime values).

CRO is focused on ensuring that the organic traffic generated by SEO, converts to customers who complete a specific action on your website. CRO nurtures the visitor’s journey through the sales funnel.

What is conversion?

Colossally, conversion is the act of turning one thing into another. In terms of marketing, conversion is the act of turning a visitor into a customer. The act of converting your target audience into a customer is called the “Sales funnel”. Actions that denote that the customer is moving closer to subscribing to your newsletter or purchasing the product from you, constitute a sales funnel.

Marketers are adopting digital marketing strategies to strengthen their presence over the internet. They aim to rank higher in SERPs. Focusing too much on improving search engine rank will not yield the best results possible. They should also focus on improving conversion rates. An effective marketing strategy should be an amalgamation of SEO and CRO techniques. 

SEO aims at increasing website traffic and CRO helps convert the existing website traffic into customers. Certain SEO tactics have no impact on CROs and vice versa. So it’s best to execute the SEO and CRO tactics together. It is a tricky task to tie SEO techniques with conversion techniques to ensure that the optimization process completes your goals. 

Need to integrate SEO with CRO:

We have now understood that both CRO and SEO have different aims but run parallelly when considering their objectives. Both have a common goal of getting prospective audiences and converting them into customers. Both CRO and SEO are two sides of the same coin. SEO drives new prospects and CRO drives them to become leads/ customers.

According to research, 75% of the searchers do not click after the first page. So your SERP listing should be well optimized and include relevant keywords. By default, Google shows only 10 search results per page. For more information, you need to go to the next page. 

To rank higher on SERPs, you have to constantly keep putting in an effort. You should be vigilant to the changing trends of the market. One of the best and most effective methods is to coalesce the techniques of SEO and CRO. This amalgamation will generate the best results. Let us look at some of the advantages of combining both.

Advantages of blending SEO and CRO:

  • Improves customer cognizance- On deciding the best strategies to work upon, you get a clear picture of your existing and potential customers. This data will help you establish customer retention strategies for your website. 
  • Improved adaptability- A good SEO and CRO strategy will promote the exponential growth of your business. You can save your valuable time and revenue by knowing which digital marketing technique works for you and which does not. So you can redirect your time and revenue towards finding valuable solutions. 
  • Enhanced ROI- By combining SEO and CRO tactics, you get a clear picture of how to reach out to your target audience. This information improves your ROI and gathers better conversions.
  • Building up trust- You build a positive reputation for your brand by improving the overall appearance and features of your website. You create meaningful connections with your target audience and subsequently cultivate trust in your brand. Your SEO strategy should collaborate with your CRO strategy for a successful digital marketing campaign. Ranking higher on SERPs and converting visitors on your webpages, run parallelly for a successful business.
  • Enhanced PPC performance- Optimisation of CRO and SEO together will directly impact the overall user experience. Your users will land on better pages. Thus an improved landing speed, enhanced loading speed, and better user experience will provide a stronger quality score which will reduce PPC costs significantly.
  • Improved quality and quantity of data- Combining data of SEO and CRO will provide a wider spectrum of valuable insights you can use to inform your digital market strategies. SEO gives information regarding how people reach your site and CRO informs about the behavior of the visitors.

Tips to combine SEO and CRO for the growth of your business:

  • Increase the loading speed of pages- A slow loading page will have a low conversion rate and will attract less traffic. Further, a slow landing page will rank lower, harming the SEO. The longer a page takes to load, the higher is the probability of people abandoning it. Further, Google will also reduce the overall ranking of your page on SERP. So to increase the page loading speed, you can decrease image file size and tighten up your HTML for your landing pages. 
  • Create longer quality content- Content marketing has become a popular marketing technique in today’s digital era. Creating good content will improve your landing pages and improve website ranking on search results pages. In today’s modern digital era, consumers prefer high-quality informative content which has deeper insights on a topic. In Google ranking, content with 2000 words tends to rank higher on search result pages. Better rank on Google pages means more traffic and higher conversion rates and more sales. 
  • Create shareable content- More website traffic with the right CRO technique means more sales and higher conversions for your business. Creating content that your target audience can share will yield higher conversion rates and more website traffic. If you want to outshine the competition, gain more attention, and sell more products or services, you should employ the benefits of interactive content marketing. So you must include a “share” button to your content to make it shareable. Also include “share links” for popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc. More shares lead to higher website ranking and more conversion rates.
  • Include a strong CTA(Call to Action) message- Some marketers include CTA at the beginning of their landing page. It is not a proper way because people tend to buy a product/ service after thorough research. You should rather focus on making your content convincing for the reader and make him realize that your product is the one best for him. Add CTA at the end of the content so that the reader gets some time to understand your brand before making any purchase decision.
  • Particular topic on each landing page- Many marketers put their best offers on a single landing page. This confuses the customer to make an appropriate buying decision. The reader will either get anxious about the wide range of discounts or will get frustrated. The buyer might leave the page out of fear of selecting the wrong option. So each landing page should focus on one topic and one CTA at a time. Such action will create happy customers and thus will increase conversions.
seo conversion
SEO and Conversion: Source
  • Use compelling headlines- Headlines are the most important part of your post. It is a short description of your post. The headlines can be catchy or be direct depending on the topic or business. The “Emotional marketing value headline analyzer” will give you the percentage value of your content, i.e., whether it is emotional or compelling. Generally, an emotional headline catches more attention and thus increases conversion rate and ranking.

What to select first: SEO or CRO?

To convert visitors into buyers, you should focus on SEO and build an authority site with engaging blogs. This will further create a positive bonding with your target audience.  

Create a marketing strategy that has KPIs which is comprehensive to your business goals. SEO and CRO must be managed on a regular basis to show up on top of search engine algorithms. Thus, It is very important to create a marketing strategy with proper KPIs. To increase conversions of a page that already ranks well in SERP, you can combine strategies of SEO and CRO.

Selecting between SEO strategy and CRO strategy depends upon various factors like the type of business, your goals, needs, level of competition, etc. When you run low on revenue and time, you need to operate with higher efficiency. 

Wrapping up:

SEO and CRO are balancing acts. In the digital era, efficiency is a key element. Website traffic and sales complement each other. So balanced SEO and CRO techniques will yield great results for the business. This way you can boost your website ranking and conversion rates. CRO and SEO are not mutually exclusive but are meant to complement each other. 

Suraj Shrivastava

Suraj Shrivastava at ForgeFusion shares simple, effective ways to grow your business using SEO, content marketing, and AI, learned from helping over 50 companies. When he’s not working, he loves teaching others or watching documentaries.