Traffic and Conversions: The Path to the Greatest ROI

Mar 18, 2024Lead Generation, SEO

A digital marketing strategy typically combines a number of traffic-driving strategies including SEO, PPC and email marketing; however, these strategies are not as commonly paired with CRO. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is critical for improving revenue and converting your customers when they get to your site.

When looking at these growth methods, SEO is a highly-targeted traffic driver that elevates your site to the top of organic search results. But what happens once users land on your site? That’s where CRO comes into play, acting as the essential strategy for turning casual browsers into committed customers. Together, SEO and CRO create a synergistic partnership that can significantly amplify your online business results. By exploring how SEO and CRO work in tandem, we’ll guide you through crafting a website that’s not just seen, but one that truly performs.

Open the Door to SEO and CRO Integration

The Importance of Combining SEO and CRO Strategies

Building a holistic approach for website optimization is important not only to sell more products or services but to show a true ROI. Traffic is great but SEO and traffic strategies alone can’t get people to buy when they reach your website. 

By integrating SEO and CRO strategies, businesses can create a powerful framework that not only drives traffic but also turns that traffic into meaningful actions. This cohesive strategy ensures that marketing efforts are not operating in silos, but are instead working in unison towards a common goal.

The dual focus of attracting the right audience and enhancing their experience looks at both sides of the success equation. SEO brings visitors to your site, but without an effective CRO strategy, those visitors may leave without taking any action. On the other hand, a great user experience through thoughtful CRO may be less impactful if not enough quality traffic reaches your site. Therefore, concurrently refining both SEO to target the right users and CRO to captivate and convert them is essential.

  • SEO focuses on making your website easy to find for search engines and users alike, targeting the most relevant keywords and creating valuable content that matches user intent.
  • CRO takes a deep dive into the user’s journey on the website, optimizing page elements to improve the overall experience and persuade visitors to complete a desired action, whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or any other conversion goal.

In essence, paying equal attention to both SEO and CRO forms the foundation of a successful online presence. The relationship between them works to not only capture potential leads but also to ensure those leads are effectively guided down the conversion funnel, resulting in better ROI for your digital marketing efforts.

The Alignment of Google’s Search Algorithms with User Experience

In recent years Google has emphasized the need for a positive user experience and have integrated that directly into its rank algorithms. Google Search Central directly states:

“Google’s core ranking systems look to reward content that provides a good page experience. Site owners seeking to be successful with our systems should not focus on only one or two aspects of page experience. Instead, check if you’re providing an overall great page experience across many aspects.”

Google Search Central

The introduction of Core Web Vitals was a major move to directly address users’ experience into tank metrics. 

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals were announced in May of 2020 and these new rank signals were released with the purpose of measuring a site’s user experience (UX) with a few key metrics such as Largest Contentful Paint, First Contentful Paint and Cumulative Layout Shift. Not only do these metrics measure the UX of a page but can provide web owners and SEOs with critical information on how to improve a page’s performance – and likely conversion. 

Google’s PageSpeed Insights provides a free review of any URL based on Core Web VItal performance.

Core Web Vitals 2024

Although Core Web Vitals is a ranking signal that seems to get stranger and stronger every year, it is still a small portion of the entire Google rank system. It’s important to consider these metrics and improve them without taking efforts away from other core areas of SEO or CRO such as good quality content and strong call-to-actions.

Mobile First Design

Google is mobile first. “Google predominantly uses the mobile version of a site’s content, crawled with the smartphone agent, for indexing and ranking. This is called mobile-first indexing”, Google Search Central. 

We know that Google uses the mobile version of a site to crawl, index and rank that content, so it is essential that the mobile experience is a critical aspect of the SEO and CRO strategy. Just because content and experience may be fantastic on a desktop, doesn’t mean that will translate to a mobile device. 

We see this a lot in our B2B clients. They invest a lot of time and money into making sure their customers can access and use the desktop site and ignore how that translates to a mobile device because their users are not using their phones to search for their solutions. The problem with this is that just because your customer may use a desktop, Google doesn’t. Implementing responsive design that doesn’t reduce or remove content in the mobile experience can help to alleviate the issues that can arise because of mobile-first indexing. 

 

Page Discoverability 

As SEOs, we are always striving to improve content visibility in search engines and within the site itself. This directly impacts site elements such as top navigation, mega menus, and footers. When a URL is linked from every page of the site (using the top navigation, for example), we often see immediate improvements in ranking. This means that SEOs typically advocate for larger, more developed top navigation with numerous links to deep content.

However, CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) can sometimes be at odds with this approach because overwhelming users with too many options can detrimentally affect conversions. Conversion rates tend to increase when site visitors are presented with clear action steps and little to no clutter.

Some aspects of Google’s algorithm align well with CRO principles, whereas others may conflict. This is why it’s critical to consider both SEO and CRO when designing and building digital strategies. Having teams or individuals capable of considering multiple purposes and perspectives will allow your site to ultimately achieve the most success.

CRO Tools to Use to Boost SEO and User Experience 

SEO and CRO can be integrated by using multiple tools to gather data on what is working and what isn’t working. Our favorite tools include:
  • Google Analytics: GA provides insights into where your traffic is coming from, how users interact with your content, and where you might be losing potential revenue. By analyzing this data, you can make informed decisions to optimize your site’s SEO and user experience.
  • Hotjar: A tool that provides low-cost UX information such as heatmaps, session recordings, and surveys. This data can be used to see how people are using your site without having to invest too much into a large optimization platform.
  • Optimizely: This powerful platform for A/B testing and personalization allows you to test different versions of your web pages to see which ones perform better in terms of user engagement and conversion. This is not the low-cost option but this platform actually allows you to test and evaluate data. 
  • Crazy Egg: Similar to Hotjar, Crazy Egg offers heatmaps, scroll maps, and other tools to analyze user behavior. It’s particularly useful for identifying which parts of your pages draw the most attention and engagement, helping you to optimize page layout and content placement.
By leveraging these tools, you can gain a deeper understanding of your audience, identify and fix usability issues, optimize content for search engines, and ultimately create a more engaging and effective website.

Are you a marketer looking to improve your SEO game. Check out our content brief guide to improve your content strategy today!

Creating Quality Content that Serves Both SEO and CRO

When it comes to molding an SEO and CRO strategy, quality content creation is at the core. Quality content can elevate your site in search rankings and also encourage users to convert. The magic happens when you strike the right balance—producing content that is equally informative and persuasive.

The Balance Between Informative and Persuasive Content

Informative content educates the reader, providing valuable insights and answers to their questions. This is the cornerstone of SEO, as it helps to rank your website for relevant keywords.  Typically, we find that long-form informative content is highly-successful in gaining traffic and visibility but these pieces perform poorly in conversion. This is because the user is typically much higher in the sales funnel and not ready to make a buying decision. CRO can be critical here to help understand what the next step in conversion needs to happen. Maybe it’s not a purchase but it’s signing up for a newsletter or reading another article. This moves the user deeper into the funnel while still building visibility.   Persuasive content is equally important as informative content.This type of content informs users about products or solutions and convinces them to take an action of some sort. Persuasive, sales content is incredibly powerful for CRO; however, not as powerful for SEO because traffic opportunity is lower.  Both types of content are critical and should be included in an SEO and CRO strategy to attract users at multiple parts of the sales funnel. 

Ensuring That Every Page Serves a Clear Purpose

It’s crucial that each page on your website has a distinct goal. This could range from informing the reader about a particular topic to prompting an immediate sale. By establishing a clear purpose for every page, you can craft content that excels in both SEO and CRO, targeting specific keywords while also offering the user clear direction on what to do next.
  • Homepage: Set the stage for both your value proposition and your primary keywords.
  • Product Pages: Include detailed benefits and features, alongside strong purchase CTAs.
  • Blog Articles: Provide in-depth information, answering potential customers’ queries.
  • Contact Pages: Offer easy-to-find contact information and encourage reaching out for more.
Content that ranks well and converts must be meticulously crafted with both SEO and CRO in mind. It’s a delicate balance, but when done right, it can significantly boost your website’s performance in both search engines and conversion metrics.

User Intent and Its Role in SEO/CRO Alignment

Understanding the intent behind user queries is crucial for aligning SEO and CRO. By identifying and responding to the different types of search queries, websites can tailor their content and structure to meet user expectations and facilitate a smoother journey towards conversion.

The Different Types of Search Queries and User Expectations

Users approach search engines with varying intents, commonly categorized as informational, navigational, transactional, or commercial investigation. Each category reflects a different stage in the buyer’s journey and dictates the type of content that will most likely satisfy the user’s needs.
  • Informational Queries: These are made by users seeking knowledge. Pages answering these queries should be informative and provide comprehensive insights into the topic.
  • Navigational Queries: With these queries, users are trying to locate a specific website or page. The best response is to facilitate easy navigation and prompt access to the desired page.
  • Transactional Queries: These are used when a user is ready to purchase or take another online action. Pages should focus on a clear call-to-action and a streamlined checkout or sign-up process.
  • Commercial Investigation: Users are considering a purchase and are comparing options. Content for these queries should underscore unique selling points and provide comparison data to aid in decision-making.

Anticipating and Answering User Questions to Encourage Conversion

To forge a strong link between SEO and CRO, anticipate the questions that users might pose at each stage of their journey. By proactively addressing these queries within your content, you minimize friction and create a path of least resistance that leads users toward the conversion goal, be it a sale, sign-up, download, or other action. By integrating user intent into your optimization efforts, you not only improve your site’s visibility in search engine results pages but also enhance the user experience, leading to higher conversion rates and fulfilling the mutual objectives of both SEO and CRO.

    On-page Optimization Techniques for SEO and CRO Compatibility

    Understanding how to balance and integrate on-page optimization strategies for SEO and CRO is crucial in driving both traffic and conversions. By focusing on certain technical and content-related aspects of your website, you can enhance its performance and user engagement significantly. Here are some key techniques that can help you align SEO and CRO effectively:

    Meta Tags, Headers, and Keyword-rich Descriptions

    Meta tags and descriptions play a significant role in search engine rankings while also affecting user click-through rates. Ensuring that your meta tags include relevant keywords and provide a clear description of the page content can boost SEO and entice users to visit your page. Similarly, well-structured headers (H1, H2, H3) help organize content for readers and search engines, highlighting important topics and keywords.

    Improving Page Load Speeds for SEO and UX Benefits

    Page load speed is a critical factor for both SEO rankings and user experience. Search engines favor websites that load quickly, which is also essential for keeping users engaged and reducing bounce rates. To optimize load speeds, consider compressing images, leveraging browser caching, and minimizing the use of heavy scripts.

    The Role of A/B Testing in CRO and SEO Decisions

    Understanding how A/B testing is central to crafting successful strategies. This method of comparative analysis not only informs us about what resonates with our audience but also how changes can affect search engine performance. Let’s delve deeper into how A/B testing bridges the gap between CRO and SEO, leading to an optimized user experience and search visibility.

    How Testing Can Reveal the Best Layouts, Content, and Features for Conversion

    A/B testing is crucial for determining which website elements contribute most effectively to user engagement and conversion. By creating two or more variations of a webpage—each with different layouts, content, or features—businesses can gather data on what drives users to take action. This empirical approach helps refine the user journey, ensuring that the website caters to the needs of the visitors while also adhering to SEO best practices.

    Measuring the Impact of A/B Testing on Search Engine Performance

    While the primary goal of A/B testing in CRO is to increase conversions, it’s also important to monitor how these tests impact search engine rankings. For instance, a more engaging and user-friendly design may reduce bounce rates, which can positively influence SEO. Conversely, it’s crucial to ensure that any changes remain within search engine guidelines to maintain or improve search performance. Employing analytics tools to track changes in rankings and organic traffic, alongside conversion metrics, provides a comprehensive view of an A/B test’s effectiveness.
    • Experimentation: Regular A/B testing is fundamental to ongoing optimization, ensuring that SEO and CRO efforts are not only complementary but also evolving with user preferences and search engine algorithms.
    • Data-driven Decisions: A/B testing removes the guesswork from website design choices and allows decisions to be made on the basis of actual user behavior and performance data.
    • User Experience Focus: As Google’s algorithm increasingly rewards sites that provide a great user experience, integrating A/B testing findings can lead to SEO gains while improving conversions.
    In conclusion, A/B testing provides invaluable insights that allow for informed decisions, aligning the objectives of SEO and CRO to foster an environment of continual improvement and user satisfaction.

    Final Thoughts on SEO and CRO Synergy

    Search Engine Optimization brings visibility; it is how potential customers find you in their preferred search engine. Conversion Rate Optimization ensures that once visitors land on your site, they are met with a compelling, intuitive, and rewarding experience that pushes them towards the desired action. In essence, where SEO plants seeds of potential, CRO nurtures these sprouts into blooms of success.

    Best Practices Checklist for SEO & CRO Synergy 

    • Conduct thorough keyword research: Align content with user intent, enhancing both search result visibility and user relevance.
    • Optimize on-page elements: Titles, headers, and meta descriptions should serve SEO needs while also enticing clicks and reinforcing clarity for users.
    • Create quality content: Ensure that the content serves dual goals – to inform and assist according to SEO, while also persuading and converting for CRO.
    • Design with the user in mind: A website structure should cater to a seamless user journey, making navigation intuitive and accessible.
    • Leverage A/B testing: Employ data-driven strategies to refine both SEO and CRO components. Test and learn what resonates best with both search engines and users.
    • Monitor analytics: Regularly review performance metrics to identify opportunities for optimization.
    • Embrace mobile-first design: With the growing dominance of mobile browsing, ensure your site is optimized for these users from the start.
    • Speed up your site: Invest in technical SEO to improve page load times, which positively impacts both search rankings and user satisfaction.
    • Maintain the balance: Regular updates and iteration will help keep the demands of search engine algorithms and user experience in a productive equilibrium.

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