SEO vs CRO. What’s the right choice?
I am sure most of you reading will be familiar with the term ‘SEO’. It’s a phrase used globally as every marketer tries to decipher Google’s algorithm – however, another form of online marketing is beginning to become a bit of a buzz word, in the abbreviation of ‘CRO’.
Let’s take a look at SEO vs CRO techniques and see how they can be applied, in order to maximize your profits from your online venture.
A quick look at SEO
Just in case you are not aware, SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimization’. Basically, it’s the structuring of your website or webpage so it’s optimized with the aim of being found by Search Engine Crawlers (Spiders or Bots), which will determine how relevant or valuable your content is. This is turn will allow your pages to be ranked in the SERP’s for your chosen keywords.
Essential tips for SEO implementation:
- Commit yourself to process: Algorithms change very often so it is vital that you make a commitment to keep up to date on the latest stats and trends which are taking place within the SEO space.
- Have analytics implemented from the start: It is always beneficial to have clear goals defined from the start of any campaign. You will need web analytics software in your toolbox to track what is working and what is not.
- Include a sitemap: Spiders cannot index what they cannot crawl. A sitemap will help the spiders find the important pages on your site and understand the hierarchy.
- Have SEO friendly URL’s: Use keywords in your URL’s and images to allow the spiders to understand what each piece of content is related to.
- Use unique titles and meta data for each page: It is statistically proven that the page title is the single most important on page factor when it comes to SEO. The page title tells the spiders what the topic of the content it. You should always place your keyword in your page title.
- Write with the user in mind: My prospective on this is that, you will never see a spider buying your product, or signing up for your mailing list. So, why would you write content with only the spiders in mind? This will put you on a fast track to snooze-ville! Always write with the user in mind as they will be the ones interacting with your content. Make it informative and interesting. Otherwise, you’ve lost the battle before it’s begun.
- Anchor text keywords: Always include the keywords in the anchor text when linking to internal pages on your site. Links that say “click here” do nothing for your visibility.
- Be intelligent when building your links: Trusted directories is a great place to start building your links. Always look for links from trusted sites within your industry. Analyizing competitor links is always a solid way to gain insight into what’s working and what;s not working.
- Open a Google AdWords account: Google’s keyword planning tool is a great way to discover search volumes on any keyword. Once you have built a solid set of targeted keywords, you can follow on over to my keyword value tool to see how much revenue a top 10 ranking could provide to your business.
These are just some of the methods used for basic on-page SEO; however, techniques and algorithms are always changing – so it’s fully recommended to follow as many of the on-page factors required when creating your webpages.
What are the benefits to SEO?
Benefits for SEO include:
- Higher amount of organic traffic: As the saying goes “The best place to hide a dead body, is the second page of Google” .The top 5 positions in the SERP’s receive the most impressions and clicks. According to Analytics SEO, in 2015, the top 5 positions in the SERP’s on desktop account for 88.7% of clicks. This essentially shows that if you are not ranking within these positions, changes are, you will never see a solid increase in traffic.
- Solid ROI (If converted effectively): SEO will always provide trackable and quantifiable results regardless of what type of site you have.
- Brand awareness and exposure to a much larger target audience: SEO is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies because it targets users who are actively looking for your products and services online. SEO’s inbound nature helps businesses save money as opposed to outbound strategies like cold-calling. While cold-calling can still be an effective strategy, the leads generated cost 61% more than leads generated by an inbound strategy like SEO.
- Increased usability: – SEO consists of rearranging the site’s architecture and links to make pages within the website easier to find and navigate. This not only makes it easier for search engines to crawl your site and find pages, but also makes it easier for users to find information on your website as well.
Overview of SEO
If your website doesn’t receive much traffic, then SEO is definitely the way to go to pick up a larger number of visitors – this is vital if you don’t want your business getting lost among the millions of other websites.
However, once you are receiving traffic and your pages are obtaining more unique visits; you may find you have a very low conversion rate for turning visitors into leads or better yet, customers. This is where CRO begins. It is all very well having loads of hits, but if the majority click off or are just simply not buying your products – then it’s time you looked into a implementing this method. So… what is CRO?
CRO = Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion rate optimization is the method of focusing on the traffic you have already visiting your site, and maximizing conversions via a lead or a sale. There are many techniques for using CRO, so let’s take a look at some of the basics.
The main principles are:
- Using analytical tools to obtain data from your visitors.
- A/B Testing
- Improving the performance of your business blog/website.
- KPI’s – looking at your online business requirements and objectives.
- Maximizing your total conversions from current visitor levels.
Using Analytical Tools
Google Analytics is excellent for measuring your website’s performance; see which pages your visitors are on if they are clicking off too quick or even engaging with your webpages.
If the majority of your traffic is leaving your site in seconds or even minutes, then there is a high chance that your landing page isn’t working.
Common Landing Page problems include:
- Unclear message.
- No CTA (Call To Action)
- Takes too long to load (people are never patient waiting).
- Your page has a lot of clutter and unrelated pictures.
- Your blog/business news is on the homepage (big mistake as complete new visitors won’t be interested in engaging with your news, just with the product in question).
Your webpage should be clear, with visuals such as photo’s, media, audio etc. This will entice the visitor to engage or complete the action which you wish them to take, leading them further into your sales funnel.
Ideas for what else to ensure:
- Professional images.
- Fast load times.
- Special promotions and offers should be at the forefront.
- A good color scheme which projects your brand feeling to the customer.
Your landing page should be your advertisement/billboard, it should make visitors want to find out more and tell them instantly what products or services you offer but what are the KPI’s that you should be measuring your results on?
What are KPI’s?
This stands for ‘Key Performance Indicator’, this will help you to measure your level of success.
- You need a clear business objective.
- The method of measuring progress towards your goal.
- The duration takes to get there.
It’s a method for applying lots of analysis onto your business; the result will be measuring your business growth rate and comparing it to your target.
The benefits of CRO
- Clearly see the direction of your online business and see where the opportunities lie to improve performance.
- Your website will be maximizing conversions from all your current visitors.
- You will understand your customers in more detail and will have measurable data to build personas and improve your business.
- Know exactly where you stand against your business goals.
- CRO isn’t just for online business making sales; it can be used in all other aspects e.g. performance of marketing, performance of customer service etc.
So, now that we’ve had a brief look at SEO and CRO, which one wins?
You have probably figured out by now, seeing as the two methods have different goals, then it’s safe to say that you should be using both.
If you have a website but are not yet receiving any visitors, or the traffic is low, then you should be focusing on SEO because, if you haven’t got the traffic in the first place, then it’s pretty difficult to run an analysis.
However, if you have a steady flow of traffic but your sales conversions are down, then you will need to be applying CRO – making deep analysis and taking data from each visitor, in order to increase your conversion rate.
Once you understand your customers, you will give your business a much better chance of success. The synergy between SEO & CRO are so strong, that you will certainly see a large growth in revenue if you execute these methods successfully.