Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is a factor often ignored by SEOs who instead focus their efforts solely on getting their website to rank higher and increase organic traffic. However, it makes a lot of sense for CRO to happen alongside, or even prior to, any SEO campaign.
Let’s not forget that SEO is a marketing tool and its primary purpose is to drive business growth. If it’s not doing that, the truth is that it’s useless. This is where CRO comes in, ensuring that SEO can genuinely deliver business growth.
By looking at CRO with your SEO campaign, you not only set up SEO for greater success, but you also save yourself a lot of time down the road.
Here, I explain what can happen to SEO without considering CRO, the benefits of CRO to ranking higher, and additionally provide some actionable CRO tips that will help your SEO and website overall.
SEO Without CRO
Firstly, let’s consider what could happen if CRO had been ignored while an SEO campaign resulted in a spike in website traffic.
It’s always a great feeling to see a spike in website traffic, whatever the cause. Let’s say you finally reach page 1 for your target keyword. In this situation, it’s common to start thinking the SEO campaign was a success.
However, CRO had been ignored. The website copy wasn’t convincing, there were no call to actions, the contact forms didn’t work, or the checkout functionality was too complex and traffic was put off converting.
The website issues meant the traffic spike did not drive any sales or leads. In this case was the campaign really success? Isn’t the value of that spike questionable at best, pointless at worst?
Admittedly this is a kind of worst-case situation. Most websites have considered CRO to a certain extent, whether knowingly or not. A more likely situation is that the spike led to a handful of leads or sales.
In either situation, the number of leads and sales arising from the traffic spike would have been significantly more if CRO was given serious attention.
This is how CRO can help you make the most of website traffic, and this applies to all channels.
CRO and Ranking Factors
Beyond improving the conversion rate of website traffic, CRO can have a remarkable positive impact on increasing your site’s organic ranking.
The main reason for this is engagement. How engaged users are, measured by metrics such as bounce rate and time on page, is increasingly having an impact on rankings.
This is because Google can tell if a user found a website, and then returned to Google to continue searching. They understand that this is also a very strong indicator that the website was not what they were looking for.
Google continually strives to give users results that meet exactly what they are looking for. This means that sites with poor engagement where users have left to continue searching will struggle with ranking highly. Essentially, if you don’t have the content to match the searcher’s needs, you’re not going to rank well.
CRO can help improve engagement in numerous ways, such as compelling copy, intriguing, user-friendly design, and clear CTAs that encourage browsing and staying on site.
Increased engagement on your site will help your organic rankings by showing Google that users value your site and it answers their search query.
1. User-friendly design
It’s essential that you have a user-friendly design, so ensure that you declutter your website and make it easy to read. Too much information in one viewpoint can overwhelm users and mean key points are missed. Having a simple, easy to read website helps users know where to look and what is important.
2. Identify your drop off points
Use Google Analytics to find out how many unique pageviews each stage of your funnel receives and use this to work out the percentage drop off from each section. This will tell you what are the priority pages to work on.
It’s quite common with checkout processes that ~80% of users who click “buy now” do no complete the checkout process. This would obviously be a priority area, and one where simplicity and ease of use works best.
3. Get inspiration from others
If you know your drop off points but are struggling to identify changes that you know will benefit your website, then get inspiration from other websites and successful competitors. However, ensure that you only use this for inspiration as people will notice the imitation and changes should always fit your brand and style.
Sam Martin-Ross. I manage Digital Uncut, we’re a results driven PPC & SEO agency in London. We’re committed to helping our clients grow – that’s why we focus on search engines & results. Prior to Digital Uncut, I have had the privilege of working on multi-million pound SEM campaigns for numerous companies. Find me on Twitter here.