Search engine optimization and conversion rate optimization often go hand-in-hand – one feeds into the other. That said, the two are very different. Understanding those differences is key if you’re to effectively implement both into your website.
We’ll start with an explanation of SEO.
Search Engine Optimization Is All About Traffic
With SEO, you’re focused on what brings visitors to your site, and how to bring in more.
With SEO, your goal is to bring in more traffic by increasing your website’s visibility on the search engine results page. Primarily, this is done through targeting the correct long-tail keywords, and providing content that meshes with what your audience is searching for. More broadly, SEO is also focused on providing site visitors with the best experience possible, optimizing page load speed, readability, and security.
The most important factor in SEO success is relevance. If the content you provide is relevant to your audience, you’ll bring in more traffic. Once you’ve got that traffic coming in – once people are actually on your website – that’s when CRO comes into play.
Conversion Rate Optimization Is What You Do With That Traffic
If SEO is about attracting qualified leads, CRO is about getting those leads to do what you want – to convert, in other words. What this means depends entirely on what your goal is with your website. If you’re an eCommerce organization, for instance, you’ll probably consider anyone who purchases a product from you a successful conversion.
There’s more to it than that, though. Conversions could also include mailing list signups, new subscribers, social shares, or donations. It’s all about the desired action, and how effectively you can inspire people towards that action.
Where SEO and CRO Intersect
Much of what you do with SEO has a direct impact on how well your visitors convert. Stuff like page load speed and content quality play heavily into achieving a high conversion rate, as does content relevance. At the same time, traffic on its own isn’t particularly valuable to you – you need your visitors to convert in order for your efforts to bear fruit.
Basically, what we’re saying is that in order to maintain a successful website, you need both. Without SEO, you won’t bring in much traffic. Without CRO, whatever traffic you do bring in will have very little value.
At the end of the day, SEO and CRO each pertains to an important step in the sales funnel – and if you’re looking to increase your conversion rate, you cannot have one without the other.