SEO Insights > How to combine SEO and CRO

How to combine SEO and CRO

What are the benefits of combining SEO and CRO?
What are the benefits of combining SEO and CRO?

5 ways to combine SEO and CRO
5 ways to combine SEO and CRO

Conclusion
Conclusion

As Google becomes even more user focused, SEOs need to ensure that their strategies, as well as overall marketing objectives, prioritise them in lieu of these updates. Part of this is ensuring that the whole of the user journey is captured and catered to. With the helpful content update, site speed, and mobile friendliness updates, it makes sense to incorporate CRO into your SEO strategy. But how exactly do you combine SEO and CRO? And what benefits does this approach bring?

First things first – SEO and CRO (conversion rate optimisation) aren’t as different as you may initially think. Initially, it looks like SEO drives traffic and CRO drives users to convert.

But for reasons we’ll go into, combining them together can dramatically improve your website’s overall marketing performance. CRO is part of the wider search mix, and when combined with SEO can create a powerful marketing strategy.

This will be an introductory, hands-on article with useful tips to begin to think about combining CRO with SEO. So let’s get to it!

What are the benefits of combining SEO and CRO?

To achieve marketing success, different approaches and channels shouldn’t be siloed. After all, an effective strategy is a holistic one. Historically, you might have a UX/design team and SEO team, who would be working on their objectives separately. However, Google now approaches websites as a whole. This means that this siloed approach doesn’t consider how Google crawls, indexes, and ranks sites.

Changes to SEO also means that user behaviour is now a ranking factor. User experience and content (as seen through EEAT and Helpful Content Update) are integral to SEO success. So, it’s now important to think of the user’s experience in the search journey and how this can be leveraged.

CRO benefits from all of the above too. In fact, combining SEO expertise – which increases traffic – with optimising for conversions creates a compounding effect. It’s killing two birds with one stone, and results in a win-win for everyone.

5 ways to combine SEO and CRO

So we know that integrating SEO with CRO is a winning strategy. But how exactly do you do this? Here are 5 ways that you can combine SEO and CRO for your website.
A illustration of someone sat at a desk using a computer.

1.   Reassess your website’s content design

Your website’s content massively affects your CRO and SEO efforts. In order to maximise its impact across both of these, you want to ensure that user intent matches the content you’re creating. You really want it to resonate with audiences, so approach content creation with a user-first mindset. This means you’ll get better quality traffic that is from the right audience you specifically want to target.

However, this doesn’t mean you should try and make a square peg fit in a round hole. If you’ve written something that you’re trying to retroactively make more search friendly, you need to ensure the whole piece of content is revised. Simply put – you shouldn’t just change page titles and call it a day! This can create a disjointed experience for your user, who may quickly bounce. Not what you want.

It’s also important not to forget the simple, basic things when creating content. Remember, consumable, accessible content improves engagement. This is where content design comes in. Content goes beyond words, videos, and audio, and extends to how it is formatted. Specifically in order for it to be easily consumed by users. For further insight into content design, we highly recommend checking out Chloe Smith’s BrightonSEO presentation on how content design impacts SEO and accessibility.

One of the most important factors of effective content design is to not prioritise style over accessibility. Examples of this include choosing poor contrast text, fonts that are difficult to read, and overly cluttered layouts. Not only are you putting off users, but you’re not being helpful either. Again, not what you want.

Let’s take an example. You have a blog post. Effective content design would mean that this post should have a clear, logical format with headings so it’s helpful for users. Not only does this make it much easier to read – after all it’s likely that users will be scanning your content – but it makes the information shared a lot more digestible. To put this into context, it is reported that only 28% of text on a website is actually read. Research on text scanning also demonstrates how users can read in specific patterns, including F-shapes and layer-cake. Integrating this awareness into your content design will inevitably lead to higher levels of engagement.

You also want to allow the user to engage with you. Don’t leave your CTA until the bottom of the page, as you might have some drop off by this point. In fact, it’s estimated that 57% of users spend their time above the fold. CTAs should also be clear, prominent and well signposted.

Here are a list of what to check when reevaluating your website’s content and content design:

  • Does your content easily address your target user’s needs?
  • Does your content have clear headers and subheadings?
  • Have you included prominent CTAs?
  • Is your website’s content design accessible to everyone?

2.   Conduct a thorough analysis of your analytics

It’s really common for digital marketers not to use Google Analytics to its fullest extent. Google Analytics isn’t just for big campaigns. Use it day-to-day to get a crystal clear, detailed look at just how users are interacting with your website. It’s really important to spend some time understanding what’s really happening on your website. Just make sure you’ve got your goals set up. It’ll make it much easier to track and analyse activity.

You can use your analytics tools to identify drop off points and dig into why these are happening. This can include investigating high bounce rates, scroll depth, low time spent on site, where bottlenecks are and what they are caused by, whether there are clear journeys for your users, as well as clear CTAs at the right times for them to engage with.

It may feel a little overwhelming to do this for your entire website, so we recommend prioritising your pages with the highest traffic. Identify where the problem might be, and move backwards as to what might be causing it. Remember that you shouldn’t base changes on anecdotes. You need clear, accurate data as a basis for changes. Otherwise, you might not get the results you want.

Obvious, clear tweaks can make a profound difference and make a big impact to traffic.

And what’s best is that you can use what you already have! You can save resources and money in the long run on big projects  like redesigns and developments.
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3.   Reexamine technical factors

We’re in a mobile-first age where most of the web is on mobile. 58.5% of global internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Google now even operates on a mobile-first indexing basis. But it’s not just SEO that benefits from ensuring that websites are technically primed for mobile-usage. CRO does too. Users are far more likely to convert on a website that is speedy, and built to run fast on their mobile phones. For example, Google has reported that a one-second decrease in site loading on a mobile phone can improve conversion by up to 27%. And to put this into context, Google also reported that an increase of loading speed from 1 second to 3 seconds can increase bounce rates by 32%.

Here’s a quick checklist of technical factors to keep on top of:

  • Site speed
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • Core web vitals
  • Site architecture
  • Broken pages and links
  • Duplicate pages

4.   Prioritise internal linking

Internal linking isn’t just useful for SEO – it benefits users, and by virtue improves conversion rates. This is because it signposts users and Google to what the important pages are.

For SEO, it’s important for Google to crawl and index your site quickly, and therefore understand the structure of your site. You can go to your analytics to learn what your most important pages are using site search data. You should prioritise these pages for any internal linking projects you undertake, and double check that they are easy to find. You can remove several steps for users to make finding popular things much easier, which will lead to better CRO. Users are much more inclined to buy something if it’s easy to find.

Here’s a few questions you should ask yourself when researching and planning for your internal linking strategy:

  • What are users searching for? Are these in the main navigation?
  • Are users searching for something that can’t easily be found on your site?
  • Are there other ways you can highlight these pages?
  • Are your key pages linked to on your footer? Remember, Google still follows these links, and they’re easy for users to find too.

5.   Take a new approach to testing

If you’ve completed the previous steps, it’s time to hone in further to CRO with user tracking/A/B tests. You can undertake user session tracking using tools like VWO, Hotjar, and Microsoft Clarity.  This means you can hone in on specific issues. Again, look at the data you already have. This means you can narrow down your focus on user tracking.

So where do you start? We recommend filtering your data by exit pages, so you can see if there are particular trends with users leaving. This might mean that you end up working backwards – from the exit page – to find out what these trends are. You don’t have to start this type of analysis at a level that is too granular. It should be pretty clear why certain pages have a higher exit rate than others. You only need to go in with a fine tooth comb when what is causing exits isn’t clear.

Remember, any marketing strategy – including SEO and CRO –  is an ongoing process. There is no final endpoint! There are always lessons to be learnt, even with failed experiments.

Conclusion

SEO and CRO go hand-in-hand, and when combined can dramatically improve website performance. Many practices that improve SEO also improve CRO, but it’s important to dedicate time and resources to ensure that conversion is being fully optimised for. It shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought.

A fully realised strategy to improve both SEO and CRO covers on-page and technical approaches, as well as taking time to analyse what exactly is happening on your website. If you’re looking to improve your conversion rates, we now offer CRO services that can help you reach your goals. Contact us to find out more.

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