Are you banging your head against the wall trying to figure out how SEO can bring the traffic you want to your website AND how you’re going to convert them once they’re right where you want them (it’s not as evil as it sounds!)?
We’re always hearing the importance of an integrated digital strategy. One that includes everything from social media, web strategy, online advertising, video optimization, SEO, content marketing, etc. You should be scouring and executing in every digital nook and cranny – so long as it makes sense for what you want to achieve. Don’t risk leaving out the critical pieces and throwing off your entire integrated approach and beloved marketing mix.
All of this is absolutely true. I’m not denying the importance of an integrated approach. But, for digital marketers who are just getting the lay of the land and who haven’t quite figured out where to start in creating their marketing mix the idea of needing to start with a fully integrated digital marketing strategy can be frightening.
That’s why I want to dial it back with a much simpler integrated approach. One that comes naturally, but still with benefits galore.
Today, let’s talk about the inherent link between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). A beautiful balance between the two can drive a greater volume of higher quality website leads.
SEO ultimately comes down to conversions
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of incorporating keywords and key phrases your target audience is typing into search engines when looking for a service, solution or product that your company provides.
Ultimately, SEO comes down to conversions. You want to optimize your website for specific words that bring your ideal customer or client to your website. In turn, the goal of your website is to convert visitors, driving business growth. Proper optimization drives that well-qualified traffic to your website – visitors that have a higher chance of converting.
72% of marketers from enterprises rate search engine optimization (SEO) as successful in achieving marketing objectives like lead generation and increased web traffic (Source: MediaPost)
CRO decisions can be influenced by SEO research
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action – be that filling out a form, becoming customers, or otherwise. (Source: Moz)
Keep in mind, a conversion doesn’t always have to be related to a “sale.” It can be any action by a user that gets you closer to reaching your business objectives.
For one company, a conversion might be a form submission to speak to a sales rep or schedule a demo. For another, it might be a helpful resource download like a white paper or case study. Whatever a conversion is to you – it should be something measurable that relates back to your overall goals.
To encourage website visitors to take a desired action, a user-centric approach and a research-driven user experience strategy is key. Building a website specifically for your target audience (or buyer personas if you’ve developed them) makes them feel empowered. Who doesn’t love feeling empowered, like you have everything you need to take on the world?
When you give users exactly what they want, when they want it, and where they want it, it benefits you in the end. Visitors will spend more time on your website, engage with you more and gain trust in your capabilities. Plus, improving the overall usability of a website can increase conversions by nearly 43% (Source: HubSpot)
SEO + CRO = Integrated Website Optimization
A strategic inbound marketing strategy – including optimizing your website for visibility in search engines and optimizing for on-site conversions – doubles the average website conversion rate, from 6% to 12%. (Source: HubSpot via SmartBug Media) That’s no joke.
To that point, a truly integrated website strategy is critical to the success of your web presence. Especially when we’re all expecting increasingly more, better quality leads from it.
A focused keyword strategy derived from in-depth keyword research and analysis is an important component to your SEO strategy. Optimization efforts don’t end with driving well-qualified website traffic though. What happens next is just as important.
An SEO Strategist should be working with a UX Specialist to optimize website elements like landing pages, call-to-actions (CTAs), site architecture and form fields according to the keyword strategy.
On the flip side, a UX Specialist should leverage findings from SEO research and let the data drive decisions for UX design. This approach will guide website visitors toward converting in a personalized way.
As we always say, let the data drive the decision so I’ll let this speak for itself: 95% of companies who used several methods of optimization (e.g., conversion optimization and copy optimization) saw conversion rate improvement, compared to websites that only implemented CRO, 72%. (Source: Econsultancy)
Don’t think of SEO and CRO as two separate, segmented initiatives. Think of them in a more unified way, a way that benefits SEO, CRO and you. When you think of them as two components of one overall strategy you will start where overlaps occur and be better positioned to create a truly integrated website strategy.