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SEO and CRO – Which Is Your Priority?

The term Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has been around for some time now. Most of us have heard of it, mastered it and dabbled in the art of SEO, but for those of you who are not entirely sure it is the highly competitive battle for driving traffic to your website.

In relation to this SEO has become somewhat of a buzzword, a holy grail that has the danger of becoming a frenzied quest in its own right. In such cases it is important to retain perspective and remind yourself why SEO is important. It’s a bit like chasing likes in social media, where you cannot lose sight of the fact that it’s not about the quantity of likes in themselves, but what a good volume of quality likes can do for your business.

The same is true of websites, and here we have to question if the whole exercise of using your website to promote your business and generate income is down to SEO alone. The answer is no – there’s also such a thing as CRO, Conversion Rate Optimisation.

Conversion Rate Optimisation

CRO relates to the percentage of visitors to your website that actually go on to do business with you, either by contacting you for your services, ordering a product off your site or in some other way producing income directly or indirectly. You see, while it is important to drive traffic to your website it is ultimately even more important that the visitors in question don’t only land on your pages but also stay and engage with them.

A successful online strategy therefore focuses on both of these vital concepts that are not contradictory, but in fact complementary, as long as you don’t allow one to totally overshadow the other. Too often, though, generating site traffic becomes the overriding goal and in consequence SEO gobbles most or even all of your resources in terms of time, money and creativity.

Just as with likes on social media, and pretty much everything else in life, it is not so much the quantity as the quality of the visitors to your site that determines a successful online strategy, which by the way is best defined as one that produces real commercial results measured not so much in impressive visit numbers but in good old-fashioned money. In other words, truly impressive Google analytics will reveal that the visitors on your web pages have found the right kind of site, for they will be interested enough to linger, visit different pages and take the information, messages and calls to action on them.

Turning visits into results

A low bounce rate of this kind is the first step towards achieving your commercial goals, for it ensures that you are reaching not just large numbers of random people but actually succeeding in reaching your true target audience. Once you have their ear the next step is to engage them, but beware, the path to a high conversion rate of visitors to business revenue is not to become overly commercial and salesly.

In today’s service-driven environment engaging with your visitor/potential client is all about the experience, so here you have to drop the SEO mindset and create an online customer service philosophy that will see you impart information, share your knowledge and provide the visitor with a superior site experience than that of your competitors. You will stand out by being one of the best in your field, so view the navigation, design, features and all other aspects of your online offering from the perspective of the visitor when you set out to design your website, not forgetting to engage and enthuse him or her along the way.

The above implies a coherent strategy that takes both SEO and CRO into account from the outset, building on keyword research to develop a content strategy for the former while putting on your CRO hat to produce a site structure – blueprint for your website – that will enhance the user experience and lead to higher conversion rates. SEO alone will not achieve this without a great waste of time and resources as it focuses on quantity alone, and online success is all about finding your buying public, so add a new acronym to your vocabulary and make sure CRO becomes part of your 21st century marketing efforts.

Michel Cruz