Click rate optimization (CRO) and search engine optimization (SEO) are two central elements to marketing optimization. While both are great tools when implemented separately, it’s when they work together that positive changes truly start happening. Learn why the combination of CRO and SEO is crucial for a successful digital marketing suite.
Back to SEO and CRO Basics
CRO is the practice of making changes on your website to improve conversion rates. Think of it like A/B testing – it’s the smallest changes that make a difference. You test a few small items, and you see varied results. These small changes work because they allow users to focus on different page elements, and therefore take different actions depending on the setup.
Again, don’t think largescale edits. These changes can be anything and everything from changing page header copy, CTA button color, CTA button text, rearranging pre-existing copy or graphics, and even downsizing copy or graphics on the site. Any change you implement to your site to improve conversion rates counts as CRO.
SEO, as we know, similarly addresses optimization. The difference lies in the affected elements. SEO edits lie solely in the words you choose to implement across your website, all to improve your search ranking and visibility across the internet.
Once your initial SEO foundation is stable, you will dive into content. This usually starts with comprehensive keyword research paired with competitor research to ensure you’re optimizing for the right keywords and not giving any easy SEO wins to competing organizations. After the keyword research and competitive analysis, it’s time to optimize on-page content and recommend new content opportunities. Finally, you will tackle link building. The more links we can get the better, but, it is crucial to ensure you are considering site quality as you create a link building strategy by incorporating websites with higher authority.
Why SEO and CRO Experiments Work
The key to making the pair work together is consciously deciding what changes to make, and making them on a smaller scale to start. One of the biggest misconceptions about SEO and CRO is that the edits made across the website need to be vast, creating noticeable differences for all audiences. This often does more harm than good when implemented because it will often positively affect one element but negatively affect another. For example, adding flashy verbiage to H1 tags can improve conversions and create better CRO results, but if you remove primary, impactful keywords, traffic will slow and the page will become less visible overall.
Another way to help CRO and SEO work their magic is to let them do just that, work. It’s tempting to make a few edits across your website and, like that pie you can smell cooking in the oven, you want to open the door and take a peek. Unfortunately, as we all know from experience, opening the oven door just increases the time it takes for the pie to bake. The same applies to SEO and CRO tactics you’ve implemented on your website.
As a rule of thumb, from our experience, it is best to wait at least two weeks after implementing CRO edits to catch a glimpse of any upticks, or downticks, in conversions. For SEO, waiting 30 days generally does the trick. While it can be tempting to put the cart before the horse and decide something is not working, it is essential to let your changes bake and reach enough eyes before determining whether or not it made a difference. Without allowing the changes to run their courses, there is no surefire data to back up any assumptions you or your team can make about their effects.
Additionally, when implementing SEO and CRO edits across the site, start with the pages that have a steady stream of web traffic. We all know the age-old question, “If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a noise?” Similarly, if you make CRO or SEO edits on pages with little to no web traffic, do those changes make a difference to your marketing success and conversion rates overall?
By making changes on pages that are active enough to notice a difference if it does happen, you will have sound data to back up your hypotheses. The small changes in something such as button color, CTA text, or even form fields on these pages can and will provide data you would not get otherwise in the less explored corners of your site. Go one step further, and when you’ve improved traffic on some of your highest traffic pages, you can use those pages to direct traffic to others that could use a little more exposure. Your team can then use this data to apply what works to the pages with less traffic for consistency.
When SEO + CRO Change is Good, It’s Great
Why do SEO + CRO work better together? It’s simple math – Increasing traffic hits from 1,000 to 1,500 on a page with a conversion rate of 5% will increase conversions from 50 to 75. Increasing the conversion rate from 5% to 7.5% on a page with 1,000 traffic hits yields the same results. But if you increase the conversion rate from 5 to 7.5 and additionally boost traffic from 1000 to 15000 hits, you increase conversions from 50 to 112.
The results give us a definitive answer – if you only implement one strategy, you increase your traffic by 50%. If you implement both tactics, you increase traffic by 125%. Numbers and data don’t lie, especially when it comes to CRO and SEO. By combining both strategies in your digital program, you’ll see improvements across the board when it comes to conversions, and who doesn’t want that?
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The BFO Team
Here at BFO, we're always striving to bring you the latest and greatest in digital marketing insights and education. We're not ones to brag, but we've been lucky enough to be featured in all sorts of fancy publications and media outlets, strutting our stuff and showing off our industry expertise.
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