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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Goes Hand-In-Hand With Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Tue, Mar 6, 2012

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By Bonnie Worthington, CEO Website Strategies, Inc.

The other day, I was in a group of people and a man asked me “what I did.”  Knowing he wanted to know what I do as an occupation, and also “believing” he knew nothing about websites, I answered with, “I help businesses get more website sales.” To my surprise, his response was, “So do you do SEO or CRO?” (Search Engine Optimization or Conversion Rate Optimization).

What ensued was a great conversation about how I help businesses get their websites found in the search engines, and then how we make it easy for their website visitors to “convert,” or take the call to action on the website landing page.

In the old days of SEO, the ultimate goal was to convert the visitors.  That’s kind of a no-brainer.  No one wanted to get people to their website for nothing.  We, as SEO’s ARE conversion optimizers and would optimize website landing pages so that we would get visitors to the website and do our best to help the visitor convert (take the desired call-to-action).  However, it wasn’t until people like Tim Ash, who is one of the conversion industry guru’s, did we really begin to understand that there are certain website design elements necessary on each website’s landing page and many unnecessary ones that either help or greatly hinder the conversion process.

As the SEO industry has grown exponentially over the past decade, we have seen the emergence of a whole new industry; that of CRO.  It’s one thing to get visitors to the site (SEO), but if they don’t convert or take your call-to-action, you have wasted your SEO dollars.  Conversely, if your page is optimized for conversion, but no one comes to your landing-page, you have wasted your conversion rate optimization (CRO) efforts.

What also must be considered is your website’s information architecture. How is your website foundation and structure laid out?  If your website were a house, what is the floor plan?  How strong is the foundation? Information architecture has a great bearing on how your website is viewed and navigated by both the search engines and your visitors.  Often, I find that it is easier to restructure and sometimes re-building a client’s website for better conversions instead of take something that is poorly structured and try to improve on that (even though that can be done if budget doesn’t allow a rebuild). When it comes to website strategies and website planning, there is much to think about. If you don’t have a professional website strategist guiding you, it will take you much longer to achieve your website goals.  Unless of course you have lots of time to study, which also works. I know many very intelligent and successful website owners who get great website performance because they taught themselves many of the nuances of website optimization.

So in choosing a Website Optimization” practitioner, it is good to know if they can do both SEO, CRO and is knowledgeable in information architecture.  The three go hand in hand.  One can’t survive without the other and still produce good results for your website.  All of these fall under the huge umbrella we call “Internet Marketing.”

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