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How SEO And CRO Are Connected

Subscriber and copywriter David Kimbell asked: “I'd love to hear your thoughts on CRO and list-building.” So as Bart Simpson quipped, “I please to aim.” For the sake of brevity, I'll come back to list-building.

CRO, or conversion rate optimization, is an area that I don't cover as much as I do SEO. It's likely because of how much the two are connected.

They're independent but also inter-dependent.

  • SEO's goal is to attract more and better users to your website.
  • CRO's goal is to convert those more and better users into leads/clients.

Improve your SEO and you improve your CRO at the same time.

It's easier to convert audiences who are more qualified from the start. That's because CRO's first priority is to ensure you attract the right audience. The higher the quality of visitors are, the higher the conversions will be.

Trying to optimize your conversion rate when you're dealing with the wrong audience is futile. By attracting ideal users first, CRO's job becomes easier.

But there converse is also true. For the more users you convert, the more users you will attract, too.

Let me explain.

First, it's easier to convert audiences who are more qualified from the start. That's because CRO's first priority is to ensure you attract the right audience. The higher the quality of visitors are, the higher the conversions will be.

Trying to optimize your conversion rate when you're dealing with the wrong audience is futile. By attracting ideal users first, CRO's job becomes easier.

Second, the more people you convert, the greater the chances that Google will rank you higher and send you better traffic. A higher conversion rate is often indicative of better content, a better user experience, and a lower bounce rate.

These signals tell Google that your website is relevant to users.

It's a virtuous cycle.

So by focusing on SEO, you are also contributing to CRO.

But if you want some hacks (apparently, CRO hacks is trendy these days), here are a few high-level, user-centric CRO tactics:

  1. Know your users better;
  2. Improve your messaging;
  3. Improve the user experience;
  4. Experiment and test.

First, knowing your audience is critical. With SEO, your content should match the user's intent. With CRO, it should match the user's behaviour, which is based on what's going on in the minds and lives of your users.

Marketing guru Dan Kennedy calls this “message-to-market match.” You can't match your message if you don't know your audience.

Often, when I try to come up with a message that best fits the audience, I try to forget the content and focus on what the users are thinking, feeling, hurting, confused about, frustrated with, and so on the moment they hit the website.

If I'm stuck, it may be that I don't know my market enough, I didn't dig deep enough, or I didn't do enough research. Because I often find that the more I know about my audience, the easier it is to find the ideal message.

Next, you want the experience to be as smooth as possible.

Gary Halbert, one of the best copywriters to have ever lived, often said that your copy has to read like a greased chute. This applies to the user experience, too. From headline to order form, the process needs to be smooth, uninterrupted, and encouraged.

Anything that helps to make the experience smoother will always improve conversions. More often, it's easier to improve the user experience by identifying and removing any snags that are hurting your conversion rates.

You want to remove “speed bumps” from that greased slide, if you will.

For example:

  • Does the page load fast enough?
  • Is the font size big and easy to read?
  • Is there enough text-to-background contrast?
  • Are there any gravity elements driving the eyes?
  • Are calls-to-action clear and obvious?
  • Is the order form long and clunky, or short?

Finally, a core CRO practice is split-testing.

It's also one of the most underutilized, too. I understand that it can be overwhelming. Some nerdy marketers I know conduct hundreds of multivariate experiments with complex statistical analyses. But you don't have to. You can simply start with simple A/B split-tests.

Just compare version A against B, and pick the winner.

Test different headlines, forms, colours, images, offers, prices, proof elements, etc. There are plenty of things you can test and plenty of variations of each, too.

The idea is to start testing. One small change could result in a huge bump in your conversion rate. And with free CRO tools like Google Optimize, you can conduct experiments on a multitude of page elements easily.

Here's another reason why SEO and CRO are connected.

It may actually be the reason.

I've always said that SEO comes down to two elements: the quality of your content and the quality of the user experience. CRO is no different in that you can optimize your conversion rate by honing in on and experimenting with either one of these: the content and the UX.

So offer great content and great user experience, and you create a domino effect: you drive better traffic, which leads to better clients, which leads to better traffic, which leads to better clients, and so on.

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