Going Beyond SEO to CRO

by Gary on January 5, 2011 · 6 comments

in SEO

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A good SEO knows that search engine optimisation is just a means to an end. Once you lose sight of that, it is very likely that you will someday end up lost in strategies and methods that are out dated and cannot compete with newer and more efficient strategies that deliver what the client really wants in the end – conversions. This is true because you will be focused merely on generating more traffic when what’s more important is getting traffic that will result in action that your client needs, which is more often than not purchasing a product or service. In some cases, the action your client needs might not be a sale but signing up for subscriptions (free or otherwise), signing up for campaigns, answering polls or survey, giving out contact numbers, etc. Whatever that action is, as soon as the visitor does that action, you can call it a conversion.

SEO exists because clients need a way to rank well in search engine results pages in order to get a good sized traffic, which they hope will end up in conversions. What this means is that while getting tons of traffic is good, the traffic is useless if none of them end in conversions. The funny thing is that with all the interest in SEO, there is relatively very little interest in conversion rate optimisation (CRO), as if having a higher conversion rate will not directly lead to increase in profits! I am not putting down SEO, not at all, but might point here is that as SEOs, you have a great opportunity to extend your services to something that will benefit your client even more through conversion rate optimization. As an SEO, you are already helping them with the very crucial step in getting the traffic they need, why not branch off by offering the additional service of getting that traffic to actually turn into profit?

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Dave Jenkins January 10, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Once a website has enticed a customer to their site (usually via ranking well from an SEO project), then it is the job of the developer to structure and make the site appealing enough, and the business itself to offer the right products or services to make that conversion. This is certainly way outside the scope of a normal SEO consultant. However, as you said, perhaps it’s worth branching out into that? I know of a couple of sites that get good traffic but poor conversions, and I have already explained it is because of the design and structure. But, they don’t want (perhaps are frightened?) to change it!

Gary January 10, 2011 at 8:00 pm

@Dave most of my contracts are specifically to increase rankings, if I achieve this but the phone does not ring, the likely-hood is the contract will be cancelled. So I try and do all that I can to increase conversions, when I do, it’s a win win.

Dave Jenkins January 10, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Yes, of course Gary. I just find that a lot of businesses are quite opposed … perhaps that’s too strong, not too keen on a lot of structural and design changes though, in case it rocks the boat in other aspects of the site. But, I guess that’s down to the SEO to stipulate at the beginning of the contract “I can get you top 5 or better if you give me carte blanche”! Thanks 🙂

BetterBizworks January 22, 2011 at 6:20 pm

The trend of the new Google Analytics betas on content tend to confirms the validity of your article. The future of SEO is in customer reaction analysis which leads to ROI and conversion strategies. every businesses goal should be it’s conversion rate. Not it’s website ranking. Kudos to you for pointing it out.