SEO doesn’t work alone. Not anymore.
Gone are the days when building backlinks is enough. Today, digital marketing experts need to think long-term: not just for their business, but for their clients. There are plenty of search engine optimization companies out there who will promise you the top spot on Google; but what you need to remember is that ranking alone doesn’t equal success – it’s WHAT you do with that ranking that matters. While SEO can definitely help you get those traffic and leads, conversion rate optimization (CRO) will turn those leads into paying customers. Woah – now that’s a winning combo!
Sad to say, most digital marketing firms focus on only either one, not both. If you don’t ask the right questions or dig deep into their strategies, you won’t realize that you’d be wasting money in the long run. A good online marketing company must specialize on SEO and CRO, as well as be adept at incorporating both to fit a client’s business goal.
SEO is actually where it all begins. Without it, where do you expect to get the leads and sales that you’re after? Contrary to what the public believes, SEO is definitely NOT dead. It simply evolved: from quick ranking tactics to more sustainable results. The premise remains the same: to obtain qualified traffic that will turn into leads. By combining linkbuilding with social media and content creation, any business can gain positive visibility on search engines (like Google).
‘There can be no effective CRO without SEO.’
As today’s SEO is more than just ranking, expect other benefits other than increased website traffic. The correct search engine optimization strategies should enhance brand awareness, boost appearance on SERPs, target the niche market, as well as offer viral capability for content. Remember that ranking is still important so the right audience can find a website. Once a business hits first page on Google for example, you should see positive numbers on its analytics report (such as more visitors, more shares, and better linkback opportunities). From here, you can begin planning conversion rate techniques to transform those leads into real paying customers (or subscribers).
Conversion rate optimization or CRO is nothing new, but not many know how to make the most out of it. Plenty of agencies will just jump into it without a plan – or worse, no SEO! Simply put, CRO involves making changes on a website to encourage action from users. If done well, there will be a boost in profit, improved customer retention, and higher ROI, to name just a few of its benefits. While SEO is akin to the backend portion of digital marketing, CRO is more on the frontline. Imagine a website as a shop window, with all kinds of accessories and product displays. It will change according to offerings as well as seasonal promotions. There’s also the aesthetic bit: no shop window should be boring! Hence, the need for eye-catching decorations and colorful signs. It’s the same for websites.
‘While SEO gave you the numbers, CRO will present you with the monetary benefits.’
But conversion optimization is so much more than web design. It involves real customer feedback (typically taken from online surveys), website navigation, CTA buttons, and plenty of tests. You want people to stop, look, linger, and eventually buy. You can’t achieve that if the shop window isn’t nice.
You’re probably wondering why we haven’t mentioned one crucial element behind both SEO and CRO. It’s because we’re saving the best for last. That’s right: content is what makes SEO and CRO campaigns successful. Content is anything and everything that you can see on a website: from text to images, videos and sounds. There’s no shortcut behind great content. It’s a product of regular research, analysis, and creativity.
If an SEO campaign doesn’t have content, what does it have? You need words to create links, photos to share on social media platforms, and more words when writing on a blog. CRO thrives on content. It’s what drives people to click links, subscribe to newsletters, and make purchases. So if there’s ONE thing you should invest heavily on, it’s content. Then use the technical details to support it.
Don’t instantly jump into one strategy without thinking of the other. It’s more than possible to incorporate conversion optimization without ruining SEO, and vice versa. It’s all a matter of personality. Let’s take a look at Hubspot’s website as a good example.
Their homepage is pretty straightforward, but dynamic at the same time. Positioned above-the-fold is their latest offering (in this case, their 2014 Year in Review), with a clear link so you can access it immediately. The huge header is eye-catching, with a concise copy that emphasizes ‘growth’ (and who doesn’t want that for their business, right?). Below are two CTAs, each pointing to the exact action that a user wants to take. Underneath that are their expertise. This is followed by company photos and customer testimonials. And of course, links to social media platforms. Notice how amiable Hubspot becomes as they showcase their number of fans and followers. You’d definitely want to become a part of that!
They actually have limited content on their homepage, but the services they – and their customers – value most are placed in a way that makes them easily available. Their copy is also peppered with terms like ‘marketing’, ‘integrated’, and ‘growth’; which are considered as power words in the B2B sector (their target market). All in all, Hubspot is clear about what they want to achieve, and they have successfully reflected that on their website using both SEO and CRO.
What can we learn from this example? It’s that the right mix of SEO and CRO should:
• be simple yet actionable
• know the target market: what they like and how they behave
• have the most important details where users can see them first
• mirror the business’ goals and/or business objectives
• shows the distinct personality of the company through content
This will require an in-depth study of the website and the client’s business, plus constant testing. Once you get the ‘perfect formula’, don’t assume that the work is done. The digital marketing industry is always changing. So while your strategies are aimed at sustainability, make them flexible too. SEO and CRO are only as good as you craft them to be. By combining technical elements with actionable techniques, you’ll get twice the results for happier clients.
In need of SEO who also specializes in CRO? Feel free to check out our services and see why clients choose us to help expand their business.