What good is audience traffic if the user experience is terrible? Senior SEO & Content Strategist Jia Yoong Lee & UX/UI Designer Matt Fehlberg from Yoghurt Digital explain the close relationship between SEO and CRO in this opinion piece.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) and conversion rate optimisation (CRO) are often approached as two separate strategies underneath the digital marketing umbrella – and sometimes they’re even seen as being at-odds with one another.
SEO is all about driving traffic to your website, whereas CRO is focused on increasing conversions, often by improving user experience (UX).
But what’s the point in driving traffic if it isn’t going to convert? It’s just traffic for the sake of traffic, without having any impact on your bottom line.
Balancing the conflict between SEO and CRO has historically been a challenge – but not anymore.
As search engines continue to prioritise the user, it’s never been more important for brands to combine their SEO and CRO strategies in order to grow their online footprint and deliver an optimum user experience.
Welcome to the dawn of a new era, where SEO and CRO work in perfect harmony.
Why User-Centricity Matters For Search Rankings
Today more than ever, Google has a significant number of UX-related factors in its ranking algorithm.
This is because Google doesn’t just want to provide users with relevant, informative results, but also promote websites that deliver a positive user experience.
This means that in order to gain an advantage in the search engine results pages (SERPs), a greater focus must now be placed on how well your website engages visitors as well as providing them with information that’s useful.
Your SEO strategy must take a user-centred approach that understands both search intent and consumer behaviour.
So, with that being said, how do you improve your rankings and your user experience in an ever-changing digital environment?
Get Clued Up On Your Customers
The key to good UX – and good CRO practices – is to intimately understand your audience’s motivations, pain points, attitudes and behaviours, and then use those insights to guide everything you do.
UX researchers and CRO specialists often immerse themselves in the lives of users by talking to them directly and observing their online behaviours in order to ensure everything from website functionality, to content, to journey flow is optimised to reflect what they actually want.
Only by interacting directly with your users can you begin to truly understand and leverage their expressed and latent needs to drive a successful CRO strategy.
This same research can also provide useful SEO insights, highlighting what customers are saying about your brand and products, as well as what questions they need answered.
Use this data to uncover or validate assumptions about your audience and get to the core of your users’ search intentions.
In this way you can craft a content strategy to help answer questions your customers have before making a purchase and uncover strategic search terms that people are likely to use during their purchasing journey.
Furthermore, understanding your customers’ challenges will help you deliver the right tone of voice and messaging to engage your customers effectively.
Once you’re clued up on your customers, you can begin to craft an experience that not only serves your audience practically, but also improves your overall organic traffic and visibility.
Craft Your Content For Smaller Screens
Google now takes a mobile-first approach when determining search rankings, making it vital your content is optimised for smaller screens.
A mobile-first approach includes a number of considerations that should be built into your combined CRO and SEO strategy from the start.
Firstly, ensure your mobile website is optimised for page speed and performance.
A website that has a high bounce rate sends a bad signal to Google and will have a negative impact on your page rankings.
Next on the list is engagement. It’s been proven that long-form content outranks short-form content – but long-form content on mobile presents its own challenges.
That’s why you need to think about how to optimise your website’s design and content to maintain (and increase) engagement with users.
When designing your page for mobile, craft content that captures a user’s attention and draws them into the page.
It’s important that this content follows a hierarchy that caters for users at different stages of the conversion funnel.
For example, time-poor visitors who are in the ‘consideration’ phase will quickly scan content in a way that gives them the key bits of information they need to make a quick decision.
Providing users with pull-quotes, image captions and bullet points throughout your content will ensure that you can effectively communicate your key selling points.
When these messages are crafted correctly, they can entice your visitors to either continue reading or to take an action.
Either way, it creates continued engagement with your website and sends all the right signals to Google that your content is useful and engaging for your audience, which in turn helps improve your authority and value in Google’s eyes.
Keep On Optimising
As search engine algorithms continue to evolve, maintaining a focus on the user experience will be critical to your brand’s success.
Separately, CRO and SEO can drive strong results – but when combined as one unified, user-centric approach, your organic traffic and conversion numbers will soar.
And ultimately, traffic without conversions doesn’t deliver any value to a business’ bottom line.
It’s critical to invest in understanding your audience in order to provide them with relevant content delivered through a truly seamless user experience.
Building trust in your brand with a user-centric content strategy will pay dividends in boosting awareness of your brand, and will give you a strategic advantage in the marketplace for years to come.