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How to Use SEO to Optimize for Conversions: Marrying SEO & CRO

Often, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), are treated as disparate and siloed marketing strategies – which leads to less effective overall performance from both processes.

From a marketing funnel perspective, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a top of funnel marketing process aimed at acquiring website visitors from unpaid search engine results, in the hopes that they will become customers. SEO’s aim to drive Search Engine Visibility and the maximum amount of Organic traffic.

Meanwhile, Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the process of improving the percentage of website visitors who perform a desired action or goal. This can include actions such as contact form submissions, purchasing a product, or downloading a brochure.

Marrying Your SEO & CRO Strategies

When marrying a defined SEO strategy with CRO, the processes become interconnected while conversion rates and ROI increase.

Those who are unfamiliar with Search Engine Optimization assume driving more Organic traffic to their website from Search Engines will improve their bottom line.

The fact is, at times it can be beneficial to actually lose organic traffic to gain organic revenue from your website.

Not all Organic Search Traffic is Created Equal

Driving unqualified visitors, or visitors who are in the wrong stage of the purchasing funnel to your site in large volumes will only further reduce conversion rates, as they are not the right type of visitor.

Alternatively, driving a smaller number of highly qualified visitors will yield stronger conversion results (and conversion rate). The highly targeted traffic is interested in the products or services you offer, and are ready to take a conversion action.

By focusing SEO strategy on long tail key phrases, user search intent and marketing funnel stage, SEO becomes more optimized for converting website visitors, rather than simply getting more website visitors.

Optimizing SEO for Conversions: Long Tail Key Phrases

Longtail key phrases are key phrases that are highly specific, and typically longer than 3 words. These key phrases get less traffic but tend to convert more visitors, and at a higher rate, than short-tail key phrases. Though having less search volume than short tail key phrases, long-tails are less competitive and easier to rank for – which means more visibility for highly specific search queries.

Example: An international student who will be attending university in Perth, Australia, is seeking off-campus accommodation. They begin their search with the term ‘accommodation Perth’. After some searching, they quickly realize they want to be near the city center, and there are student housing centers located downtown. The search now uses terms like [student accommodation in downtown Perth], a long tail keyword. Using this keyword provides search results that are more closely aligned with desired needs, and the chances of generating a booking from the long tail search result are largely increased.

(A Campaign Sherpa client: Campus Perth, a Perth Student accommodation hub, returns the top organic tail keyword result)

Rather than fighting for ultra-competitive short tail and generic key phrase positions, websites that are optimized for long tail keywords position themselves tend to generate highly qualified and targeted traffic – the kind that is most likely to convert.

Optimizing SEO for Conversions: Optimize for User Intent & Funnel Stage

Different search queries reveal different search intent – from information, to navigation, to consideration, to transaction, which all represent different stages in a purchasing funnel.

  • Information searches, like (“how to do SEO”) have a specific intent or question about a certain topic.

  • Navigation searches, like (“Campaign Sherpa”) are generally reserved for branded terms, where the searcher is already seeking a predetermined website that they will navigate to.

  • Consideration searches, like (“Best SEO auditing tools to buy”) are for users who are nearing a purchasing decision, but are still researching options.

  • Transaction searches, like (“buy flight to Hong Kong”, or “book discount Hong Kong hotel”) are search terms with purchasing intent.

Understanding the intent behind searches, crafting quality Search Engine Optimized content for audiences in different stages of the purchasing funnel, and matching intent to landing page experience are effective ways to blend SEO & CRO strategies.

After implementing an SEO strategy that optimizes for the appropriate audience, and sending traffic to highly relevant landing pages – Landing page experience then becomes critical to both SEO and CRO.

SEO & User Experience (UX) in 2020 and Beyond: Core Web Vitals

Google recently introduced a new initiative, Core Web Vitals, to provide quality signals deemed essential for UX on websites. The update encompasses page loading speed and user interaction measurements.

Previously, Google had made mobile usability and page loading speed part of their ranking algorithm, and now the introduction of Core Web Vitals indicates a larger importance being placed on UX, which further blurs the line between SEO and CRO.

Core Web Vitals will impact SEO rankings, so marketers and SEO’s specifically must now consider landing page experience as part of a holistic digital strategy.

Create a Holistic CRO Strategy

If you are not already taking CRO into consideration when developing an SEO strategy, SEO results will be sure to underwhelm.

When viewing the customer journey holistically, from impression to conversion, all touchpoints must be integrated. It is critical to amalgamate processes, including blending SEO, User Experience and Analytics to form a comprehensive Conversion Rate Optimization strategy.

To discuss or plan a holistic SEO & CRO strategy, contact a member of our team today.