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SEO, UX & CRO: how do they interact for success?

Paul
Paul
Paul is a Digital Strategist at CandidSky, he leads the channel teams on some of our biggest cross-channel campaigns.

March 21, 2018

5 minute read

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), UX (User Experience)  and CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) are too often treated as separate entities. But getting all three aspects of a marketing strategy nailed is key to increasing website traffic, engagement, conversions and retention… and who doesn’t want that?

With so much focus on driving traffic to a specific area on a website and high rankings, the element that gets forgotten about is the focus on not only keeping that traffic on the website, but increasing their conversion.

From my own experience in previous positions, I‘ve been in the unfortunate situation where the design department have conveniently forgotten to bring the SEO team into a new web build discussion until it is ‘too late’ to make any design changes. One reason for this ‘selective amnesia’ is largely down to the belief that SEO and UX cannot work hand in hand, and that SEO recommendations will be detrimental to achieving a well-designed website. Well, unless your marketing strategy is to solely use word of mouth as your main traffic driving channel, your results are likely to reflect the lack of integration across different departments.

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) I feel is a channel normally thrown in with implementing new landing page designs, with multiple elements being tested at once and not being particularly thought out about what is being tested, but has enormous potential to make a real difference to website performance.

Most companies undertake an element of SEO marketing, therefore identifying where to gain that competitive advantage from a website perspective is even more crucial. This is where UX and CRO come in.

One way to think about how these three channels work together is:

SEO = art of driving traffic to the site

UX = keeping traffic engaged on the site

CRO = turning traffic into customers/taking a specific action

SEO satisfies search engines, UX and CRO satisfy people.

While the goals of each channel might be slightly different, they are part of the same customer journey, and all need to be successful in order to maximise a website’s potential. Imagine if a website focused solely on SEO, yes organic rankings will improve (hopefully) and a lot of relevant traffic will arrive on the website, however, if the level of UX doesn’t match the level of SEO, users will simply exit the website when served a potentially confusing poor user experience.

Crossover between SEO, UX & CRO

UX and CRO appear similar on face value, however, there are slight differences that demonstrate the value that can be achieved by focusing on both channels.

UX is intended to make your website easier, to navigate around, and to take key actions on. CRO is intended to help you make the actions you want them to take available and taken more often such as download that white paper, submit an enquiry or join a newsletter mailing list.

In addition, poor user experience metrics such as time on site, pages per session and bounce rate inform search engines that ranking this site too high will also provide a poor user experience to their audience.

In fact, a positive user experience is becoming more and important from an SEO perspective with factors such as a site showing its secure, mobile-friendly and has a fast page load speed all impact organic ranking positions in a positive way.

Therefore, neglecting the time needed to ensure your website traffic is being served a positive user journey and can convert easily, has a detrimental impact on your SEO efforts.

CRO is a channel that is likely seen as the least important of the three based on the recognition and promotion it gets industry-wide, which is hard to comprehend when it is the channel that can most impact your revenue, ROI and build brand loyalty through conversions.

A comprehensive CRO campaign should focus on combining data-driven insights with user experience, A/B Testing, competitor analysis and in-depth user testing. It is an area of the marketing mix that should be consistently evaluated, and despite there being best practice elements involved there is no one-way of CRO that’s fits all scenarios, and should, therefore, be tailored to the customer’s behaviour, intent and objectives.

Getting out of the siloed mindset

Obviously saying this is the easy part, the challenge is implementing this into the internal processes within a company environment. This should start with involving all departments at the beginning of each web build/project to ensure SEO, UX and CRO are factored into the design. 

In a previous blog, I refer to the impact of siloed marketing channels and how cross-channel marketing is crucial to driving real value in a campaign. Well, this blog follows the same train of thought in the sense that design and channel teams working in a siloed fashion can lead to siloed outcomes.

If your company is undertaking a new website build project for a company, ensuring not just design drives the outcome, but the strategy in general also plays a role.  To create a product that the client is happy with and drives quality traffic and conversions is a win-win for everyone. Experimenting with new page layouts, for example, has the potential to not just benefit SEO performance, but provide a more suitable page for your PPC traffic to land on, increasing ROI and decreasing costs.

Next steps

If combining SEO, UX and CRO is an area you want to explore further, please get in touch to discuss how we can best support your wider marketing objectives.

If you would like to work at CandidSky and develop your career prospects, take a look at our Careers website for available roles and find out what is like to work here.

And finally, take a look at our other blog posts to see what else we have been up to.

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