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, which is why it is essential to hire SEO experts who understand the in’s and out’s of digital marketing for better and steady progress.
From my own experience in previous positions, I‘ve been in the unfortunate situation where the design department has 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.
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 = The art of driving traffic to a website
UX = Keeping traffic engaged on the site
CRO = Turning traffic into customers or encouraging visitors to take a specific action
SEO: Why is it important?
No matter whether you’re a new business or an established one, honing your SEO strategy can help you to increase your online visibility and boost website traffic over time.
SEO helps businesses get their website in front of the right people, thus increasing the likelihood of getting more sales and conversions. Once you’ve implemented a successful SEO campaign and you are generating enough traffic, it’s important to think about UX and CRO so that a high proportion of your website visitors convert.
Why does UX matter?
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.
Improving UX helps to improve overall customer satisfaction, thus increasing the likelihood of obtaining satisfied, loyal customers. Not only this, but UX-focused web design can also help to:
- Increase conversions
- Keep visitors on your website for longer
- Increase revenue
- Help your brand stand out against the competition
Why is CRO important?
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) 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.
When CRO-focused web design is implemented correctly, it can help you to reduce your customer acquisition costs by extracting more value from your existing website traffic.
The crossover between SEO, UX & CRO
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.
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 a white paper or document
- Submit an enquiry
- 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.
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.
And finally, take a look at our other blog posts to see what else we have been up to.