SEO vs CRO: Which Is Better?

As you secure your footing in the competitive world of digital marketing, you’ll quickly learn that the online landscape changes quickly. Your page rankings can fluctuate regularly, and new algorithm updates also can require you to change your strategy. Your competition can sweep in overnight and grasp your number one spot for a search term.

If you’ve been in the game for a while now, you might have heard that search engine optimization (SEO) and conversion rate optimization (CRO) are in a boxing match with one another, fighting for your attention and resources.

Here’s what the two terms mean:

  • SEO. This is the term used to describe efforts to increase your rankings in the results of search engines like Google. This can help users more easily find your site and learn about your company.
  • CRO. This is the process of increasing the percentage of website visitors that convert to customers or take another desired action. This is important because no matter how many visitors you have, they’re only valuable to your business if they eventually become customers.

Many people wonder which strategy is better, and the answer isn’t always clear. Here are a few important things to know about SEO vs CRO, so you can decide where to focus your strategies.

Gaining traffic from keywords alone won’t bring in more revenue

It’s true: You can rank for many keywords, but it won’t naturally translate to more conversions. What you can do, though, is target long-tail, specific keywords to increase your chances of honing in on the right audience. If your specialized keywords attract leads that are more qualified, your revenue will increase.

It’s possible to lose traffic but increase your conversions

Here’s another testament to the fact that lots of traffic doesn’t necessarily mean lots of conversions: If the keywords you’re targeting aren’t specified enough, you might be attracting the wrong audience.

All of this is not to imply that you should only focus on strategies that lead to conversions, because quite the opposite is true. If you don’t have a good amount of traffic coming to your website, you won’t see the results you seek.

Instead, you need a strategy that combines both SEO and CRO. The two shouldn’t be in competition. In fact, they should work together to bring you positive results. Here are a few tips for integrating both SEO and CRO into your plan for growth and profit:

  • Plan your content wisely. Most of the people who come across your content online will only skim over it. A few might read it in its entirety, but even fewer will read it and take action. When someone lands on your website, it’s an opportunity for you to connect with them. Instead of looking at this situation as an opportunity for an immediate conversion, view it as an opportunity to establish yourself as an authority and build trust with that individual. Try to secure an email address by offering something of value, such as free content or other helpful download.
  • Build quality links. Search engines view links from other sites as votes of your site’s quality. The process of building quality links is a proven way to boost your position in search engine results, but it isn’t always easy. It begins with creating stellar content that brings something fresh and new to a topic. Doing so will encourage authoritative websites to link to your content. It wouldn’t be wise to create mediocre content and hope an authoritative site will link to it, though. Aim to provide something of value, and the links will come naturally.
  • Put your efforts into both SEO and CRO. It’s true that the majority of conversions start with a Google search, but that doesn’t mean you should dedicate all of your efforts to SEO. You could bring in tens of thousands of website visitors each day, but the effort is for nothing if those visitors leave your page after a few seconds. The idea is that SEO and CRO are both crucial to success, and they should work in tandem.

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