CRO, SEO, or Both?

Written by Alex Harris

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In previous years, SEO was the buzzword for increasing your sales and driving more traffic to your website. Everybody who owned a website, or has developed an ecommerce site, were fixated on what keywords to use and how to use them, in making sure that the sites they have built comply with what the search engines want, and that meta data is updated and available. There was also a lot of emphasis on inbound links and making sure that websites have links to online directories and social bookmarking sites. After a while, the attention shifted to social media. Social networking sites became the gateway to your websites, which is why there was (and still is) a need to make sure that you have a strong presence, that your content is relevant and has the potential to get viral and sticky, and that you have a strong following.

However, no matter how much you optimize your website for search engines, and no matter how heavy your traffic is, if people are not actually converting and buying from your website, then your efforts are tantamount to nothing. If your only goal is to get traffic, then all is good, but as an ecommerce site, your ultimate goal is to increase sales. If proper SEO is not giving you that, then you need to change tactics. This is where CRO comes in.

CRO, also known as conversion rate optimization, is simply the process of optimizing your site to increase conversions, or get people to complete the checkout process and buy from your site. It could be anything from making sure your checkout page is less cluttered, to creating landing pages, to making sure that your product pages have all the necessary information, to designing your website to entice customers to buy from you.

The most common misconception is that you need to choose between SEO and CRO – that you need to exert more effort in just one, and let the second form of optimization take on a support role. The good news is that CRO and SEO can work seamlessly together.

Think of SEO as the pretty usherette that guides people to your website, and CRO as the lively salesman that convinces people into buying from you. Treating them equally, providing them both with adequate training, and making sure that both of them are efficient and customer-friendly can only mean good things for your website, and ultimately, your business.

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