SEO and the Conversion Funnel
SEO and the conversion funnel are two things you don’t usually see in the same sentence.
This is because SEO and CRO are thought of as two very different disciplines. They focus on two separate areas of digital marketing, so why should you put them together?
Well, we believe that everything is interlinked – especially in growth marketing – so it’s likely that SEO and the conversion funnel can work together to create a smooth and effective online experience.
Still not convinced? Read on to find out why!
What’s the difference between SEO and CRO?
Both SEO and CRO are optimisation procedures. They try to ensure you’re using different digital marketing elements (search engine traffic and conversions) to their full potential.
Sadly, this is where most marketers think the similarity ends. This is because SEO and CRO have two very different aims:
- SEO – to improve website rankings and bring in qualified leads from search engines
- CRO – to encourage specific conversions throughout the user journey, which will lead to increased engagement and revenue
When you put it like that, the two don’t seem to gel. Their aims are totally different, so marketers think of them as separate entities.
However, at FABRIC8 we think bringing them together could be effective, especially at the higher levels of the conversion funnel.
Why should you combine SEO and CRO?
SEO brings people to your site, CRO makes sure they travel through it and achieve a goal (e.g. purchase or download).
Together, they create an effective end-to-end solution. Keep them apart, and you’re probably going to waste a lot of money.
We believe that the relationship between SEO and the conversion funnel begins right at the very top of the funnel, in the ‘awareness' stage.
This is where marketers try to bring in visitors from multiple sources, including social media, advertising, email campaigns and (most importantly) search engines!
BrightEdge found that a whopping 51% of web traffic comes from organic search, so your SEO practices really are worth paying attention to!
Once visitors from search engines get to your site, CRO techniques will guide them through it by providing relevant, timely content. This creates engaged, happy customers who are likely to purchase – can you really say no to that?
Put simply, if you practise CRO but not SEO, you’re going to miss out on a lot of leads (and revenue). If you practise SEO but not CRO, you’ll have a lot of traffic, but not a great deal of conversions (or revenue). You need to make these two disciplines work in harmony to ensure success.
How to use SEO and the conversion funnel effectively
SEO and the conversion funnel may be an unlikely pairing, but we believe they can support each other. Here are a few things you need to consider:
1) Start with CRO then bring in SEO
We’re not just saying this because we’re CRO buffs. It’s important to optimise your site for conversions first, so you can maximise the potential of your existing traffic.
Analyse user drop-off points and behaviour to optimise each stage of the conversion funnel.
You’ll improve the user experience, and consequently create a great experience for the influx of visitors to your site once you’ve boosted your SEO efforts. Hooray!
2) Remember, the top of the funnel is the most important for SEO and the conversion funnel
The top of the funnel (TOF) or the ‘awareness’ stage is where SEO and the conversion funnel can really come together.
This is where users realise they have a problem and are looking for a solution. It’s SEO’s role to attract their attention and reel them in. Your business can do this by providing content that’s centred on the search queries they’ll have at this point.
This content should:
- Answer their queries (without pushing your product/brand down their throats)
- Use long-tail keywords based on their questions and which lack search volume so they’re easier to rank for
- Help you rank higher by using up-to-date SEO best practice techniques
To discover the keywords that will be most effective, look at existing keywords people use to come to your site and utilise online tools to help you.
Google’s Keyword Planner is pretty good for generating ideas. However, it’s quite commercial and not always great for long-tail/query-based keywords at the awareness stage.
Answer The Public and other suggestive tools are great for improving SEO and the conversion funnel itself. They offer real questions surrounding your keyword, so you can make informed decisions.
Here’s a quick example where the keyword was ‘CRO’:
3) Think about the middle of the funnel ('interest' and 'desire')
At this stage in the funnel, your users are dedicated to finding a solution. However, they’re probably not sure what this is or where it will come from, even if they are aware of your business.
These users are qualified leads, that need nurturing whilst they’re browsing. Create content that highlights the benefits of purchasing your product, and shows what makes your offering stand out from competitors. Outline what’s available, price and the value you provide.
At this stage, blog posts work well, but why not try an infographic? They’re eye-catching, and shareable, so can really generate interest.
If you can share this content on third-party sites, even better! It’s all about being seen by the right people. Use specific keywords related to the product, and the third-party’s domain authority to build your reputation and search ranking.
Target relevant keywords for users at this stage, or optimise existing landing pages to create a variety of phrases.
Some long-tail keywords are good, but this is a time where the keyword planner comes into its own. It can really help you pinpoint the perfect phrases that will inspire people to click through.
Make sure you include the keyword multiple times on your page and within the metadata to ensure it has an impact.
4) Don’t worry too much about the bottom of the funnel ('action')
As visitors are now seriously considering making a purchase from you, they just need a little nudge to get them to convert.
Once you’ve got them here, you don’t need to worry too much about SEO. It’s all about the conversion at this point. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider which keywords you use – every page contributes to your brand’s search ranking and the page needs to be easy to find on your site.
Make sure this content is specifically about buying or using your product. Using social confirmation like reviews, testimonials and case-studies can really help drive the message home that this is the right option for your reader.
SEO is not just about the keywords
Most people think of SEO as just sprinkling in keywords, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Here’s how you can use CRO to improve some of the other significant areas:
SEO requires high-quality content that’s relevant to the reader
Google states that quality and relevance are two of the most important factors when it comes to web content.
Through CRO testing, you can establish what your audience wants to know and when, and then deliver on it. Pretty simple, right?
Site speed is crucial
40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. They’re not going to sit around and wait for your website to kick into life when there are plenty of other options.
Carry out user analysis and A/B testing to discover the perfect combination of elements to speed up your loading time. This could be anything from optimising your images to tweaking your code, so get to work!
Your site must be easy to navigate to be successful. Behavioural and conversion funnel analysis can help you establish common paths through your site, as well as any drop-off points.
CRO can encourage visitors to take those specific paths. Just keep testing to find out what’s most effective.
AI could help you combine SEO and the conversion funnel
AI is creeping into day-to-day marketing practices, seeking to automate processes and improve efficiency. It’s likely that there will soon be a program that can bring SEO and the conversion funnel together to create an effective web experience.
Using AI, you can conduct hundreds of tests to find the right combination of traffic generation and conversions. All marketers need to do is monitor the decisions its making. It’ll come around soon enough, just watch this space!
So, that’s about it – hopefully we’ve convinced you that SEO and the conversion funnel work well together. They create an effective end-to-end solution that can make a huge difference to your bottom line. Why not try it out today?