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Inbound Marketing, SEM, SEO

CRO And SEO: How To Combine Them For Fun And Profit

5 May 2021

What’s the best way to drive your online business forward? In the fast-changing world of digital marketing, there are always cutting-edge strategies you should pay attention to and possibly deploy. But the thing is, reaching your audience, making a profit, and keeping within your budget can’t be a one-size-fits-all type of thing. To build up your brand, you first need to understand that making it in today’s competitive market takes courage, innovation, and the readiness to combine various approaches.

Now, you’re likely to already be investing in optimization. Whether your current focus is on gaining organic traffic or making your website as efficient at achieving conversions as possible, you’re on the right track. But the thing is, you can make your efforts even more effective by knowing how to consolidate the optimization strategies you currently use.

This guide will focus on just that: teaching you how to combine Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) in a way that won’t just get you more website visitors. More importantly, it will ensure that the majority of your site visits actually turn into profits.

SEO vs. CRO: How They’re Different & How They Work Together

Chances are, you’re well-aware of the difference between these two optimization tactics:

  • SEO focuses on bringing in (free) traffic to your website and raising brand awareness amongst your target audience. 
  • CRO ensures that the highest possible portion of your website traffic (organic or paid) ends with a conversion.

You might be thinking: what do these two tactics have to do with one another? Well, it turns out that they mutually impact each other quite a lot.

By combining these two strategies, you’re not just focusing on bringing in as much traffic as possible. No. You’re making an effort to generate high-quality traffic and, then, positively impact user behavior on your website. Therefore:


Why You Need To Start By Tracking Performance

With any type of marketing strategy, the best way to secure the outcomes you’re after is to make data-based decisions. And in addition to a powerful performance monitoring tool, that means knowing all about the relevant metrics.

The key to getting SEO and CRO to work together is to identify the KPIs that impact one another.

For example, instead of just looking at the number of conversions on your website, you must understand how they depend on acquisition channels. By having that information, you can make impactful content/UX changes that will ensure your visitors are getting precisely what they need to see. 

Alternatively, you can follow conversion KPIs and use them to alter your SEO strategy. That way, you’ll be targeting the exact people who are most likely to turn into customers.

So, if you’re ready to optimize your website and marketing and work on establishing an impressive ROI, you’ll need to know which metrics to keep an eye on. The following four are a good base to start with for combining SEO and CRO:

Bounce Rate 

As one of the elementary KPIs you need to keep your eye on, bounce rate can tell you quite a lot about what you’re doing right (or wrong). Pay special attention to your landing pages, product pages, as well as your blog section, and try to keep your site’s average bounce rate between 20% and 45%.


Another valuable piece of information for making your website into a high-performing asset is knowing how well (or poorly) your pages are performing. Where do your visitors tend to land when accessing your website? What section/page has the highest exit rate? Are there any significant differences in average page time that could indicate a better-optimized experience on some sections of your site? Knowing these details can help improve not just your website but your selling tactics as well.


Your SEO strategy heavily relies on reaching the right people. For that reason, you must use every single tool you can to identify that audience. By analyzing how people behave on your website, you can also ensure that your marketing messages set up and manage expectations effectively.


Finally, don’t forget to study your acquisition channels and how each one performs in terms of conversion rates. Perhaps your social is bringing in a lot of traffic that often results in a bounce? Or, a referral may not seem like it’s bringing in the right amount of traffic, but the conversion rates are impressive?

The Guide To Successfully Combining SEO & CRO

As you can see, the key to using CRO data to improve SEO (and the other way around) is to go deep into the meaning of each statistic. 

Sometimes, you will need to look beneath the surface to understand how a particular KPI affects your business. And that means doing some detective work. But once you’ve made the necessary connections, you’ll be well on your way to getting more conversions.

Improve Google Ranking By Investing in CRO

If your main goal is to boost your profits, then it might be a good idea to find ways to widen your reach without having to spend money on PPC campaigns. One of those ways will, obviously, be to work on your SEO.

Most business owners will focus on keywords, publishing content, or generating backlinks. However, you can do quite a lot by simply addressing your website’s UX (and subsequently its conversion rates).

The reason behind this lies in Google’s algorithm. Seeing how it uses CTR, bounce rates, and dwell time to determine SERP positions, making improvements that will help with these metrics is an excellent way to approach search engine optimization.

For a great example of a brand impacting SEO by addressing website behavior, take a look at Dashlane’s Instant Security Alerts page.

A resource for users interested in learning the app’s features, the page provides website visitors with an overview of the benefits they get by downloading Dashlane. What’s interesting about it in terms of CRO and SEO, however, is that it presents potential customers with a logical browsing flow, with plenty of internal links. 

Thanks to this approach, the site encourages visitors to learn more about each benefit. Then, it naturally leads them to the app download page – maximizing dwell time and conversion rates.

Understand & Optimize For Search Intent

If you think about Google’s goal in ranking search results, you’ll quickly realize that the company’s aim is to provide users with the best possible answer to their questions. And most of the time, that means listing pages by relevance.

And how do you check for relevance? You look at the relationship between your search console CTR and bounce rate. If the bounce rate is high, likely, you’re not delivering what your visitors are expecting. For this reason, you must do your absolute best to match your content to user search intent. Otherwise, your ranking is going to suffer.

Let’s say you’re writing an article about managing arthritis while hiking. Don’t start it with a five-paragraph introduction about the condition and its symptoms. Web visitors probably already know what it is. Instead, get straight to the point: address the reader’s concerns and provide solutions to their problem.

If you need an example of an article that does a great job of matching search intent, look to this guide on mattress shopping for couples. It starts off with a short intro, gives buying advice early on, then provides readers with additional info on what to look out for to make the most of their investment. 

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Another plus this blog post has got going for it is that it uses headings (making it scannable), as well as images, charts, and collapsible FAQs. All of these contribute to a positive user experience, likely to result in a conversion for the brand.

Engage From the Start

Another great way to maximize your chances of making a sale and securing the top position on Google is to invest in posts that grab users’ attention and interest them enough to stick around on your page. And the secret to doing that? Using engaging formats to direct attention and behavior.

You see, although textual content is irreplaceable in digital marketing, it’s not what consumers necessarily want. Research shows that they prefer visuals and videos, and 59% of people will even prioritize design over simplicity.

With this in mind, it’s quite clear that optimizing your website for conversions should rely on aesthetic appeal. Even if you’re just publishing a blog post.

A stunning (or intriguing) featured image can help. That’s what Aura does with its guide to Amazon repricing software

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However, don’t let yourself believe that just images are enough. All parts of your web pages need to be engaging and attractive. Most importantly, those that will help you make a profit. 

So, if you’re including a CTA at the end of your blog post (and you definitely should), make sure that it pops. That way, potential clients won’t just navigate away from your site and buy from a competitor.

For some inspiration, look to the sustainable fashion website GoodOnYou. It finishes each published article with a prominent invitation for readers to download the app. With its minimalistic design, it’s not just attractive. More importantly, it drives conversions.

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Make Your Website Lightning-Fast & Easy To Use

If you think about loading speed, you’ll find that it’s one of the KPIs that directly influences both SEO and CRO. According to Google, even a single second of delay in loading times leads to a 20% drop in conversion rates. So, investing in the technical performance of your website really pays off.

For one, you can make sure that your pages load as fast as possible. Ideally, you’ll cut it down to 1-2 seconds by: 

  1. enabling compression
  2. removing unnecessary plugins
  3. opting for a reliable and fast web hosting service

Secondly, you can use the audience demographics data and ensure your website predicts user needs in terms of technical performance. 

For example, the Elemental Labs homepage was designed as mobile-first, likely due to its visitors mainly coming from handheld devices. Thanks to a responsive, minimalist-inspired design, it looks equally impressive on any device.

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Finally, don’t forget to make your site easily navigable. 

A logical website structure won’t just make it easier for search engines to index your pages. It will also help boost conversion rates, especially if you remove unnecessary steps and make key pages accessible from anywhere on the site. 

Apparel brands, like Uniqlo, often do this efficiently by using drop-down navigation menus and easily accessible product categories.

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Get The Absolute Most Out Of Your Website

Optimizing your website for conversions and search engine ranking is no walk in the park. It requires time, patience, lots of testing, and detailed insights into the behavior of your visitors. But do it right, and you’re bound to see some pretty impressive results.

The key is to do more than just follow rules or advice. Instead, aim to look at your data analytically. Connect each alteration with its direct consequence and identify areas that need improvement.

Once you’ve got the hang of combining SEO and CRO, apply what you’ve learned to other channels as well. Between sales platforms, social media, and local SEO, the sky will be the limit to what you can do by learning how to make the best decisions for your business.


John Hurley is a professional geek. He loves testing the latest technologies and over delivering to his mostly SaaS & e-commerce clients. Romantic comedies are his no-so-guilty pleasure.