Too often the components which make up internet marketing are treated as individual silos, even when there are direct links between them. When the digital marketing mix is in synergy, all the elements can sit in the pockets of each other and provide incremental increases in sales numbers and most importantly, the bottom line.
This goes for the day to day interaction between operational team members in each field – only by discussing the digital marketing strategy as a whole, from as basic a principle as knowing what each other are doing and when, can the benefits be reaped. Identifying the key areas which lend a hand can lead to finding secret sauce which results in the optimal ROI.
What I want to discuss in this article is the tight relationship between organic search and conversion optimisation. To illustrate this, let’s do a little dissection of the goals of SEO and CRO:
SEO: gain well placed rankings by proving to Google (or other engines) that a site or page is highly relevant to the user’s search query.
CRO: increase the ratio of visitors converted into customers by providing an experience which fulfils their intent to buy/sign-up etc.
(Note: For the purpose of this article the above are simplified, individual goals which make up part of SEO or CRO strategies)
Despite the difference in who is the judge of success in these cases (robots vs. humans, in a non-Terminator way), the key aim of both is to provide a relevant user experience which a) makes it easy to find what they want to purchase and b) makes it an easy decision and process to purchase the item.
From a conversion optimisation perspective, I find that often there are a number of common areas within SEO strategies for which a sharing of knowledge is mutually beneficial:
Informing Keyword Strategy
It is essential when reviewing a site’s conversion metrics that entrance source is taken into account, and is factored into the strategy for improvement. Specifically, by deriving (as you may guess, my favourite SEM word) intent from the the search queries that are driving visitors to pages we can gain vital insight into what messages are (or as importantly, are not) working for these user groups. To give a simple example, if most visitors are coming through ‘value’ focussed keywords, then we should make sure the space is used wisely by tailoring calls-to-action and copy to fulfil this intent.
The result of this is that we build up picture of performance metrics for a number of keyword categories. Plugging this into the SEO strategy provides great deal of insight about the profitability of potential keyword targets, allowing informed decisions to be made about which directions to take and what the required course of action is to meet any given targets.
Converting From The SERPs
In a CRO strategy, we need to look at the whole user journey, from the first query to the completion of a purchase and beyond. It’s important to remember that, if you have a good level of organic search visibility, then it’s likely that your first interaction will be with your meta description. This is the chance to give your elevator pitch – in less than 155 characters you need to appeal to the intent (told you!) of the user type that will be provided a relevant, useful experience by your site/service. By focussing on finding these potential customers, all the onsite CRO work will prove even more beneficial by having a tailored audience. Only by working hand in hand with the SEO team can the meta description be tailored in such a way, whilst still ensuring it is highly optimised from an organic search perspective.
When investigating conversion performance, another key area to look at is which pages are getting the most organic traffic, and how efficient they are as landing pages at converting visitors into customers. If you can find pages which have a) high conversion rate for the traffic coming through them and b) a realistic potential for increasing traffic by optimising for the keywords driving visits, then the SEO strategy should be tailored accordingly. Even if it is a highly competitive area, the foundations provided by positive metrics on both sides of the coin should ensure that even slow progress will provide worthwhile uplifts in revenue.
The Negative Impact Of Working in Silos
Needless to say, there are a huge number of ways in which different channels can support each other, the above only serving as an illustrative example of the myriad of ways and means. When there is a common goal between parties, sharing information can always serve to improve the results for all, so it’s vitally important that silos aren’t created which could lead to conflict or cannibalisation of efforts – e.g. when bidding there is a PPC bidding on keywords with an organic presence, duplicating the sales message would be cannibalistic, but taking the opportunity to give exposure to an alternative set of USPs increases the opportunity to appeal to a broader range of potential customers.