There is No SEO Without UXO and CRO
Right now you’re probably scratching your head and asking yourself, “What’s with all the acronyms?!” I’ll admit the title is a bit cheeky, but the topic is sincere. What follows are some key strategies to consider when it comes to growing and managing your online presence in 2019.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization, known as SEO for short, is a service that has been around ever since the first search engines were invented. (We’re looking at you, Lycos!) It’s basically the process of improving your site’s placement in the list of search engine results for a target keyword.
The Search for Answers
Fundamentally, search engines really do nothing more than mine data, then use that data to deliver more of what their users want. What is it users are looking for? Answers to questions!
Analyzing each user’s behavior data, search engines continuously get better at delivering answers. Historically, these answers are presented as links to website pages that best match the intent of the user. Websites that seem to do a better job of meeting the user’s needs have a better chance of landing on the first page of search results.
Building A One-Legged Stool
A lot of people trying their hand at SEO in 2019 give up in frustration at the lack of results. That’s because it’s no longer enough to create a site index and visibility signals like detailed meta descriptions, well-defined H1 tags, and semantic markup. Those are just table stakes.
To determine whether or not your site content is valuable and worthy of appearing in top results, search engines now take into account so many more data points. In order for your SEO to be effective, it needs to work in concert with other marketing disciplines. Above all, you must look at your site from the perspective of the people who are coming to it and strive to create a positive experience for them.
User Experience Optimization (UXO)
The process of making your site better and more engaging is called User Experience Optimization or UXO. Just like SEO, UXO requires its own level of skill and expertise. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions for UX, so we will not go into an in-depth discussion here. Suffice it to say, the approach you use will depend on how you want to engage your audience.
The Impact of Bad UX
Let’s consider for a moment the cost of having a site that is not optimized for a good user experience. Search engines take note if someone leaves their search results through a link to your site and then goes right back to the search results. That’s called your bounce rate, and it’s an indication the user didn’t like what they saw. With enough bounces over time, search engines will react accordingly, most likely moving you down the rankings.
Focusing on the Visitor
UXO is primarily doing what search engines are doing: focusing on the visitor. Everything we do in the sphere of web marketing has to have the visitor in mind. If our websites don’t meet the need and intent of the searchers, and present that information in the best ways possible, search engines would prefer we don’t take up space at the top of the results.
While newer search engine guidelines give us a strong incentive to focus on the visitor, smart marketers don’t do UXO only because search engines want it! Smart marketers are already thinking about the user. They go beyond what the search engines require and invest in improving the onsite experience because that’s part of the bigger picture.
Of course, having a beautiful site that is easy to navigate isn’t quite enough, if your goal is to profit. You have to have a compelling call to action and content that drives visitors along the customer journey. That brings us to our last area of focus.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
The purpose of Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO, is to encourage visitors to take actions that keep them moving along the customer journey to the point of purchase and beyond. Whether you have an e-commerce business or simply accept invoice payments for services rendered, the ease of the payment process is obviously a huge part of this. But what about the steps needed to get customers to buy from you in the first place?
Simple Ways to Increase Conversions
CRO involves steps like crafting a powerful value proposition that separates your business from your competitors, and then presents supporting content that shows how you are the best option. (This is where you really need to understand your audience.)
Another way to optimize for a higher conversion rate is to include testimonials and expert blog posts that build trust. Setting up a user-friendly sales funnel that captures a valid email address is also more likely to ensure your customers click the confirm payment button and come back to buy more.
The Bigger Picture
The ultimate goal of SEO is more than just rankings. It’s about bringing in targeted traffic. It’s about customer satisfaction. It’s about converting visitors to buyers. It’s about building the reputation of your brand.
We will be covering UXO and CRO much more in other articles, but for the time being consider whether you are hitting the goals with your current online strategy. If not, ask yourself how your website can be improved. Sometimes a minor fix can make all the difference!