For companies that depend on SEO, conversion rate optimization (CRO) can be kind of scary. They don’t want to disturb their websites’ rankings, so they’re reluctant to change anything on the site, especially content. But SEO and CRO can happily co-exist. Here’s why.

SEO is about pages, not entire sites.

Yes, domain authority has a big impact on ranking. But Google ranks pages, not sites. Beyond domain longevity and high quality links to the domain, SEO is focused on individual pages. To get search engine traction, a page is created to target a particular keyword, and the metadata and content are optimized/written to rank in the search engines.

SEO pages are not conversion pages.

SEO pages should be written to appeal to both the search engine and the human visitor. But SEO pages aren’t conversion pages. Perhaps they’re blog posts that serve content marketing purposes. Or maybe they’re detailed services pages that serve research purposes. But they’re geared toward conveying information, not converting people. That’s not to say that you won’t use calls-to-action or conversion tools. But conversion isn’t your primary goal. From a visitor standpoint, your goal is to get people to share the page on social media, send it to a friend, or explore the site further. This visit is likely going to be just one touch, but that one touch (if done well) will result in other visits at a later time.

Conversion pages get visited later, after 3-7 “touch visits”.

Most of the time, a prospect isn’t going to call you the first time he or she visits your site. It happens occasionally, sure, but people just don’t usually operate that way. Your visitor will read a blog post, or download an eBook, or check out your speaking calendar, or whatever. But the more helpful your page info is, the better the chance that you’ll get return visits.

Visits to other pages (such as your About page, Testimonials page, Case Studies page, Services page, Pricing page, etc.) most often happen after a series of 3-7 visits. And those are your conversion pages. Those are the pages you CRO. Nothing you do on these pages will damage your SEO on your other pages (unless, of course, you’re doing spammy things, which hopefully you’d never do).

Don’t Try to CRO and SEO the same pages.

Unless you’re a nationally-known, popular company, or unless you’re only trying to rank for your own city, you probably won’t be able to get your conversion pages to show up in the search results. And you don’t need to. Because your goal with the SEO pages is to build trust and confidence, and to encourage people to explore your site further, either right then or at a later time. And your CRO pages don’t need to rank in the search engines, because people aren’t going to be ready to buy from you after viewing only that one page anyway.

You CAN do both SEO and CRO on your website, and you should. Each will only help the other. And working together (separately), they’ll lead to more conversions than either could have generated alone.

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