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Min read

SEO vs CRO: Which One Should You Focus On?

Howuku Writer
August 4, 2021
5-star rating
Reviews on Capterra
SEO vs CRO: Which One Should You Focus On?

SEO vs CRO are the two buzzwords in the digital marketing space. Well, we have used these words interchangeably.

In fact, there has been a lot of debate among UI/UX designers and SEOs about which one is the best.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but the truth is CRO and SEO are interdependent.

CRO and SEO are on the same side of the battle and you need both of them to win it.

There is absolutely no question on what you should focus on.

Let’s take an example.

You have optimized your article well with the keywords, and long-tail variations and have built high-quality high-quality backlinks. And, you see yourself already in the 1st position of the SERPs.

But, you open your analytics and notice a good number of clicks but not as many conversions. What could be the possible reason for this?

Well, poor user interaction is the answer. Or, we could say the poor website optimization. Conversion might not be an end part of the funnel but it is definitely an irreplaceable part.

But, the question remains intact; Are CRO and SEO friends or rivals?

The following Twitter thread will give you an idea of the conflict further.

seo vs cro

In this article, I will try my best to help you find the right answer to the above question.

What is CRO?

CRO or Conversion rate optimization is the process of optimizing the website elements and their designs in a way to increase conversions, leads, and sales for your business.

In other words, Conversion Rate Optimization or CRO is a process of improving the various elements of your website or landing page that may increase the ratio of sales to the number of visitors to your website.

What Is SEO?

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your pages in order to rank higher in Google SERPs. By following the Google algorithms and using the relevant keywords, users can rank high on Google pages and increase their chance of visitors.

By ranking higher on Google, you can increase the chance of getting more sales and leads.

Even if your website is optimized well, you can’t get enough visitors and sales without ranking higher on Google SERPs.

Similarly, you can’t get enough leads without proper website optimization.

Despite this, there is a common misconception among the SEOs that CRO is less demanding whereas the UI/UX designers think that SEO is dead.

Why do UX designers think SEO is dead?

Most often, there is a wave of rumors in the digital marketing space that SEO is dead. Well, there are a few bad apples that give it a bad reputation or someone who is completely out of the SEO industry.

Is SEO dead

The truth is that SEO can never be dead. Even John Mueller has denied it a number of times saying, ‘SEO lives and dies with consistency’.

Various Google Algorithms

This means that SEO isn’t dying anytime, but evolving each year. In my opinion, there is a reason why most marketers and some SEOs think SEO is not going to survive:

Not only the developers or other digital marketers, but even some SEOs also find it irrelevant to have to change Google algorithms from time to time.

Some of the changes in algorithms are done to avoid spam and remove old school practices so that only the hard-working and user-friendly searches are shown. However, some algorithm changes are irrelevant and confusing.

The changing Google rules

Google has changed the rules since its evolution. Since Google has a monopoly on its search results, it can change things whatever they want to.

We have seen various instances where Google has introduced or completely disregarded the old rules in SEO.

  • Earlier, the slug or URL length was a deciding factor in SEO. But, not anymore.
  • Skeptically, but Google has considered the links from guest posts as invaluable.
  • Google no more considers keyword density of importance but takes semantic search and keyword strings into consideration to determine the topic of the article.

Lousy SEO turned into bad space:

With the rise of SEO and its money-making tactics, the lousy SEOs and consultants began using false practices to make money and earn traffic. Bad links, overuse of keywords, and various other practices could cause Google to penalize its sites.

What do SEOs think of UI/UX?

The SEOs perspective about the UI/UX designer has been a lot more accepting. This is because Google itself considers the website design and its usability as the ranking factor.

Hence, SEOs need to focus on CROs unintentionally to generate more sales and leads. Google helps a particular site by ranking on the search engines if they follow their algorithms and satisfy the user intent.

After the visitors have reached their website, it is up to the website owner how they want to represent their visitors to the site elements.

This means that CRO has nothing to do with the Google algorithm and doesn’t need to fear the search engine’s penalty.

Hence, most SEOs are now investing better time and money in providing a better user experience to their visitors.

How to enhance SEO using CRO?

As I said in the previous section, SEOs would find it hard to gather sales and leads without CRO.
Further, a poor SEO campaign can kill all your conversion efforts resulting in a negative impact on your site.

So, what can you do to boost SEO and CRO together?

Evaluate the pages of your website

The first thing that we need to evaluate is the traffic to pages of the website. If you notice a page is ranking for various terms on the SERPs, chances are that the page will fail to serve the intent of some of its visitors.

For instance, if your website landing page receives 20% of the total visitors, this might be a red flag for you.

Create a Robust Design for your website

For your business website to be noticed, you need a beautiful design that matches the product.
You also need good content that will make people want to buy things from it. To do this, use google optimized text and a user-friendly website design.

For your descriptions and sales pitches, you should use keywords that help increase sales or drive traffic to your website. Use SEO tools to find the best keywords for both of these things and watch as your company becomes more successful!

Create SEO content that matches the search intent

One of the foremost steps to success is to create content that matches the search intent. Google can’t attract new visitors without the relevant search keywords. Keyword density does not matter in SEO anymore.

This means that you can use a combination of semantic keywords, long tail, and variations of keywords to satisfy the search intent.

On the other hand, your website must be optimized well enough for the visitors to realize that the page is going to provide real value to them.

Because Google takes search queries as well as the user experience into consideration to rank the websites on its search engine.

To do this better, you need to understand the type of queries and what type of visitors you are targeting.

If you want to rank for the informational search query like “How-to guides”, start by analyzing the top search results and find out their content structure, use of media, and use of keywords.

You would want to write about the process from scratch and give as much information as you could.

Similarly, a transactional keyword has a different format than the former one. Here, you want the visitors to purchase from your website.

So, you would need to include the information that your serious customers need.
This includes:

  • Product Descriptions
  • Pricing of the product
  • Customer Reviews
  • Where to buy and
  • Shipping and Payment options.

Know your SEO Sales funnel

SEO experts have one thing in common: They try to get more visitors with the intent of buying. So, if you want 50,000 visitors with a 2% conversion rate, it would be better than 1,00,000 visitors with a 0.5% conversion rate.


The main goal is to get more visitors! We would recommend you design an SEO sales funnel pipeline for this purpose.

The three-step process for SEO sales funnel includes:

Know the Top Sales Funnel Queries: The Top Sales funnel will help you get the most potential visitors. This can be done by answering broad-term queries of your customers.

Middle Sales Funnel: This part is about creating content for a specific customer. So, you need to follow SEO to drive more engagement.

Bottom of the Funnel: Lastly, this step is crucial for your conversion rate optimization campaign. It would help if you answer all the questions about your products- shipping, pricing, tax- and other details.

Optimize your content for Conversions:

To get the right type of traffic to your blog, you need to optimize your content keeping the user experience in mind. Thus, the tactical placements of CTAs or buttons that are going to turn your visitors from the informational page to the transactional ones are important.

The strategic placement of CTAs will help the site visitors easily navigate to the transactional or product page to know more about the products.

Make sure to include clear CTAs throughout your text so that more visitors can go down the marketing funnel with higher conversions.

Make pages mobile-friendly

79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last 6 months.

Mobile pages are the linchpin of SEO as well as CRO efforts. Google considers mobile-friendly pages of utter importance when ranking on mobile devices.

To make it mobile-friendly, make sure the design elements are mobile-friendly, fonts look good to the eyes and CTAs are clear enough to get noticed by the visitors.

Now, you have seen that SEOs and CROs work together, yet they compete with each other. But, what’s the conflict between SEO and CRO?

The Conflict Between SEO and CRO

A lot of companies have agreed about the disagreement between SEOs and CROs that could possibly cause delays in the campaigns.

CRO wants to change the elements that could fluctuate the rankings.

Most conflicts arise in situations when the CROs suggest changes in page titles and in the copy. This can possibly cause fluctuations in the ranking and the page might lose rankings for some important keywords here.

But, CROs suggest making changes to increase the page value proposition and point out the uniqueness of your business.
Considering this, the best possible way is to find the copy that converts better and also helps in ranking better than others.

Website Navigation

Website navigation is important for SO as well as for the CRO. SEOs create the sitemap to search engines that give them a signal of how their content or website flows. This technique is phenomenal because it helps rank better with the help of the link juice flowing to different pages.

On the other hand, UI/UX designers would want to change the website navigation that can help generate more sales and revenue. Rankings might take time to settle again whereas the website navigation in CRO’s perspective is crucial.

Hence, a CRO can come up with better and more creative strategies to avoid disagreement.

Verdict: Should You Focus on SEO or CRO?

As I said, SEO and CRO are two different ideas in the same boat. While there is a right time for CRO, SEO must be done regularly to boost page rankings.

Once you have the page rankings, you can start performing the A/B tests. With low traffic to your website, you cannot test all the elements of your page successfully.

That said, you must incorporate CRO into SEO gradually. If you are an SEO, do not take up the duties that CROI would fit in as it might cause a negative impact.

Once you have sufficient traffic to perform A/B tests, you can move on to the next stage that combines the SEO and CRO data to boost engagement. In any case, you should continue the optimization of your website and never stop experimenting.

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