Is CRO or SEO Best for Your Online Business?




Is CRO or SEO Best for Your Online Business?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) and search engine optimization (SEO) are both internet marketing components that help drive up overall sales volume on a website. However, CRO and SEO are also very different in terms of how they boost sales and overall profitability. In fact, deciding whether to invest precious resources in SEO or CRO can ultimately determine the overall success or failure of an online business.  To help you determine which service is more important to your online business success, here is a brief overview of CRO and SEO plus some tips on making the final decision.

SEO Overview

SEO boosts sales volume by increasing the amount of targeted traffic making it to a website. Essentially, SEO works to increase the rankings for targeted keywords that are relevant to the online business.  The higher the rankings in search engines like Google or Bing, the greater the traffic and overall sales volume.

The downside to SEO is that you need content to help boost search engine rankings. Content, in the form of blogs, articles, press releases, etc. is expensive to buy or time-consuming to create.  Plus, the moment you stop investing in SEO, the rankings will start to drop along with traffic volume and overall sales.

CRO Overview

Conversion rate optimization boosts sales volume by increasing the overall conversion rate of the site itself. So in other words, CRO helps you generate more sales out of the existing traffic volume.  Unlike SEO where you have to continue investing in the service to continue generating higher sales, CRO is an investment that generates a long-term boost in website conversions.  But how?

Conversion rate optimization relies on website traffic analysis to pinpoint “conversion problems” that are alienating visitors and ultimately suppressing sales. Examples of conversion problems include:

  • Poor Copywriting
  • Ineffective or Confusing Site Design
  • Improperly Configured Shopping Cart or CMS
  • Ineffective Sales Funnel
  • Confusing Site Navigation
  • Not Optimized for Mobile Traffic
  • Weak or Untargeted Website Traffic

Once the specific conversion issue is isolated, slight variations can be tested to determine the best permanent solution to the problem. Although there is always some “conversion rate decay”, the higher sales should continue long after the conversion rate optimization is complete.

So Does Your Online Business Need CRO or SEO?

In simplest terms, your online sales volume is determined by both your traffic levels and conversion rate. So in other words, you need both SEO and a solid conversion rate to succeed online so the more important question to ask is:

Which marketing strategy do you need most right now?

It’s true that an online business needs both SEO and CRO to succeed but if you invest in the wrong service first, the results will be very different. So to answer this question and determine the best component to invest in first, you need to first figure out if you have a good, bad, or average conversion rate.

Assuming you know your site’s average conversion rate (the average for the past 30 days is a good start), you need to compare it to the industry standard for your niche. To do so, visit Adwords Performance Grader to see the average conversion rate for all the primary industry niches. Now yes, this will give you the average conversion rate for Pay per Click (PPC) traffic in your niche, but the data is from Google and the sample size so large that it’s the most reliable conversion rate data you’ll find without paying massive sums of money for an industry report.  In fact, Adwords Performance Grader is free.

If your conversion rate is the same or higher than the PPC average conversion rate for your niche, then you need to invest in SEO and boost your traffic levels. If your conversion rate is 20% lower or more than the industry average, then it would likely be best to invest in CRO.


This information brought to you by FullTiltPitch.

This information brought to you by FullTiltPitch.

Jon Kreps

Jon Kreps is guest blogging for Susan Davis. Jon graduated from Purdue University in 2000 and is currently the owner of FullTiltPitch which specializes in conversion rate optimization consulting, services, and website analysis.
Jon Kreps can be reached at
Posted in: Marketing

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