Businesses looking to increase their revenue will usually activate at least one of three key strategies, best defined by the omniconvert blog. The options are:
- Increase traffic and readership to your website (per month) while maintaining the same conversion rate. Also known as improving SEO.
- Improve the conversion rate while keeping the price of the product and the volume of traffic the same. Also known as improving CRO.
- Increase the price of the product without improving the rate of conversion or traffic.
For those that are new to the game, let’s start with a quick definition of SEO and CRO.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. Its goal is to influence search engines to attract more traffic to your website, so your content is more easily discovered by your target audience.
CRO stands for conversion rate optimization. It describes the process of continuously improving your digital content through testing. It focuses on delivering a great user experience, while using marketing metrics and analytics to meet your business goals.
When done well, a combination of SEO and CRO can deliver powerful results for your business. SEO puts your content in front of more readers, and helps your business build more content touchpoints that drive people to your website. CRO is the magic that happens when you have a healthy number of visitors interacting with your content. It’s the practice of generating the most value from each content touchpoint, and hopefully, more business opportunities.
|Aims to increase site traffic||Aims to increase conversion rates|
|Helps your content reach your prospects based on what they’re searching for||Focuses on the customer experience|
|Often leads to increased traffic and activity metrics||Tells you more about the real performance of your content because it connects interest to action|
Every piece of content that fuels the digital touchpoints in the customer journey is connected to both the goal of the customer (e.g., educating themselves about your product) and a business goal (e.g., a new lead). CRO is then the process of boosting the chances that your content and site inspire customers to take the desired action.
Striking the right balance between SEO and CRO is incredibly important. Without it, companies invest a lot of time and money creating content to generate online traffic. But if that traffic isn’t converting, it’s not only a wasted investment. It’s wasted content.
Does writing to beat the algorithm still work?
For content creation, it’s important to know how to use content effectively at each stage of the buyer journey, and understand the needs and goals of your audience at each digital touchpoint. From a content perspective, you’re writing to delight your audience, not to satisfy Google.
Search engines are increasingly advanced at recognizing more complex elements of language. For example, Google’s vision is to become excellent at identifying which content is relevant to which topic, and by now, that’s well past recognizing single keywords.
Writing for search engines alone isn’t going to deliver customer experiences that delight and convert. As algorithms get smarter, they’re able to rate whether your content is well written, and how well it matches the interests of your audience.
What’s the CRO process?
Be aware the CRO isn’t a list of checkbox style tactics to increase your conversions on your website. Content that converts isn’t what search engines need, it’s what your customers need. That requires a detailed understanding of your audience and their preferred tone of voice, reading level, experience with the topic, and even cultural background.
Because content that converts is clear, consistent, visually appealing, and truly helpful. It’s structured well for easy readability, aware of the emotion it evokes in the reader, and uses language that’s welcoming to a diverse audience.
Typically, CRO starts with analyzing the data and collecting customer feedback to develop a hypothesis about what you need to change to reach your desired results. Then, you’ll test your hypothesis and analyze the results. Unsuccessful test results can be as helpful as successful ones!
When it comes to effective content creation, CRO follows a similar formula to those you may have seen before. It looks something like this:
- Conduct an initial conversion audit. Audit your content analytics, whether that’s page views, traffic, open or read through rates, or data from your user behavior research tools (such as Intercom). Don’t forget to check any comments your target audience may have left directly on social media and the like. Note the areas that need the most improvement.
- Compare the content from the areas that need the most improvement, with the content spaces that seem to be doing well. See if you can isolate differences between the content, whether that’s style, tone of voice, sentence length, design, or clear explanations versus technical ones.
Tip: Keep in mind that the best content can be well written and still not perform well. If it’s also not relevant or helpful, you might need to do some research into what your audience is searching for, and make sure you’re covering those topics.
- Create a hypothesis to improve your content and define a KPI. For example, step one might suggest that the time on page results for your knowledge base or support content show a disconnect between a visitor’s query and the information that you publish. You could create a hypothesis that explores how improved scannability changes this metric.
- Now, it’s time to design, develop, and test the variations of style, tone, messaging, readability, or emotionally evocative content. You’ll run these tests against original versions of content. You can either use an internal resource or a team to build A/B testing experiments or use CRO tools like: VWO, TestLodge, and TestRail.
- Use the results to improve your content creation guidelines for a particular audience or content type, implement them across your enterprise, and continue to monitor content performance over time.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to cheat CRO. It takes time to show results. But if your content creation process doesn’t have the bandwidth or budget to focus on consistent content that delivers an amazing customer experience, you should consider technology that helps improve your enterprise content operation.
The unifying factor = amazing content
It might initially sound like a stretch, but focusing on content performance from the perspective of delivering a great customer experience is simply using one method to achieve two separate goals — both improved SEO and CRO. Amazing content rewards both camps (SEO and CRO) by bringing helpful, relevant content in the hands of the right customers.
Content performance depends on a combination of well-executed elements. For it to perform well in both the SEO and CRO department, it’s helpful to ask yourself:
- Am I writing about topics that my audience is interested in? (Demand)
- Do I understand the goals my target audience has?
- Are we publishing content on the most relevant platforms for our audience?
- Are we choosing topics that we’re truly knowledgeable about?
- Am I answering the questions our target audience asks?
- Do we use our style, tone, messaging, and terminology consistently?
- Does the content have emotional appeal, and use inclusive language?
- Is the design of our content well structured for easy readability?
Chances are, if you’re able to fulfill these requirements, search engines will automatically rank your content well. If you’re interested in how SEO and content creation work together, you should check out our other blog called “How to Build Greater Synergy Between Content Creation and SEO.”
Acrolinx and Conversion Rates: A Love Story
Did you know that you can test different content quality variables to improve your conversion rates? Acrolinx customer Humana chose to A/B test the clarity of customer support letters written to encourage users to sign up for an app. By using Acrolinx to improve the level of clarity in the letters, Humana saw a three times increase in conversion. How cool is that?
A final word on the CRO process. It’s not going to magically improve things overnight. Even with good traffic, high-quality tools, and a proven testing framework, you could be waiting weeks or even months to see results. But don’t let that stop you from creating even more helpful, accessible content for your target audience. Ultimately, they’re the best judge of your progress!
Want to learn more about how to improve CRO with content creation that maximizes the value of enterprise content? Let’s talk!