SEO, UX, CRO: What Are These and Why Should I Care?
Daily life in a marketing agency involves a lot of acronyms. CPL, CPC, CTR, ROAS, ROI, CRO, SEO, KPI, GA, and many more. I don’t go 30 minutes without hearing someone rattle off one of these without thinking twice; my favorite and most recent acronym introduction was IYALFSTR, which like me I’m sure you have no clue what that means, and that’s okay.
My goal is that by reading this blog entry you’ll be introduced to a few concepts typically referred to by their acronyms, and you will understand the value of paying attention to them with your online business presence.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your brand as visible as possible to Google, YouTube, or some other large search engine. SEO involves the technical side of on-page SEO tactics to optimize your website for Google’s search bots, as well as the creative side of creating useful and interesting content that can engage your users in a meaningful way. At the end of the day, SEO is about building a platform to make it easier for your target audience to know what you offer and how you can meet their needs.
UX: User Experience
After you have built the platform for your target audience to find you through effective SEO, you need to ensure they end up in a place that allows them to take meaningful action. Like the other two acronyms, User Experience feels like an obvious definition at a glance. User Experience is the overall experience of how your user engages with your website or other services. That means we need to build an understanding of who our ideal target audience is, the ways they engage with our website, their values and goals, and what design and language need to be implemented for efficient and effective use of our website.
CRO: Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion Rate Optimization is systematically increasing the percentage of customers on your website that convert. Sometimes the conversion may be to purchase a product, or it could be something like downloading a whitepaper, donating to a cause, subscribing to an email marketing campaign, or some other measurable key performance indicator. CRO is all about growing the return on investment you’ve made into your SEO and UX efforts.
Why You Should Care
Whether your business sells a product, offers information, provides entertainment, or promotes a cause, you use your website to build awareness, trust, and brand loyalty. Whether your business is for profit, or not for profit, you still need to use your website to make money.
Your target audience has a need for your brand; if they didn’t then you wouldn’t exist. By identifying who your target audience truly is, and what they need, you can begin creating your website structure and content around what questions they might ask Google. You can become a direct response to what someone is asking for by intentionally crafting your messaging and content around your customer's needs. This not only optimizes your website for search, but it also builds the trust necessary for meaningful action to occur.
Because you’ve gotten your user to identify you as a resource to their need via Search Engine Optimization, you don’t want to leave them hanging when they get to your website. With effective research and testing (UX Movement and CrazyEgg for example), you can learn how your audience interacts with your website and identify ways to create a more efficient and effective User Experience.
As your brand becomes visible to search and you’ve spent some time understanding how your user interacts with your website, you want to make sure that time and energy doesn’t go to waste. Create a plan for continued Conversion Rate Optimization; invest in a few tools that allow you to adjust elements of your website and begin testing until you see an increase in conversions and ultimately your business’s bottom line.
Not all acronyms are created equal. IYALFSTR was made up on the spot, and although it created a good laugh in the moment, it’s not something that I consider for our marketing partnerships. SEO, UX, and CRO, on the other hand, are very important if you want to grow your business.
Your website may be temporarily effective without you paying attention to it, but as time goes on you’ll begin to notice deterioration to that effectiveness. There are instances where it makes sense to start from scratch, using research and analytics to build a new website totally dialed for your specific objectives, and there are other times that a quick tuneup to your SEO, UX, and CRO may do the trick. The most important thing is that you are aware of the ways you can improve your web presence, your audience’s experience with your brand, and your overall profits.