Search Engine Optimisation Or Conversion Optimisation?

search engine optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation Or Conversion Optimisation?

Do you want to get more from your website? Are you considering an optimisation strategy, but don’t know where you should focus your resources? Should you be trying to get more visitors or should you try to convert more of your website visitors to customers?
Getting more visitors to your site is generally achieved by helping visitors find your site by appearing higher up in Google searches (SEO, AdWords). Turning those visitors into customers is the conversion process often achieved through improvements to the page design, layout and content.
So where should you focus your effort?

search engine optimisation conversion optimisation
search engine optimisation

Let’s start by examining the process by which you acquire customers.

  • The customer needs a product or service and types a phrase into Google to find it.
  • Google displays the results in which your site may be included
  • A percentage of the customers click on your site
  • A percentage of those customers complete your call-to-action

If we crunch some numbers in an example we can see how each strategy plays out.

search engine optimisation

At our starting point we have 10,000 customers who search for your product. Your site is displayed in the search results to 10% (1,000) of those. 10% (100) of those who see you in the search result click through to your site. Finally, just 10% of those remaining visitors make a purchase (or sign up etc). So from our initial 10,000 we end up with 10 sales.
If you adopt a Conversion Optimisation strategy, you may increase the percentage of people who click through to your landing page and who then go on and make a purchase. The results is a greater number of sales.
Similarly, if you increase the number of times you are displayed in Google search results through a SEO strategy you also increase your overall number of sales.

So which strategy is best?
Here are some reasons you may favour a particular strategy over the other.

Conversion Optimisation

  • Already optimised for search engines
  • Large number of steps or complex conversion process
  • Low conversion rate
  • High visitor numbers

Search Engine Optimisation

  • Low visitor numbers
  • High conversion rate
  • Simple conversion process
conversion optimisation

There is no overall best strategy, however, depending on your circumstances you may favour one over the other. Of course, it is possible to combine strategies to maximise customer numbers.
If your site has a high volume of customers who browse without converting then conversion optimisation is the obvious strategy. If you have few visitors, it is prudent to increase traffic before examining the conversion process. Similarly, if you have a complex or many stage conversion process, an ecommerce site for example, you may want to iron out the conversion funnel before investing in generating new visitors.

Steven Drummond

Web Analytics & Optimisation
"I love solving the technical & marketing challenges that help our customers win more customers."