The SEO world contains a few important acronyms that describe vital parts of the online marketing realm, and one prominent example here is known as CRO. Short for Conversion Rate Optimization, CRO is the process of increasing the percentage of your site visitors who take a positive action – and it’s enormously valuable in terms of not only increasing these desired outcomes, but also learning about the current roadblocks your site is dealing with and how they can be improved.
At SEO Werkz, we’re here to help with numerous areas of search engine optimization, from on-site and off-site optimization and link-building to reputation management, retargeting and CRO efforts as well. What are conversions, first and foremost, and how can you calculate your site’s conversion rate? In addition, what are some of the key benefits of taking part in dedicated CRO efforts, and what are a couple of our top recommendations for doing so? Here’s a primer on everything you need to know about CRO in the online marketing world.
First and foremost, for those new to the field, we want to start with the basics: What is a conversion, anyway? This is a broad term used in the industry that describes anytime a visitor takes an action that’s desirable to the site owner – but as you may have guessed, these goals are not the same for all site owners or managers.
For instance, if your site is primarily used as a sales center, the primary form of conversion will be simple: A sale, which is generally termed a “macro conversion.” Other macro conversion types include requesting specific price quotes or subscribing to a site’s paid service. However, before this point, visitors may also complete one or more “micro conversions,” smaller actions like signing up for a mailing list, registering a username with the site, adding a product to their cart or something similar.
Simply put, your site’s conversion rate refers to the number of times a user completes any of the goals we listed above, divided by the total number of visitors to your site (your site traffic). CRO, or conversion rate optimization, can be performed only after visitors have already come to your site, and will allow you to analyze several important data points to improve the rate of visitors who convert. More on this in a bit.
Calculating Conversion Rate
Now, there are two different modes for calculating conversion rate: Sites that allow a user to convert with each visit, and sites where only a single conversion is possible for a given user. Let’s look at each:
- Users can convert with each visit: For many site types, repeated conversions by the same client are easily possible. If you sell multiple products that a given client might want to buy, or even if your main products are those that require multiple purchases for any reason, you will fall under this category. And in these cases, calculating conversion rate is simple: Take the number of unique conversions (usually orders), then divide this by the total number of visitor sessions to your site in that time period. This will give you a simple percentage that represents your conversion rate.
- Users can only convert a single time: For other sites, such as those that sell monthly subscriptions or have similar setups that don’t allow for multiple conversions by the same user, the math here will be a bit different. Instead of using total number of sessions, we need to utilize unique site visitors as our denominator instead – divide the number of unique conversions by this site visitors number, and you’ll have your conversion rate here.
Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis
CRO, however, goes much deeper than just calculating conversion rate. It also involves using several important areas to understand why your rate is what it is, plus what you can do to improve it and related areas of your site.
First and foremost is the use of analytics and data, which utilizes tools like Google Analytics and others to understand how users are behaving on your site. This sort of quantitative analysis answers questions like where visitors are entering your site, the features they’re most likely to utilize, how they were directed to your site to begin with, their demographics (age, interests, more), the device types and browsers they use, and perhaps most importantly, where and why they tend to abandon your site before converting. With this information, you can make tweaks or changes to relevant areas of your site that will improve any elements in which you were lacking.
In addition, however, it’s important to look beyond raw analytical data – and to the customers themselves. Qualitative analysis involves things like surveys, user testing and related themes that allow you to gain direct user input on your site, from why they engaged (or didn’t engage) with it to what they think of it and how they think you can improve it. Combining this approach with quantitative analysis, while completely eliminating any guesswork or “gut feelings” from the equation, will bring you the best possible CRO.
Direct SEO Benefits of CRO
And if you take these steps, you’re likely to see several direct site benefits:
- Improved ROI: Higher conversion rate means higher return on investment.
- Better insights: CRO also helps you understand your audience and what you can do to better cater to it.
- Scalability: CRO lets you scale up your site without losing resources or customers.
- User experience: CRO helps you maximize the areas that are working optimally on your site, which in turn improves user experience and welcomes more users to the site due to engagement.
For more on conversion rate optimization, or to learn about any of our SEO, PPC or web design services, speak to the staff at SEO Werkz today.