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What Do SEO Specialists Do All Day? Part III

Part I of this three-part series was an introduction to the mystery of SEO time spent and a glance off of on-page SEO efforts; Part II was all about how off-page SEO experts do what they do. Now it’s time to look at the final element in the SEO equation: Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

Conversion Rate Optimization

Once you get your off-page SEO in order and the traffic starts coming in, you’re still not done — because if your site is only turning one in every hundred visitors into a customer, your SEO efforts are going largely wasted. You need Conversion Rate Optimization: the science of tuning your website so that as many people as possible ‘convert’ (i.e. become customers rather than merely visitors.)

CRO is performed via a rigorous scientific process.

  • First, CRO experts examine your site and ask themselves “what about this site could prevent a potential customer from buying?” They brainstorm, and come up with a list of dozens of potential obstacles. They then arrange those obstacles into a list from ‘most likely to impede conversion’ to least.
  • Tackling the most likely item first, they then brainstorm a list of ways to overcome, circumvent, or obliterate the objection. They arrange those methods into a list from ‘most effective’ to least.
  • Then, they set up a test. They produce a clone of your website, with a single change made — whatever the minimum effective change would be to help them overcome the objection they’ve targeted. Special testing software redirects half of the visitors to the old version of the page, and half to the test version. Over a week (at absolute minimum), conversion rates for each version are recorded. Whichever version had the better conversion rate becomes the new site.
  • Then, the process repeats at the second step, with the next objection being targeted.

This process is called A/B Testing.  There is also another similar process called Multivariate Testing that can test multiple changes to the site at the same time, but multivariate testing is significantly more difficult, more expensive, and takes longer to get meaningful results. A/B testing is the industry standard, because even the faster A/B test can take weeks, especially if your traffic volume isn’t amazing.

SEO companies want to be able to report results, and waiting three months for a proper multivariate test to come in is just asking too much. Better to get more consistent, smaller changes that will get your more business today than make you wait an entire fiscal quarter to see a bump.

So — what do SEO specialists do all day? On-page SEO, off-page SEO, and CRO. Now you know, and the next time you call up your SEO company, you can ask them and hopefully understand at least most of the answer.  Good luck!

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