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How CRO can improve your SEO rankings

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by healzer, Jul 14, 2016.

  1. healzer

    healzer Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    It is widely accepted by SEO experts that UX (user-experience) plays a major role in rankings.

    The way Search Engines rank our websites is based on many factors, including, but not limited to:
    • Backlinks (quality & quantity)
    • on-page SEO
    • UX (user-experience)
    Thanks to improvements in technology, companies such as Google are getting smarter every day.
    The are able to systematically predict whether a website is user-friendly or not so.
    They use user-experience metrics, such as:
    • Bounce rate
    • Session duration
    • Page views per visit
    • Return frequency
    And because they have all of this data, from most websites who use Google Analytics, they are able to create "industry averages" from these metrics.
    This means, if your website scores above average for these metrics, you are likely to rank TOP 10.
    If you score below, chances are high you won't rank very high.

    UX is not very relevant for each industry / niche -- simply because there are many other factors at play.
    But for most of us, with authority sites, UX already plays an EXTREMELY important role.

    What does this mean for 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020?
    If you want to rank higher, you should improve your user-experience.
    Lower your bounce rate, increase session duration, keep users on your website for longer periods and increase return frequency.

    Most of us are already doing these things, using various tactics such as:
    • "Related posts" and "related" content plugins (to increase session duration & page views).

      [​IMG]

    • Exit-intent popups and opt-in boxes (to increase return frequency by sending newsletters).

      [​IMG]

    Reverse engineering SEO through CRO


    CRO: Conversion rate Optimization.
    " It is a collection of methods and systems to scientifically (using data) improve your website's conversion rate. A conversion is any desired action a visitor should do. This includes buying, entering their email address or using your contact form. "


    If Google is using UX metrics to determine how high your website should rank...
    Then by increasing your UX, you will rank higher.

    This means you have to increase your UX metrics, and making sure Google sees that you have increased them. Google's algorithm is super advanced. It will detect an increase in UX for your website. Which in turn will rank you higher.

    How can we use CRO to increase UX?
    " To increase our SE rankings, we have to increase our UX. "
    Thus to increase our UX we have to improve the conversion rate for our CTA's (Call-To-Actions).

    A CTA, can be anything; a link to another article OR a buy button OR "subscribe" button, ...
    This means, making people stay on our sites longer, and have a better experience.

    Example
    If you have an opt-in pop-up, and you get 1 new subscriber for every 50 visitors, then you really have to optimize it. Here the power of A/B testing comes into play.

    Here are two examples of A/B tests for a pop-up box:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Why A/B testing?
    Our original version of the pop-up box has a (CR) conversion rate of 1/50 = 2%.
    Which means we can always optimize it. There will ALWAYS be a version that's better than the previous one.
    • Visitor's like new things, they want to see something new --> higher CR.
    • The original message wasn't attractive or they didn't bother --> low CR.
    • You improve the message to match their needs or desires better --> higher CR.
    By changing small details, we can improve our CR to 10/50 = 20%.
    The cool part is, that this can happen overnight.
    You don't need to wait 3 months to see a change. If you have traffic, then you can see results in matter of hours, not months.


    CRO has many more benefits than just increasing your ranking on search engines.
    It can help us increase leads and sales in general.
    It is the only proven and scientific method that can do that.
    No other "voodoo" or "guru" method will help you more than data driven A/B testing.

    Final words
    UX is just one piece of the puzzle, and an important one.
    Focusing only on UX won't make you rank on #1.
    But neither will you rank high if your website has a terrible UX, no matter your backlinks or DA.
    The truth is that top ranking sites have high conversion rates. They didn't optimize their conversions when they ranked #1, but they did it before they were #1.

    --
     
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  2. nanavlad

    nanavlad Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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  3. healzer

    healzer Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    No probs, hope you learned something.
     
  4. tokokipiani

    tokokipiani Power Member

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    Thanks for sharing info, It definitely is important to increase visitor time spent on website.
     
  5. PixelMathis

    PixelMathis Power Member

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    very good info. a bit more info on split testing tools would make it even more helpful.
     
  6. healzer

    healzer Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Thanks! :)
    Would you like to have more examples on how to A/B test? Or is it something else you are after?
     
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  7. PixelMathis

    PixelMathis Power Member

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    tools to A/B split test and some more examples would be a good addition to this already great tutorial.
     
  8. healzer

    healzer Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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  9. SEO FOX

    SEO FOX Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Great info mate, Very useful for me. Many Thanks.!!
     
  10. hitlerphung

    hitlerphung Newbie

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    What about content JR? We should care for content marketing to improve google ranking ???
     
  11. healzer

    healzer Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Sorry, what's JR?
     
  12. mbreezy

    mbreezy Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I've been seeing a lot of people saying this lately but no one is backing it up with hard testing or data.

    Why is everyone coming to this conclusion?

    Bounce rate can be modified by setting a time limit for when a user is considered to be 'engaged'. I think people are confusing this with the importance of dwell time.

    Session duration, pages per session, and returning visitors is very dynamic for different website types and verticles. I'm not sure that Google is at a point where they can effectively measure this, and they can only measure this info if you have GA installed on your site (and possibly data from Chrome users and users signed into Google, ie gmail). At that point, it would suggest that implementing GA is a ranking factor for Google.

    CRO and the eventual UX optimization you can make based off of the data is important and cannot be ignored. But I don't think gaming on-site behavior metrics will increase your rankings.

    Stick to what we know works, CTR and dwell. These are based on engagements with the actual Google SERP itself.

    If anyone has some concrete studies that I've missed out on, please share in this thread of via DM.
     
  13. healzer

    healzer Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    @mbreezy,

    You are correct.
    However UX metrics are being taken into consideration. And it's not that hard to do:

    If for a keyword "xyz", the top 10 websites have GA installed, then Google knows exactly what the average bounce rate & session duration will be with all those 10 websites.
    This also means that if all of sudden a new website comes along, through massive backlinking (or some other BH method)...
    and after a few weeks, Google will see that this new website falls far below the average UX metrics, found on the other top 9 websites...
    then Google can simply say that there's something odd going on.
    If the statistical deviation in UX metrics is very significant, compared to the other sites, then it could put your website on a potential "warning list".

    I don't work at Google, but if I did, then this would be a piece of Google's ranking algorithm.
    I'm pretty sure the geniuses at Google have a much more advanced algorithm.
     
  14. Take Action

    Take Action Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Learned a new and interesting topic today. Thanks to you @healzer

    Have to learn more on this reg.
     
  15. healzer

    healzer Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I'm really glad to hear that buddy :)
    Another thing you could read is our case study, see reply #8
    let me know what you think of that one.

    Cheers!
     
  16. Honey Bunny SEO

    Honey Bunny SEO Registered Member

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    Thanks OP!
    Are there any guidelines concerning the content and layouts of your CTAs or is it just "I'll A/B test everything I find appropriate and good-looking"
     
  17. healzer

    healzer Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Of course there are guidelines regarding CTA & content.
    From a logic standpoint it would make little sense to put a CTA at the top of a page, without telling the visitor what it's all about first.
    The headline comes first, always.
    The first impression matters and will determine the further success of your funnel & conversions.

    I'll make a separate post for this in the future.
    Thanks!
    Ilya
     
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  18. mbreezy

    mbreezy Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Thanks for your response and I understand your theory.

    I feel like what you're saying is pure speculation and there is no hard evidence that the on-site UX metrics that you're using in your examples have any effect on SERP rank and visiblity.

    Furthermore, as you've pointed out, there are ways to game these metrics. So it would be hard to qualify how much weight (if any) Google would give this method as a ranking signal (if at all).

    What I'm looking for is someone to show me how and/or why they're coming to this conclusion. "Google is really smart" and "it could be possible" is not a legitimate answer.

    Until someone shows me something concrete about UX metrics and their effects on SEO, I will be sticking to and recommending strategies that have been vetted and proven to work. That would be to focus on CTR and dwell time; both of which can easily be gamed as well.

    User behavior , in my opinion, is not part of the core ranking algorithm. I do think it is a signal of quality and needs to stay consistent in order to have long term effects, which safeguards Google from Webmasters and SEOs gaming/manipulating these quality signals.

    Dwell Time:
    CTR:
    And just to be fair, there are many studies that are contrary to the above examples. However, I'm not seeing anything worthwhile that proves individual on-site UX metrics such as bounce, pages per session, session duration, frequency, and etc have and direct correlation with increased rank.

    Improving and monitoring said metrics is a very good indication of whether or not your website has good UX, which is important in the grand scheme of internet marketing and reaching your conversion goals and/or distribution of content. But as of right now I am not convinced that improving these metrics has a direct influence on rank.

    This is not a reply to knock CRO and A/B testing. I'm just saying, show me the proof or relevant research that strongly suggests what you're saying is true. Gaming UX metrics with on-site optimization strategies actually seems bad for overall UX.
     
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  19. healzer

    healzer Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    @mbreezy
    Yup you're 100% correct.
    We should do more research & testing to verify whether the theory is true or not.