CRO vs. SEO — Can You Truly Optimize For Both?

cro vs seo

Do you want the copy on your website to help your business show up on Google? Or do you want it to convert customers who land on your site? 
Do you know if you should use CRO (conversion rate optimization) vs. SEO?

Your answer is most likely “both.” Some people will tell you that you have to choose. They’ll try to convince you that CRO vs. SEO are at odds, and you have to pick one to be your priority. But there is a way for the two optimization strategies to work in tandem to grow your online presence and boost your sales. 

What’s the Difference Between CRO & SEO?

CRO, which stands for Conversion Rate Optimization, and SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, have different goals. They are: 

Conversion Rate Optimization: to get people to take an action on your website (call you, fill out a form, make a purchase)

Search Engine Optimization: to make sure the right people find your website, then to convince them to click on your link and remain on your site

Optimizing for both is a complicated process involving various strategies. For SEO, there are on-page and off-page strategies, and there are plenty of technical tricks to improve your CRO. This article will focus on improving the on-page copy and design of your website. If done right, you can reduce the cost of attracting a potential client to your page and increase the income you receive from website traffic.

Because these two optimization strategies have different goals, particular tactics stand out for both:


  • Precise, low word count
  • Priority is convincing sales copy
  • CTA buttons throughout the website/landing page
  • Headers have catchy copy


  • High word count
  • Priority is keyword placement 
  • Usually one or two CTA buttons
  • Headers include keywords

Similarities Between CRO vs. SEO

Even though CRO vs. SEO may appear contradictory, they actually have many similarities. When you are optimizing for one, you can optimize for the other. Both of them benefit from:

  • A superior user experience: Website visitors who have a pleasant experience interacting with your website and copy will remain on your site longer and be more likely to convert. 
  • Copy that matches the user’s intent: If the visitor arrives on your page but your website does not answer their question or provide the information they want, they will bounce from the page without converting. Google is focusing more on matching content with the searcher’s intent, so this is especially critical right now. 
  • Good selection of images and video: Images and video diversify the content, keeping website visitors on your site for longer and improving their ultimate experience on your website.
  • Smooth navigation through your site: Users need to be able to navigate through your site with ease and not be distracted by a confusing, cluttered menu.
  • Fast page speed and load times: Website visitors may become frustrated if they have to wait for your website images to load, and they may decide to bounce from the site and visit a competitor’s instead. 
  • Easy-to-understand copy: Your copy should relate to the user and be easy to read and understand.

The truth is that SEO and CRO truly work together to boost your online presence and increase your sales. If no one can find your site, it doesn’t matter how optimized your website copy is for conversions (unless you are dumping all of your money into paid ads), and if you have thousands of visitors on your website every month but aren’t converting any of them into a sale — you have a problem. 

CRO+SEO = the perfect marriage

Your website will only be able to reach its full potential when it focuses on both. 

How Do You Optimize for Both SEO & CRO?

SEO and CRO work together in many ways, but some of their differences seem to force you to choose. Should you optimize your headers to include keywords or to convert visitors to sales? Should you keep your copy short and precise or inflate the word count? 

In a perfect world, you would be able to give both equal attention, but sometimes, one optimization strategy should be dominant while the other takes a back seat. Perhaps you focus 60% of your efforts on optimizing for conversions and 40% for search engines.  

If your keywords are easy to include in headers and body copy without detracting from your sales content, then you should try to optimize your headers for both CRO and SEO. You can use catchy, sales-focused copy for most headers, while reserving some real estate for headers with keywords. 

As for word count, using bulk quantities of words isn’t always the best strategy for SEO. Blogs should have a higher word count than the blogs from competitors’ pieces focusing on similar topics, but your homepage and landing pages don’t need to have surplus words in order to rank. 

Here are some other tips that can help you optimize your website for both CRO and SEO. 

Optimize Your Title Tag and Meta Description

Your title tag should include a call to action and at least one keyword, and your meta description should include convincing copy sprinkled with some keywords. Your title tags and meta descriptions should also accurately describe what users will discover by clicking on your link, thus helping match intent to the user. 

Focus on Mobile Optimization

Mobile optimization matters for both SEO and CRO. Your website should display the most important content above the fold on mobile devices, and the copy should be precise and easy to read on your phone. 

Keep it Simple

Your copy should be intentional, rather than “fluffy filler.” Include clear calls to action and specific headers so users can understand exactly what they are reading and what their next steps should be. 

Clean Up Your Navigation

Unnecessary content in your navigation bar confuses visitors and distracts from your main message. Straightforward navigation improves the user experience and makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your site, which helps your search engine ranking. 

Improve Your Page Site Speed

When it comes to your site’s load time, every second matters. Glitches or problems loading content or huge images can prove extremely costly. 

SEO and CRO don’t need not butt heads. Many optimization tactics cross over, making it easy for you to get not only a high quantity of people on your site, but also secure high-quality leads who are ready to convert. Use these tactics to get the biggest ROI for your marketing budget. 

4 thoughts on “CRO vs. SEO — Can You Truly Optimize For Both?

  1. Blair says:

    Thanks for posting this article, It’s important to know the difference between Conversion Rate Optimization and Search Engine Optimization, You have explained it step by step soc reader can easily understand it .
    keep posting this type of article in future

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