Financial services firms have an interest in improving their SEO (search engine optimisation) and their CRO (conversion rate optimisation). Theoretically, these two things should work together. But is that always the case?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that these are two sides of the same coin. After all, what is the point of optimising your website so that it appears in your users’ internet searches, only to see them not take any meaningful action on your website?
It is certainly true that conversion rates on your website can indirectly affect your search engine rankings. After all, Google has stated that one of the most important factors affecting a financial website’s search rankings is user engagement. Essentially, the more time users spend consuming your content and interacting with it, the more relevant Google regards your website. So they rank it higher.
However, rightly or wrongly, the two concepts of SEO and CRO are widely regarded as separate in the financial marketing world. Regardless, they both need to be strategically coordinated in order to make them work constructively together towards the same goal.
If you are a larger financial firm, possibly with a dedicated digital marketing team, then this is especially important for your business. It is quite possible that one part of your firm is devoting resources towards generating higher website rankings and traffic volumes, whilst another part is stepping on the former’s toes with their approach to conversion rate optimisation. And/or vice versa.
So, what can you do as a financial firm to reduce the risk of your CRO and SEO strategies colliding and wasting valuable time and resources? Read on.
Where Financial SEO & CRO Meet
There are certain areas of financial SEO which cross over with financial CRO, and other areas where the two are fairly distinct. In the latter case, you can make changes to your financial SEO with a high degree of confidence that your conversion rates will not be adversely affected.
For instance, changing the meta information on your web pages you might well affect the percentage of users who click through to your website when they see it in Google’s search engine results. However, this is unlikely to drastically affect your conversion rates one way or the other. That’s because meta information is largely invisible to users on your web page, unlike calls to action and headlines.
It’s worth noting the flip-side as well. Certain pages on your financial website will be indexed on Google, whilst others will likely not be indexed (e.g. your client login page). Anything you change on these non-indexed pages is unlikely to affect your search rankings because Google does not pay attention to them.
Outside of these sorts of areas, however, any changes you make to your financial SEO have the potential to impact your CRO either positively or negatively. This is where you need to be really careful, and consider consulting with a financial marketing agency to ensure you do not disturb any hard-won search engine rankings you already have.
Why Financial SEO & CRO often Conflict
When you break the two concepts down to their essentials, financial SEO is all about getting more traffic onto your website whilst CRO is all about converting existing website traffic into leads.
It isn’t too hard to see how these two objectives can often end up butting heads. For instance, the person in charge of your financial SEO (Person A) might have a target to “increase the total number of organic traffic to the website by 20%” over the next 3 months. Person B, however, has the target to “increase the website’s conversion rate by 20% over the next 3 months.”
Person A, in light of their target, might, therefore, spend a lot of time trying to get your financial website to rank for higher volume keywords which appear relevant to your target audience. They are not overly concerned as to whether or not this traffic actually converts, only that the quantity of traffic and quality of engagement (e.g. average number of pages visited) is increased.
Person B, on the other hand, is not really concerned with the overall number of website visitors – only that the number of visitors converts into leads or enquiries. Indeed, from their perspective, the overall volume of website traffic could stay the same or even drop for all they care. For them, the main thing that matters is increasing the overall volume of conversions.
As a result of this dynamic, Person B might make changes to the same part of the website that Person A s working on – only they each make changes which conflict with one another’s goals.
For instance, Person B might make a change to a landing page – such as making the contact form and “lead magnet” on the page more prominent – in order to get people to inquire as quickly as possible. Whilst this might well increase the number of enquiries, it could well conflict with Person A’s efforts to increase dwell time on the page and increase the number of extra website pages users visit.
Pulling SEO & CRO together
For smaller financial firms, it might well be easier to get your SEO and CRO to work more closely with the help of one experienced financial marketing agency.
The challenge faced by larger financial firms is that different team members are often responsible for different aspects of the firm’s digital marketing. For this reason, it is vitally important that these firms establish a coherent SEO & CRO strategy from the outset – to ensure everyone works together.
For example, one way forward might be to have a set of lead-capture pages for your PPC (pay per click) campaigns, which your CRO team is primarily responsible for. If these pages are not indexed, then it does not matter if changes are made to the page in an attempt to increase the conversion rate, which might otherwise have affected the page’s SEO.