CRO: A Shiny New Acronym for Content Marketing, PR and SEO

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I’m something of an acronym connoisseur, particularly when it comes to content marketing and PR. As we witness the convergence of industries as diverse as marketing, advertising, PR and SEO – all of which are using content creation – people are struggling to define the new array of innovative services and effective techniques they’ve invented.

Chris Bishop at Econsultancy debuted an acronym that I thought was pretty appropriate: conversion rate optimization (CRO).

Google’s disruptive changes in search always place more emphasis on the value that sites bring to users. Bishop argues that CRO can improve “the signposting and usability to enhance the rate at which people buy,” increasing conversion and also improving search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO, Content and Leads

When it comes to CRO, Bishop focuses on the B2C side of things, like Amazon’s consumer business. He explains that Amazon effectively optimized conversion by taking away the traditional navigation sidebar when customers were close to purchasing a product, replacing it with different products to purchase instead.

The goal was to minimize distractions, so customers were much more likely to convert.

The example shows that CRO is specifically about meeting a customer’s needs with the right content in the right place at the right time. If you’ve anticipated those needs, then website visitors will naturally dig deeper into the site and stay longer. When visitors stay longer, Google gives you an SEO boost, because it’s clear you’re delivering value to the people who found the site.

To really optimize for conversion, you need to make sure your website has no dead-ends.

The B2B Side of CRO and PR

PR is vital for any SEO strategy for another reason – backlinks. When reputable third-party sources link to your business from a contributed article or a piece of coverage, your SEO ranking goes up. Today, though, it’s important to anticipate the wants and needs of the traffic coming in from that link, too.

In many cases today, tech PR is the top of the funnel for online sales. Optimizing for conversion is going to mean anticipating what a potential reader of a new piece of coverage is going to want to see most when he or she clicks to the company website.

Say that you’re a social media analytics company. Your tech PR agency just secured coverage in Forbes, with a piece about “Social Media 2.0.” Curious readers who click the link are going to inspect your website and expect more information on social media 2.0, not a sudden image of a product that demands people “Try Now!”

That’s where collateral like eBooks, guides or blog posts come in handy – you’re nurturing the lead with content that’s in line with their expectations.

CRO is all about having the right funnel built, making sure that the content is highly visible as those readers come in from the link.  Essentially, you have to make sure your website is ready – and contextually relevant – for the incoming leads.

This is also how PR and content marketing work in tandem. As digital overtakes print, there are going to be more opportunities than ever before for companies to connect different funnels. And, if CRO is any indication, there will be many, many more new acronyms to come.

I, for one, can’t wait.


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