What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 1
But what else has a possible impact on both, and our experience has been showing us that the theoretical threat is totally true. We have seen SEO changes which have changed conversion prices, and also have experience of important CRO-centered changes that have had dramatic impacts on search functionality (but more on this later). The point is, there is a ton of stuff in the intersection of both SEO and CRO:

An example CRO scenario: The business impact of conversion rate testing

There are certainly some SEO-centric modifications which have a very low risk of getting a negative impact on conversion rates for people from different channels. If you think about changing meta info, as an Example, much of this is invisible to users around the webpage — maybe that is pure SEO:
What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 2
However, what I really need to talk about now is the mixed objectives of CRO and SEO, and also what happens if you fail to appear carefully at the effect of both collectively. First: some pure CRO.
In the example which follows, we look at the effect on an illustration business of a Collection of conversion speed tests conducted during a year, and also see the earnings
What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 3
Interestingly, my conversations with CRO experts demonstrate that they also often be concerned about SEOs’ work impacting negatively on conversion prices.
Just how should we mitigate these risks? How should we work together?
If you’re interested in the technical details of how we perform the testing, you can read more about the installment of a full funnel evaluation here. (Due to my colleagues Craig Bradford and Tom Anthony for diagrams and concepts that appear through this post).
Much has been written and talked about the interplay of both SEO and CRO, and there are a great deal of reasons why, in theory, both should be working towards a shared aim. When it’s easy pragmatism of the business advantage of increasing amount of conversions, or higher-minded pursuits like the perfect of Google trying to reward the very best user experiences, we’ve got many things that should bring us all together.
In practice, though, it’s rarely that easy or unified. How much effort would be the professionals of each set in to make sure that they are working towards the authentic shared common objective of the most significant number of conversions?
So throughout this post, I’ve talked about our experiences, and work we’ve done that has shown various impacts in various directions, from conversion rate-centric changes which affect search functionality and vice versa. How are we viewing all this?
What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 4
And then on the flip side, there are clearly CRO changes which don’t have any impact on your organic search functionality. Whatever that you do on non-indexed webpages, as an instance, can not change your rankings. Think about work done within a checkout process or inside a login region. Google simply is not seeing those modifications:
Well, testing has become a central part of conversion speed work essentially since the area began, and we have been doing a great deal of work in the past few years on SEO A/B testing too. At our recent London conferencewe declared that We’ve Been building out new features in our testing platform to enable what we are calling complete funnel testing which Appears simultaneously at the impact of a single shift on conversion rates, and also on search performance:

But , some evidence

Neither side weights as highly the dangers that conversion-oriented changes can hurt organic search functionality, but our experiences demonstrate that both are actual risks. What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 5
Let us continue something similar out through the close of the year. Within the course of this case year, we visit 3 months with winning tests, and naturally we just roll out those that come with uplifts:
Conversely, We’d have rolled out the next test because it was a net positive even though the pure CRO perspective had it impartial / inconclusive:
We compare the earnings we might achieve together with the revenue we would have anticipated without testing. The example is a little simplified but it functions to demonstrate our purpose.

What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 6
What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 7
What happens if we add in the impact on organic search performance of these changes we are rolling out, however? Well, let us look at the same example financials using a few more lines showing that the search engine optimization impact. That first positive CRO test? Negative for search performance:
We start on a high with a winning evaluation in our initial month:
What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 8
In the event that you weren’t analyzing the SEO effect, and only focused on the conversion uplift, you’d have rolled out this one. Carrying on, we see that the next (null) conversion rate test ought to happen to be rolled out because it was a triumph for search functionality:
Now of course these are simplified examples, and in the actual
After starting on a top, our illustration continues through a poor sound — a null test (no certain result in either way ) followed closely by three winners. We turn off each of these four thus none of them have an actual impact on future months’ revenue:

Let’s make some more sensible decisions, considering the Search Engine Optimization impact

When we zoom out on that strategy to the full year, we see that a very different picture to either of those prior views. By rolling out only the modifications which are net optimistic considering their impact on search and conversion speed, we prevent some Substantial drops in performance, and get the Opportunity to roll out a couple of Further uplifts that could have been overlooked by conversion rate changes alone:
What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 9
What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 10
We wouldn’t:
What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 11
What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 12

What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 13
What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 14So you remember how we thought we had turned an expected #900k of earnings to over #1.1m? It turns out we have added significantly less than 18k in fact and the revenue chart looks like the red line:

What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 15
Back to the start of the calendar year once again, but this time, imagine that we really tested the conversion rate and lookup performance effect and rolled our evaluations when they were net winners. This time we see that if a conversion-focused team would have rolled from the first evaluation:
What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 16
What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? 17
The upshot being a +45% reduction for the entire year, finishing the year with yearly revenue up 73%, averting the false expectation of the pure conversion-centric perspective, and real business impact: But it’s also likely that we will conduct an AB test not to improve functionality, but rather to minimize risk. Before we found our website redesign, will it reduce the order conversion rate? Before we put our prices up, what will the effect be on sales?

Most of all, we would not just throw away a winning SEO test that reduced conversion speed or a winning conversion speed evaluation that negatively impacted lookup performance. Both these tests would have come from underlying hypotheses, and by reaching importance, would have taught us something. We would take that understanding and take it back as input into the next test so as to attempt to capture the good part without the associated drawback.
I don’t see this trend reversing any time soon. The more ML there is from the algorithm, and also the more non-linear it all becomes, the less effective best practices will likely be, and the more common it will be to see sudden effects. My colleague Dom Woodman talked about this at our recent SearchLove London conference in his talk A Year of SEO Split Testing Changed How I Thought SEO Worked:
World we’d have to appear at affects per channel and may consider rolling out tests which appeared not to be negative rather than waiting for statistical importance as favorable. I asked CRO expert Stephen Pavlovich out of conversion.com for his perspective on this and he explained:

Most of the time, we want to see if making a change will enhance performance. If we change our product page layout, will the purchase conversion rate increase? If we show greater applicable product recommendations, will the Average Order Value go up?