SEO or CRO? What’s the Difference? [Infographic & Videos]

People often confuse SEO and website optimization. On hearing the word optimization, the assumption is that they all mean the same thing. Although both have a lot in common, they are quite different. So it is extremely important to know the difference between the two as they are both essential for businesses. To help the reader understand, we look at the two – their differences and similarities and why we think SEO and CRO work best when they work together.


SEO, Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is the process of making changes to the website so that it will appear higher in the search engine results.

CRO, Conversion Rate Optimization

Website optimization is a continuous process of improving a website through testing, marketing and analytics to drive business goals while delivering a great user experience.

So although both are related to your website and optimization process, there’s still quite a few differences between the two. Let’s take a look at the infographic:
SEO vs Optimization


Key Differences

  • The main difference is present in the definition. The primary goal of website optimization is user experience, lead conversions, and acquiring customers whereas the primary goal of SEO is improving search engine rankings by creating backlinks, better content and meta tags.
  • SEO aims at finding prospective customers based on what they are searching for and providing them with a reason to visit the website, while the aim of website optimization is creating the best possible user experience once a prospective customer visits the site so that the customer ends up buying the product or service. In simple terms, it can be said that website optimization increases conversion whereas SEO increases traffic to the site.
  • Website Optimization affects your visitors after they enter your site but with SEO your visitors are affected before they enter your site.
  • While SEO boosts website traffic, website optimization gives you a real measure of your site’s actual performance.
  • Website optimization reduces your marketing budget while delivering more sales. SEO on the other hand increases your marketing budget while diminishing your returns.


Luis sums it up pretty nicely in this short video:



Search engine optimization can be considered as a subset of website optimization and so they complement each other and work well together. Both practices overlap in terms of the benefits they provide a business as they intersect and meet in certain aspects.

  • Both website optimization and SEO are continuous ongoing processes. In website optimization, you understand your customer’s behavior and preferences through analytics and look for ways to improve conversion rates at key interaction points working over time to test, learn, and implement changes. With SEO, you learn what your customers are doing to find your site on the web. Once you know the keywords they are using to get to your website, you rework your site and content to accommodate their needs.
  • Website optimization and SEO rely heavily on data analytics to monitor progress and success. In website optimization, you need web analytics to understand customer behaviors and make changes based on their needs. In SEO, you need analytics to understand what keywords your customers search before they enter your website and make changes accordingly to drive more traffic to your website.
  • If your website takes time to load it not only decreases your conversion rate but it will also lowers your search engine ranking.
  • Replacing complex Flash presentations and animation will usually improve both SEO and Conversion Rate.
  • A page that’s optimized will be user friendly which makes it more likely to receive inbound links and referrals as customers will find it valuable and want to link it thereby improving search engine rankings.


A chicken-and-egg problem

Traffic acquisition – SEO being an essential part of that – is needed to make it possible to get conversions in the first place. But then again, if you lack in conversions, no amount of SEO is going to save your online business. Ben shares his insights on the matter in this video:



It’s easy to get lost in the world of acronyms, especially in digital business. SEO and CRO are both here to stay, and the important lesson here is that you shouldn’t ignore neither one. Start off with evaluating your site’s current status of optimization. What is already in place? What needs more investments desperately? Just bear in mind that in the end the optimization processes are always about the customer, the people.

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  • Steve Gordon

    Excellent blog you share. Keep it up.

  • seo service

    It is really a nice and helpful piece of information. I’m happy that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this.

  • AdSprad

    This does a great job explaining the ‘lingo’ of what has always been common sense website creation. Nicely done!