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Liza Perstneva

How to Convert Search Traffic #semrushchat

Liza Perstneva
How to Convert Search Traffic  #semrushchat

Some webmasters and digital marketers, especially those who are newcomers to their industry, think that it’s relatively easy to convert search engine traffic into regular visitors, subscribers and even paying customers. But in reality, this is not always the case.

In our latest SEMrush chat, we discussed tips and tricks that can help you convert your organic traffic with our chat participants and our special guest Angie Schottmuller, growth marketing advisor and speaker, Forbes Top 10 online marketer, and conversation optimization and ROI generator. Angie shared her expertise on the relationship between SEO and conversion rate optimization, tactics for reducing bounce your rate, mistakes that may prevent you from converting search traffic and other important things.


We all know that organic traffic is great, and we all strive to attract more of it to our websites. Nevertheless, it’s not our end goal. Good search traffic doesn’t always mean getting new clients and sales. At the same time, conversion rate optimization is a powerful way to acquire new registrations, downloads, subscriptions and customers. To achieve maximum results, webmasters and marketers should provide a good balance between SEO and CRO.

To start with, Angie Schottmuller recommends rethinking your objectives. If you want to achieve your goals, your users must achieve theirs first. Even if your SEO and CRO have different paths, they share the same ultimate objective,which is to prove that you have the best answer.

Cooperation and a combination of these two elements can turn your website’s visitors into customers. But only if you make sure that your site is well-optimized and that you have the right content that answers users’ questions and addresses their pain points. This can effectively improve your conversion rates.

Many of our chat participants believe that SEO and CRO go hand in hand, and that both of these elements are crucially important for conversion. As Dagmar Gatell ‏@DagmarGatell says, “Both go hand in hand. There’s no good conversion rate without bringing the right traffic to a site.”

Arnout Hellemans ‏@hellemans suggests that SEO specialists should focus more on their return on investment and less on rankings: “If only SEOs were more interested in ROI rather than rankings, it would make their lives a lot easier.” And Taylor ‏@Trvshlvrd_RR points out that your SEO efforts will be vain unless you have the right CRO plan: “If you don't have proper CRO, then your SEO efforts will lose a lot of potential and money. CRO should be part of your SEO.”

Another idea is dividing SEO and CRO between two different teams; each of these teams should be responsible for certain objectives:

Finally, Marianne Sweeny made a very good point, saying that, today, SEO also includes UX, because your website should definitely have an excellent, unique UX for your visitors. The importance of UX for CRO cannot be overestimated. It ensures that a visitor keeps on moving through your funnel only if your website provides a smooth and enjoyable user experience, and provides enough information and options at each step of the funnel.

Now, let’s sum up all the answers that we received.


As we can see, a good balance between SEO and CRO (and their synergy) can help you achieve your main goal – turning your visitors into paying clients.


As far as we know, Google’s search algorithm doesn’t consider meta descriptions as a ranking factor. Nonetheless, a killer meta description can effectively improve click-through your rate from SERPs. Moreover, Google takes into consideration user behavior, including CTR. And the more users click through your compelling snippet, the better your website will rank in Google.

We asked our chat participants to share their tips on how to create a good search snippet that will earn you more clicks. Let’s take a look at their answers!

We hope these tips will help you get more organic search clicks! You can also share your own strategies in the comments.


In Google Analytics, you can check the percentage of your visitors who came to your website and left without viewing any other pages. And this will reduce your bounce rate. A large percentage means that most of your visitors come to your site and either don’t find what they’re looking for or find it, but have no need to stay on your site any longer.

Here’s what our chat participants believe can reduce your BR and improve engagement for search traffic.

You should focus on the following important elements:

  • UX. A smooth and satisfying user experience is essential. If users can’t see or read your content and find what they need easily and quickly, your bounce rate with increase.
  • Analytics. Your adjusted bounce rate gives you a clearer picture of how users are engaging with your site. The search engine will not count the visit as bounce in Google Analytics, if you can log an event at five seconds.  You can also use this Code Fix that Angie provided.

First of all, before you can reduce your bounce rate, you should fully understand what it is, as Tim Capper explains. There’re various reasons for people leaving your website soon after arriving. And one of them may be that your page is appearing for a query that doesn’t correlate the users’ intent. 

What you can do is provide your visitors and your potential subscribers/customers with information and answer their questions: “Align your content with where your user is in their journey. Answer their question and provide next steps (hint: CTA),” as Jesse Teske ‏@JesseTeske recommends.

Also, make sure your webpages load quickly. If your website is slow as a snail, visitors won’t hesitate to leave it right away.

Your page load time must be fast on all possible devices, as James Yorke @BecomeKnown explains: “Make your page load as fast as possible on all devices. Please make sure it's responsive!” Today it’s crucial to provide users with a pleasant mobile experience, since the number of people who visit websites via their mobile phones is always increasing. You can do this either through a responsive design or a specific mobile design. This will become even more important in the coming years.

As many of our experts suggest, get straight to the point. Try to be the first who can fully satisfy users’ needs and wants and make sure they won’t want to leave your website and visit your competitors’.

Finally, don’t forget about personalization, which can be very helpful for improving your user engagement. You should personalize your homepage, because it’s the place where visitors usually decide whether or not your website is worth their time.

You can find all these tips in our recap!


The online world is competitive and challenging. But listening to users and their real needs gives you a huge advantage over your rivals.


Now that we know that SEO and CRO work together, it’s time to talk about some pitfalls that webmasters and digital marketers may encounter – for example, if your organic traffic grows, but doesn’t convert your visitors into real customers. We asked our guests to name mistakes that can cause this.

As Angie Schottmuller points out, it’s not enough to rank for keywords. The ultimate purpose of your content is increasing conversion. Here’s a brief content plan from Angie:

Besides the wrong content, among the most common reasons why search traffic doesn’t deliver conversions are improper keyword selection, an offer that isn’t compelling, a lack of a CTA and weak images.  

Also, ignoring user intent can lead to very disappointing results. Google focuses its efforts on reaching deep into user intent. Of course, optimization for keywords isn’t a void strategy. But this shouldn’t be your main focus, because content written for user intent wins.

Make sure that your content addresses your audience’s needs: Rachel Howe ‏@R8chel_Marie names “not speaking to your audience and addressing their needs with your content” as another huge website mistake.

Unfortunately, sometimes the reason for a lot conversation rate can be much simpler: a website may have no way to convert visitors, or perhaps its contact form simply doesn’t work.

Some of our guests also assume that your conversion rate depends on various factors, like seasonality, sourcing, demand and other aspects.

We’ve already talked about the importance of UX for your online performance. One reason that visitors may be leaving your website is that your interface may be too complex. Make sure that your navigation is intuitive and that your site is proper maintained; these two elements are a must for turning passing visitors into loyal clients.

Forewarned is forearmed. Here is a long list of mistakes that can prevent users from converting.


Are you making the same mistakes? We hope with this recap you can discover the reason for your low conversion rate.


As we figured out during the first question, SEO and CRO have the same ultimate objective – they are both intended to give users what they’re looking for. The following tactics will help you satisfy both Google and the people who visit your website.

Angie Schottmuller suggests that optimizing your content proximity will boost both your SEO and CRO efforts:

Angie also recommends minimizing your attention ratio, which is the number of links or CTRs that are presented on your webpage relative to your desired outcome. The ideal ratio is 1:1.Each of your pages that you’re directing your visitors to should have a specific and overarching goal. And your visitors must have a clear understanding of what their next step is. And say no to websites with confusing or unclear paths; make sure your site navigation is easy to understand.

Another thing that many people forget is to develop a clear plan and set goals. If you don’t want to feel as if you’re just drifting in the online world, have a clear idea of your final destination. 

Setting goals boosts your motivation and gives you a long-term vision. “Planning is important. Remember: content, keywords, CTA, purpose, audience. And have a plan!” says lchasse ‏@lchasse.

Don’t forget about Schema structured markup, which helps you provide search engines with the information they need in order to understand your content. Adding Schema markup improves how your webpages are displayed in SERPs.

 Some of our chat participants assume that eliminating marketing departmental silos can also support your SEO and CRO efforts.

Actually, today, departmental silos are seen as a growing issue for both large and small organizations. This obstructive organizational barrier must be broken down; marketing teams should be prepared and equipped with the proper mindset.

In the latest update of Google search quality rating guidelines the search engine has put even more emphasis on the role of E.A.T., which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.

By this, Google means that your content should reflect all three of these elements. Lacking E.A.T. is a sufficient reason for low-quality of your website and not very good reputation on the web.


Got any other effective tactics for aiding your SEO and CRO efforts? Let us know in the comments!


The truth is every business has different goals and priorities. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Nevertheless, if you’re not sure where to start with your SEO and CRO strategy, you can use the following tips from our experts.

First of all, as Angie Schottmuller advises, you need to determine your conversion rates for each tier of your SEO funnel.

ThinkSEM provided a simple schema that will help you effectively prioritize your efforts:

  1. Start with your client’s goals. Understand their needs and pains, as well as what they want to achieve in the end.
  2. Strategize your marketing plan. Without a clear and thought-out plan you’ll be blindly groping in the dark through the competitive online space.
  3. Track your KPIs. Ask yourself what results you want to achieve and how you’re going to measure them. Establish several most important KPIs and track your progress on a regular basis.
  4. Tweak to improve. Sometimes even a small tweak can lead to a significant improvement in your conversion rates. This could be A/B testing, a clear and compelling value proposition, communicating value, increasing trust, offering proof and other things.

Some of our chat participants recommend prioritizing your efforts based on bang for the buck. Think about whether or not you can make any changes or improvements that will bring a healthy return.

You can add incentives to compel your users to take action right away. For example, you can provide them with some time-sensitive bonuses, like a discount if they complete a certain action within a certain period of time. This is just an option, and I’m sure you can come up with other good ideas.

Another great tip is categorizing keyword targets according to your goals. Effective keyword research helps digital marketers develop a good keyword list for PPC. Also, content marketers use it to find the best topics to write about and phrases to use in their content. 

Review your keyword strategy, and then compare it to your conversion goals. As Martin Kelly ‏@MartinKSEO explains, this can help you find spot potential opportunities for improvement: “Review your KW strategy as it relates to your conversion goals. You may find a diamond in the rough.”

Finally, by digging into analytics, you can get a better understanding of your website’s performance.

Analytics helps you get better understanding of your website’s performance and uncover potential reasons for low conversion rates. “Stay on top of the data by monitoring/testing and sharing it with your team. Invite others’ opinions and brainstorm!” advises ZenContent ‏@ZenContent.


Besides ensuring that your tactics correlate with the specific objectives of your strategy, you should also make sure that your prioritization of your actions and processes makes sense.


We’re coming toward the end of our chat, and there’s only one thing left that we wanted to discuss – the major trends for converting search traffic. We divided our guests’ answers into five main groups.

1.Social proof

Today, social proof is considered the new marketing, as Aileen Lee said as early as 2011. It’s crucially important for businesses, because in the right hands in can be an effective and influential selling tool. One of example that comes to my mind right away is having comments on your blog. These comments indicate that readers pay attention to your content.

You should also figure out how you can build social proof around your product or brand. You’ll can find more on the topic in Angie’s slideshow “Social Proof Conversion Optimization Secrets.”

2.Human-centered approach

Practically everything is shifting towards a human-centered, or – as it’s sometimes referred to – a user-centered, approach: design concepts, software, product designs, digital interactions, and content. As the name implies, the basic idea of this approach is putting the human, who could be a reader, customer or buyer, at the center of your marketing efforts. To win and get ahead of your competitors you should create content that reflects your audience’s wants, preferences, goals, behavior, and personality, and provide solutions to their problems and fulfill their needs. You can find some useful insights in Chelsea Scholz’s article “Clicks Are People: 3 Tactics For Creating More Human-Centered Marketing.”

3.Google Alerts

Although Google Alerts may not be one of its most popular services, it’s a really powerful tool. It allows you to keep track of trends, interesting topics, influential people in your industry and many other new things that are happening on the Web. Page 1 (Europe) Ltd. ‏@Page1Europe points out: “That's why we have Google Alerts! User intent will always be a top trend to watch out for.”

4.Voice search

A Google study revealed in 2014 that 55 percent of teens and 41 percent of adults use voice search more than once a day. So, today search is moving beyond simply typing, and the human voice has become the new search tool. This means that digital marketers should understand their audience’s conversational speech.

5.Seasonality in search

Smart digital marketers will seek to understand both who is searching for their target phrases and during which period of the year these phrases are being searched the most. With this knowledge, you can anticipate when keyword search behavior peaks for certain terms. Also, you can predict when it’s profitable to launch a promotional campaign and what phrases should be used in your content during that particular time.

Check out what else our guests consider to be important search traffic trends.


Indeed, search engine traffic isn’t always easy to convert. Nevertheless, by setting goals and formulating a strategy, you can successfully convert your traffic visitors into subscribers, devoted readers and paying clients. And these tips from our chat participants should help you.

Thanks to Angie Schottmuller and our other guests for sharing their experience and knowledge!

Liza Perstneva is a Social Media Manager at SEMrush and a #SEMrushchat host. Follow Liza on Twitter.

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