What is CRO and How Does it Differ From SEO?

Services for Real Estate Pros with PeterMarkSEO

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a system for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers, or more generally, take any desired action on a webpage. It is commonly referred to as CRO.  CRO is basically every single part of your website. We’re talking about landing pages, google analytics, split testing and behavior based testing. How It’s all about continual improvement of your metrics.



From my experience I would say CRO is more important than SEO. Why? Well if you tried this year to keyword stuff and backlink your page and site to page 1, it might stay on page 1 for a week or so. Then once google get its data and sees the bounce rate and conversion is terrible, back down you will go. I see this happen all the time.


If I had to define the difference between the two I would say that SEO brings you the traffic to the site while the CRO will provide the actual sales and long lasting staying power. Together they are an absolute power horse. SEO stands for search engine optimization in case you were wondering. The ROI on CRO is a much faster yield as you can implement this and see instant results compared to SEO which can take some time depending on your competition.





Why is CRO Important?


Why is conversion rate optimization so important? Well, anybody can build a website but not everybody has a website that actually produces the highest amount of sales, lead regeneration and customers as possible.CRO is the only process that can move people when they are on your website to call your or request information.


Your website's is your representation. It works 24/7 and it has your perfect sales pitch every single time. So, the key is to make sure that your website is converting all of it's traffic at the highest rate. A website with optimized CRO can outperform a top ranked SEO website. Changing the smallest design elements can be staggering in terms of ROI.



increase cro for real estateAmazon calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year. Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/1825005/how-one-second-could-cost-amazon-16-billion-sales

Top 12 CRO Tips


  1. Create a clear thought out conversion funnel.

  2. Install Hotjar or VWO and study them.

  3. Less is more on your website. Don’t overkill with too many distractions. Get them into your sales funnel

  4. Stop using stock photos. Use real photos. The more real the photos you have the more trust you will build.

  5. Get rid of sliders.

  6. Create a Clear Call to Action ( CTA ) above the fold and  at the bottom of every landing page.

  7. Install Google Analytics and a retargeting pixel to retarget users on your market report/ blog pages.

  8. Get your Time to First byte .5 - 1 second

  9. Look at your competing sites in your market. Put yourself in your buyers/sellers shoes.

  10. Have smooth easy navigation

  11. Show some reviews and have comments enabled from the public.

  12. Have your contact form be of unlimited characters. So users can tell their story. Example they are relocating and need to sell because of an issue.


Bonus Tip: Use DISQUS plugin for comments

Steve Jobs quoted: “The most powerful person in the world is the story teller.” Why am I quoting Steve Jobs? A fellow SEO/ web developer I know Thomas Niemczewski of NeighborhoodLoans.com site is ranking a mortgage site with comment based content. Letting users comment on blog posts with the DISQUS plugin.



See an example on his site. He ranked the term IHDA and IHDA loan on the first page in google by having a basic post but more importanlty by letting the actual users provide the content. Their story if you will.So the takeaway here is balance out your site. Make it so a user can come in and have their say so. To provide their needs and story. Have you noticed that the most popular sites like yahoo and youtube have a robust comment section?


Call to action using FOGG 

The FOGG Behavior Model


Regardless of what conversion you are tracking, whether it's a form or call, ultimately you are trying to get a visitor to perform a certain action or behavior on your website landing pages. At the core it's all about influencing user behavior. B.J. Fogg is a behavior scientist, author and professor at Stanford. Fogg was the first scientist to articulate the concept of "captology", or the study of how computers can be used to persuade people to change their attitudes or behaviors.


Let's for example say that you have a customer on your site and in their shoes they are maybe scared to talk with a Realtor. They have a situation where they might need to sell their current home to buy another. Or maybe they need to probate sale or some mortgage process which is difficult for them. For that customer this is perceived and truly a difficult and complicated task. The answer is present your landing pages to them as you are the expert and make it simple for them. As you increase simplicity, you increase ability and you decrease perceived difficulty of the conversion action for your visitors to take.


Here is the equation. B=MAT Behavior can occur when three things converge at the exact same time. If any one of these three elements are missing, you will get no behavior. M=Motivated to Act A= Ability to carry out that behavior. T=Trigger Something has to spark or initiate that trigger. The trigger is your Call to Action on your website.


Lets say you have a person who is highly motivated to call you about a property or a home selling situation but it's difficult to reach you. For that user, it's a hard task but they are highly motivated. The behavior won't happen. On the other spectrum, you have a person with low level of motivation but an easy task to accomplish. The behavior will happen. The trigger will work.


Use Facilitator Triggers for Motivated Customers


Facilitator triggers work well when you have a visitor with high motivation but they are just stuck for their own reason. It could be that they think the process is complicated or they just don't want to come in for a appointment. myabe they are nervous about all the paperwork and or phonecalls they will have to take. Your supporting copy for that motivated customer should talk about why this is simple. Not just with text either.


Use Spark Triggers for Customers with Low Motivation


I come to your blog and I read your market report or whatever. I exit out and there is an exit pop up for example or fixed banner in the side bar. It says "Sign up for my newsletter". Even though it's easy as all I have to do is put my email address in but I don't quite yet want to get emails from you just yet. So the motivation is low. So your calls to action should be increasing that motivation by giving value if you sign up for that newsletter. "Sign up for my newsletter and I will send you the top 25 home seller staging tips." or Sign up for my newsletter and I will send you pre-listing MLS properties" Do you get the picture?



Use Micro and Macro Conversions on your Site


Micro conversions are activities which lead your customers to the larger goal. To call you or inquiry about a property.


  • Use a Newsletter Sign Up for Market Updates
  • Subscription to New Listings
  • Book Showings through your site
  • Message you via text message
  • Login with social media


There are two key areas where you can never waste your time optimizing on. Conversion rate optimization and speed. There is no good enough benchmark here.



Visualize User Behavior


Did you know you can see what users do on your website? You can install plugins like HotJar and see your user behavior and clicks over time. Pictured below is a heat map of a website landing page. Understand what users want, care about and do on your site by visually representing their clicks, taps and scrolling behavior – which are the strongest indicators of visitor motivation and desire.

 heat map cro tracking Click-tracking heat map displayed on WebMAXformance.


Google Analytics - Your Conversion Buddy


I'll actually have analytics open while I'm doing my walkthrough so when I have questions I can jump in and and basically ask analytics. So that's kind of the way I think of analytics also it's like my little conversion buddy. A website with optimized CRO can outperform a top ranked SEO website. Changing the smallest design elements can be staggering in terms of ROI.


Here is just some of the data you can get from analytics.


  • Overall landing page performance
  • Overall device performance
  • Overall browser performance
  • Traffic conversion rate
  • Bounce Rate
  • Exit Page
  • Bugs



Not getting any home sales or leads? Get into the right mindset.


It has less to do with what anyone says but rather it has more to do with the way that you look at the problem. Typically when people want to increase the conversion of their site it's because they're not hitting their goals. Immediately when people don't hit their goals for their quarterly or annual review they start to spend more money on advertising. This may not be the highest and best solution for you. The question you should be asking is how can I do more with what I have?




Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. . . 03/12/2019 09:06 AM
  2. Kevin B 03/14/2019 04:04 AM
  3. Peter Mohylsky, SoWal Is HOME. 03/19/2019 07:59 AM
  4. Krista Jenkins, REALTOR® 03/19/2019 02:11 PM
ActiveRain Community
conversion rate optimization
cro tips

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale TahoeLauraRealEstate.com
Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260 - Tahoe City, CA
Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers

Peter Mark SEO Services - Great CRO tips and how to improve your website!

Mar 12, 2019 11:30 AM #4
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Peter Mark SEO Services - this is helpful information.  I look into Google Analytics often.

Mar 16, 2019 04:03 AM #5
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Love this post I use real pictures I think it is more personal. Peter Mark SEO Services and that is what people want these days, isn't it? Google also wants personal touches and opinions. So glad Carol Williams  included this in SCS as I did miss this post 

Mar 16, 2019 08:52 AM #6
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I definitely have to brush up on this CRO. Customer relationship is key all of this , I love it!

Mar 16, 2019 11:43 PM #7
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

i’ll be following up with you and no time flat! Hope you’re doing well regardles! i

Mar 16, 2019 11:49 PM #8
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

This was really interesting and helpful.  And why are sliders a bad thing?

Mar 18, 2019 02:56 AM #9
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

These were helpful tips and a useful explanation to understand the differences between SEO and CRO. Bookmarked for reading again.


Mar 18, 2019 07:23 AM #10
Dario Ferreira
Attleboro, MA
Internet Marketing

Many good points about CRO, but I don't agree with this: "I would say CRO is more important than SEO"

If you don't have visitors, then you can't do any CRO. You need visitors and conversions to be able to measure and make changes to improve them.

User Experience/Usability (UX) and overall website design is different than CRO, although you can improve CRO with UX and design changes.

Mar 18, 2019 09:48 AM #11
Corinne Guest
Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
Barrington Lifestyles

SEO first, get some visitors, then conversion. Cannot convert nothing.Or use PPC to drive some visitors.  I like Lucky Orange for watching visitors, love seeing what they are looking at real time. Has heatmaps too. It is a cost though, not free.

Mar 18, 2019 10:47 AM #13
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

ClickClickClick but Quick...!

Mar 18, 2019 03:47 PM #14
Mike Bjork
CMG Financial - Redondo Beach, CA

I love your concluding comments!  Many people are on the right track on ideas for their sites, but may need just a slight tweek here or there in order to have higher conversions.  However, many are too impatient and just (like you said) spend more money on advertisements; or they give up all too soon.  Great post!

Mar 18, 2019 04:58 PM #15
Elizabeth Bouchard
Long & Foster Realtors - Arlington, VA
Associate Broker in Northern Virginia

I will have to spend more time studying this but looks like a lot of helpful tips to get better results.  Thanks for sharing.

Mar 18, 2019 05:55 PM #16
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

I am certainly one of the 4 that don't wait to load up...

bookmarked this for further review! Very informative 

Mar 19, 2019 12:31 AM #17
John F Muscarella
Broker/Owner, Venice, FL, Florida's Suncoast

Great info for a new twist on maximizing your website and giving it the tools to achieve marketing goals.  

Mar 19, 2019 06:51 AM #19
Ron Aguilar
Continental Mortgage - Saint George, UT
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995

Outstanding topic to share, thanks for your time.

Something to discuss with my guy.

Mar 19, 2019 07:14 AM #20
Peter Mohylsky, SoWal Is HOME.
Gulf Place @ 30A - Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Let me help you find your path to the beach.

Another Great Post by SEO Expert Peter Mark, great story to tell and retell.

Mar 19, 2019 07:58 AM #21
Krista Jenkins, REALTOR®
Egenbacher Real Estate - Lubbock, TX
Residential sales and retail & office leasing

I hate sliders...unless of course I can eat them. Thank you for the practical and concise information. This is a very well-written blog. I am currently teaching myself WordPress, and I will keep these things in mind as I practice.

Mar 19, 2019 01:46 PM #22
Ricki Eichler McCallum
CastNet Realty - Corpus Christi, TX
Broker,GRI,ABR, - Your Coastal Bend Home Source

Peter, Great information and  a great post!  Thanks for sharing!

Mar 19, 2019 07:13 PM #23
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Congrats on the feature!     So much to understand I've bookmarked this....

Mar 20, 2019 08:46 AM #24
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.

We have just recently started implementing more strategies with respect to CRO.  Some of the insights and data from these choices is very interesting to look over.  

Mar 20, 2019 01:02 PM #25
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Peter Mark SEO Services

Full Time SEO
Ask me a question
Spam prevention