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Creative Network-Marketing Research Institute
19 Oct 2017

Rand Fishkin on why we can’t do SEO without CRO


Shifts in Google’s rankings and searcher behavior have changed how SEOs must apply CRO. Learn how Google has evolved and what this means for SEO, about Rankbrain and Syntax Net, the 10 steps process Rand Fishkin, the Wizzard of Moz uses for CRO for Searcher Task Accomplishment, how CRO helps you when doing SEO, the win-win solution and more. After Rand’s presentation, there was a short Q&A session.

This post is the edited version of the webinar “Why we can’t do SEO without CRO” with Rand Fishkin from Moz, and our very own CEO, Valentin Radu. All the images are taken from Rand’s live presentation.

Rand: Welcome to the webinar! Today, Valentin and I are honored to bring you this presentation! Thank you so much for joining Omniconvert and Moz! I’ve been trying to work together with them for a while now and it’s wonderful to have you all here! We are going to chat about why we cannot do SEO without CRO.

SEO Historically

Alright, let’s talk about SEO historically. It had been the case that in years past, for a long time, SEO has been measured by traffic driven tools.

Moz’s referrals gets measured by rankings achieved, how well do you rank, how well do you rank against the competition, are you moving up or are you getting search visibility? It was improved by boosting the accessibility.

Fixing all the things on your side or optimizing your keywords, certainly, acquiring links, absolutely, and upgrading the visibility of your search results, so maybe “I’m ranking number two or three, but I also have this beautifully featured snippet” and I think this is fine and well. But there have been some big significant changes in Google that have forced us to start thinking about conversion rate optimisation actually in kind of a different way that we have historically.

Historically, when Google was trying to deliver good results they were really looking at the results themselves. So they said: Here are these 10 blue links. Are those 10 blue links high quality? Are they not spam? Will they help searchers? Are they trustworthy and editorially given?”

And then we see that engagement emerged as a ranking signal. I think for Google search quality team, they’re kind of always asking the same question. Here I’ve done a search for “sour beer” and they want to know “are searchers being satisfied by these results?” How do they get that answer? I think they’re using behavior data. In fact, I’ll show you some examples in a sec, but aggregated behavior data from searchers is really how they’re answering the question of “did we do a good job here”?

And they look at things like how do searchers on average click on the results that we ranked highly more than the results that we ranked low. So if that’s the case, that the number one position gets the lion’s share of clicks, and the second position gets a little fewer and the third a little fewer then they’re all good. If that changes up though, if people are shifting their query click patterns, I think Google is paying close attention to that. And we have actually done some experiments at Moz some of you may have seen them, I’ve written about them on my blog and talked about them on

And we have actually done some experiments at Moz some of you may have seen them, I’ve written about them on my blog and talked about them on Whiteboard Friday, and all those kinds of things where essentially, over time, if large numbers of people are clicking on a particular result that’s ranked lower, it will often move up very quickly, even without any new links or without any optimization of the page itself.

I think it’s also the case that Google is looking for a pattern of non-clicks. So they might see that people who search for “sour beer” maybe are not clicking any of the results and instead are changing, modifying their search query. And when you see that behavior you tend to see Google starts to learn that what searchers want from one query is actually another query.

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