7 (Great) Reasons Why ‘Website Optimization’ should NOT be Confused with ‘Search Engine Optimization’

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seo-confuseThis post goes out to all those SEO firms that are bidding or ranking for the keywords ‘website optimization’ to parade their SEO services without knowing the true definition of  the growing and high impact art of website optimization (see image below – at least Omniture know proper website optimization services!)

This post is also meant to help educate all the web companies and people that still don’t yet know the difference between the two (or even know that website optimization exists!) – its important for them to know and take full advantage of!


 So without further ado, here is a list of reasons why its important to know the differences between website optimization and search engine optimization…

1: It doesn’t matter how much you optimize your site rankings in Google if your website isn’t fully optimized to meet your visitors needs and convert them. You are simply pouring money down there drain if you don’t optimize your website – many of visitors from search engine will simply leave if their needs aren’t met!

2: There are no ‘hacks’ or ‘dirty tricks’ with website optimization that can  jeopordize your website’s performance. Unfortunately in the search engine optimization world, there are many ‘black hat’ companies that claim they will help for cheap, but often have long lasting damaging results in search engines.

3: Website optimization is often way cheaper than expensive search engine optimization campaigns. In fact, leading web analyts like Avinash Kaushik firmly believe that in order to start optimizing your website, you need just 10% of your SEO budget. Because of that, website optimization often gets you a way better ROI than search engine optimization (this great book discusses this principle too).

4: There are way fewer people who can consider themselves website optimizers than search engine optimizers. I like to consider myself as one of the few, along with people like Bryan Eisenberg and Chris Goward.

5: Website optimization affects your visitor when they arrive on your website and how they convert for your goals. Search engine optimzation has an effect on the visitor before they get to your website.

6: There are way less website optimization cowboys out there! There are still way too many search marketing firms who just take your money and don’t do much (apart from great firms like ClientSide and evisibility).

7: Once you optimize your website, you should THEN, and only THEN engage in search engine optimziation with a reputable history of results. Not the other way around – if you do, you will be wasting your money because of reason #1 above.

And for those of you that are still unclear, here is a definition of the two:

Website Optimization: The art of creating and continuously improving websites to optimize the visitor experience and conversion rates, resulting in high visitor satisfaction and high repeat visit rates. Source: Rich Page, Website Optimizer

Search Engine Optimization: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (or “organic”) search results. Source: Wikipedia 

But. Please note that I am not saying that you should ignore SEO completely – in fact, you should start to think of factors that influence SEO while doing website optimization (URL structure, page names, onsite inter-linking and keyword usage). Any website that wants the best chance of succeeding in the long run should indeed engage in SEO, but just make sure you also optimize your website for things like conversion rates before heavily focusing on it. Bottom line, just know the difference!

I hope that helps clears up the differences finally! And don’t forget, I am now offering free website improvement reviews via twitter to help you get started improving your website!