We’ve talked before about how SEO can go wrong. Sometimes it’s a matter of using practices that no longer apply to how search engines work. Sometimes it’s a matter of using the wrong keywords for your niche. In other cases, its flaws in the details, like broken links, missing tags, and not using multimedia to your advantage. Many of these issues are easy to fix, like a flat tire when you are driving to a destination. Having a fully functioning vehicle is one thing though – having a destination and a roadmap to get there is another.
When it comes to SEO, you can do all the right things, like using the keywords and integrating multimedia, but doing this without a goal in mind means that you may never see the results that you want. There’s a lot of planning that goes into an SEO strategy, but the most important thing about it is where you start: what your SEO goals are.
What Is a Bad SEO Goal?
A solid SEO goal is a concrete item with a tangible way to be measured, however, many SEO novices or businesspeople looking to implement SEO just have the idea that they need to get more traffic and this is what they tell their staff or consultants to work towards. Getting traffic isn’t bad, but making that your sole goal is. Here’s why:
- Traffic Alone Won’t Save Your Business
You want to have customers in front of you, yes, but you can’t run your business off “window shoppers.” You need to make sure you can convert that traffic into sales. This means making sure that, along with your SEO efforts, you have calls to action that can play off the added interest you generate. Using your metrics, you can create a well-defined goal that targets your ideal conversion rate, rather than hovering at the surface level and not digging deep into what specific outcomes you want from implementing your SEO strategy.
- You Don’t Always Know Where That Traffic Is From
Every company has an ideal customer. They target this customer both because they think their product will have the most positive effect on them and because they think they will be most likely to buy it. However, the moment you prioritize raw traffic, you start going for more general groups when you should be thinking niche. For example, if you are offering a product for new mothers, you are already looking at a smaller slice of the market. If your keywords aren’t getting traffic from these mothers or their families, it’s wasted energy.
For these reasons, when you look at the traffic that comes to your website, look for stats on conversions, downloads, or whatever metrics you use. If the growth of one doesn’t correlate with the other, you may have a problem. When you miss the mark on getting traffic from the right sources, you’ll see a higher bounce rate and few conversions to sales. Focus your efforts on appealing to the demographic in your niche area instead of trying to appeal to everyone on the internet. Picking your core group and focusing all your SEO efforts with those customers in mind will garner greater, and more concrete results than simply generating a large quantity of low-quality traffic.
Other things you don’t want to get hung up on include specific ranks or trying to target broad keywords. In the case of rank, the #1 websites generally got where they are a long period of time and being a massive success. Most businesses will never get to that level, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is trying to make a goal that is unreasonable. Some companies, in an attempt to hit this level quickly, adopt poor practices that backfire. Yes, you want traffic and rank, but more importantly you want customers/followers/users – people who are going to contribute to your bottom line.
Anatomy of a Good SEO Goal
When it comes to putting together your SEO goals, you want to try and narrow things down. Rather than focusing solely on the volume of your traffic, think of the ways that that added traffic could help your business most. That is where your goal should be. It’s important to note that each of these different goals has unique metrics that determine whether you are meeting them. Having a well-defined strategy now means that you only should invest in the tools that are relevant to your SEO strategy, not picking all of them and seeing what sticks. Here are some common examples of where you could focus your efforts:
- Purchases: For many businesses, especially e-commerce, getting customers to buy is the obvious goal. If you plan on building your SEO strategy to lead to direct online purchases, you are going to want to adapt accordingly. For e-commerce businesses, you are going to want to hone in on a keyword strategy that focuses on people at the end of their buying cycle. These customers may be concerned about how quick you can ship, where you ship to, and reviews of your product. Be sure to plan accordingly. Here, the metrics for success are obvious. How many people are buying through the site? How does this compare to the number of people who visit your sales pages?
- Lead Generation: In other cases, your purchase won’t directly happen from the website, but you still want to prepare for a potential sale or target a potential customer down the line. Here, your main goal is going to be getting that customer involved in a potential lead generation concept. This can range from an email list to an e-newsletter, or even a contact submission form. Keep track of these numbers and compare them to your traffic to see how well your SEO is performing.
- Engagement/Education: In some cases, the purpose of your website is more about showing off your product or service rather than directly selling it. The tourism industry is a good example of this. Here, the main metrics to see whether you are hitting your goals are going to be reading times/downloads on your relevant articles, along with bounce rates on your key pages. Keep an eye on what people on social media is telling you as well, and use that as a gauge for your site’s success – look at your followers, who they are, and what they’re saying about your business.
Set yourself up for SEO success with these goal-setting concepts and other expert advice during an SEO consultation with Paul. Get in touch to get started with mastering SEO for your business. He can perform an SEO site audit help you appraise your current website’s SEO to help you figure out where your areas of strength are and where you have room to improve.
He can also help you determine what SEO goals best fit your business, then implement a keyword strategy that will put you on the course to the results that you seek – not just more traffic, but better quality traffic that leads to real results for your business.