SEO: Its not just about clicks!
Before beginning Search Engine Optimization, it is very useful to define your goals. It will be tempting to make more traffic or a number one ranking on Google your SEO Goal. Everyone wants to be number one on Google. That is only natural. More traffic to a web site is a real accomplishment. But a truly successful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign is about more than just traffic. After all, you can have thousands of people tromping through your web site, but if not one of them results in sale or a phone call, what does it matter?
A good SEO plan should help you think carefully about your web presence. What truly represents success to you? What exactly do you want the web user to do when on your site? Also, who is your target audience?
For example, you are a house painter based in the Boston area, and you are thinking about building a web presence. You want your company’s name, Joe Schmo House Painting, to appear when a searcher types in House Painting. But do you really? What if the web user lives in London? What if you have a pay per click campaign, and you just paid 5 cents for someone who lives thousands of miles away to click on your ad? What if this happens hundreds of times? That is money right out the window.
It is imperative to answer some key questions. Who is your target audience? How are you going to measure success – is it more traffic to your site or is it more sales? The more defined the answer to these questions, the clearer and more successful your SEO campaign can be. For Joe Schmo House Painting, a goal of “more phone calls to the 1-800 number that result in projects” is a better goal then more traffic to the website. But an even better goal would be “more phone calls to our 1-800 number that result in projects that utilize our specialty textured finishes”. The more specific you can be, the easier it will be to identify and target your audience.
If you are a non-profit, success may be a more intangible quality like more awareness of a particular problem. Maybe you are an animal rights activist, and you are concerned about puppy mills. You would like to educate the public about them. This may be one situation where more site traffic is a reasonable goal. However, even in this case, more hits to your website is probably just one aspect of your organization’s goals. Your off-line goal may be something like passing legislation to ban puppy mills in your state. Keeping your organization’s goals in mind can help inform your SEO decisions, even if you are a non-profit.
The more clearly defined your goals are for the SEO, the better the outcome will be.
About the Author: Mary Pierce is a SEO and Internet Marketing consultant. She particularly enjoys helping small companies find their niche on the world wide web. Articles and SEO information can be found on her web site www.thecybersecretary.com.