For most business owners and marketers, success in search engine optimization comes down to a simple equation: use more keywords and get more links, then watch as traffic flows to your website and new customers show up day after day. It’s a simple strategy, but a winning one… right?
In theory, that’s the way things should work. However, this narrow approach to SEO overlooks something important. Namely, that more search traffic doesn’t necessarily mean more sales. In fact, it could even mean fewer, if you are bringing the wrong visitors to your website or letting an over-emphasis on search optimization ruin your message.
To see why this is so important – and to make sure your website is as profitable and effective as it should be – we want to share a couple of “hidden” details that make or break search engine optimization campaigns…
#1: Keyword Research
Search engine optimization isn’t just about bringing visitors to your website, it’s about bringing the right ones to the right pages. Achieving that takes a little bit of research and forethought.
Although lots of marketers optimize their websites for the most-searched terms and phrases in their industry, these are often the poorest choices. For one thing, general search terms tend to be very non-specific; that is, they are being searched by people who don’t actually know what they are looking for. Those searchers typically want information more than actual products or services, meaning they aren’t likely to make a buying decision anytime soon.
At the same time, popular keywords tend to be very, very competitive. So, it could be many months before you see any progress or improvement in your search rankings. And even then, you might find yourself stuck behind a competitor who has been optimizing their website for years. Then, you’re faced with the choice of devoting even more resources to the task, or starting over again.
This isn’t meant to discourage you from using search engine optimization, just to help you be smart about the way you select keywords. The best ones are specific to your business and show some degree bit of buying intent. Often, these are longer search phrases which, ironically enough, have less competition. Find those, and you’ll find traffic, and buyers, much more quickly and reliably.
#2: Conversion Optimization
Another thing marketers tend to overlook is that bringing visitors to your website is only half the battle. For SEO to be profitable, you need them to take action.
If you want visitors to respond to your marketing messages, you need those messages to be coherent and compelling. That is often at odds with the old-school approach of burying your pages in keywords and search phrases. Optimizing for Google is important, but don’t go so far that you alienate people who end up on your pages.
At the same time, it’s crucial that you pay attention to features and benefits that matter most to your target audience. And that you continually refine the elements of your landing pages (like headlines, images, and call to action buttons) to ensure that you are converting as many possible visitors into customers.
The goal of search engine optimization isn’t to ring up big traffic stats, it’s to help your business grow. Far too many business owners and marketers lose sight of what really matters, and focus on the wrong keywords and landing page elements as a result. Always remember that two of the things that make or break your search engine optimization campaigns are easy to overlook, and avoid making those common mistakes.
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