This guest post is from Matthew Sullivan of Inbound Strategy. We hope you find it informative and useful.
It’s funny how important Google has become to digital life. Their recent release of Penguin was covered by most news channels and had many businesses on edge about whether or not they would be effected by the changes.
Suddenly the terms “SEO”, “white hat”, and “black hat” were part of the vernacular of marketers around the country. Search-engine optimization has gone mainstream. But like so many good things, if you don’t jump on the band wagon until it’s mainstream, you’re already behind the times. In the words of a hipster: “I liked SEO before it was cool.”
For those of you who still don’t know exactly what SEO is, here’s a quick breakdown: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art/science of web development and content creation to help your web pages rank better for relevant search terms. In other words, if you sell Purple Widgets, SEO is supposed to tell Google that you should be a result if someone looks for “Purple Widgets”.
But, the concept of using SEO has always been to get more visitors and potential customers to your site. Many SEO agencies or salespeople will talk about creating an increase in traffic to your site or even, heaven forbid, guaranteeing that you’ll “rank first”. These are not the success metrics that people should be worried about – instead, smart marketers need to focus on conversions.
With SEO, it’s easy to go after non-competitive search terms as a way to increase traffic. Using the Purple Widgets example, one could start targeting “Large Purple Widgets”, “Lavender Widgets”, “Purple Colored Widgets” for optimization. Individually, each term may not generate a lot of new traffic, but collectively there would be a good traffic bump. But what happens if your SEO expert starts optimizing your site for “red widgets” or “cheap widgets”? Is that traffic helpful to you?
In the end, marketers want the traffic that will convert into leads & sales. If the Purple Widget site currently gets 1,000 unique visitors per month, which yields 100 leads (10% conversion), it’s far more valuable to get a modest bump in traffic that produces more leads than to have a dramatic lift in traffic at the same conversion rate. If our Purple Widget sees a lift in traffic to 2,000 unique visitors, but keeps the same conversion rate of 10%, there will be 200 new leads that month. But, if there is a focus on increasing conversion rates to something like 15%, an increase of traffic to 1,400 unique visitors will produce 210 leads.
Ultimately, SEO is still important; if you’re customer can’t find you, they can’t buy from you. However, there needs to be a focus on the next step of the sales process once someone gets to your site. Calls-to-action, landing pages, and conversion opportunities need to entice your visitors enough to make the effort.
So, don’t go running to the SEO consultant that can promise more traffic. Instead, hire the inbound marketing expert that will get you more leads.
Photo credit to iStock