[This guest post is provided by Dominick Frasso of Vistage International.]Search Engine Optimization is one of those things that any company with a web presence needs to devote resources to. Without a comprehensive SEO strategy, however, you may not get the intended results.
But driving traffic to your website isn’t enough. If you’re not bringing in customers or potential customers, your SEO efforts really are in vain.
Good traffic is exponentially more important than traffic alone. To get good traffic, you need to have the right SEO priorities.
Let’s take a look at the process of defining SEO priorities for your company:
1. Start with some serious analytics
Before you can develop an overall strategy and even define your priorities, you need to know what you’re working with. Google Analytics is a good first step in looking at how traffic is getting to your company’s website, where it’s coming from, and where it’s landing in particular.
You also need to get a feel for what people are doing while they’re on your website, how long they’re staying, where they tend to navigate, and other related concerns. Ideally, you’ll have two to three months’ worth of analytical data to work from. If you’re launching your business’ website from the ground up, of course, this kind of data won’t yet be available.
2. Include a discussion of your company’s core mission, objective, target market, and key products
All of these factors will play heavily into the SEO decisions you make for your company. Everything from keywords to PPC campaigns to where you choose to place guest posts should take into account who you’re trying to reach and what message you’re trying to present. SEO must be informed by your company’s nature and overall marketing priorities, otherwise its results will have less meaning (and result in fewer conversions).
3. Know what it is you want visitors to your site to do
Some company websites are more about thought leadership or brand awareness; others are about making sales. The kinds of traffic you generate to one type of site is vastly different than the traffic you want to generate to the other. Spend some time identifying and discussing your website’s purpose so you can make informed decisions about targeting traffic to the site.
4. Choose your keywords carefully and regularly evaluate their effectiveness
Your keyword choice impacts how much competition you’re going to have in regard to SEO, as well as the type of traffic it’s going to generate.
Effective SEO must approach the issue of keyword analysis early on in the process so you know you’re competing for terms appropriate for your type of business.
5. Approach your SEO activities from multiple angles
It’s not enough just to have quality content that hits well on your keywords. That’s a start, to be sure. You also need quality inbound links, on-page SEO elements, social media, and more. Your SEO strategy must be comprehensive. Leave off one area and you could severely cripple your overall efforts.
6. Remember that content is king
While it is indeed important to devote resources to SEO activities not directly related to the content, remember this: content is still king. Google is getting much better about making sure that only useful and relevant content makes it to the top of the search engine results. Your content strategy must be a subset, then, of your overall SEO strategy.
7. Create measurable goals and metrics for tracking them
The ROI of your SEO activities can vary greatly. A successful SEO program will set out to achieve certain measurable objectives, such as a certain number of clicks, a certain number of conversions, longer time on page, etc. Identify which areas are most essential to your web site model and create goals that can be measured accordingly.
8. Consider Google’s Page Rank formula but don’t let it dictate all of your decisions
It’s important to know how search engines work and how they make their decisions about which results to display. However, these formulae change on a regular basis. Google’s Panda update of last year, for example, sent many website reeling because they’d based their SEO strategy almost entirely on formula that had existed for years prior. Your key priority should be to listen to what Google says matters first (i.e. good content), and only then add on formula-related tactics.
The long-term success of your small business’ website depends, to a large degree, on how well your SEO priorities are defined. Start with these principles to build the strategy that works best for your business.
About the Author:
Dominick Frasso is SEO/SEM Specialist at Vistage International. Vistage executive coaching groups help CEOs build successful companies. This membership-based organization provides high-level executive development programs as well as coaching groups for businesses.