SEO (Search Engine Optimization), once the domain of specialists, has now become a mainstream marketing activity. SEO can have a dramatic effect on the traffic that you draw to your website; the perceived quality, relevance, and trustworthiness of your brand; and the amount of revenue that you can generate through your website. Like any other marketing activity, it is important to set specific goals and objectives – and if the goal is not measurable, it is not useful.
A typical website will generate anywhere from 33% – 50% or more of its traffic from search engines. In our last post, we examined the importance of attaining a high ranking in search engines for the keywords that will drive quality prospects to your website.
Setting goals and objectives for your SEO strategy is the first step in determining the keywords on which you want to build the content of your website. Content is king in attaining high rankings. Your site content is the major source of information that search engines use to determine what your site is about. For example, if someone is searching for furniture, and you don’t have any information on your site about furniture, chances are you won’t rank very high, if at all, for searches containing that keyword.
You may have great blog posts, a unique photo gallery, and useful “how to” information on your website. However, if 20 other sites have similar content, and have been ranked in the search engines for a much longer period of time, it will be hard to displace them from the rankings.
To establish yourself as a leader, you must bring something new and different to the market. How can you do this? Perhaps you can focus on a specific vertical niche. For example, instead of furniture, you focus on contemporary furniture. Or perhaps you can offer a new type of content – be the first to offer videos in your market.
What kinds of objectives do you need to set in your SEO plan? Here are several factors to consider when developing your objectives:
- Revenue/Business Model
Determine the main purpose of your site – to sell products, sell advertising, or obtain leads. Different keywords will typically be used for each type of search.
- Target Customers
Define the audience that you are trying to reach. For example, it could be a specific income level, geographic area, or decorating style.
The competitive landscape is a major consideration in determining your SEO goals. Depending on your competitor’s product line and SEO strategy, you may have to make adjustments. If you are the market leader, you may want to fend off certain competitors. On the other hand, if the competition is firmly entrenched, you may want to focus on another segment of the market.
- Branding Goals
There may be certain terms that are closely related to your brand that you want to dominate in the search rankings.
- How Your Potential Customers Search for Your Products
It is important to understand which search terms your prospects use to find the products or services that you supply. This involves mapping the actual search queries that your target customers use when they employ a search engine to find what they are looking for.
Once you complete your objectives, you are ready to do the research necessary to determine the keywords you want to target, the subject of our next post.