SEO: A Strategy for the Long Haul
Much is often made of a website’s ability to rank highly on Google, and building up to those elusive first page positions is probably a task high on many marketers to-do lists. But what is the real takeaway? How does ranking on Google make money for your business? It’s easy to break it down to the simple process of: pick a keyword; rank for that keyword; sell products. But looking at it that way is a bit of an oversimplification, and good SEO is a strategy for the long haul, not short term results. As you approach your SEO strategy, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Traffic > Rankings
This is not to say that you should underestimate the power of ranking highly in search, but the thing that will sell products for you is traffic, not rankings. If your organic search traffic has been increasing over time, your SEO strategy is probably a sound one. More people on your site means more chances to convert, which means more products sold. You can rank number 1 for as many keywords as you want, but if those keywords don’t generate enough search traffic, you won’t see tangible results.
It can be easy to get a ton of traffic to your website for low-hanging fruit topics, but if the content you’re ranking for is irrelevant to your business offering, people aren’t going to stick around for long. Monitoring the quality of your organic traffic is just as important as measuring the quantity. When people get to your site, are they staying for more than a minute or two, or are they bailing out after 20 seconds? How many pageviews per visit are you seeing? Are visitors converting? These metrics may not seem directly related to SEO, but they are. Good SEO focuses on a lot more than just ranking in searches.
Research, Research, Research
SEO changes all the time. Google releases major algorithm updates that can affect your whole search strategy every few weeks or so, and getting behind on these can really hurt your performance. Part of the long-term nature of SEO is constantly learning new things and staying up to date with the changes. If you’re seeing loss of organic traffic on your site, it might be because you missed a major update and haven’t accounted for it in your strategy yet. Or perhaps your competitors all changed their strategy and are now pushing you out of key rankings. Spending enough time on research and competitive analysis is key to SEO success, and even though it can be tedious, you need to include it in your plan.
These are some pretty general tips, but very important to keep in mind for marketing managers. Next time you check up on your SEO progress, make sure you’re getting enough good, healthy traffic to keep the leads flowing in, and if you’re not, it might be time to have a look at your strategy.