Choosing good SEO goals is a critical first step in your digital marketing campaign. As with any long-term endeavor, knowing your marketing end goals and working directly toward them saves time, money, and stress.
Good SEO cannot be done in a vacuum. It depends on business goals, the needs of the sales and customer support team, and intimate knowledge of the competitive landscape in which you work. Engage the critical stakeholders in each area of your business and work together to come up with a list of needs. You may be surprised at how SEO can help each team meet its objectives.
It’s important to choose the right goals before implementing any SEO strategy and get continual buy-in from your team. Combine and categorize ideas to find the ones that digital marketing is well suited for. If possible, pick some “easy” objectives and start stacking up quick wins with your team. This buys you time for longer-term strategies that SEO is suited for.
If you’re struggling to get buy-in from team members, or they don’t have enough knowledge to understand how SEO can help their department, it may help to bring some ideas into the conversation to get the creative juices flowing.
Let’s look at seven different SEO Goals and how they can impact your business.
SEO Objective #1: Lead Generation and Direct Marketing
Build customers and revenue, one form-pop at a time.
If you are a lead-driven business, it’s likely that your customers require at least one personal contact from your company before they buy. You may have a higher-than-average purchase price, or your solution involves customization. The key to a thriving lead generation SEO campaign is the conversion rate.
CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) is almost always the best place to start when you are looking for more leads from your website. It’s easier to make direct changes that can dramatically increase your lead flow.
Implement A/B testing to try different approaches that make it easier for your customers to convert. Here are several ways to make an impact right away:
- Shorten your forms. Do you really need 2 different phone numbers and a full mailing address on the very first customer interaction?
- Inform your visitor precisely what will happen when they submit the form.
- Don’t use the word “Submit” on your form buttons (Who wants to submit, anyway? It sounds painful.)
Once your on-page conversion rate is at least 5% (or higher—hopefully much higher), you can turn your attention to increasing targeted traffic. This can be accomplished by creating excellent customer-focused content and don’t be afraid to ask for the conversion. Consider offering a valuable freebie for newsletter signups and then market to your newsletter to create demand.
Capturing their information is only the first step. Make sure you use a good marketing automation tool and CRM to keep in touch with your customers.
SEO Objective #2: Increase Raw Traffic to Your Website
Traffic for traffic’s sake.
This is just what it sounds like. Get as many click-throughs to your content and try to keep them on your site as long as possible. You want to use this objective when you can monetize traffic without actions or financial transactions. If for example, your site is sponsored or ad-driven, this is an excellent place to start.
Concentrate your efforts on great content and conduct keyword research to find topics that are of high interest to your target audience. And make sure to use those keywords in your content.
Use Google Answers to find questions that people ask and then write a series of blog posts to answer them. This will earn traffic on long-tail Google queries. Make sure your articles are easy to share and optimized for viral spreading by employing share buttons.
However, be cautious about using clickbait or fake news to drive adrenal-based clicking. People are becoming savvy to this kind of egregious traffic generation, and you could set yourself up to tarnish your brand for a short-term gain. Focus instead on helpful, interesting, or timely content that truly provides value to your target audience. Provide follow-up content and give them a reason to stay. Bounce rate is an important SEO ranking factor so do what you can to increase the time that visitors spend on your site.
SEO Objective #3: Increase E-commerce Sales
Focus on driving relevant traffic to your online store and boost transactional sales.
About 10% of the retail sales in the USA comes from e-commerce. Only about half of that is Amazon, which means there are millions of other websites competing with you for your customers’ clicks and purchases. Leveraging SEO can create long-term, competitive advantages for any business in this hyper-competitive space.
When you have transactional products and/or services for sale on your site, do not overlook the funnel in your keyword strategy. Generally speaking, this means the more precisely a visitor is searching for a product, the closer they are to making a purchase.
- Industry words (“vacuum”) are top-of-the-funnel. They require a lot of information, are looking broadly for a solution, and may not even be looking for the product that you offer.
- Generic product names (“vacuum cleaner”) can be considered top or mid-funnel. They know they need a solution but don’t necessarily know what. Provide comparative information, and show your product in many different scenarios.
- Longer tail generic phrases (“robot vacuum” or “automatic robot vacuum cleaner”) could be considered mid to low in the funnel. They know what they want and are looking to compare similar products to help them make a decision.
- Branded searches usually are considered lowest in the funnel, especially when combined with buy words (“buy roomba vacuum” or “discount roomba vacuum”).
- Specific part numbers can be a good indicator that someone is looking to buy right this minute. Maybe its a replacement or refillable part, or that they know exactly what they want. You will find the more specific the keyword, product name, or even part number, the more likely your visitors will purchase. Optimize content for the problems that your product solves; create very focused content that builds confidence and leads your customer through the purchase.
Once you’ve identified your audience and keywords, focus on making the transaction as easy as possible with conversion rate optimization (CRO). The objective of CRO is to increase average conversion value. A good way to test the efficacy and potential ROI of keywords and phrases is to conduct a pay-per-click campaign to discover if they are providing traffic and conversions.
SEO Objective #4: Branding
Increase customer awareness and lower resistance to future transactions.
Branding is often overlooked but is a mission-critical part of an ongoing marketing campaign.
If you’re just starting to build your brand with your target market, branding eases future conversations by creating space for you in your customer’s mind. It’s easier to engage with a known company than a new entity you only recently found.
For established brands, ongoing branding protects your domain and builds trust. Ranking well for industry terms around your business can create awareness of new solutions and gain a quick customer while lesser brands struggle. Leverage your brand by making your presence known in keyword searches that involve competitive words and products. Make sure you are part of every conversation.
SEO gets consumers participating and interacting with your brand. Your keyword focus becomes straightforward as you will be targeting your company and product name so you will achieve more with less intensive effort. Make sure your site is accessible with good link structure and focus on links from high-quality sources that legitimize your brand. These high-quality links are valuable to Google as an indicator of the importance of your website.
SEO Objective #5: Reputation Management
Protect your brand.
We get it. Everybody makes mistakes. In the Internet era, every mistake is magnified and can stick around hurting your brand for months or years.
When you are trying to protect your brand from having a negative reputation or change an existing negative image, SEO can be a huge help in achieving this perspective shift.
First, own your brand name in all its forms. You want to have 10 out of 10 branded search results in Google in your control. This involves optimizing pages on many different domains so you can “own” complete pages of search results. Create presences on Facebook, Linkedin, Github, Reddit, Twitter, etc. and run branded SEO campaigns on those pages. When you own the top 10, don’t relax. Keep steady pressure with additional unique content and links relevant to your brand.
Then, focus on keywords that are highly relevant to your brand. It could be your legal business name, personal name, brand name or a popular variant. Use public relations, press releases, social media profiles, links from networks of sites you may own or control.
Do not underestimate the power of a personal response from the founder or CEO to an online complaint. However, if you aren’t experienced or comfortable doing this, consider using outside professionals, because responses must be carefully crafted. Quick, unconsidered comments can be seen as flippant, out-of-touch, uncaring, or worse: defensive and angry. However, an appropriate word can diffuse a situation and actually increase customer loyalty in the long run.
Even if you don’t have a negative situation, consider starting now to protect your brand. Reputation management is one of the most challenging SEO practices when done in an emergency. Plan ahead, build your reputation, and be ready when an emergency does happen.
SEO Objective #6: Customer Service
Your customers are asking questions on Google. Make sure the answers come from you.
If you want long-term relationships with your customers, be there when they need you. That means anticipating their needs after the sale and providing answers to questions that they have at each stage of the ownership cycle of your product. Each interaction is an opportunity to reinforce your brand in their mind, control negative impressions, and build a relationship that will last.
Find content ideas by mining your customer service logs, online support requests, or looking at other companies in your industry. Answer questions with a blog post, video, or instructional document and then link to it from relevant places on your website. That’s just the beginning.
Another tactic for acquiring new customers is to create content that answers questions about competitor’s products! Help them without reservation, and gently guide them to your solution.
SEO Objective #7: Target a Specific Person or Company
Reach out and touch someone.
One last SEO objective to consider is the Internet’s unique ability to target specific individuals with your content. Say that a salesperson has been trying to break into a company with your product. But, try as they might, they can’t get past the gatekeepers for a phone call. Email isn’t working, and cold calling is a non-starter. Should you give up? Hardly.
There is an entire marketing sub-industry around the idea of marketing to the individual. It’s called Account Based Marketing (ABM). ABM is a strategic approach to business marketing in which an organization communicates with individual prospects or customer accounts as markets of one. Although it’s typically employed in enterprise level sales organizations, companies of any size can and do use these techniques to make key account acquisition easier.
The first step is to clearly identify the exact people you need to market to. The list is usually relatively short, 25-100 people. You can then combine SEO practices—like buying their name on Google Adwords or Linkedin and running a simple ad which leads to a personalized landing page—with the best of ABM and create unique solutions to help you reach new customers.
This stuff isn’t easy. If it were, business wouldn’t need marketing professionals like yourself to figure out these objectives and implement them. There is no cookie cutter approach to marketing. Every company has different customers, products, and competitive pressures, so be careful when applying these objectives to your situation. Nothing can replace genuine conversations and openness.
And these are just some of the top objectives of SEO. Here are several secondary objectives that I’ve seen over the years:
- Increase the number of product pages in Google SERPs
- Reduce leads from low-budget customers
- Reduce customer service calls
- Apple/Android App Store SEO
- Amazon product listing SEO
- Educate the consumer
- Measure coupon use
- Event-specific SEO
- Drive retail sales
- Reduce returns
Whether your objectives are on this list or not, Volacci stands ready to help you create the best possible online presence for your business. If you’d like a quick leg-up on your Drupal SEO, take a look at our SEO Quick Start Plans and give us a call us today. Whatever your objectives, Volacci can help.