Smart companies have learned how to capitalize on the effect that search engine optimization (SEO) can have on lead generation and ultimately, sales. Yet many companies fail to execute a successful SEO campaign. This article will help you to better understand SEO, and how to increase its
effectiveness. It covers the most common SEO point of failure—a disconnect between your website and your SEO campaign.
Since well-optimized websites typically generate anywhere from 200-800% more traffic than in their pre-optimized state, why is it that many companies do not see a direct increase in sales? The answer lies within the relationship of the website to the SEO campaign. Below the three most common areas of disconnect are examined.
This disconnect is primarily a function of poor SEO planning. One of the
Disconnect #1: Attracting the wrong prospects.
most critical phases of a successful SEO campaign is the selection of keywords. Many companies fail to place much emphasis on this step; however, successful keyword selection requires planning, research and refinement.
Sometimes it is difficult for business owners to think like a customer and to select keywords from a customer’s point of view. This often results in keywords that aren’t applicable to the target market. The end result of selecting poor keywords is that the SEO campaign will drive the wrong prospects to the website. Any planning that was made to ensure the website speaks to the right prospects will be wasted, and conversion rates will be extremely low or, at worst, nonexistent.
One potential indicator that the wrong prospects are being targeted is a high home page bounce rate (the percentage of visitors that leave the homepage without visiting any subsequent pages), or an extremely low page view count coupled with high internal page abandonment. These are all metrics that can be found within your website traffic reports.
Disconnect #2: Failure to meet customer expectations.If the correct keywords are used and are generating the right prospects to the website, the next challenge is to properly meet prospect expectations. Every search is made with a particular need in mind. The prospect expects that, after reaching the website, their need will be addressed. Most often the prospect need is satisfied by the consumption of information that directly addresses that need. This presents an opportunity for the website to positively position the company as an expert, and to capture the attention of the prospect. If this is successful, the opportunity for conversion exists.
Three components help to ensure customer expectations are met. First is associating landing pages with specific keywords so that when a prospect executes a search, the page he lands on deals directly with the topic of his search. This pairing should be part of the SEO planning process.
Second, the content available to the prospect must be quality information that not only addresses the prospect’s needs, but reinforces the company’s expertise. Content must be applicable and well architected, structured to draw in the visitor, then to lead the visitor along a path toward conversion. Again, content planning is a critical part of SEO planning.
Third, the information architecture must provide a structure that allows the prospect to become immersed in information related to his needs. A website’s information architecture contributes to the “stickiness” of the website and will help to keep prospects engaged. A well-planned architecture will ensure quick presentation of critical marketing messages and content, then will lead the customer to additional immersive content, which may include more detailed content on subsequent pages, customer case studies, professional bios, and so forth.
The information architecture should be planned during the preliminary SEO planning stages and should be reviewed throughout the campaign to ensure it is optimally performing.
Disconnect #3: Lack of appropriate calls to action
Once the prospect has found the website and becomes engaged, the website must lead the customer to take action. Any action that a prospect takes on a website that provides the company with more information regarding the prospect can be considered a conversion.
Conversion may take many forms. A conversion could be a product purchase, a webinar registration, a white paper download (in exchange for customer data), or a simple follow up request. Phone calls are great conversions as well, but may be more difficult to measure and attribute directly to the website. The internet is playing a significant role in every market and industry. If you are savvy, you are using it to meet business goals and increase sales. It is never too late to begin leveraging your website and SEO for the benefit of your business.
Principal, Blue Archer