SEO is often like a misunderstood child. It comprises many areas, hence expectations are high. This article seeks to clarify how you can make use of search engine optimisation. We tell you what you should pay attention to when it comes to search engine optimisation in order to achieve your business goals.
SEO can help you achieve your business goals
Let’s make something clear:
organic traffic and SEO are not business goals.
Neither the fantasy that the perfect keyword will make your website rank at the top of search results.
However, it is a business goal to increase profitability by growing sales or the cart value, or to spend less on advertising or customer service. To reach these objectives, certain elements of marketing can come in handy.
To achieve your business goals, you must set marketing goals.
Such goals may include:
- increasing your top-of-the-funnel traffic (that is, getting new customers)
- increasing the number of hot leads
- making the brand better known
- improving the conversion rate (e.g. with shopping cart retargeting)
Once you have marketing goals, you can have SEO as a tactical force, but you should know what it can and cannot be used for.
How does SEO help?
In the pool of marketing tools, SEO has its place. Similarly to other tools, there are times when it is applicable, while at other times it might not be as relevant . You must keep this in mind because if you deploy it in a scenario where it cannot prevail, then you will not obtain the intended outcome and you will be disappointed and annoyed. However, do it right and it is going to provide an effective and long-term help.
Let’s take stock of what SEO can do for you:
- increase organic traffic
- increase e-commerce and lead generation revenues
- branding and reputation management
- lifting the load off customer service
Focusing on increasing organic traffic
Upon hearing the expression ‘search engine optimisation’, everybody thinks that having the right keywords mean that their website will be the first to appear in Google, thus generating organic traffic.
This is indeed a great strategic goal for certain business models. Let’s say, for example, that you do not aim for significant conversion (e.g. purchases or subscriptions) and you would like to monetise your website without it: you can show the visitors ads via banners. In this case, the objective is maxing out the number of visitors.
However, you must pay attention not to use fake news or click-bait. You shouldn’t sacrifice your long-term results for short-term profit, because it may cast a shadow on the reputation of the brand.
Prepare properly and create quality content which meets the expectations of your target group, and in return you will get long-term commitment and good results.
If you take a look at the number of visitors at certain websites:
It is an important milestone, usually with regard to the steps preceding purchases. Just consider that if a lead has a question about your product, they most likely start off with a Google search.
Not only is Google the most visited website in most countries (including Hungary), users also put a lot of trust in the search results. This potential is worth taking advantage of.
Increasing e-commerce and lead generation revenues
While increasing organic traffic mindlessly may sound great for most business owners, as ‘according to the law of large numbers, more visitors equal more customers’, it is not quite so. When it comes to online sales, it is the actual number of conversions that counts. More than the traffic you are able to draw to the site. If you collect registrations, subscriptions and leads you must increase the number of quality leads.
One of my favourite examples is a food supplement company: a former SEO specialist of theirs brought a blog content up to the first place with keywords like ‘psyllium husk’, generating more than 2,500 organic visitors. The only thing is that neither do they sell such a product in their webshop, nor have any content related to it, hence the attrition rate is well above 90% without any interaction.
When using SEO, you can increase the number of visitors with probably good conversion rates. We create content for people who are interested in our product or service, to begin with.
While the macro conversion goal of e-commerce websites is purchasing, lead generation sites aim to collect quality visitors and to arouse their interest in the product enough so they interact (e.g. subscribe to the newsletter or fill out a form).
We can lay the ground for this with a conscious keyword research focusing on transactional keywords.
When it comes to lead generation or e-commerce websites, it is important to note that
SEO and CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) go hand in hand.
What’s the use in driving more visitors or even hot leads to a website, if they drop out due to its impracticality?
Branding and reputation management
It is much more difficult to build trust with clients for a new brand than it is to maintain that trust for older brands. Consumers are more keen to interact with well-known brands than new ones. Consequently, the question of trust may impact sales tremendously.
However, building authenticity is of vital importance for users and Google alike. A strong brand should be used well to establish a presence within the organic search results as well. It is a priority, or rathera matter of hygiene, really, that a website provides adequate information to search engines on the keywords containing the brand name, but it is worth paying attention to industry-specific keywords as well. What’s more, brand awareness helps achieving better ranking when it comes to more competitive keywords.
When conducting an online search for a brand or a person, the order of appearance in a search engine may prove critical. If the top results are all negative, then we lose the trust of potential clients before we could even start convincing them of anything. Thus, reputation management should be on the top of our to do list.
We, of course, want all 10 Google search results to be ours when we search for a brand, a product or the name of the business owners. Therefore it is important, beyond the website, to make use of other tools as well, including:
- Google My Business (if you have a physical place of business)
- social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn)
- other sites, e.g. Reddit or Github
This area requires constant attention, and it should not be used only in times of crisis. When things turn for the worse, it’s much more difficult to fix your reputation.
Lifting the load off customer service
Clients not only search in Google, but if uncertain, they ask questions as well.
If you wish to max out client satisfaction, then you should support them when they have questions, even after they receive their product. Every interaction increases brand awareness and it may lead to more satisfied customers, which can pay off in the form of recommendations or recurring purchases.
However, you can relieve customer support (phone, email or chat) of load if you create fitting content based on previously asked questions. You should consider answering often recurring questions on the website, for example by making an FAQ section. This way, you may reduce the number of people calling in because they can find the answers on their own. As a result, you can expect fewer complaints about the usually overburdened call centre staff.
In addition, don’t forget to check the questions sent via the Google My Business account and social media platforms. If somebody asks questions in public, you can satisfy the curiosity of more people at once, while unanswered questions make a bad impression on potential customers.
The limits of SEO
What should we not expect from search engine optimisation? We will discuss:
- increasing search volume
- branding via organic search results
- significant results and returns with short campaigns
Increasing Search Volume
SEO can help harness the existing potential for search volume and identify search intent, but it does not increase the number of searches.
With that in mind, even if you reach the top of the search results with the perfect keywords, organic traffic won’t keep increasing after a point because other factors influence search volume.
Branding via Organic Search Results
Organic search results can complement brand image, but they have a limited capacity to impact it on their own.
Brand name will influence the click for non-branded expressions that appear on SERPs (Search Engine Result Page) because it enforces a stronger association in a given topic.
Once the user is on the page, the loaded content is what enforces your brand’s authority, but this is not directly related to SEO.
Significant Results and Returns With Short Campaigns
In many respects, SEO can bring impressive results quickly. You can improve the page loading speed and get rid of 404 (error) pages that appear in search results. Or you might fix an issue that would make previously invisible pages indexable.
The growth of organic traffic and the rapid return on investment, however, which are expected by most in the competitive market, usually take longer to be achieved. To get immediate results, you should consider other tools such as Google Ads.
Search engine optimisation usually delivers results in the short-term already, but it’s better to think of them in the long haul.
Be it a smaller content change or any activity related to enhancing user experience or building credibility, potential modifications will bear fruits in the months to come.
In most cases, search engine optimisation brings middle- or long-term return on investments, which fits splendidly into most digital marketing strategies, so it does contribute to realising the business goals.
Before deciding whether you pay for an SEO service or take on search engine optimisation into your own hands, consider your goals and don’t rush your decision based on impressions.
Your competition may be committed to this idea, but it does not mean that you should as well. However, if it makes sense for your strategy, go for it!
In our next article, we are going to explore how to elaborate an SEO strategy.
Mito is a full-service agency with a passion for clever things. The Performance division is specialised in improving digital performance and increasing sales with performance media, SEO, CRO and analytics solutions.
We are proud to have companies like Decathlon, Wizz Air, Cetelem Bank, Office Shoes and Tungsram among our strategic partners.