What is SEO Success?
A well-executed SEO strategy requires crafting and generating valuable content, promoting that content, and finding ways for trusted resources to link to that content. Organic results are not instant. It takes time to to watch them mature and get the rankings they deserve. This process is an ongoing experience that needs nurturing. Proper SEO is about influencing buyer behavior not just optimizing the html. Here is a list of some that I consider the most important:
Site Structure. There is nothing more confusing to the web visitor than a confusing site structure. So many sites today have to much activity, to many call to actions, graphics and colors just to impress. This confuses the web visitor and they click out. Navigation must be clean and exacting. Too many sites leave the web user wondering “if I click here what will I find” or worse they can’t find what they think is the next click to get what they need. Site structure must be intuitive for the end user not the web owner. I see this mistake all the time.
Purchase Influencing. Quality content that is generated is positively influencing buyer behavior. Whether or not the content is found via a search engine (at the beginning), the content is still pushing website visitors closer to being buyers. By “content”, I don’t just mean written text (which is of course valuable) – great content will take many forms, including video, images, graphical depictions (including info-graphics), webinars, contests & promotions, local search assets (e.g. Google Places, Yahoo Business, Bing Local), and many other forms of great, creative, and convincing content.
Usability. Great SEO is what it takes to be #1 on the search engines. But great SEO without great usability means you can be number one and have traffic that fails to convert. Usability is about the user experience once he lands on your site. You got the traffic here and now how do you keep it here? What does you site say to the end user in that split second they make the decision to stay or leave. If the immediately leave this is called Bounce. What content creates instant trust making them want to stay and see more? What are your marketing promises that are instantly recognizable in that first split second? Is their next click instantly recognizable? Is your content accessible and easy to understand from the end users perspective?
Creating A Voice. In order to promote the content, you need a voice. That voice is a combination of social media engagement, press releases, mailing lists, industry groups, direct mail, and traditional link building. These traffic channels, and communication processes, will be there even when Google changes the search game on us all again. People will be finding you not just via search, but through good-old-fashioned communication. This is a part of the groundwork to improve SEO results.
Awareness. Visits from long-tail keywords, even if not the best-converting keywords, are building brand awareness, and planting the seed that your site is there for them to come back to. You may see this traffic come back to you in future visits in your analytics as “Direct/Bookmark” or search queries for your brand name. But, it was the initial visit, for a very specific phrase that even gave you the opportunity for that second visit.
Competitive Keywords Will Come To You. Your quest for ranking for the best-converting, and more competitive, keywords will provide results. Without making the investment in organic search, your competitors will keep taking your customers away from you.
Pay Per Click Campaign for Brand and Product Awareness. In educating the web presence in a new niche market offering it is important to utilize the instant recognition in a very specific Brand and Product keyword campaign that will drive highly qualified end users to your site.
As your organic search traffic, pay per click traffic and traffic from related sources flows in you begin to build brand and product identity/integrity. Now all your marketing efforts are pushing the traffic to your site and revenue to the bottom line. This is successful SEO and measureable within the ROI construct.