If you do SEO you know that clients have a blur, if not distorted vision of your activity, with means and goals exchanged or unclear. If you ask them “what is your goal?”, often answer is: “I want to be #1 on Google for [keyword XXX].”
But this, of course, can’t be a goal; it can be a mean (if [keyword XXX] is worthy to work on), while your SEO goal should always be a growth in terms of conversions (sales, subscriptions to newsletters, contacts or whatever you want), or traffic or a brand awareness. Being at the first spot for a certain keyword is not a goal. So, what’s the process to achieve your true goal? I try to illustrate a streamlined process to get from a keyword to your target.
1) I want to be first for [keyword XXX].
Bad idea. Assume that the [keyword XXX] is not the best possible. It may be not searched, or searched, but not from your specific target. It could be searched from your target but be too competitive for your possibilities. It could be positioned in the long run but it may need to be visible in the short term. So, it will hardly be the right one to work on, then, armed with holy patience, make your keyword analysis. How? Everyone has his methods, the important thing is that you do it.
2) I have found a keyword with a terrific KPI.
Well, let’s have fun placing it. Assuming that only that one keyword is what you need, work to get it in the top positions (1-5, max.) If you’re not there, do all the SEO activity (on-page and off-page) you can, until you reach the top of the SERP.
3) Cool, I’m #1!
Great, yes, but are number one with the right page? If you’re selling red shoes and the page that’s ranking is your company profile, you’re introducing at least 2-3 more steps in the conversion process. How many people are you losing along the road? Being at number 1 with the wrong page is not the best. If your page ranking in the SERP is not the right one, set yourself to work and push the landing page you need.
4) I’ve done, I’m #1 with the page I wanted.
Well done. But go to check your traffic stats. Are you having a lot of impressions in the SERPs and with a CTR near 2%. Perhaps you should review the message you’re communicating. Is your Title a bunch of keywords? Or description an endless stream of unrelated words? Is Google showing snippets rich for your competitors and you don’t have them? Identify the gaps and optimize your look in the SERP. (There would also be Instant Previews, to be complete).
5) My business card in the SERP attracts more than Jessica Alba.
You should now have a good CTR and an interesting qualified traffic. But you don’t sell a single damn pair of red shoes. It’s now time to ask you if you are persuasive. Landing page optimization can be a complicated puzzle, but it can give a surge to your conversions. If A/B and Multivariate Testing are too difficult for you, at least ask yourself if your site inspires the right confidence.
6) My landing can convince a lion that antelope meat is bad.
Wow, you’re almost at the goal, but this can be not sufficient. How many step should visitors take to complete an order? If they are fifteen, some people might give up. And the same if they don’t understand where it begins to buy. Ask yourself if you’re usable, and if not work to be.
7) Even my grandmother would be able to use my site.
You’re a phenomenon, you made everything that’s possible. Now if you don’t sell your red shoes, it only mean one thing. Perhaps that shoes suck…
It’s clear that we have to know or to understand how to do all the things each step requires, but this is a your assignment. The aim of the post is simply to indicate a method by which thinking a process that leads from a keyword to a goal. Do you find it’s useful?
(An italian version of this article can be read on Posizionamento Zen)
AUTHOR: Giuseppe Pastore (@zen2seo)
Giuseppe Pastore works as an SEO specialist in an italian web agency and writes about Search Engine Optmization on his blog Posizionamento Zen. At the moment he is struggling to place Oroscopo.bz in a difficult SERP, and he’s confident the result will come…