What Is SEO Strategy?
An organic – SEO – strategy is the overall game plan for an SEO campaign. The strategy is based on:
- Your campaign goals, which is usually measured in conversions (sales leads or online orders)
- Your budget, which determines how much work can be accomplished over what period of time
- Your ROI projections, which in the end will determine how long you sustain your campaign
- Keyword research, to determine the best keywords to optimize
- Competitive research, to determine your website’s relative strength and opportunities that can be exploited
- A website audit, to determine what changes need to be made with it to support an SEO campaign
Your SEO Strategy Is Uniquely … Yours
What is an SEO strategy for your business must be uniquely defined, as you can see from the above strategy drivers. No two organizations have exactly the same goals, exactly the same budget, exactly the same ROI objective, exactly the same target keywords, exactly the same competitive position and exactly the same website SEO-readiness.
This is why canned SEO campaigns based on a one-size-fits-all strategy never get results. The work done in these campaigns includes too much work you don’t need, not enough work you do need, and the wrong mix of work that is needed.
The Need to Put a Value On and Measure Conversions
There are three ways organizations get tripped by their SEO strategies:
- By not focusing on conversions as the primary goal.
- By not measuring conversions during the campaign
- By not properly measuring the value of a conversion
Let’s talk about these items in a bit more detail.
1. Conversions count most
The reason almost all organizations invest in SEO is either lead generation or e-commerce revenue generation. This may seem obvious, but in the real world, organizations also get caught up in rankings and traffic performance. Companies see they are ranking first or second on Google for an impressive keyword and think their SEO strategy is a smashing success. They see double-digit growth in organic traffic from Google every month and think they’re knocking the ball out of the SEO park.
However, high rankings and organic traffic growth do not necessarily generate revenue. Think about it this way:
- Which SEO strategy sounds better? One that gives you #1 ranking on Google for one keyword that generates 4 sales leads a month, or one that gives you #7 rankings for five keywords that generates 15 sales leads a month?
- Which SEO strategy sounds better? One that doubles your organic traffic and generates $1,000 in e-commerce revenue, or one that increases your organic traffic by 25 percent and generates $5,000 in e-commerce revenue?
Most companies, if they want to stay in business, will prefer leads and revenue over the glamour and bragging rights of rankings and traffic — once they stop to think about it.
This is why, when determining what is the SEO strategy for your business, an SEO professional will often recommend optimizing for a basket of mid-volume keywords with high conversion potential rather than putting all of your eggs in one keyword basket.
At this stage it’s worth noting that some SEO campaigns do not focus on conversions. These situations are rare and often limited in scope and duration, but they do exist. Examples include SEO strategies designed to overcome Google penalties, strategies to build rankings for targeted keywords in order to push down negative reviews or online content, and strategies to boost rankings to strengthen credibility or asset value (perhaps in preparation to sell a business).
2. Measuring conversions with precision
It’s one thing to say your SEO strategy focuses on conversions; it’s another thing to actually know how many conversions your campaign is producing.
The first issue is to properly and granularly track all conversions that emanate from the SEO campaign. This is much easier said than done. Phone tracking — taking note of phone inquiries generated from SEO — is not something that standard website analytics platforms (such as Google Console) can track. A phone tracking system must be connected to your website, which requires special setup and skill — and even then, the information will not be accurate enough. Form tracking — inquiry forms or order submissions — is monitored through analytics platforms to an extent, but again, not with the necessary precision.
To track leads precisely, especially in lead generation SEO campaigns, it’s necessary to validate form and phone conversions. About half of all conversions are not sales leads, but rather spam, misdials, sales solicitations, customer service inquiries, inquiries on products you don’t sell, personal phone calls and many other things. If you simply count conversions — and not actual leads (or placed online orders) — then you will overestimate the results of your SEO campaign substantially, continuing to invest in a campaign that is not producing what you think it is. Be careful!
3. Value conversions realistically
Putting a value on conversions is relatively easy in e-commerce campaigns, because the size of the order produces a solid value. But still, e-commerce organizations should also consider the lifetime value of a new customer if they can, because a single transaction may not be a fair basis on which to judge the ROI of an SEO campaign.
Valuing conversions for lead generation campaigns is more difficult. Once a lead is tracked and validated, it is out of the hands of the SEO campaign. If your organization is not tracking those leads through to a sale, then there is no way to know exactly how much revenue SEO-generated leads are producing. Assuming leads are being tracked until a sale is made, then the organization should also factor in customer lifetime value to arrive at a truly accurate picture of how well their SEO strategy is working.
To discuss how to create an ROI-generating SEO strategy in more detail, contact us now or call 855-883-0011.