Many SEO campaigns are conducted with the singular purpose of making the website search-engine friendly. Traffic generation, getting noticed by Google, or increasing page rankings. In all fairness, most of these SEO campaigns are actually successful in implementation. So successful, in fact, in achieving search engine goals, that many businesses who desire to establish their own “online presence” allocate significant budget for SEO activities.
But, preoccupied with page hits, web analytics and other tools of the SEO trade, it can actually come as a huge surprise to both SEO workers and business owners when many of their SEO activities do not actually make a mark in the fiscal books, come accounting time.
Poor website sales or non-existent revenue can have business owners moaning: “Where’s the money?” and the SEO workers countering: “You’re first page in Google, aren’t you?”
Search Engine Goals
Sometimes, the business management team may not have the same goals and expectations as the SEO team. To the perspective of the SEO team, goals mean search engine goals.
Some of the common search engine goals are below:
1. Webpage optimization, which involves writing relevant content for indexing, and optimization of the page titles, linkages, and meta tags, among others — to obtain favorable rankings from search engines.
2. Traffic generation, which involves the creation of numerous backlinks from authority sites, that in turn triggers direct traffic referrals from search engines.
3. Keyword analysis, which is a search engine goal to dominate targeted search results. The identification of the most profitable keywords to use for SEO campaigns is known to bring in the right kind of traffic — visitors truly interested in the keyword’s niche.
There are many more SEO goals, and all of them bring in varying levels of successes. However, unless the management team fully understands these goals, there may be a non-alignment of search engine goals and the business goals that are more important to the business.
It’s ironic how the SEO team and the business management team can sit together in one table and design an SEO campaign, agreeing on its implementation, but actually have divergent goals that only gets disclosed far into the future, when a lot of money have already been invested.
For business managers, search engine goals are good but should be able to translate into revenues. Below are some examples of business goals:
1. Open a new revenue channel through a business website that handles e-commerce, or subscriptions, among others.
2. Increase brand awareness and enhance public image.
3. Customer engagement, either by attracting new customers or deepening the loyalty of existing ones.
4. Sustain, or even increase, revenue but drive down advertising or marketing costs.
A Merry Mix of Search Engine and Business Goals
As to the question: which is correct? Search engine goals or business goals, the answer is: both are correct when applied in the proper context of each other. Business goals are of paramount importance to the business, not search engine goals. But business managers should not be dismissive of SEO efforts to realize search engine goals, because achievement of these goals are vital to realizing online business goals.
For how can there be revenue when there are no visitors who buy? How can customers be made aware that the business has an online presence, unless search engines drive these customers to the site?
On the other hand, SEO efforts should not blindly pursue search engine goals. SEO activities should be chosen in pursuit of business goals. For example, SEO practices should not focus on hundreds of web pages in the site, when a handful of important landing pages and pages that lead customers to actual purchases should be the primary SEO priorities.
When business and search engine goals are aligned, there is lesser wasted SEO efforts, and better return on SEO investment for the business.