SEO is a marketing tool like any other. Using it to garner free traffic requires a significant investment of time and human resources.
As with any marketing tool, it is important to check whether this makes sense for you and your organization.
Define your objectives
First, ask yourself why you want to develop your SEO. Is it to bring in more customers, or to demonstrate an expertise? To make your website easier to find after a TV segment about you has aired?
Deciding on your objectives will help determine your keyword research priorities, so it is important to ask yourself the question now.
Pick the right KPIs
Each objective has corresponding key performance indicators, or KPIs. As the name indicates, they are used to measure the progress of your SEO work.
The most important are:
Unique visitors (UV)
Page views per session
Conversion rate for sign-up/payment forms
Returning visitor rate
It is important to keep track of each of these KPIs; however, some may be adapted to your specific objectives.
For example, if you want to increase sales, you can boost traffic on your website while maintaining the same conversion rate of visitors, or you can have lower traffic but of more targeted visitors who will be easier to convert.
Another example: if you wish to improve your brand’s image, it is important to track the number of page views and returning visitors.
It can be hard to define specific SEO objectives at first, so try to use previously defined ones. Pick SMART objectives that help you achieve a specific goal.
Assess the value of this marketing channel
Once you have defined your objectives and KPIs, you must assess their applicability.
Do I have the time, human resources, and budget to set up an SEO strategy?
SEO will take a significant amount of your or your colleagues’ time.
You will need to study your keywords, change or correct parts of your website, create additional pages and articles, establish partnerships, and more. It is important that you have sufficient resources and time to adequately implement your strategy.
Is there enough time for my investment in SEO to bear fruit?
It will take at least three months to see any returns on your SEO investment. Of course there are exceptions; however, it generally takes 3-6 months for preliminary results and up to 12 months before you see significant progress towards your objectives.
Three months! 😲 In that case, what is the point of SEO? It’s too slow.
You have to view SEO as an investment. The sooner you set up this channel (if doing so makes sense), the sooner it will bear fruit. On the other hand, if for example, you are busy preparing for your annual trade fair, then obviously you’re better off waiting before you start on this new project!
What if all my competitors have been well ranked for a long time?
It is indeed important to study the competition before you begin. Select the most common words to describe your profession or your company’s area of expertise and search for them in Google. Then, ask yourself the following questions:
Are my competitors referenced on the first page, or is the first page returning non-specialized websites and small blogs?
Do my competitors have a blog with many articles?
Do the websites that appear first in Google results contain many web pages? Do they seem optimized?
Are these website popular?
Another method involves looking at the number of search results Google returns:
0 to 100,000 results is probably a very small amount of competition.
100,000 to 500,000 results is probably a small amount of competition.
500,000 to 1,000,000 results is probably a moderate amount of competition.
1,000,000+ results is probably a fair amount of competition.
Steps The Muse took to successfully implement their SEO strategy
There were several challenges to consider before undertaking an SEO project for The Muse:
First, the website’s name is a also the name of a very popular song. It took some time before Google began to differentiate between French speakers searching for the song, and those looking for the recruiting agency.
Second, was the dominance of Indeed in search results. When The Muse first launched, it would have been hard for a website with such a small presence on Google to compete with Indeed.
It was necessary to identify these problems and devise an SEO strategy based on popular keyword searches to overcome them. It was not possible to rely solely on job postings. We will examine how to do this in subsequent chapters.
SEO is a marketing channel. It's important to consider opportunity and timing before you start.
Choose the right KPIs that correspond to your objectives.
Ensure you have the necessary time and resources to carry out the project.
Now that you can determine whether SEO meets the marketing needs of your website let's examine a 5 step action plan to improve your SEO.