Rankings only a means to an end

Rankings only a means to an end

SEO as a tool for measuring the progress of a campaign and giving your website visibility.

One of the most frequent questions from SMEs is how to measure value when working with intangible concepts like SEO (search engine optimisation), and ensuring that the agency they are employing is doing a good job.

Business owners know that ranking high on Google search is one of the best ways to boost their business profile and, ultimately, their bottom line. That’s why many SMEs ask agencies providing SEO services to guarantee a No. 1 Google ranking.

However, nothing can be guaranteed when it comes to the complex world of Google algorithms and frequent changes. So what is really important about this ranking, and what should your digital agency be telling you?

While you might crave No. 1 Google ranking – and which business doesn’t? – SEO is not really about this. Your Google ranking should be seen simply as a tool for measuring the progress of a campaign.

Targeted traffic

SEO is actually about slowly building a stream of targeted traffic to a website via search engines. Like all good marketing, this one is typically not an instant success but rather a gradual build that increases the awareness and authority of a brand.

Business owners should not measure the success of their SEO program by rechecking their Google ranking every week. Rather, they should view the traffic statistics in Google Analytics. A gradual build of traffic is the best outcome, which can enhance lead generation, sales and business profitability.

‘No amount of SEO can fix a website that fails to generate leads or convert interest to sales.’

When building a brand’s online profile, SEO is only one part of an overall marketing strategy. It is an element of an integrated campaign that could include Google AdWords/ pay-per-click advertising, social media engagement or even original content for relevant magazines and websites. There could also be advertising campaigns on targeted social-media platforms, YouTube videos and email campaigns.

Information hub

However, the primary consideration of any SEO improvement is to ensure your website acts as an information hub. No amount of SEO can fix a website that fails to generate leads, convert interest to sales, or offer a good mix of information and persuasion.

Optimised content needs to not only rank your business in searches, but engage readers. You should be generating original content for your website that is fresh and engaging, and positions your business as the thought leader of your particular product area or industry. This content should be promoted through social-media channels, which has an effect on their Google ranking. Consumers will link to your website, which has positive SEO impact.

SEO is about giving your website visibility in search engines, but remember that the search engines are not the end user but a tool to help consumers find your website and ultimately become customers.

Damian Papworth, CEO, SEO Resellers Australia

This article first appeared in issue 12 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine