The purpose for SEO, at least for an SEO specialist that is doing their job right, is not to just increase a given page's rank. The real goal of SEO is to increase a business's web site market share and profit. The goal of marketing is to increase a company's market share and profit. Of course these definitions are very basic and broad, but they are correct on that level. Notice that they are almost identical. Let's take a minute and look at what a good SEO does to accomplish that end.
The first step to take when doing SEO on a site is to define your product. What is it you offer, how does that product or service ease a burden for people? This step helps you define other things later on, so this needs to be the first step you take. Don't just assume that you know this and move on to the next step. Take the time to write down the name of each product and the benefit of each. Take some time on this part. The effectiveness of your SEO campaign will depend on how detailed and accurate you are at this point.
Next, figure out who your target audience might be. Again, don't just say something like, "People who need widgets" Define who they are, describe them, are they men or women, are they young or old, what groups do they belong to? These are all questions who will need to answer, because these answers will help you choose keywords and where you will advertise to reach those people.
Once you have defined your market, you will choose your keywords. For this part, you will get inside the heads of your audience. How do they talk, how do they refer to your product? Their names for your product are the keywords you will use in your advertising.
As you optimize your site, remember you are optimizing for the people you have described above. Don't optimize to impress a particular search engine, your boss's wife's favorite color scheme, or anything else except your target audience. If you do that, the search engines will like it, which means they will send your potential clients to your site and then they will likely convert. Design the site using the colors that your clients like, use the layout they expect and feel comfortable with and use language that they would use and understand.
Obviously a big component of SEO is to drive traffic to a site. Many SEO companies and specialists stop there. Many business owners will hover over their analytics dashboard and watch their total hits and will either rejoice or sorrow based solely on the number of hits. I've seen companies throw parties over high hit numbers on their site, even though they weren't getting any money out of that traffic. The point of a website isn't just to use bandwidth, it's to convert visitors. If you are a for profit company, that means making money. Which would you rather have? One million hits a month and 10 sales, or 100 hits a month with 80 sales?
When you look at SEO as a form of marketing and not just as a hit race you're on the road to increasing your bottom line. We use the term "market to your audience", maybe we should start using the term "SEO to your audience" to help put it all in perspective. Granted SEO stands for search engine optimization, which implies that it is all for search engines. It's implied that we mean Search Engines Being Used By Our Target Audience Optimization, it's just that SEO sounds better than SEBUBOTAO.
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