Onsite Search Engine Optimization is a bit like doing chemistry. Each element of your website, when combined with other elements on your site and its interaction with the world, will help to determine how well your site ranks on all search engines. Have you stopped to ask yourself, what do I want my site to rank for? Not what keywords, but rather what objective do you have in mind for the visitors to your website to do when they arrive? Do you want them to read an article or three, do you want them to buy a product, do you want them to request your services and how? Understanding the objective you would like your visitors to attain must be your first step in creating an impactful SEO program that benefits your business.

Setting up realistic objectives and goals for what you hope to get from SEO work on your website will help you to stay on track and on-budget for what your business needs. Stepping back for a second, why should you care about good SEO on your website? The answer is simple, because search engines care. If you want to be found on a search engine, you want to make your website as appealing to the search engines as possible for the users that you want to get to your website.

No actor attends the Emmys without first trying on their outfit, doing their hair, maybe even hitting the gym to look just right when all eyes are watching. Think about the elements of your website in much the same way. Is the content on your site designed to send out all the right signals for your audience to see you once you are found on the Search Engine Results Page(SERP)?

Onsite Search Engine Optimization is helping you to make your website more attractive to your suspected visitors so they will want to spend more time with you.

How you approach attaining your SEO objectives will help define how you manage your SEO implementation. You don’t have to pick just one objective but keeping in mind your overall objective will help you utilize your time and efforts.

Here are a few questions to think about first:

  • Does the company need direct sales, traffic, branding or some combination of these?
  • Are there influencers you’re trying to reach with a message?
  • Is the organization/brand subject to potentially negative material that needs to be controlled/mitigated?
  • Do you have products/services you sell, either directly over the web or through leads established online?

Generating Traffic for Traffic Sake

To produce direct traffic to your site, content that is keyword targeted will produce the best results in less time. SEO generates direct traffic to your website when your site is optimized for relevant keywords typed by users. If you are building a website that utilizes on-page ads as a form of monetization, raw traffic is your goal. The more eyes that see your site the more money you make. The conversion is as simple as getting people to your site for any reason.

When to make this a goal:

You are planning to build content that requires no actions or financial transactions when a visitor comes to your site. Monetization of the site is usually through advertising on Google Adwords or something similar. Keywords should be unique and uncommon because the competition is very high for common and popular keywords rather than unique and different keywords.

Brand Building

Brand building is one of the staples of most websites as they start. You want to tell people over and over who you are, what you do, and why people should think of your company/brand as a force in your marketplace. Sites that are build to build brand recognition tend to follow traditional advertising goals. The higher your brand shows in a search the more authority it must have, in the searchers' eyes.

When to make this a goal:

You have a brand name that you want to show has authority in the marketplace and you want to build that brand recognition. Your goal is not so much to sell a product on your site but to get people to think of your business first. This is also the goal of many social media companies and member acquisition type sites.

Marketing

SEO can be utilized to target the products and services of any company, including E-Commerce items. SEO can help you market your products and services through search engines driving traffic about them to your page.

When to make this a goal:

You have a targets product or service that you want searchers to know about.

E-Commerce Marketing

If you plan on selling products directly through a sales portal on your website your goals will be targeted at each of your products and categories. Search traffic is among the best quality available on the web, primarily because a search user has expressed a specific need through their search. When their search matches your product or brand carried by the web store, conversion rates are often extremely high.

When to make this a goal:

You have a product or service you are selling directly through your website and you are interested in positive impacts and ROI of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising with Adwords or a similar company.

Ideological Influence

You are seeking to sway public opinion about a particular topic. By promoting your ideas/content in the search results for queries likely to be made by those seeking information about a topic, you can influence the perception of even very large groups. Politicians and political groups/individuals are the most likely employers of this tactic, but it can certainly be applied to any subject from the theological to the technical or civic.

When to make this a goal:

Make this your objective when you need to change minds or influence decisions/thinking around a subject.

Reputation Management

Maybe you have never had a website before, you have a new website for a new product or brand or you are dealing with negative information about your website or brand your goal may be to populate the search results with positive links and mentions about your site or brand. SEO enables this process through content creation and promotion through backlink building. Reputation management is amongst the most challenging of SEO tasks (primarily because you’re optimizing many results for a query rather than one).

When to make this a goal:

Focus here if you are trying to protect your brand from having negative results appear on page 1, or are attempting to push down already existing negative content.

Targeting Customers

You have a defined the audience that you are trying to reach. For example, it could be a specific service, geographic area, or lifestyle.

When to make this a goal:

Your product is one that has a targeted segment that is definable and reachable online.

Competitive Market

If you are lucky, your competition is not worried about SEO on their website, but the chances of this are very slim. This means the competitive landscape for your keywords should be a major consideration in determining your SEO goals. Depending on your competitor’s products and SEO strategy, you may have to make adjustments. If you are the market leader, you may want to fend off certain competitors. On the other hand, if the competition is firmly entrenched, you may want to focus on another segment of the market.

When to make this a goal:

You are in a competitive marketplace with multiple competitors targeting the same customers and utilizing SEO strategies.

Time to Define Your SEO Objectives

SEO is now a mainstream marketing activity and should be treated like one in your business. The dramatic rise is attributed to three emerging trends.

  1. Search engines drive focused quantities traffic, made up of people looking to accomplishing their research and purchasing goals.
  2. Higher ranking visibility in search engines creates an implied endorsement, where searchers associate quality, relevance, and trustworthiness with a site’s location on the SERPs.
  3. Customers increasingly use the internet to research their offline purchases and service providers

Understanding that SEO and planned SEO objectives will help your business’s online presence to be one where you control your message and are able to reach your customers and visitors more effectively.