A Zazzle Beginner’s Guide to SEO: Part III

Tim Hopma 9 years ago

Determining Your SEO Objectives

In the latest installment of my Beginner’s Guide to SEO, I’m going to talk you through how to target your website at the right people, and also how to hit the targets you set for the site.

With SEO, the most successful sites are those that appreciate that results won’t come overnight, that it’s a Test match, not a Twenty20. For those who accept the challenges of this war of attrition, you will be rewarded handsomely with a combination of steady and dramatic improvements to the ranking and overall success of your website.

Each campaign is unique; you don’t pay for a “silver package” and get the same strategy as the other companies on the same deal. You might pay the same amount for it, but you’ll get services tailor-made for your brand. As search engines evolve and bring out new algorithm updates such as Panda from Google, those working in SEO cannot rest on their laurels – trust me!

When you decide that SEO is for you, sit down and decide which factors are not only important, but relevant, including what it is you’re trying to promote, the structure of the website, available resources to aid development and the content that is immediately available. After all, there needs to be something there for people to see.

So What Can SEO Do?

The branding of your company can certainly be improved by an SEO campaign. While you may rank well for your company name, this will be down to factors such as your inbound links using your name in their anchor text and you’re not going to link to other similarly named or rival sites are you? If you are, stop, now!

If you’re selling a specific product, like marshmallows for instance, you’ll want to rank well for the term ‘marshmallows’. A user will go to a search engine, enter the keyword and assume that any of the first sites are the successful ones. In short, an SEO campaign will help you to improve results for the generic search terms associated with your site and not just the specific words.

SEO wouldn’t just improve the quantity, but the variety of the traffic heading towards your website, bringing in those who wouldn’t have been interested in or even aware of your site and services.

By performing keyword research, (see the previous part of my Beginner’s Guide – The Key Part of an SEO Strategy), an SEO company will look into the search terms being to find a service and work around those, specifically targeting the people who will be looking for similar items and services but without typing the exact same phrase.

For instance, if you’re looking for a ‘winter hat’, it may be that some people are looking for ‘green winter hat’, meaning the person looking for that fetching green hat wouldn’t come across your site unless they knew it was there. The keyword research undertaken SEOs would enhance the possibilities of them stumbling across your site.

While other marketing strategies could bring an influx of orders over the period of your offer, the campaign might not bring you that much in the long term. One of the best things from an SEO point-of-view is that a well-designed strategy can result in a very high return on investment in comparison to television, radio and print campaigns. You might pick up a few customers who take advantage while it’s new, but the fact is that organic SEO is considered to be one of the highest returns on investment.

Build SEO Into Your Site ASAP

A lot of the Zazzle Media clients come to us around the time of developing their existing website or creating a new one and we think that is the best possible time to start your SEO strategy. If you can get SEO built into your site at the earliest opportunity, from the choice of a CMS system right through to planning on-page content you’re onto a winner.

Getting the essential SEO strategy in place could save you time and money in the development stages. You don’t want to announce that your site is going live at the start of the next month and then find that, having developed your site without SEO, you need to replace the CMS system in order for the site to work to the best of its potential.

Content Strategy

I briefly touched on the importance of content being available to users earlier in this piece, and the amount and quality of the content is a major source of information used by search engines to determine what your page is actually about. Your content needs to be good, and relevant, in order to have a hope of Google giving you a good ranking.

Visit the blog written by our own Shaun Edwards for information on how to write SEO Articles, The Easy Way, which has proved to be a hit with those who’ve read it, especially content writers.

A team packed full of content developers is a huge bonus to any business. If you can afford to have people who know what they’re doing, and what they’re writing about, you’re already in a better position that a rival website that cannot afford to hire content writers or include a content strategy in their SEO plan.

Think SMART

Do you remember back at school, those many moons ago, when your teacher would get you to give yourself SMART targets for the week or month ahead?

An SEO plan is just like that. You need to give yourselves objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-orientated.

In terms of specifics, people tend to lose track of what they’re actually trying to achieve with an SEO plan. They come to a company such as ourselves and say, “We want to be number one for this phrase.” That’s fine, but the actual goal of the site is to increase sales and profits. You can be number one for everything in the world, but if you’re not selling anything, you’re not succeeding. You may not even need more customers; you just need to increase the volume of your sales.

In the SEO world, we have to be able to measure how the job is going, which means getting to grips with the analytics and helping the clients to understand and make the right decisions regarding the direction of their SEO plan.

Your strategy needs to be achievable or you’re fighting a losing battle from the onset. If a client wants to become number one for their specific term but they have a very small budget compared to the rivals for that position, it’s your job as an SEO professional to inform them that it’s impossible to reach that target on that budget. You do the best you can with what you’re working with – you’re a professional after all – but you should make the client aware that the results might not come as quickly, easily, or cheaply as they would like.

Along these lines, the targets need to be realistic. The cabinets your client makes in his garden shed are never going to reach number one in the rankings if they’ve got a budget consisting of the profits from their last sale. Similarly, they’re not going to see results within three weeks, it’s just not possible. They need to be realistic.

Finally, the timescale allocated to the strategy needs to be long enough to get the job done. Set a date or period of time to analyse the strategy and the results and see how the plan is going. Results aren’t going to come overnight.

An example of a SMART SEO objective is “to increase the number of sales from organic search by 25% over 4 months.” This gives an indication of what it is they want to do, by how much, and over how long. A simple “I want to rank number one for this term” is not SMART.

For the next installment of my Zazzle Beginner’s Guide to SEO, come back next week, or follow us on Twitter @zazzlemedia or @Zazzle_Chris to keep up to date with all the latest SEO goings-on, including our MD Simon Penson’s latest blog regarding Post-Panda Content Strategy, published by SEOMoz.

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog- this blog was written by Chris White, a Content Executive at Zazzle Media.

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