SEO, as you know, stands for Search Engine Optimization, and you might rightly expect that SEO is about optimizing pages to appeal to search engines. And you'd be right. Increasingly, however, I am finding that clients believe so fervently in SEO that they aren't actually optimizing their pages for sales. If you are falling into the trap, you'll likely regret looking so narrowly at SEO.
This was all brought to mind by interactions with two different people the last few days who each are concerned about the same thing--search traffic dropping to their sites. When I dug into the situation further, I found that neither had any idea what kind of sales they were generating from their sites. One, in fact, knew that the page that had recently dropped in search rankings had an extremely high bounce rate, so they couldn't have been selling very much.
Now, for both of these people, the lack of sales was not a crisis, but the drop in search traffic and the drop in search rankings was a crisis. It was hard not to chuckle at how times have changed.
I guess you've been in the search business a long time when you can remember when you had to prove every nickel that would come in because we did this new SEO thing. No one believed it would work and no one wanted to do it.
And look at us now. Now there are people walking around that have such a rabid belief in SEO that they think it is an end in itself--that high rankings or even high traffic is some kind of magical elixir. It's not.
Getting people to the front door of your Web site isn't the end of the game. Unless you are optimizing your pages to actually sell things, online or offline, you're not ready for SEO. In fact, if your Web site stinks, you should probably try to have as few people find it as possible. If you don't know why you want people coming to your site, then figure that out first. Once you know your site can sell stuff, then it makes sense to use SEO and any other means at your disposal to drive as many people there as possible.
Originally posted on Biznology Blog
April 21, 2013