Life is about cause, effect and purpose, search engine optimization and using a search engine are no different.
When you take the experience of a normal search into account, it starts with purpose and either ends with a pleasant conclusion or is aborted until another impulse predominates as the surfer moves (from link to link) perusing and engaging the web.
Most skim for relevance then commit, what is your click style? Are you the marketers dream? Someone who will sift through 3 pages of search results, just to find the right site?
Are perhaps you the impulsive one, who doesn’t waste time looking at organic results (or doesn’t care if the ranking is paid or organic) and just clicks the most compelling headline?
Or maybe you are the type that knows what you are looking for and enjoy taking in the scenery as you browse. Jakob Neilson refers to this as information foraging otherwise known as berry picking, where quality is imperative, yet the process of selection has equal emphasis.
Determining how enthused you are about the subject and the availability of information on a topic (supply and demand) determines the amount of time a person is willing to dedicate to conducting and engaging “a search”. Sometimes you don’t always find what your looking for, other times it is nearly instantaneous.
You can reach a site from the total number of inbound links leading to their pages, which is why link popularity is important to aid your chance of being discovered organically as a result of happenstance.
Understanding impulse is imperative, the faster a prospect sees a compelling result with a catchy headline (that fulfills their initial impulse), the more likely they are to investigate the value proposition from that page.
What is the purpose of SEO?
The purpose of SEO (indirectly) is to reduce the time a person spends searching for a relevant result (by elevating that page above the fold in the top 5 positions).
This is accomplished through refinement and streamlining of various aspects of the target site and page ranging from the programming platform, the hosting environment, site architecture, tweaks to images content and tags, link popularity and most importantly the chronological order of events that transpire to cultivate a site into a top 10 candidate (which aside from the previous variables is trust and authority).
With so many strategies and methodologies for acquiring a high ranking position, the circumstances dictate which tactic will be the most effective. The competition also has an impact on just how challenging the position will be to acquire.
The takeaway is SEO is important, but it only serves as one component to a successful online marketing campaign. Curb appeal, great content, enticing visual elements, how professional your brand consolidates as a whole and so many subjective “feel good” factors are equally as important.
So, before you put the cart before the horse and start targeting keywords well beyond the scope of your sites range, a more methodical approach starting from content development, design and appeal should be your first priority.
Consumers are a fickle lot, with so many options available online, there are no guarantees that any visitor will commit a second more than necessary to take a mental snapshot of your site and determine if they wish to spend any more of their time move any further into your site to investigate your products, brand or service.
For this reason each of your pages should:
- a) Have a clearly delineated purpose – and use titles, images or reinforce the topic tactfully.
- b) Make it easy for the visitor to contact you – don’t hide the email, phone number or contact info.
- c) Have links to other useful pages – (preferably your own) using your main keywords as anchor text.
- d) Summarize the offer or call to action – the offer should be self evident.
- e) Have continuity and cohesive design – consistency is important, so create a template to maintain cohesion. If the design is disjointed, particularly if e-commerce is involved you will raise red flags which could jeopardize trust and diffuse potential conversion.
The real purpose of SEO is to be found, but once you have managed to get traffic to your site, fulfilling their impulses and providing an enriching user experience (that leaves the visitor with a sense of more than what they had when they arrived) is what determines the extent of your online success.