Two years ago if you asked me to define Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or if you asked me how my pay-per-click campaign was doing, I wouldn’t have known what you were talking about. Raise either of those questions now and I can confidently tell you that I know enough about SEO and PPC to be. . . well, totally frustrated!
Twenty-four months ago my vocabulary didn’t include terms like page rank, organic search results, conversion rate, page views, or bounce rate. Today those phrases flow from my lips with ease. My SEO efforts and my attempts to get Google to acknowledge our company’s presence has tempted me to use some other words too—but I won’t list them here. . .
When you rely on the internet as a primary source for prospects, you want your efforts to work and your investments to pay a solid return. We found using a critical thinking process to get to the heart of our problem and identify some solutions has helped us maximize our investment—and significantly reduce our frustration.
Define your problem. A problem exists whenever actual performance is less than expected and the gap is large enough to be of concern to you. Enhancing your internet presence may mean you need to identify and resolve several separate problems from page rank to better bid management to adding new content to your site.
Identify the cause of the problem. You can’t resolve a problem unless you know the root cause. Clearly identify what the problem is—and also what it is not. Is your problem not enough visitors to your website or are the visitors not going far enough into your site to find out what your business is all about? Is your problem a lack of traffic or not enough conversions? Take time to define what the problem is (and isn’t). Clarify the size and extent of the problem. Identify where in the process your problem occurs. Determine when the problem started, if it’s continuing, and any other times you have seen this happen.
Create a list of possible solutions. Get creative. If you don’t know what you don’t know, spend time with salespeople from SEO marketing companies and let them educate you. Compare what you hear and create a list of options you want to consider. Our SEO marketing company has given us alternatives we had not considered and has helped us prioritize our investments for the best return.
Select your best solutions using clearly defined criteria. The internet roller coaster can create havoc for you if you allow your decisions to be driven by emotion and gut reaction rather than objective criteria. Take time to determine how budget, time utilization, available resources, corporate strategy, marketing philosophy, etc. will guide your decisions.
Anticipate the problems that are inherent in every change. Even positive changes can create problems unless you take time to identify what could go wrong and plan for how you will prevent the problem from occurring. A dramatic rework of our website resulted in our disappearance from Google’s natural search results when we didn’t anticipate the loss of the hundreds of backlinks on our old site.
Internet marketing doesn’t have to be a source of endless irritation or a dark hole into which you pour thousands of dollars with out any certainty as to the result. Time invested in a critical analysis of your situation will pay for itself in multiples through a well-executed internet strategy.