Entrepreneur - - By Dan Thies

Just What Are We Optimizing Anyway?

With a 3-day weekend coming up, at least here in beautiful Frisco, TX… I’d like to close the week out with an idea that we hammer on relentlessly in my SEO and SEM training classes.

If your SEO efforts are solely dedicated to optimizing for higher rankings or placement on a limited number of search terms, you are missing out on the real opportunity. Instead of optimizing for rankings, why not think about the problem a little differently? What we’re really trying to optimize is our business results.

When you make this change in your thinking, you will start to consider:

  • Improving a site’s conversion rate is often more productive than trying to improve the ranking for a specific search term. For most websites, it’s a lot easier to double the conversion rate than it is to double the amount of traffic coming in.
  • Writing rich copy with relevant search term modifiers (additional words that are often used by searchers alongside your primary search terms) can provide a big boost to your search engine traffic, as well as conversions.
  • Investing resources in improving a site’s conversion rate will deliver more resources for SEO and PPC in the long run, improving a site’s ability to compete in the marketplace.

When you implement the right strategies to improve conversion, you can actually boost your search engine profile at the same time. Here are a few good resources for conversion rate improvement:

1) Streetwise Relationship Marketing on the Internet by Roger C. Parker. This book focuses on understanding the information needs of your prospects, and developing websites to build long-term relationships with customers and prospects. The best $20 I’ve ever spent! By following Parker’s strategy, we were able to accomplish a four-fold improvement in our conversion rate at SEO Research Labs, and that was just Phase I.

2) The Grok Dot Com conversion rate improvement newsletter, published by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg of FutureNow, Inc. This newsletter is simply a must read, every week. There are others publishing newsletters and books in this category, but the big difference is that these guys understand search engine marketing, including SEO.

3) Conversion Chronicles, edited by Steve Jackson. This newsletter will teach you a lot about conversion rate improvement, but be careful about implementing the kind of tracking links they use on their site. There’s a better way to implement this kind of tracking; the way they have done it can create crawlability and duplicate content issues for search engines.

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