Depending on the exact situation, different websites or different companies can have slightly different purposes when it comes to what they are trying to achieve with search engine optimization. But there are two very important things to keep in mind when it comes to describing the purpose of SEO.
One is that you should always have a clear goal, and the other one is what I define as the best possible purpose of all SEO activity.
Let’s take a look at these two aspects.
Always Have a Clear SEO Goal
I just can’t emphasize enough that you should always have a clear SEO goal with every website. This can differ from site to site, but you should always state this clearly for yourself and for everyone working on that particular site.
This is nothing more than applying the principle that if you want to achieve something, first at least you should be able to write down what it is that you want.
Here I give you a couple of examples that can be good SEO goals, depending on the website and the situation:
- Get more visitors
- Reach a specific ranking with a specific keyword
- Outrank one or more competitors for specific keywords
- Get X number of buyers or sales from search engines
Please note that this is not an exhausting list, rather a couple of ideas for you to define the SEO purpose of a specific website.
The “Best” Purpose of Search Engine Optimization
Although there are different purposes that can serve as a guideline in SEO, there is one in particular that is sometimes overlooked but can make a huge difference in your overall online results.
And that is to get as many visitors from search engines as possible. We can easily say that the best purpose of search engine optimization is to get as many visitors from search engines as possible.
Let’s analyze this a little deeper as I know that it can drive some online marketers crazy. Because you’ve read it right. I’m not talking about qualified leads or even leads here, just visitors. As many as you can get.
There are 3 reasons why I advise you to keep this in mind as at least one SEO purpose.
1. Getting Visitors Is the Single Biggest Challenge in Online Marketing
Contrary to popular belief, getting visitors to your website (or other web property) is the single biggest challenge in online marketing. Most people talk about conversion rates, but no conversion rate will pay you any money. On the other hand, visitors might.
Let’s illustrate this with a simple example.
Let’s say you have 100 visitors per month, and your conversion rate (in this case the percentage of visitors that spend money on your website) is 2%. That means that you have 2 sales every month.
Now, if in a hypothetical situation you manage to double the conversion rate, that is reaching 4%, that will mean 4 sales the next month. And if you’ve ever worked on raising conversion rates, you must know that doubling them is often next to mission impossible.
On the other hand, let’s say you can increase 10-fold the number of visitors to your website. Even if this means that the group of visitors will get “diluted”, i.e., not as interested in your products or services, and therefore the conversion rate drops to 1%, it is still 1000 visitors times 1%, and that’s 10 sales per month. 5 times our original number.
Which one would you prefer? Double your sales or increase it 5 times?
And if you are dubious about increasing the number of visitors 10 times, don’t be. That’s what search engine optimization is good for. Believe me, you can easily do much more than a 10x increase for most websites if you learn how to use SEO correctly.
2. Visitors Will Be Interested in Your Topic
Simply because of the nature of search engine optimization, if you get visitors to your website from a search engine, they will be interested in your topic.
Consequently, you don’t need to be afraid of attracting too many visitors. Some online marketers suggest that too many visitors mean less buying intent, but this is just not true in the long run. Not everyone might be willing to buy from you right away, but they are definitely interested in your topic therefore good candidates for future sales.
And what you actually do with those visitors, how you capture them and sell them later, that’s not an SEO question. The purpose of SEO is not to sell. But show me 10000 visitors and I’ll show you how to make money. Show me 10 visitors instead, and I can only show you how to stare at meaningless statistics with no income.
3. People Are Not Always in Buying Mode
Making money online is not only about selling every time. It’s just not how the internet works.
Just think about yourself. Are you trying to spend your money right away every time you type in something into a search engine? I bet you don’t. That’s exactly how most people operate.
Online marketers often forget, or at least forget to tell you, that people are not always in buying mode. Focusing only on those that want to spend their money right away seems rewarding at first but is in fact a very difficult task. Not only will you have to deal with the most competitors in that case, but you’ll also miss out on the opportunity to build rapport with your target audience and reach out to a larger group of possible future clients.
Thus, if you can capture people in every step of the buying process, even when they want to just read about the topic, you’re more likely to increase your sales in the long term.
Don’t Be Super-Focused on Specific Rankings
Sometimes it is tempting to focus only on a few specific keywords, trying to achieve the best rankings with those keywords. Although this can be undeniably fruitful and it is also a good “game” to see the rankings improve, but in general, according to my experience, this can cause more pain than joy.
If you, on the other hand, try to focus on what I’ve been talking about here, getting valuable visitors to your website who are interested in your topic, you can reach better overall results in less time.
And one more advantage. You’ll be less susceptible to algorithm changes or anything “bad’ related to SEO if instead of focusing on a few specific keywords you focus on the overall picture.