This article is part one of a series of articles about SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing), and strategies to achieve high page rank in Google and the other major search engines. With this series we hope to lay down a basic approach to website structure and content design that, if properly implemented, will give your website the proper foundation to achieve high page rank. Although the ideas put forward in this series may seem simple, you would be surprised how few business owners, web developers, and content writers think out their SEO and web marketing strategies. In this article, I will start with the most fundamental aspect of SEO: setting goals and creating outcomes.
The ultimate purpose of any marketing or publishing is to achieve some sort of outcome. An outcome is the production of some desired result: a change in knowledge, attitude, or physical situation. A business owner manufactures widgets and wants to sell them there-by increasing their wealth and hopefully the convenience of the lives of the purchaser. A non-profit organization may want to inform the public, bringing about a desired change in society at large. Outcomes are achieved via the purposeful transmission of information--getting the right information, to the right people, at the right times. You could sum up the underlying principle as the economics of information or the mutual coincidence of wants. You want to sell a product; people desire a product. We want to give the consumer access to the producer. Some people want to improve the state of the world, and other people have some information that may be helpful in doing so. Let's make the connection.
Define the desired outcomes, the goals
When you step out your door, do you wander aimlessly, or do you have a destination in mind? Generally you have a destination in mind, and naturally you take the most efficient and purposeful steps to reach it.
It stands to reason that we should do this in all things, especially business and web-based marketing.
So before you write the first line of code for any website project, make a list of questions and ask yourself or your clients to answer. The formation of the questions is almost more important than the answers. The questions define the answers. Start simple, and get more detailed.
What are your goals, and what are your desired outcomes? Is it to sell widgets? Is it to drive membership? Is it to inform the populace about some topic? Is it to entertain?
Outcomes should be specific and practical--most of the time. This is especially the case in business, and the outcomes generally revolve around selling products or services. For these types of clients, let’s get specific about how they want sell their products or services. Is your goal to drive traffic to a physical store location? Is the goal to drive traffic to an online sales platform? Who do you expect would buy your product or service? Where do you sell your product or service?
Non-profit organizations will have different desired outcomes. Perhaps they want to spread a message, or make the public aware of an idea. How do they achieve this? Do they host events? Do they provide this information on their website? Is one of the goals convincing people to become members? Which people? Where? How?
These types of questions are fundamental--the same as having a destination in mind when you walk out your door. Asking these types of specific questions, and taking the time to think critically and make a conscious effort to answer each one, helps to avoid expenditure of money and time that gets you no closer to your goals.
The answers to these types of questions, spoken in natural language will go far in next step: creating a targeted keyword strategy. In our next article in Skvare's SEO series, we will outline how and why to create basic keyword strategies.