When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), the umbrella goal is to rank as high as possible on search engine results pages (SERPs). However, high ranking will not matter if you aren’t ranking on the right SERPs, and haven’t got the right goals and process to back up your SEO strategy. Here, we will take a look at setting the right goals, and how that goal can affect the SEO process.
The goal of the SEO strategy
The first thing to ascertain is the ideal outcome of the SEO strategy – what is it that you are looking to achieve? In most cases, this will be to either drive traffic to your content to encourage people to read more, or to encourage consumers down the sales funnel in order to boost sales.
Some businesses will have products or services where a consumer must first put money down in order to use it. For example, consumers will need to purchase groceries before they can eat them. But, it doesn’t have to necessarily be a physical purchase, as such – it can be any product or services that people put money into. For example, a player will have to place their stake before they can play live roulette for real money, the transaction allowing the player to play the virtual casino game online for the chance to win money back as a cash prize.
On the other hand, brands might purely want to encourage consumers to read more of their content, and so are looking to drive more traffic to their site. This might be more relevant to businesses that seek to inform, educate, or advise their consumers, or for academic or research-based settings. This technique can also be used to boost a brand’s authority within an industry, as it shows to consumers that you are committed to providing quality, useful content, as opposed to being purely focused on the sale.
The key difference between SEO for driving traffic and SEO for encouraging sales is the keywords that are used. Put simply, the intent is essentially what the user is hoping to find through their search – and this should match up with the goal of your strategy.
There are four main categories of keyword intent –
- Commercial – Searcher already has the intent to make a purchase.
- Transactional – Searcher wants to make a purchase, but only after doing research beforehand.
- Informational – Searcher wants to find more information on a subject.
- Navigational – Searcher is looking to go somewhere specific.
With this in mind, brands looking to boost their sales might target commercial and transactional keywords within their content, whereas brands looking to drive traffic might focus on informational and transactional keywords.
As you can see, navigational keywords are not always utilized in SEO campaigns – and that’s largely because they can be a tricky concept to get your head around. That said, they can be a useful tool in your arsenal no matter whether you’re looking to get more readers or make a sale.
Put simply, it’s important to remember that no brand is guaranteed to rank at the top of a SERP for its own brand name, which is where navigational and branded keywords come in handy. By targeting keywords like Brand Name login, or Brand Name product, you’ll be able to encourage consumers to visit your site, regardless of whether your intention is to stimulate sales or readership.
And there you have it – a short overview of the key differences between the SEO process for driving traffic and boosting sales.