Balancing SEO and Content for True Optimization
Mar 4, 2013
Many companies have become borderline obsessed with the quest to win the battle for the top spot in relevant search results. They are focusing their resources on search engine optimization (SEO) in hopes of boosting traffic to their online experiences, but not placing the same importance on what happens once a visitor actually reaches the site.
Page views are important, but are just one of many data sets that should be monitored and analyzed for insights about site performance. Taking a more holistic approach to optimization and expanding the focus beyond just search is not as daunting as it may seem. Many other important areas can see drastic improvement simply by focusing on one additional aspect: Content.
Some of those areas include:
First Impression Optimization — measured by Bounce Rate. Once a visitor reaches your site they need to immediately be presented with a compelling reason to stay. SEO can help drive traffic your way, but if the final destination doesn’t meet viewers’ expectations they will quickly bounce away regardless of how high you ranked in their search results. Starting with the landing page and delivering rich content at each level is one way to keep visitors on your site and maintain a low bounce rate.
Engagement Optimization — measured by Time on Page and Time on Site. When visitors are engaged they will spend more time exploring. Even if they are viewing your site for one specific reason, delivering in that one area could compel them enough to click around and see what else you have to offer. The longer you can keep a visitor on your site, the greater the opportunity to deliver content that supports your end goal, whether that be sales, thought leadership or awareness.
Trust Optimization — measured by Referrals, and Repeat vs. Unique Visitors. Monitoring how visitors reach your site and how many are repeat visitors can be extremely helpful. A high number of regular visitors can serve as validation that your content is consistently meeting their expectations. Viewers are more likely to share sites that they trust and these referrals serve as an additional method to increase site traffic.
Technology has gotten to the point where data can be tracked and analyzed at impressive rates and storage is becoming unlimited. There is no longer a need to make the choice between what data to monitor. When companies only focus on page views they are missing out on valuable opportunities to spot insights and create the best experience for their viewers.
SEO is important but works best when partnered with rich and relevant content. Spreading resources more evenly and taking a truly holistic approach to optimization will ultimately result in a higher return on important investments.