SEO is an abbreviation of “Search Engine Optimisation”. In simple words, it is a strategy to optimise your web presence for search engines. The moment you start talking about SEO, first thing that comes to mind is a website. But, it is not just your website you can optimise for search engines. Any web property like Facebook fan page or LinkedIn profile could be optimised for search engines as long as search engines include them into their databases.
When you google “define SEO” or “SEO definition”, you’ll find hundreds of definitions and explanations. Some are quite complexed while others are discussions than definitions. I will be giving a very simplistic definition which is based on past 12 years of SEO experience and dealing with variety of small businesses.
Here is how I define SEO:
SEO is a function of marketing that helps a website become visible in search engines to its intended audience when they search for relevant keywords and phrases.
Does SEO Increase Sales?
A key point to note here is SEO is primarily a marketing function which helps in driving sales as well. Unfortunately, these days SEO is heavily attributed to sales which I believe is fundamentally wrong.
SEO is purely an inbound marketing strategy where your audience comes to you through making specific queries on search engines. All you have to do is make sure when your market searches for relevant phrases and keywords, your website is visible to them. To me, this is the fundamental function of SEO. Remember, SEO drives traffic to your website and your website does all the selling
We all need to understand that the primary reason SEO exists is to drive as much qualified website traffic as possible. Once the traffic is on the website, it’s up to the website to convert the traffic.
As soon as you start talking about converting the traffic, that’s lead generation, sales, or in digital terms “conversion optimisation” – a totally different domain which requires a different skillset.
Both strategies (SEO and Conversion Optimisation) help and complement each other. But they are different and should not be mixed up. If there is no traffic, there would be no sales – doesn’t matter how optimised the website is for conversions. Similarly, a poorly conversion optimised website will deliver poor conversation rates even if it attracts huge amounts of traffic.
So, when measuring the performance of an SEO campaign we should measure increase in traffic and quality of the traffic. How that traffic behaves depends upon user experience websites deliver.
Finally, I know that the notion of connecting SEO with revenues sells very well. No wonder why SEO agencies try to establish this connection. But, after reading this post I hope you understand what SEO does. And when someone tells you that they can increase your revenues through SEO, you should ask them whether your website is ready to convert the traffic they will be sending. If not, what are they going to do about it!