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SEO and Unrealistic Expectations

One of the hottest topics of the Internet for people who have existing businesses on the WWW or are looking to get their hands in the global marketplace is SEO. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of making performance adjustments toy our web pages and web site through better design and content to increase your ranking on Google or other search engines. The reason it is such a hot topic is because search ranking is critical to generate traffic to your website. The higher your ranking for a given search by a user, the more likely your site will attract visitors, or traffic.

seo and unrealistic expectationsSEO has received much praise for its ability to increase the ranking of websites and result in significantly increased sales or certain companies. Even though Google continues to change its algorithm to sidestep attempts by webmasters to “rig the system” in their favor, companies are spending millions of dollars on optimizing their websites. What is separate from the SEO efforts is the actual return on these efforts, called conversion optimization. To put it simply, SEO can bring the traffic to your door but that does not always translate into a sale. High conversion rates are the real goal of SEO.

The problem is that businesses that invest heavily in SEO and see no significant results often fault the SEO process. Before jumping the gun, it is important to understand that while SEO may be the problem, it is equally possible that there are other, more obvious and potentially painful realities that have to be dealt with.

One possibility is a high ranking brings traffic to a website that is difficult for the user to navigate or is missing a call-to-action in key locations on the sales pages. The result will be a discouraged visitor who drove up to the company door and encountered a disorganized store or sought help that was not available. Another possibility is that the visitor enters the door only to find that the quality or design product they hoped to buy was not what was expected. SEO did its job, but management was not ready for the success of the SEO process.

Disappointments such as these are the result of a one-sided approach to marketing an SEO, where website owners are only looking at what goes in and neglects to see what is required when the SEO process actually increases traffic. Unrealistic expectations are not new in the business world, especially when it comes to profit potential. One reason for these unrealistic expectations is ignoring the reality that the SEO successes that make the news are far smaller in number than advertised. There are a number of factors that need to be examined before determining whether SEO can achieve the same results for your business than the highlighted company.

Asking from what industry does the success story come from, how large is the company, what is the industry’s stage in the economic cycle, and how long did it take to get from their SEO start point to significant increases in sales, are all important facts to consider. Then ask yourself where your company is in relation to the touted success stories. If you find a disconnect, then accept the reality but move forward with more realistic expectations of SEO and conversion optimization efforts. Doing so will bring a manageable perspective to the purposes and expectations of the overall marketing strategy.

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