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Jan 19 2021
Jan 19

Selecting the right SEO goals is a critical first step in your digital marketing campaign. As with any long-term endeavor, knowing your marketing end goals and working directly toward them saves time, money, and stress.

Great SEO cannot be done in a vacuum. It depends on business goals, the needs of the sales and customer support team, and intimate knowledge of the competitive landscape in which you work. Engage the critical stakeholders in each area of your business and work together to come up with a list of needs. You may be surprised at how SEO can help each team meet its objectives.

It’s important to identify and select the right goals before implementing any SEO strategy and get continual buy-in from your team. Combine and categorize ideas to find the ones that digital marketing is well suited for. If possible, pick some “easy” objectives and start stacking up quick wins with your team. This buys you time for longer-term strategies that SEO is suited for.

If you’re struggling to get buy-in from team members, or they don’t have enough knowledge to understand how SEO can help their department, it may help to bring some ideas into the conversation to get the creative juices flowing.

Let’s look at seven different SEO Goals and how they can impact your business.

seo goals lead generation Hand with another hand on each fingertip.SEO Objective #1: Lead Generation and Direct Marketing

Build customers and revenue, one form-pop at a time.

If you are a lead-driven business, it’s likely your customers require at least one personal contact from your company before they buy. You may have a higher-than-average purchase price, or your solution involves customization. The key to a thriving lead generation SEO campaign is the conversion rate.

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) is almost always the best place to start when you are looking for more leads from your website. It’s easier to make direct changes that can dramatically increase your lead flow.

Implement A/B testing to try different approaches that make it easier for your customers to convert. Here are several ways to make an impact right away:

  • Shorten your forms. Do you really need 2 different phone numbers and a full mailing address on the very first customer interaction? Try getting by with only what you need to start the interaction.
  • Let your visitor know precisely what will happen when they submit the form.
  • Don’t use the word “Submit” on your form buttons (Who wants to submit, anyway? It sounds painful.)

Once your on-page conversion rate is at least 5% (or hopefully much higher), you can turn your attention to increasing targeted traffic. You can accomplish this by creating excellent customer-focused content — and don’t be afraid to ask for the conversion within the content. Consider offering a valuable freebie for newsletter signups and then market to your newsletter to create demand.

Capturing their information is only the first step. Make sure you use a good marketing automation tool and CRM to keep in touch with your customers.

seo goals raw traffic Crowd of people walkingSEO Objective #2: Increase Raw Traffic to Your Website

Traffic for traffic’s sake.

This is just what it sounds like. Get as many click-throughs to your content and try to keep them on your site as long as possible. You want to use this objective when you can monetize traffic without actions or financial transactions. If for example, your site is sponsored or ad-driven, this is an excellent place to start.

Concentrate your efforts on great content and conduct keyword research to find topics that are of high interest to your target audience. Make sure to use those keywords in your content.

There are several online tools to help you find questions that people ask and then write a series of blog posts to answer them. This will earn traffic on long-tail Google queries. Make sure your articles are easy to share and optimized for viral spreading by employing share buttons. A few of our favorites tools (paid and free) are SEMRush, ahrefs, Answer the Publicoth SEMRush and ahrefs offer free trials

However, be cautious about using clickbait or fake news to drive adrenal-based clicking. People are becoming savvy to this kind of egregious traffic generation, and you could set yourself up to tarnish your brand for a short-term gain. Focus instead on helpful, interesting, or timely content that truly provides value to your target audience. Provide follow-up content and give them a reason to stay. Bounce rate is an important SEO ranking factor so do what you can to increase the time that visitors spend on your site.

SEO Objective #3: Increase E-commerce Salesseo goals ecommerce hand with credit card coming out of computer screen

Focus on driving relevant traffic to your online store and boost transactional sales.

About 21% of the retail sales in the USA comes from e-commerce. Only about half of that is Amazon, which means there are millions of other websites competing with you for your customers’ clicks and purchases. Leveraging SEO can create long-term, competitive advantages for any business in this hyper-competitive space.

When you have transactional products and/or services for sale on your site, do not overlook the funnel in your keyword strategy. Generally speaking, this means the more precisely a visitor is searching for a product, the closer they are to making a purchase.

  • Industry words (“vacuum”) are top-of-the-funnel. They require a lot of information, are looking broadly for a solution, and may not even be looking for the product that you offer.
  • Generic product names (“vacuum cleaner”) can be considered top or mid-funnel. They know they need a solution but don’t necessarily know what. Provide comparative information, and show your product in many different scenarios.
  • Longer tail generic phrases (“robot vacuum” or “automatic robot vacuum cleaner”) could be considered mid to low in the funnel. They know what they want and are looking to compare similar products to help them make a decision.
  • Branded searches usually are considered lowest in the funnel, especially when combined with buy words (“buy roomba vacuum” or “discount roomba vacuum”).
  • Specific part numbers can be a good indicator that someone is looking to buy right this minute. Maybe its a replacement or refillable part, or that they know exactly what they want. You will find the more specific the keyword, product name, or even part number, the more likely your visitors will purchase. Optimize content for the problems that your product solves; create very focused content that builds confidence and leads your customer through the purchase.

Once you’ve identified your audience and keywords, focus on making the transaction as easy as possible with conversion rate optimization (CRO). The objective of CRO is to increase average conversion value. A good way to test the efficacy and potential ROI of keywords and phrases is to conduct a pay-per-click campaign to discover if they are providing traffic and conversions.

seo goals branding Surprised cowSEO Objective #4: Branding

Increase customer awareness and lower resistance to future transactions.

Branding is often an overlooked, but mission-critical, part of an ongoing marketing campaign.

If you’re just starting to build your brand with your target market, branding eases future conversations by creating space for you in your customer’s mind. It’s easier to engage with a known company than a new, recently found entity.

For established brands, ongoing branding protects your domain and builds trust. Ranking well for industry terms around your business can create awareness of new solutions and gain a quick customer while lesser brands struggle. Leverage your brand by making your presence known in keyword searches that involve competitive words and products. Make sure you are part of every conversation.

SEO gets consumers participating and interacting with your brand. Your keyword focus becomes straightforward as you will be targeting your company and product name so you will achieve more with less intensive effort. Make sure your site is accessible with good link structure and focus on links from high-quality sources that legitimize your brand. These high-quality links are valuable to Google as an indicator of the importance of your website.

seo goals reputation management Lego man surrounded by star wars storm troopers.SEO Objective #5: Reputation Management

Protect your brand.

We get it. Everybody makes mistakes. In the Internet era, every mistake is magnified and can stick around hurting your brand for months or years.

When you are trying to protect your brand from having a negative reputation or change an existing negative image, SEO can be a huge help in achieving this perspective shift.

First, own your brand name in all its forms. You want to have 10 out of 10 branded search results in Google in your control. This involves optimizing pages on many different domains so you can “own” complete pages of search results. Create presences on Facebook, Linkedin, Github, Reddit, Twitter, etc. and run branded SEO campaigns on those pages. When you own the top 10, don’t relax. Keep steady pressure with additional unique content and links relevant to your brand.

Then, focus on keywords that are highly relevant to your brand. It could be your legal business name, personal name, brand name or a popular variant. Use public relations, press releases, social media profiles, links from networks of sites you may own or control.

Do not underestimate the power of a personal response from the founder or CEO to an online complaint. However, if you aren’t experienced or comfortable doing this, consider using outside professionals, because responses must be carefully crafted. Quick, unconsidered comments can be seen as flippant, out-of-touch, uncaring, or worse: defensive and angry. However, an appropriate word can diffuse a situation and actually increase customer loyalty in the long run.

Even if you don’t have a negative situation, consider starting now to protect your brand. Reputation management is one of the most challenging SEO practices when done in an emergency. Plan ahead, build your reputation, and be ready when an emergency does happen.

seo goals customer service Hands holding a sparkler.SEO Objective #6: Customer Service

Your customers are asking questions on Google. Make sure the answers come from you.

If you want long-term relationships with your customers, be there when they need you. That means anticipating their needs after the sale and providing answers to questions that they have at each stage of the ownership cycle of your product. Each interaction is an opportunity to reinforce your brand in their mind, control negative impressions, and build a relationship that will last.

Find content ideas by mining your customer service logs, online support requests, or looking at other companies in your industry. Answer questions with a blog post, video, or instructional document and then link to it from relevant places on your website. That’s just the beginning.

Another tactic for acquiring new customers is to create content that answers questions about competitor’s products! Help them without reservation, and gently guide them to your solution.

seo goals targeting Smiley face surrounded by frowning faces.SEO Objective #7: Target a Specific Person or Company

Reach out and touch someone.

One last SEO objective to consider is the Internet’s unique ability to target specific individuals with your content. Say that a salesperson has been trying to break into a company with your product. But, try as they might, they can’t get past the gatekeepers for a phone call. Email isn’t working, and cold calling is a non-starter. Should you give up? Hardly.

There is an entire marketing sub-industry around the idea of marketing to the individual. It’s called Account Based Marketing (ABM). ABM is a strategic approach to business marketing in which an organization communicates with individual prospects or customer accounts as markets of one. Although it’s typically employed in enterprise level sales organizations, companies of any size can use these techniques to make key account acquisition easier.

The first step is to clearly identify the exact people you need to market to. The list is usually relatively short, 25-100 people. You can then combine SEO practices—like buying their name on Google Adwords or Linkedin and running a simple ad which leads to a personalized landing page—with the best of ABM and create unique solutions to help you reach new customers.

Final Thoughts

This stuff isn’t easy. If it were, business wouldn’t need marketing professionals like yourself to figure out these objectives and implement them. There is no cookie cutter approach to marketing. Every company has different customers, products, and competitive pressures, so be careful when applying these objectives to your situation. Nothing can replace genuine conversations and openness.

And these are just some of the top objectives of SEO. Here are several secondary objectives that I’ve seen over the years:

  • Increase the number of product pages in Google SERPs
  • Reduce leads from low-budget customers
  • Reduce customer service calls
  • Apple/Android App Store SEO
  • Amazon product listing SEO
  • Educate the consumer
  • Measure coupon use
  • Event-specific SEO
  • Drive retail sales
  • Reduce returns
  • Ego

Whether your objectives are on this list or not, Volacci stands ready to help you create the best possible online presence for your business. If you’d like a quick leg-up on your Drupal SEO, take a look at our SEO Kickstart Plans and give us a call us today. Whatever your objectives, Volacci can help.

Oct 29 2020
Oct 29
  1. Download SEO Checklist
  2. Clean up your URLs
  3. Implement meta tags
  4. Talk to the search engines
  5. Best Drupal SEO modules
  6. Speed up your site

Drupal is phenomenal for SEO. When you use Drupal 8 for your content management system, you have a powerful tool to rock search engine optimization. Working with Drupal websites for the past 12 years, I've experienced firsthand just how quickly search engines respond to a well-optimized Drupal website. I’ve seen customers triple their traffic in weeks after upgrading from another platform. I’ve seen competitive advantages from site-wide optimizations like RDF or AMP that put my clients on the cutting edge of SEO because they use Drupal. The benefits are a faster website, higher rankings, and more traffic.

One of the main reasons Drupal is the content management system of choice for complex enterprise websites is the fact that it has been built from square one with the functionality and flexibility needed to optimize every node view, and snippet of code for search engines.

Drupal 8 – the latest version of Drupal – has brought many new additions for ease-of-use, functionality, and robustness. It is the superior method for creating and marketing your website to the world. Yet, for all its improvements, Drupal 8 still feels like Drupal. Faster, cleaner, more refined, and certainly more up-to-date, but still Drupal.

With the introduction of Drupal 8, I saw a need for helping marketers using Drupal make the most of the features available to optimize their website. With that in mind, I wrote Drupal 8 SEO. Written for marketers, Drupal 8 SEO provides the step-by-step details you need to rock Drupal 8 SEO. If you follow the steps in the book, the rewards will be great: increased Google ranking, higher website traffic, more customers and greater revenue. In fact, we based our own Drupal SEO Kickstart service on this book.

Drupal 8 SEO is over 200 pages of detailed instructions for making the most of Drupal 8’s core features and optional modules to optimize your website. While there is much to share, I have chosen six tips you can use to get started on the road to rocking Drupal 8 SEO.

1.     Download the Drupal SEO Checklist Module

I may be biased because I’m the author, but I believe the most important thing you can do is download the Drupal SEO Checklist module at Drupal.org. Robert Shea of IBM says that “Drupal SEO Checklist is the most powerful Drupal module that ‘does nothing.’ ” Essentially, this module just tells you what to do.

Following the Drupal SEO Checklist, you can implement the best modules and tasks that are needed to optimize your website. By giving you a complete list of best practices, it makes on-page Drupal SEO hassle-free. When you have completed the to-do list, you will have a fully optimized website.

The module’s tasks are segmented by functional needs like Title Tags, Paths, Content and more. Next to each task is a link to download the module and a link to the proper admin screen of your website so that you can configure the settings perfectly. Drupal SEO Checklist also keeps track of what has already been done by placing a date and time stamp next to each item.

The SEO Checklist Module tells you what to do, but it doesn’t tell you how to do it. For that, check out my book, Drupal 8 SEO. This book has been written to explain how to implement the suggestions in the SEO Checklist. You can even turn on Drupal 8 SEO Checklist Book page numbers so that you can quickly find the corresponding page in the book.

2.     Clean up your URLs

To make Drupal 8 optimization as effective as it can be, you need to ensure your URLs are clean, your site shows the right content, and link value is maintained even when your content changes.

Drupal 8 installs clean URLs by default and it can’t be turned off, but you can do even more with the Redirect module. In Drupal 8, using the Redirect module allows you to redirect from old URLs to new URLs. This is great when you’ve moved a piece of content to another section of your site or inadvertently changed the URL.

The Redirect module creates 301 redirects from old URLs to new URLs on your website. This aids SEO by making sure that any URL that ranks in Google will still resolve when a visitor arrives. This module automates what once was an arduous and ongoing SEO chore – fixing broken links. Now you can turn on this module and forget about it. Have you ever moved content, put the wrong URL on printed advertising, or migrated content from another website? Then you know the problems this can create. With the Redirect module you can also create your own manual redirects.

Another great module for SEO is the Pathauto module. Using the Pathauto module, Drupal 8 automatically generates URLs for your content that are great for SEO. This means that you don’t need to manually create every single content URL on your website.

3.     Implement meta tags

Meta tags are an important step to making Drupal 8 as effective as it can be. Meta tags are snippets of text that are used to tell Google, other search engines and social media sites about the content on each page of your website. This helps your SEO by communicating clearly what you think each page on your website is about and how you want it described on their sites. If you don’t do this, you will have to rely on the search engines to make up their own minds about your content. While they’re pretty good at this, it’s important enough that you don’t want to leave it to chance.

  • The Metatag module allows you to automatically provide title tags and structured metadata to each page of your website. This module places both the HTML title tag and meta tags in the header of a web page. This means less code and faster rendering of your web pages which also helps with your SEO.
  • The Alternate Hreflang Module automatically adds hreflang tags to all or your website pages. Search engines reference the alternative hreflang tag to serve the correct language or regional URL in the search results. This is especially important for multilingual websites.

4.     Communicate directly with search engines

drupal 8 seo kickstart by volacciSearch engines want to help you help them crawl and index your website. In order to do this, they provide tools and reports to help you communicate with them and better understand what’s going on with your website. The marketers who do this well will receive better search results and get a lot of traffic.

  • The XML Sitemap module creates an XML sitemap of your content that you can submit to the search engines. An XML sitemap is a specially formatted summary of each piece of content on your website. The module creates a properly formatted XML sitemap that can be submitted to Google, other search engines and other sites. Having an XML sitemap helps your SEO by giving Google a list of all your pages that you wish them to crawl. While Google can crawl your site without an XML sitemap, the larger and more complex your site becomes, the higher the chance that their crawler will get confused and miss pages or even whole sections of the site.
  • Cron is a system that maintains and cleans up your Drupal site. It does things like check for updates, index content, and rebuild XML sitemaps. Now your XML sitemap will stay up to date with all the new content that you add to your website.
  • The Google Tag Manager (our preferences) and Google Analytics modules allow you to add the Google Analytics code snippet to your website and allows you to control how and when it is used. Google Analytics is an incredibly important tool for any web marketer. It allows you to find valuable insights into your visitors including demographics, behavior on your site, where they found you online, what keywords they used to find you and more. However, Google Analytics isn’t perfect. For example, it tracks all visitors by default—even Admins. These modules can fix that by only showing the Google Analytics code snipped when a non-admin is using the site. This keeps your data clean and your reports more useful.

5.     Download the best Drupal 8 modules for SEO

No one thing is so powerful that Google is going to suddenly fall in love with your website and boost you in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Rather, all the tools work together to produce an outcome that is significantly better than the parts alone ever could. The Drupal modules I’ve mentioned above are just a few of the very best. I’ve listed others in the book and in the Drupal SEO Checklist including:

  • While Drupal 8 now includes RDF (Resource Description Framework) in its core, the Schema.org Metatag module allows youto integrate Schema.org seamlessly during or after the site building process on Drupal 8. This is important because, as Schema.org describes it, “On-page markup helps search engines understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results.”
  • The Linkit Module provides an easy interface for creating links in your WYSIWYG content editor by using an autocomplete field. It makes sure that all the links that you add to your content are well-formed, up to date and automatically use the proper path. Properly formed and placed links are a powerful strategy for any SEO campaign.
  • The D8 Editor Advanced Link Module helps your SEO by placing additional text information about each link on your website.

6.     Speed up and secure your website

Two important attributes of your website are security and speed. Google rewards websites that are secure (using https with a valid SSL certificate) and quick to render. All the great SEO in the world won’t make your site great if you get hacked. There are bad people on the internet who want to break your website, infest your visitors, steal your data, and/or blackmail you. From the Panama Papers fiasco (yes, Drupal was involved) to your garden-variety script kiddie, you’ve got to protect yourself and your Drupal website.

Speed became a ranking factor for Google searches in April of 2010. This means that, all else being equal, the faster site will rank higher. Therefore, it makes great sense to ensure that your site is as fast as you can reasonably make it within your budget.

Drupal 8 has responsive web design as its default methodology. That’s good because Google specifically states that they prefer this method for serving mobile devices. In this setup, the server sends the same HTML code to all devices and CSS is used to change the way the page looks for each mobile device. It allows a single URL for the same content and that’s great for sharing and for offering up pages to all visitors. One way to speed up your website and be mobile-responsive is by downloading and implementing the Google AMP module.

Learn More with Drupal 8 SEO

Search engine optimization is a game of inches. A title tag that’s missing a keyword, a body that doesn’t talk about the topic, metadata that isn’t quite right. Together, that’s enough to kick you off the front page of Google. Using just the tips above will help you down the path toward a rockin’ Drupal website. Of course, there is much more to learn. If you want to optimize your website yourself, you can find all the details in my book, Drupal 8 SEO.

If you don’t have the time to optimize your own Drupal website, sign up for our Drupal SEO Kickstart program -- we'll get these items (and a lot more) installed and optimized in short order. Volacci can implement the best of Drupal SEO whether you are creating a new website, you are migrating from one platform to another, or you just need to fix what you have.

About Drupal Sun

Drupal Sun is an Evolving Web project. It allows you to:

  • Do full-text search on all the articles in Drupal Planet (thanks to Apache Solr)
  • Facet based on tags, author, or feed
  • Flip through articles quickly (with j/k or arrow keys) to find what you're interested in
  • View the entire article text inline, or in the context of the site where it was created

See the blog post at Evolving Web

Evolving Web