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Balancing the Basics of SEO with Basics of Success

Sep 11, 2013 8:00:00 AM / by Chris Kampfe

seo vs successAs with many projects, marketing initiatives can easily get the cart in front of the horse, by running straight to the “how” of the effort, rather than starting with the “why.”  Not understanding “why” a project is being undertaken (not too mention devoting time/money/resources towards) isn’t necessarily ensuring it won’t be successful, but it is ensuring that you’ll never truly know if it actually was successful… because you didn’t define success.

Below are a few conversations/concepts we consciously focus on addressing, before we put  any SEO initiative into effect.


Objectives vs. Expectations

What are you are truly trying to achieve, and how do you get there?

Measurement: In order to establish a mile marker for success, we need to not only establish what metrics we are measuring, but also our expectation of time and materials. 

From an SEO perspective, this could be a simple matrix like the one below: 

Objective vs. Expectation


Measuring Tool


Higher Rankings

Keyword Analytics Tool


Timely Service

Deliverables Calendar


Increased Web Traffic

Google Analytics


Adequate Communication

Meeting Calendar


Increased Revenue

Google Analytics / Accounting


Performance: The performance of the initiative is something that should clearly be a balance of both goals and expectations.

The amount of time, money and effort put into SEO will vary from keyword to keyword.   For example, keywords that are focused on a niche service in a defined geographic area (i.e. “Denver Dog Grooming”) will be substantially less competitive than broadly relevant products with national markets (i.e. “Flat Screen TVs). 

Whatever keywords you choose to focus on need to be tempered with a realistic expectation of how much time, effort and resources are required, to ensure their success.


Good, Better, Best

Ranks < Traffic < Conversions < Sales < Revenue

Brass Tacks: It is very tempting to move an SEO initiative forward with the assumption “All I really need for my business to be successful is to rank first in Google on the keywords <blank>.” 

Unfortunately, SEO is not a silver bullet and usually is just a means to an end, which is to ultimately sell more products/services.  As you begin an SEO initiative, look at the larger picture of what you are trying to accomplish, and reverse engineer the process.    Sure as anything, this will not run 100% smooth right out of the gate, and understanding where there may be issues, is the first step in being able to address them.

This effort could look something like:


End Goal:  Get the Cash Register Ringing! (REVENUE)

Previous Step: Engage prospect in “sales pitch” (PITCH)


Previous Step: The phone rings (ENGAGE)


Previous Step: A visitor finds our website content compelling (CONVERSION)


Previous Step: A visitor lands on our website (TRAFFIC)


Previous Step: An internet user see’s our website on Google (RANK)

In the larger “digital ecosystem” the value of SEO (pending you’ve chosen good keywords) is only as good as the website’s ability to perform effectively, and convert the visitor into a lead/customer.


What do I do if it’s working, or if it isn’t?

Addition by Subtraction

Focus: Often times when certain elements of SEO are not performing as effectively as desired, it’s a good time to step back and say “Can we prioritize these efforts, rather than trying to do everything at once?” 

If you aren’t climbing the Google ladder as quickly as you expect, you could (or should), take a look at what your SEO goals are, what the efforts which support those goals, and prioritize them.   If you can exercise the integrity to tackle each problem one at a time, and not progress or digress until you can truly check the item off the list, you’ll find success coming much more quickly and systematically.


Moving Forward

Stay Resilient

If things aren’t going exactly as you’d planned with your SEO efforts, try to to  forget that at the end of the day, you’re dealing with Google and “the internet  at large.” 

Between the two of them, there’s almost certainly never been a more complex, ominous challenge in marketing, but the reward is surely worth the effort.

Good luck!



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