As a digital marketer, I strongly advocate for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as it is a crucial aspect of a well-rounded marketing strategy. Though the potential benefits of good SEO are undeniable, it is essential to note that SEO is only one of many factors to consider when deciding on website updates or changes.
While adhering to SEO best practices can generally have a positive impact on user experience, conversion rates, and site performance, it is also possible for well-intentioned SEO efforts to produce unintended consequences. Thus, it is important to carefully consider the potential impacts on website users and budget and time constraints when implementing any changes.
Achieving good SEO requires a balance of multiple elements, including budgets, technical capabilities, team resources, and interconnected marketing channels. The most effective SEO teams are collaborative and willing to compromise when necessary to achieve their organization’s long-term goals.
When making changes for SEO, it is crucial to consider various factors carefully. By balancing your efforts with these factors, you can mitigate potential risks and avoid negative consequences.
While it may seem trivial, considering other keywords is a critical aspect of SEO. Before optimizing a page for a specific keyword or topic, it is essential to evaluate your other keywords. This is because optimizing a page for a particular term may result in less optimization for other keywords. If your page is already ranking well for a crucial term that generates high-converting traffic to your website, you must ensure that any changes you make do not affect these rankings.
To prevent any negative consequences, it is recommended to review Google Search Console to determine which keywords bring traffic to your site and the content you intend to optimize before making any changes. This will provide insight into how your website is performing and help you identify potential areas for improvement without sacrificing your current rankings.
The ultimate goal of most websites is to convert visitors into leads or customers. Thus, when implementing SEO changes, it is crucial to consider and monitor how these changes may impact conversion rates. For instance, even if a change brings in 10% more traffic, but the conversion rate falls by 50%, it would indicate that the change was probably a mistake.
There are several examples of such changes, including including too much content at the top of a page that pushes products or conversion forms down lower or changing the messaging of your page headings. Therefore, if you’re making changes to an essential page that has the potential for a drop in the conversion rate, it is recommended to test these changes using a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) tool such as Google Optimize or Optimizely. This will enable you to confirm the impact of the changes before making a permanent modification.
User Experience and Page Performance
In addition to affecting conversion rates, some SEO optimizations may unintentionally impact user experience metrics like site speed or mobile-friendliness. For instance, while videos can be great for SEO and improve user engagement, poorly implemented videos can slow down page load times or play automatically, causing users to become annoyed and leave the site.
To prevent such negative impacts, it is essential to take a baseline of key metrics like speed and user engagement before making significant changes. This will help you to evaluate the impact of your SEO optimizations on these critical metrics and ensure that your website’s overall user experience is not compromised.
AdWords, Social Media, and Other Marketing Channels
SEO is not the only source of traffic for most websites. It’s essential to consider other sources of traffic like paid media channels, email marketing campaigns, SMS, social media, or other sources before making significant SEO changes, especially if multiple channels are funneling traffic to the same pages.
Some changes, such as updating a URL or redirecting one page to another, might have an obvious impact on other channels that use them in ads or email links. However, even small changes, like updating headlines, can impact an ad’s quality score and create a disconnect between what the user reads in an email and what they see on the site.
It’s crucial to strike a balance between SEO initiatives and other marketing efforts, and not every constraint requires a compromise. Sometimes, SEO should be the priority. It’s up to good marketing teams to work together and determine the most effective approach for their organization.
While many SEO efforts can be implemented at a relatively low cost, some initiatives can have a significant cost. For example, switching to a new content management system, adding paid plugins, redesigning a landing page, and more can be expensive. When considering making such updates, it’s crucial to weigh the costs with the potential impact that change will have on sales or conversions.
This means that you should consider your budget and time constraints before implementing significant SEO changes that require significant resources. You need to be careful not to spend too much on SEO if it doesn’t yield the expected returns on investment. Therefore, you need to calculate the cost of the initiative, weigh it against the expected benefits, and ensure that the potential return on investment justifies the cost.
Regrettably, not all websites or content management systems possess identical functionalities. Occasionally, one may be constrained by the features or capabilities of a specific website. For instance, it may not be possible to incorporate custom code or schema markup due to limitations within the platform.
Team Availability and Time
Certain SEO tactics may necessitate cooperation from team members beyond the SEO department, such as copywriters, designers, developers, or external agencies. For instance, the creation of a new landing page could require design components from a designer. If the designer is preoccupied with other assignments, the execution of the project could be postponed. Similarly, SEO teams frequently collaborate with developers who may be responsible for implementing more complex requirements. As development resources are often limited, some SEO requests may consume significant time that could otherwise be allocated to product enhancements, updates, or fixing bugs.
Prioritization is a crucial aspect of SEO. There are numerous ranking factors that can be optimized, but identifying the most important and impactful tasks is key for successful marketers. Conducting a technical site audit may reveal countless minor optimizations, such as image size, alt text, canonicals, and metadata, which are considered “best practice.”
However, some of these optimizations may consume valuable time and yield minimal impact. Therefore, it’s best to concentrate on the most important activities first and add on additional activities afterward. Moz.com’s “Hierarchy of SEO Needs” provides a useful guide for prioritizing SEO activities.
SEO is a powerful digital marketing strategy that produces long-term results. If you haven’t already included SEO in your digital marketing mix, you should consider doing so. Nonetheless, SEO should not be the sole focus of your organization, just like any other marketing channel. It’s critical for marketers to realize that the best results are obtained when all parties involved can collaborate on common goals and work together within any constraints that may exist.
No marketing channel should be completely independent or disconnected from others. Additionally, every team member and department within an organization should be aware of how their efforts impact one another. The more proficient an organization is at accomplishing these objectives, the more successful they will be in achieving their goals.
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