I remember a few months after my son Emmett was born, my wife was disappointed that she couldn’t finish a workout. This particular workout was quite easy for her before she was pregnant with Emmett. What do you think, would you expect my wife, or any other woman, to be back to her “pre-pregnancy” workouts just a few months after giving birth?
Of course not! In fact, Erin’s doctor estimated about 6 months to get back to that same level. Despite the expert advice, Erin is disappointed because in her mind she should be further along. In other words, her expectations are not aligned with the reality of how long it takes to fully recover from childbirth.
The interesting thing about expectations is that they can define a single moment in time as either a success or a failure. If your expectations are not realistic, then unfortunately you’re on a path toward disappointment and failure. The key is to make sure you have realistic expectations from the start.
Given that, how do you know if you have realistic expectations about your SEO campaign? Answer the following 4 questions to find out.
1. Is There Enough Search Volume?
This is the first sanity check for any search engine optimization campaign. Are your prospective customers searching for what you’re offering?
Assuming they are in fact searching, then the next question is whether or not they are searching enough to drive the sales volume you expect to generate from SEO. Remember that not everyone who searches is going to click on your website. Even if you’re ranking #1, you can only expect about 30-40% of all the searches will click through to your website. If you’re ranked lower then you’ll get much less.
Now don’t forget that not everyone who clicks through to learn more on your website is going to make a purchase. Typical conversion rates are closer to 1-2%.
Armed with these estimates you can now estimate what is realistic in terms of driving sales from your SEO campaign.
2. Is There An Opening In the Competitive Landscape?
The next place to look is the competition for your relevant keyword phrases. How strong is the competition and is there a clear opportunity to overtake them in the search results?
Competition is all relative to your website. First, go to the Moz Link Explorer to evaluate your website’s domain authority and number of links. Next, evaluate the websites that are already ranking for your target keyword phrases.
How do you stack up?
Remember, Google is only going to rank 10 websites on the first page for any given keyword. If all 10 of the websites are well-optimized for the keyword, have much stronger domain authority, and thousands of more inbound links, then it’s going to be a long, uphill battle to get your website on to the first page.
Alternatively, if the competition is relatively weak, that should give you more confidence to go full steam ahead.
3. Are You Giving Searchers What They Want?
The first two questions are to evaluate your SEO opportunity so that you have the right expectations about how easy or hard it will be to get your website on the first page of Google. The last two questions are to evaluate whether or not you’re going to convert those prospects after they search and click on your website. There’s no point ranking #1 if you don’t generate any sales, right?
The question you need to answer is, what do your prospective customers want after they search in Google? Do they want to make a purchase right on your website? Or, do they want more information to learn about the product or service? Or, do they need to demo the product first?
In other words, what’s the typical buying behavior for your product or service? If you’re selling high-priced products or services, then chances are pretty good your prospective customers are not going to buy without first talking to someone. This is obviously important to understand so that you’re focused on the right offer and you have realistic expectations about driving sales from SEO.
4. Is Your Offer The Best Option Available?
Finally, while we’re on the topic of your offer, take a look at what else is available. Is your offer really the best option after you review your competition? With SEO, you’re not selling in a vacuum. Your prospective customers can (and most certainly will) click on other results to do their homework.
That means your offer must be truly compelling compared to the competition. Otherwise, you should not expect to drive many sales from your SEO campaign.
When it comes to SEO, most people only think about rankings and traffic. But the true measure of success from an SEO campaign is an increase in sales (so you actually generate a return on your investment). And you need to be able to answer all 4 of these questions in order to have a truly profitable SEO campaign.