Great Expectations (for SEO) — Part Two

Written: 28-Apr-2008 | | Filed under: Search Optimization

Last time, I wrote about how important it is to focus on the basics of site optimization and online marketing before you start worrying about advanced techniques.

Now, I’d like to share another tip from the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference, this time about evaluating your results.

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

This tip comes from Jennifer Laycock, a small business marketing expert and the editor at Search Engine Guide. If you want to learn more about effective online marketing for small business, buy and read her e-book The Small Business Guide to Online Marketing. Highly recommended!

So, Jenn’s tip was to make sure you have reasonable expectations for the results of your campaign.

I know too often at one or another of the forums I frequent, small business owners complain about being unable to crack the top five (or maybe even the top 10) for a (highly competitive) search phrase.

Jenn asked: in what other form of marketing would you consider a campaign to be a “failure” if it weren’t among the top 10 in the world? Not many, I’d bet.

  • Do you expect your newspaper or radio ad to bring in one of the top 10 response rates ever in the world?
  • Do you expect your direct mail to be in the top 10 in the world in terms of generating sales or leads?
  • Do you expect your TV ad to be voted one of the 10 most memorable in the world?

Of course not! That would be silly.

So why do so many of us think we should be able to do that sort of thing online?

Because when you complain about not being able to make it to the first page of the search results, that’s what you’re doing.

Fortunately, it isn’t any more necessary to success to be one of the top 10 in the world online than it is in any other area of marketing. There are other, more reliable, more useful criteria for measuring the benefits of a marketing campaign.

Don’t beat yourself up or consider your campaign a “failure” if you don’t crack the top 10 or any other arbitrary threshhold.

No, rather look for improvement. Is your site getting more traffic or making more sales than it did before? Is the improvement at least enough to pay the cost of the changes you made?

If so, your campaign is a success! Celebrate it!

If not, you learned something from the experience and you’ll be able to apply that knowledge to improve your future campaigns. Celebrate that!

Either way, keep moving forward. Each small success builds on the one before. Eventually, you may find you have more business than you can handle, even if you never get that coveted top 10 listing for your most desirable key phrase.

We face enough issues as small businesses without adding the burden of unnecessarily high expectations. Enjoy, learn, apply and grow!

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