Search engine optimization is fine, however, small business owners should remember one important lesson – the Google Bot has never ever made a purchase; your customers do. There’s an interesting interview with Hamlet Batista that discusses how too much SEO can harm a website, and it can. Your web pages need to be written so that potential customers can access your content quickly and easily. The article discusses, for example, changing navigation links to match keywords. If customers find your navigation links a little confusing, they may just leave, and that’s going to cost you business.
Drawing traffic from search engines just to boost traffic numbers is not the best way to run a business. You are often better off drawing less traffic from a search engine whilst increasing the quality of that traffic. As a business, conversions are the most important metric, so your SEO efforts should be targeting quality traffic, not just ‘any’ traffic.
Traffic, even from a search engine, is not free. SEO takes time, and that’s either time away from your business or a cost to a business when you engage others to perform it for you. An experienced SEO professional will help you target your efforts towards quality traffic. This doesn’t mean you should totally ignore traffic of a lower quality, by all means, attract that traffic if you wish, but not by making on page changes that could hurt the conversion rate of your quality traffic. Batista makes the following point:
The key principle is to first make sure the site, the content, the layout, and the instruction and navigation makes sense for the users because …. you are not optimizing the site for the search engine bots to make a purchase. You have to optimize it for the user.
It’s an interesting situation for small businesses, especially those in competitive markets. SEO is designed to get the best search results, however, your website should be designed to achieve conversion goals from visitors. The real key is to get the balance right, and it can be done.