The benefits of creating a purpose-driven SEO strategy
Why does your website exist? What is the function of each page? Columnist Ryan Shelley explains how an effective SEO strategy starts with defining your website's purpose.
With more than 500 Google algorithm updates made on average each year, how can a site owner build an SEO strategy that stands the test of time?
Defining your site’s purpose and mapping out the objectives you are trying to achieve is the key to not just ranking, but creating an SEO strategy that produces actual business results.
I know this sounds elementary, but SEO is way more that just ranking for keywords. Too many site owners forget this and obsess over rankings. While rankings are important, they only tell us part of the story. Without a clearly defined purpose that states what you are trying to accomplish, how will you know if you are succeeding?
If you took the time to read the Google Search Quality Guidelines released back in November of 2015, the main task search quality evaluators are asked to perform is to figure out the site’s purpose and determine if the site actually met its intended purpose.
While the search quality evaluators don’t have direct control over site rankings, this document can still tell us a lot about how Google is trying to better understand websites and how they impact real users.
Google itself has a very clear purpose, and its former head of web spam, Matt Cutts, stated that purpose as plain as can be back in 2014: “We’re trying to return great search results for users.”
Building a purpose-driven SEO strategy
The first step in building a purpose-driven SEO strategy is to define the site’s purpose. Every other part of the strategy will stem from this purpose.
There are a ton of reasons a website could exist. Here is a list of common page purposes (note that this list is by no means comprehensive):
- To share information about a topic.
- To share personal or social information.
- To express an opinion or point of view.
- To entertain.
- To sell products or services.
- To allow users to post questions for other users to answer.
- To allow users to share files or download software.
When looking at this list, it’s much easier to see that a site’s or page’s purpose can drastically change the focus of its SEO strategy. For sites that have more that one purpose — say, to sell products or services and to share information about a topic — defining the end goal of each part of your site will help point you in the right direction.