ThomasNet and Google state that ď83% of todayís buyers use search engines for sourcing new products and services.Ē With nearly 8 billion searches performed each month (Source: Nielsen/NetRatings), search engine optimization can be an extremely powerful marketing tool to leverage in generating highly targeted and qualified leads for your business through your website. 9 of every 10 search users click on a result within the first three pages of search results (Source: iProspect, ďSearch Engine User Behavior Study,Ē April 2006). Placing a billboard in the desert doesnít make much sense, but having a website that isnít consistently visible in the upper rankings of search engine results pages doesnít do a whole lot of good either. In order to achieve success, here are five strategic areas to consider to better your odds of reaching your online marketing objectives. Focus on Business Goals What is your business looking to achieve over the next year to three years, and how could internet marketing contribute to reaching those objectives? The reason to ask this question is a lot of businesses dive into SEO with a goal of ranking well for a certain keyword or phrase without considering the impact on their organization. Assuming you are successful with your SEO campaign, how is your business going to handle a large influx of potential leads? What happens if people begin to order products and services online at a much higher clip? Are your employees prepared for this, and are your technical resources capable of handling loads of traffic? SEO is a Marketing Ploy There are businesses out there that will scrap their existing marketing campaigns in favor of marketing exclusively online. While SEO can provide a solid ROI, itís not a magic bullet. Itís merely another marketing ploy that can provide qualified leadsódonít lose sight of that as your business sets out to attract more of its desired target audience. If anything, look at what works well today and continue with those efforts while implementing SEO instead of something ineffective. Generate Quality Content One of the tenets of organic search engine optimization is content generation. You want to produce quality that will separate your from your competitors and help your audience learn more about your industry. If you produce enough quality information that helps your audience, youíll be looked upon as the go-to resource or authority. Test Everything When implementing a marketing campaign of any sort, testing variables should be incorporated throughout so that the campaign can be measured. Ranking better in a search engine result page isnít an effective measurement by itself. Itís nice to rank well, but how many more eyeballs dos that ranking generate for your website, and what are those extra eyeballs doing once they visit your site? Are they doing what you want them to, or are they following a pattern that suggests change? If you donít test and measure, you wonít have any way to answer the key visitor behavioral questions to propel your business forward. Strong Call to Action At the beginning of any marketing campaign, there should be some set of actions you want your desired target audience to do once they interact with your organization. Make those actions crystal clear. Getting a flood of visitors to discover your site is interesting to a small degree, but what good does it do you if they donít do anything once they visit? Having a strong call to action that you test and monitor will increase your ROI over the long haul. While search engine optimization can be very cost effective and produce a nice marketing ROI if handled properly, it requires a strong strategic understanding of the underlying business and the potential prospects visiting your website. Following the tips outlined above can help guide you to the promised land with your online marketing efforts.