Many times when a someone speaks with us about our SEO services they say, "we want to rank better in search engines" (or more specifically, Google). We completely understand their request, but in reality it's probably not truly what they are looking for. The reason they want to rank better in search engines is to get more traffic...but again, why do they want more traffic? Hopefully they plan on turning that additional traffic into leads, then eventually sales and some form of revenue.
Lack of understanding of the subject is one aspect of why most people don't come right out and say, "I wan't more leads!". Sure, the standard definition of search engine optimization implies that the tactics are in place to affect visibility, but a good SEO strategy looks beyond that. A strategy that produces a positive return-on-investment (ROI) must have goals much more specific than I want to rank 1st for this term or that term. This type of strategy puts effort into generating high quality traffic that works to accomplish a true strategic goal. That might even mean slightly less traffic overall to get the better end results. Let me ask you this:
Would you rather get 50 good leads from 1,000 website visitors or 5 good leads from 10,000 visitors?
I know what I'd rather have.
You might get that high volume of traffic for ranking #1 for a term, but if it doesn't convert what are you left with? NOTHING!
Please don't get me wrong, you have to rank well in search to achieve the end result, but the more important factors are how visitors are getting there, who those visitors are, and what happens after they arrive on your website. Visibility in the search engines should simply be used as a metric, not a goal. If any SEO professional only reports on where you rank, shame on them. If that's the metric that is most important to you as a business owner, shame on you.
Use visibility to find out where you might be able to improve and as reference to why other things may or may not be happening. An increase in visibility may or may not affect your revenue goals, but do you know what will? An actual increase in leads/sales. This should be the focus from day 1 of ANY SEO strategy. If it's not, you are probably on the wrong track and it will be much more difficult to obtain the a positive ROI.