An SEO company should not focus its efforts specifically on converting site visits into sales. This may seem counterintuitive, but the fact is that modern search engine optimization needs to be driven by content that is informative and relevant to people conducting organic searches.

This isn’t to say that conversions shouldn’t be the goal. Of course the central reason for hiring an SEO company is to makes sales. But that goal ought to be relegated to the long term. By focusing too much on the endgame, you risk distracting from the process. And that can actually end up making your site less visible.

Narrow short term goals are the tactics an SEO company uses to build a broader long-term strategy. And many of those goals entail creating the sorts of information content that provides effective answers to common search queries. Those queries may not lead directly to sales, but they don’t have to. They only need to guide the right audience to your site.

Well-constructed informational web content helps your site to develop a reputation as an authority on topics that are relevant to your industry or field. Ideally, it prompts visitors to re-visit the site or keep it in their bookmarks, or at least recognize it as being worth the click when it comes up in other searches.

Authoritativeness is a feature that search engines are able to measure rather effectively these days. Therefore, an SEO company needs to be able to produce that characteristic in a client site. It’s really the only sure-fire way to rise to the top of the search rankings and create the organic traffic that is often the first step toward increased sales.

What you need to keep in mind is that it’s comparatively rare for visitors to arrive at your site because they are specifically using a search engine to find something to buy. They may be looking for information related to an intended purchase. They may even be comparison shopping. But actual purchases usually come only after an organic process of acquiring information.

There are rare exceptions, of course. And an SEO company should be prepared to direct people straight to an order page when they enter the right search terms. But if too much effort is dedicated to these types of situations, you run the risk of throwing away all the potential conversions that you could obtain by directing people to your site for the sake of its information.

Sales copy convinces people to buy a product, but informational content convinces them to look for it in the first place. And just as important, it is only the latter kind of content that tends to generate third-party links. When your SEO company is able to show that your site is authoritative in its field without always going after the sale, other sites and unrelated social media accounts are a lot more likely to send potential customers your way.

No doubt, this is a major part of the reason why sites without informational pages tend to rapidly decline in the search rankings. Studies have shown that overall visibility can fall by around one third when such pages are removed from a preexisting site, even if they made up only a small portion of the content in the first place. Obviously, the decline in visibility also leads to a decline in sales. Yet the same studies confirm that conversions aren’t generally coming from the informational pages themselves.

With this in mind, it may be necessary for some site owners to re-frame their understanding of an SEO company as something that creates and overall structure to your site. While part of that structure is the place where sales are made, that place cannot exist if the site’s search rankings collapse on top of it.