Search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns that expend their energy on the correct goals are more likely to provide better return on investment, according to a column by Eric Enge at Search Engine Watch.

Enge writes that three popular search engine optimization (SEO) targets – rankings, traffic, and new links per month – carry certain pitfalls that make them imperfect metrics for gauging the success of SEO efforts. High rankings can be difficult for new websites to achieve, Enge says, and don’t indicate any particular improvement in conversion rates.

Traffic, according to Enge, is closer to the right idea, but it still fails to accurately provide a measure of search engine optimization (SEO) success. High traffic volumes are a laudable result of professional SEO, but the type of traffic is at least as important as the amount, says Enge. Similar problems exist with measuring inbound links.

Search engine optimization (SEO) metrics have long been a contentious topic in the search marketing community, as experts tout the "long tail" with its higher conversion rates over the raw volume model of measurement.