In an online business environment that’s still heavily dependent on users encountering your brand through organic search engine results, the lack of an effective SEO strategy is detrimental to your growth and profitability.
But SEO can only work as long as key business leaders both in and out of Marketing fully understand how it works in today’s world. Here are four things we as SEO recruiters commonly see leaders still misunderstanding about how SEO and Marketing interact.
# 1: SEO Needs to be a Marketing Ingredient, Not a Topping
From comparing prices to checking reviews to looking up store locations, search engines have become an indispensable part of the consumer’s decision-making and buying process. That makes organic search important for every business.
Visibility on Google and other search engines matters because that’s where most searchers go to look for things–and where most (51% or more) of traffic to your website will come from. Organic search connects you with buyers naturally, on their own terms.
Factors that affect your ranking on search engines are not limited to your own site, either. Some of the most important ranking factors are external, such as getting links from other authoritative websites in your niche. Most search engines count them as “votes” in your favor.
For best results, SEO must be integrated with all of your other marketing initiatives from the start; not just tacked on as an afterthought. Breaking down silos and working with other departments is mutually beneficial for all parties! For example:
If content marketing is an important element of your demand and lead generation strategy (and it should be), then you must first research your target audience’s search behavior to gather insights for planning your content.
This should be completed before content creation even begins. It will help tailor whatever you create to the existing needs and current behavior of your clients.
Some business leaders mistakenly consider paid traffic to be a media buy completely distinct from SEO, not considering that a comprehensive SEO plan amplifies the reach and impact of your paid search campaigns.
It is true that SEO and paid search are separate, if complimentary, beasts requiring specialized knowledge. But both address search users, and having SEO and PPC teams work together is powerful.
SEO specialists tap into multiple data sources and use research and analysis techniques that can make PPC experts more effective at generating sales and boosting profits. And conversely, PPC is a great way to try out new ideas and test conversion-boosting techniques before investing a larger budget into long-term strategies like SEO and content marketing.
Matt Owen Explains How SEO and PPC Can Work Hand in Hand
Conversion Rate Optimization
Getting more organic traffic is only half the battle. Once you’ve attracted a searcher to your web properties, it’s time to start moving them down the funnel. And SEO can bring you better results once you understand your typical website visitor on a deeper level.
- Why did they come to your website?
- What do they want from you?
- How do they intend to act on your information?
Armed with this data and insight from an SEO expert, you’ll better understand the psychology of website visitors and can use it in your online communication to improve conversions.
Insights gathered from search engine traffic and trends can help future-proof your business. By digging into archived, historical data and comparing it against current trends, you can
- analyze market trends
- learn from competitors’ successes and failures
- forecast results
- better allocate budget and manpower
All of this will help you find out what you need to dominate your vertical, how long it will take to beat your competition, and which activities will get you there in a cost-effective manner.
A talented SEO analyst can help you uncover information that will warn you against venturing into markets which are too competitive to offer ROI, or safeguard you from wasteful investments in areas with low profit potential.
Branding & Communication
Once you understand what goes on in your ideal customers’ minds, your brand message and marketing communication will be more consistent and more effective. It costs nothing to access Google’s search data and study it for insights.
Are you speaking in your customer’s language? Have you identified the most frequent questions your customers ask? Do you solve the major problems that they are facing?
Your story becomes more interesting when you talk about what they are already interested in.
Knowing what your prospects care about, you can:
- reach out with a helping hand at an opportune time
- offer valuable (branded) resources
- hone your brand voice
- better use data analytics to make real-world decisions
Integrating SEO into all that you do, both offline and on, enhances your results and speed up your growth.
On the other hand, trying to “slap on some SEO” like putting icing on a cake doesn’t work. This mindset is why many businesses don’t experience success with the discipline. SEO must be a key part of your marketing recipe; not a condiment added afterward.
2: There’s No Replacement for a True SEO Master
If you believe that SEO is just a checklist on your website control panel, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise. You can’t just “install” SEO so quickly and easily. A CMS plugin or web app can be a valuable asset, but don’t expect them to cover all the most important aspects.
Many businesses lose out on opportunities because decision makers and in-house marketers lack knowledge and skills to dominate at organic search. The consistent input of dedicated SEO expertise and experience is what’s truly needed to keep that organic traffic coming.
An expert can use SEO to make your marketing stronger and prevent expensive mistakes. Common errors–like website code changes that negatively affect SEO, or installing plugins that slow down your website, or not running SEO audits from time to time–become easy to avoid.
Technical SEO, which must be firmly established before installing a plugin, includes planning out several aspects of your website, such as information architecture, website structure, navigation, internal link architecture, etc.
The SEO talent needs of companies will vary from organization to organization. Some will require an entire full time-team, while others will be able to make do with just one individual, perhaps supplemented by SEO staffing or SEO consultants.
3: SEO Can’t Fix Your Broken Business Model
Even perfect SEO, if such a thing exists, can’t fix a faulty product or poor marketing plan. That’s, as they say, like putting lipstick on a pig. So start with your product and strategy–and fix them first.
In the future, the way your customers feel about your products (and the opinions they voice about your business) will affect your visibility on search engines. The search engine giant wants its users to keep coming back, so it will ultimately strive to suggest only high quality products and services which their users will love. Thus, customer satisfaction and “delight” will soon become a crucial ranking factor for your website to show up high on Google search results!
There’s little point to investing in SEO when you don’t have a sound business model to back it up. Stop thinking about SEO as a “quick fix” or “duct tape” solution for your business. That attitude will prevent you from reaching your potential and will become a threat to your future success.
4: SEO Never Ends
As long as there are search engines with updating algorithms and competition vying for spots on Search Engine Results Pages, there will be a need for continued SEO–and good SEO staffing to maintain it.
Modern optimization requires constant updates with fresh, unique content and regular adaptation to shifting best practices. Relaxing your vigilance for even a few weeks can quickly tank your spot in the SERPs.
Business leaders shouldn’t see SEO as an obstacle to be overcome and forgotten, but rather as a marathon that requires persistence and endurance. Paying someone for a one-off site optimization won’t offer the long-term visibility companies will need to succeed in the future (though there’s certainly room for SEO contractors and consultants who can help you with strategy and short-term projects).
Article source: Search Engine Land
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