Successful online marketing hinges on Search Engine Optimisation.
Improve your SEO or forget about improving your online marketing results!
SEO is a complex and dynamic process. Note that I use the word process: it isn’t not something that you do once and leave. SEO takes continuous effort. However, it is worth the investment to get better online marketing results.
So, what is SEO in marketing … and why should you care?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a complex effort of various techniques used to get your content to be seen by your target market. The main goal is to get your content to rank either first or near the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs).
Simply put: traffic.
In other words: how to drive traffic to your blog, landing page or website.
Less than 25% of searchers look beyond the first SERP. In fact, the first 3 results get over 50% of traffic. So, make it your mission to get to the top of the list.
Two words: search terms.
What is your target marketing looking for? Identify the keywords they’re using to when the search for solutions to their problems, and you are half-way there.
But, that’s not all …
Of course, there’s more to getting traffic than just keywords.
The real answer to how to get onto that first SERP is more complicated. And this is why we’re here: to unpack SEO. What is it? And, how can you use it?
Here’s the lowdown. The process involves 2 main areas: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
1. On-page SEO
As the name suggests, this refers to all (mostly) technical optimisation efforts done on the page itself. It includes but is not limited to the following:
- Keyword research and selection
- URL selection
- Title tags
- H2 and H3 tags
- Meta description
- Content (for organic marketing and inbound marketing)
- Image optimization
- Video optimization
- Internal links
- Schema markup
Apart from the above essential elements, there are a number of other on-page techniques that are important.
On-page SEO includes page load speed, multimedia use, responsive design, and social sharing buttons.
2. Off-page SEO
Off-page naturally refers to all SEO work that is done externally, not on the page. Here are some of the main factors that make up off-page SEO:
- Inbound links/link building
- Social media
- Social bookmarking
- Document sharing
- Image submissions
- Video submissions
- Blog submissions
- Questions and answers
Obviously, these lists are not exhaustive and only give a brief outline. Each one involves a lot more detail, but you already know this.
SEO strategy for online marketing results
To achieve significant results and get a decent ROI (return on investment) you need a SEO strategy. Then work it.
It will not help to do a halfhearted job. SEO is all or nothing. The competition is fierce on only the fittest will survive. SEO takes time, effort and perhaps a bit of investment. Most importantly, it requires a strategy.
To get SEO right takes lots (and lots) of energy.
Formulating an SEO strategy is an involved and complex process. It requires a good understanding of SEO as well as up to date knowledge of the current SEO environment. A quality SEO strategy will result in increased traffic, more relevant traffic and a better ROI.
The ultimate goal of SEO is to drive relevant and quality traffic to your site and, generally, to convert that traffic into a measurable ROI. There are obviously other goals and some campaigns seek to grow brand awareness, educate customers or grow subscribers.
You would not build a store in the desert or an uninhabited forest. You would strive to position your brick and mortar store in a high traffic area with good visibility. The same concept applies to any online marketing effort. Without SEO your online presence will be out in the cold.
SEO: this is how to drive traffic to your blog or website. Quality traffic. However, like I said, this requires a comprehensive SEO and content strategy.
Change. And more change.
Remember that today’s SEO strategy must be flexible. It will have to constantly change and evolve if is to be effective. One has to keep up to date with the landscape and environment as well as the regular changes made by Google and other search engines. With a market share in excess of 90%, Google is the one to watch.
Be quick to change.
In 2018 alone, Google made a staggering 3 234 changes or “improvements” to their search algorithm. This number is increasing year on year and the trend will continue. Most of these changes are minor while some are more significant. Either way, it is clear that the goal posts are constantly moving, therefore, the need to be aware of the changes and adapt accordingly. Searches with the term “near me” and voice search are just two examples of significant changes.
Get your on-page SEO damn near perfect
On-page SEO is the first step and it needs a fastidious eye for detail. There are multiple elements so each aspect needs to be addressed, tested and perfected. Regular follow-up checks are essential. If you are not an expert on SEO with the time and resources to do top-notch on-page SEO for your own or your clients’ websites and blogrolls, then get one. Immediately. It takes time, effort, expertise and experience — and we haven’t even got to content creation!
Another important aspect that can be included under on-page SEO is technical SEO. This refers to the architecture of the website, how it is created and coded on the backend. This is also important to Google.
Content strategy: 7 Things you HAVE to have
Ah, here we go:
Most conversations around SEO generally involve some variation of the old cliché — Content is King.
The reason it is used so often is simply that it is true. Content, however, is tricky. Google and other search engines to consider content quality take relevance and originality into consideration before serving your content on the SERP. So yes, a content creation strategy can’t be ignored.
Here are 7 important elements of a content strategy:
This is one of the most important aspects of your content strategy and it is imperative that you get it right. Take the time to do quality research and make use of some of the many online tools that are available. Look for keywords for which you can rank. If the competition is too intense, you will not make headway.
Stay away from keyword-stuffing. Or suffer.
You want to select short-tail as well as long-tail keywords. It is important to test the effectiveness of the keywords and reevaluate them from time to time. There is an art to successful keyword use and it is important to understand this for them to be effective.
Pro tip: Instead of just one keyword, use a cluster of similar keywords in your content. This is how to drive traffic to your blog.
#2 Develop topics
Once your keywords are in place you need to formulate topics and ideas for content. Keywords have to fit in naturally and the topics obviously have to be interesting and engaging for your target market.
#2 Create content
If you have the skills, time and resources in-house you can create your own content. If you lack any of these attributes rather outsource to specialist content writers. Given the importance of your content, you want to ensure it is of the highest standard. It has to be 100% original, it needs to be engaging, and it should be informative.
Obviously, you want content that will get traffic, likes, shares. In short: your content must convert.
Plagiarism is (still) a big no-no.
Pro tip: The SEO page title and meta-description that appears on the SERP must match the content on the page. Otherwise you’ll have a problem when the user clicks through. If your page doesn’t have what you promised, they’ll be gone in a flash. So, be honest and avoid clickbait titles: this is how to reduce bounce rate.
#4 Blog regularly
Blogs are one of the most effective ways to use your keywords and interact with your target market. In order to be effective, they need to be fairly regular, at least once a week. This will also help to build your website authority. Apart from strategic keyword use you also want to use your blog to link to relevant content on your website. Find out how it works here: It’s 2021: is blogging still an effective SEO tool?
Pro tip: If you’re not a good writer, get your blogs written by someone who knows all about how to write SEO content. This way, your site looks professional.
#5 Link building
Link building or creating backlinks or inbound links is another important aspect of SEO. You need to have external content that links back to your website. This used to be an easy process but as with other aspects of SEO, it has become increasingly challenging. It is more about the quality of the backlinks than the quantity. Having said that, you still need to have a fair number of these.
Backlinks build bridges.
You want your links to come from relevant sites with high authority. Getting links from poor or irrelevant sites can actually do more harm than good.
#6 Social media
Social media is a powerful SEO tool and it is critical that you take full advantage of the opportunities it presents. Facebook, for example, has well over 2 billion users. Twitter has over 300 million. These numbers cannot be ignored. Depending on your business and target market, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other platforms may also work wonders for your SEO. Don’t forget YouTube. And, whatever you do, keep up with developments of new-and-better social media.
#7 Test and measure key metrics. Again & again.
The internet is constantly changing and evolving. It is essential to measure and track key factors to ensure your SEO is as effective as it could be. What gives good online marketing results today might not be the same in a few months. You want to test, measure and adapt. It’s just a part of the process.
How to measure online marketing results
How will you know your SEO is working?
It is important to understand what good SEO looks like. Here are some of the conversions you can measure and track.
Again, this is an issue of quality of quantity. Irrelevant traffic is of no significance or importance. It will not deliver any ROI so forget about ego boosting figures that serve no purpose. Quality organic traffic is the goal but it has to be relevant.
- An increase in qualified leads
Each SEO campaign will have different objectives but a common goal is an increase in qualified leads. In order to measure this correctly, you need to qualify and quantify what a qualified lead looks like. You can then track and measure the leads generated by SEO.
- Conversion Rates
This is another important aspect to monitor and measure. This will directly impact your ROI. The art of getting people to your site or content is important but you need them to take action in order for it to be deemed successful. Conversion rates are the best way to measure this.
Conversion means different things to different people so be sure to clarify what it means to you. It might not necessarily be a sale.
- Reduce the sales cycle
Each industry has an average sales cycle and any measures that reduce this will lead to an increase in revenue. Good SEO can help you do this. By presenting the relevant facts and getting them in front of the key decision makers you will already have saved time as well as money. Again, you need to define and measure this in order to appreciate the improvement. A shorter sales cycle will also significantly reduce the cost of customer acquisition.
- Better Customer Retention and Higher Customer Lifetime Value
Gaining new customers is vital for your business but is it also important to retain existing customers and increase the lifetime value of these clients. SEO can help you achieve this. This is a cost-effective strategy as it is less expensive than finding new customers.
Improving your customer retention by as little as 5% can result in a profit increase of 25 to 95%. Value, nurture and reward your existing clients. Good SEO will help you do this.
So: how to use SEO in marketing? 5 Key focus points
Here are the main factors to remember:
- Perfect your on-page SEO first
- Develop a powerful SEO strategy
- Incorporate a formidable content strategy
- Measure and test results and performance regularly
- Adapt and evolve constantly
Yes! Good online marketing results ARE possible with SEO
If you want to achieve success with online marketing then quality SEO is the first and most important step. Many online marketing businesses have proved the power of quality SEO and achieved impressive results. Understand that it is a complex process that requires expertise and experience. You also need the time and necessary resources.
What is important is to appreciate the role of SEO and the value of great content.
Fortunately, there are professionals that have the skills and experience and they are able to assist you with the journey. We would love to assist with your blog articles and other content. Find out more about our SEO writing service from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reading.