If they haven’t already, someone is going to tell you, “We need to spend money on SEO to improve our search rankings on Google.” There are a few things you need to consider when that happens.
Understanding SEO; in a nutshell, SEO does two basic things. First, it ensures that your website can be seen by search engines and technically matches what those engines expect to find; the technological crossing of T’s and dotting of I’s.
It’s the second SEO function that people are usually more interested in— : achieving higher placement in search engine results.
What really helps boost Google rankings is not SEO–it’s content marketing!
When businesses want better search rankings, they usually look for a quick fix. There isn’t one. The only way to get the Google placement you want is to consistently create valuable content with which your target market regularly engages.
That means, to achieve better Google rankings, you must commit to regular, ongoing content creation like blog articles, social media posts, and publication outreach. That commitment means you must have—or find– the resources to sustain it all.
This is where SEO really contributes to its own success. It provides answers to the following key questions: What content does my target market want? What relevant Google searches should include my company in the results? What searches are my competitors capturing? And what content will it take to “out-Google” them? SEO research can give you those answers and more. It’s the have-to-have tool to inform your content strategy.
Successful content marketing involves incredibly detailed planning.
Effective research is the key, but it takes the right software, clear goals, and the know-how to analyze the data and make a plan to achieve the results and better rankings you want. The right tool (we use SEMRush) in the experienced hands of the right team can take you where you want to go, delivering both upfront research and follow-on analytics.
Through research you’ll learn:
- Phrases/words your potential customers use to search for your product or service.
- How many frequently those keywords/phrases are used, in each search engine, in your country, state, and/or city.
- The competitive landscape for those keywords. You can bet there are others who are intentionally or inadvertently drawing traffic by using the same words you are targeting. Which words/phrases are less competitive? Let us tell you.
- Which keywords are your competitors using and how to best co-opt them for your purposes
- Which keywords have the highest probability of leading people to your website?
Like content creation, effective SEO research is an ongoing process of discovery and analysis. Trends will emerge over time, and with the right resources in place, your position in Google’s results will improve. (By the way, if you’re into techno-lingo, they’re called SERPs: Search Engine Results Pages.)
Optimizing the content you create is also a must to improve search engine rankings.
A lot of technical details matter here – where your keywords fall on a page, how many times they are used in an article, more specifics than you could possibly keep track of — and they’re all important. Once again, the right tools allow us to guarantee that all content is optimized for every page, blog article, and image on your website.
A brief message about Organic vs. Paid Traffic, or Content vs. Ads
Ads, particularly promoted posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram ads, or Google ads, should absolutely be included in your content marketing strategy. Just remember that they have little-to-no shelf life. The second you stop spending money on them, they disappear.
Great content, however, can have an incredibly long shelf life and will continue to draw search engine traffic for as long as it is on your website. Knowing this is essential to understanding SEO and how it works.
While Google Ads can be a shortcut to the top-of-the-page it just will not perform as well as organic in terms of CTR (click-through rate). With 80% of all searches on Google leading to a click on pages one, two, or three, that means all those Google ads are fighting for the remaining 20% of traffic.
My final comment on organic versus paid traffic depends on the users’ intent. When people go to Google, they search with specific intent. Conversion rate data show a big difference between ad results (1.5% for B2B) and organic content results (2.6%). That difference translates to a 73% better conversion rate for organic traffic.
The End Game, Understanding SEO
Many executives and their well-meaning advisors misunderstand where and when to fold SEO into the marketing mix. While it plays a valuable role in effective marketing planning and execution, SEO is not some magic silver bullet guaranteed to get you the highest search engine results. SEO is part of the puzzle, a tool, for defining the correct content in your overall marketing strategy.
Interested in a cup of coffee and a conversation?
Every client relationship we have started with a simple conversation, usually over coffee, we love to brainstorm and answer questions. If you have any please let us know…we’ll spring for the coffee.