If you want internet users to see your business, SEO (search engine optimization) strategy is something you cannot ignore. As the heart of every digital marketing campaign, SEO has the power to make or break your business’s online success. In fact, it is such a powerful tool that 60% of marketers consider it to be their most valuable source of quality leads.
But, SEO strategy has incredible breadth and depth that is often overwhelming for people who want to learn how to use it to their advantage. By reading this blog, you will take the first step towards reaping the benefits of SEO for your company by learning:
- What is SEO?
- Who Needs SEO?
- SEO Best Practices
- Reasonable Timelines for SEO Results
What is SEO?
If you have ever researched digital marketing, you have probably seen the term “SEO” floating around. Many marketing providers and educational sources loosely throw the acronym around, clouding its meaning. In their description of SEO, some websites skim over an important distinction: local SEO vs. organic SEO.
Local SEO deals with geography-based keywords. Queries that include “near me” or a specific location are considered a geography-based keyword. Surprisingly, searches with a location account for nearly 46% of all searches. While local SEO is crucial for small businesses and often goes hand in hand with organic SEO, we cover organic SEO in this blog.
Organic SEO boils down to getting your website on the first page of Google SERPs (search engine results pages). Why would you want your website on the first page of Google SERPs? The first SERP wins 96% of the internet’s clicks leaving the remaining 4% for the hundreds of thousands of other pages to fight over. Therefore, earning a spot on the first SERP is crucial to your website’s performance.
Who Needs SEO?
Since the vast majority of businesses can benefit significantly from a well-executed SEO strategy, it is easier to point towards those few businesses that wouldn’t benefit from the SEO we refer to in this blog.
Businesses with single transactions—of hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars—generally don’t benefit from SEO as much as businesses with smaller transaction sizes. If someone or some company is spending such large amounts of money, they don’t look to Google for the answers.
In such large transactions, SEO is much more of a validation tool than a selling tool. For example, if you plan to spend 10 million dollars on a new service provider with no online presence, that reflects poorly on the provider. In that instance, we would focus SEO on branded keywords to ensure that the provider comes across as an authority.
While such companies with large transaction-sizes don’t benefit from the selling aspect of SEO, they still benefit from the brand image SEO can create. With that said, if your business deals in multi-million dollar transactions, the SEO we are addressing will not be of much use to you. But, SEO may be your most powerful digital marketing tool if your business has relatively smaller transaction sizes.
The Four Pillars of SEO Strategy
While you can attack SEO from any number of angles, some methods are more effective than others. Based on numerous successful inbound marketing campaigns, the following bullet points outline our proven SEO strategy:
- Website optimization
- Keyword research
- Making data-driven decisions
The first step in our SEO process is building a secure foundation for developing the rest of your digital marketing campaign. Your website serves as the base of every part of your digital marketing; without a top-shelf website, you will create a massive headache for yourself in the future.
Although SquareSpace and other DIY website providers look clean and modern, they cannot compete with the internals of professional-grade websites. When you have your website built by an experienced professional, your website can grow along with your business. If you skimp out on a website, that website can’t index with Google or load quickly—it will never pique the algorithm’s interest.
Another pillar of our inbound marketing process is keyword research. Keyword research involves finding the keywords that your target audience is searching for. After identifying what your audience is looking for, you need to find the terms with the lowest competition and the highest search volume. That way, you are more likely to rank highly because fewer businesses are competing for those precious spots on the first SERP. With those keywords chosen, they should be incorporated throughout your content and website so Google knows that your content corresponds to queries with those keywords in them.
The third element in our inbound marketing process is earning backlinks. Backlinks are when websites link to your website in their content as an additional resource. When a reputable company in good standing with Google links your website, that increases your own website’s domain authority. As more websites link to your website, your domain authority continues to grow until Google treats you like your own domain authority.
Backlinking is like sitting at the cool kids’ lunch table in high school. Even if you weren’t cool, sitting at the cool table could make you popular by association. Essentially, backlinks work in the same way; getting backlinks from reputable websites makes your website cool by association, increasing your chances of ranking highly.
Finally, the fourth pillar of our inbound marketing is making data-driven decisions. Many companies make random changes in their inbound marketing and hope that they work with no rhyme or reason. But, doing so will only waste time and money.
Instead, you should collect data about every possible marketing metric. With that data, you can see what part of your marketing is lacking, make the appropriate changes, and see if the changes you made make a difference. While making data-driven decisions won’t always spell out exactly what needs to change, they will direct your attention to the right areas.
SEO Strategy Results Timeline
When clients first come to Farotech, their conception of SEO and inbound marketing is often very far from reality. While there is nothing wrong with optimism, having unrealistic expectations for SEO will discourage you from pursuing inbound marketing once you fail to reach them.
SEO does not take a few weeks or even a few months to start working in the real world. Instead, as you can see in the image above, even the most non competitive keywords will take at least 90 days to start working. If you want to use more competitive keywords, the amount of time only increases. Therefore, even while using the most effective best practices and doing everything right, SEO still takes time.
Next Steps for Your Business’s SEO Strategy
SEO is one of the most powerful tools in the inbound marketing world. To use it in your business, we recommend that you:
- Identify whether or not your business would benefit from the SEO we discussed in this blog
- Get your website built by an experienced professional
- Find the right keywords
- Earn backlinks from reputable websites
- Make data-driven decisions to adjust your marketing campaign
- Set realistic expectations for your SEO performance
With those bullets checked off, your company will be well on its way towards a more effective inbound marketing campaign. However, executing the steps above—and those we didn’t explicitly mention—to create an effective marketing campaign is not easy. More than 50% of companies fail to organize an effective marketing campaign.
To avoid making an ineffective marketing campaign, you will need to hire a team of highly experienced marketing professionals. But, hiring full-time employees is expensive and complicated. Sometimes, the cost of hiring is so great that it outweighs the benefits of marketing for small businesses.
On the other hand, you can use a team-based approach for your marketing needs. With a team-based approach, you don’t have to go through the hiring, training, and firing. Instead, you simply have access to a team of trained marketing professionals for at least 40% less than any other traditional marketing alternative.
If you want to implement SEO in your inbound marketing campaign through a team-based approach, click here to download our free SEO eBook.