a 4-minute read
Let’s start by explaining what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is, and why is it so important. According to Google itself, “Search Engine Optimization is about helping search engines understand and present content. It often involves making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results.” Sounds important enough, so why not put it on the table right away?
You might have read tons of SEO guidelines, but none of those said that SEO is risky business money-wise. The problem with this type of optimization is that most businesses don’t understand two key points:
- How SEO Strategy is actually done
- How search terms fit into their marketing strategy
Why Is This Article Different From All Other How-To-SEO Guides?
MOZ created an amazing beginner’s guide to SEO, YOAST has its own free online SEO training and you can find an excellent free of charge SEO Training Course: Building Sustainable Traffic for Business Growth on the Hubspot Academy platform. But none of them will tell you about the seven strategic elements you need to consider before investing in SEO for your business.
The previously mentioned elements have nothing to do with technical on-page SEO elements, like meta-tagging or anchor text distribution, because none of that tech jargon makes any difference without the right strategy.
Before digging into the elements, let’s take a look at this Mozlow’s Hierarchy of SEO needs created by Rand Fishkin, founder of MOZ:
This is how your SEO strategy should look after you’ve implemented our seven elements that focus on understanding how and where your SEO campaign fits into your sales and marketing funnel.
Strategic Element One | Know the Different Segments of Your Audience
Each group of customers searches for content and services in different ways. You need to understand those distinct behaviors and tailor your SEO strategy to them. The more clearly you know how each customer segment is likely to find you, the more precisely you can target your SEO objective.
Strategic Element Two |Be Specific About What You Want to Achieve
An increase in traffic might not automatically result in more sales. Far too many marketers focus solely on driving maximum traffic but ignore the experience their audience has after they click. If you don’t take the time to create a focused, streamlined landing page experience, SEO may actually end up costing you money with little reward to show for it.
Strategic Element Three |Choose Keywords Based on Intent
Choosing the right keywords to target is a major part of a successful SEO campaign – but without proper research and analysis, you might as well be gambling. And on top of that, you’ll usually bet on the wrong choice. That’s why your keyword selections need to come from a deep understanding of your audience, their needs, and the intent behind the searches they perform.
Strategic Element Four | Map Out the Journey Your Customers Take
SEO is only one component in a complex path your audience takes: from the search engine to your website, to their next steps after they leave your website. Every step of the customer’s journey needs to tell a meaningful, consistent story, one that drives your audience to take action.
Strategic Element Five |Create Content Your Audience Will Value
Content is a crucial part of SEO, but that doesn’t mean it should exist solely for the sake of SEO. When done right, content can become a powerful tool for building a trusting relationship with your audience, giving them useful information, and taking them on a journey that leads to a sales opportunity. The value you provide is especially important in the consideration stage of your sales funnel.
Strategic Element Six | Promote Content to Build Backlinks and Gain Referral Traffic
When you plan your SEO properly, you’ll achieve a lot more than just ranking on the first page for top keywords. You’ll gain referral traffic from websites that have their own blog audience. This means their readers will also be talking about your content and referring new qualified leads to your website. These leads are much more likely to convert faster because they already got to know you through someone they trust.
Strategic Element Seven |Be Patient, and Base Your Decisions on Solid Analytics
Most businesses that conclude “SEO is a waste of money” never took the time to set up proper analytics and make data-driven decisions. This skews their perspective on what’s happening with their campaign and leads them to make sloppy decisions. That’s why you need to track your SEO campaigns closely and use hard numbers to determine how they’re performing, and what you can do to further increase your ROI.
Some Final Thoughts
SEO is a tricky business that can certainly pay off – but only when done right. It is far from a quick and easy solution for getting more traffic on your website. Commit to these seven strategic elements and, over time, you’ll start to see the results you’re looking for.