How SEO Should Be Used in Your Marketing Plan
Organic marketing is vital for any marketing plan, even with the proper implementation of paid ads or social media marketing campaigns. There are a lot of moving parts in search engine optimization (SEO), but the basic premise is the same – you want your business to rank higher in Google than your competition.
Social media ad campaigns are known as “interruptive” or “push marketing” campaigns. You are inserting your message into the prospect’s day in hopes of catching their attention. They have given no real indication that they are ready to make a purchase, but because you are in front of them, you at least have a fighting chance at the sale.
Although interruptive marketing has its place, being in the right place (search engines) at the right time (when they are searching) has huge benefits. Why? Although SEO is a more long-term plan, it is more of an inbound or “pull” marketing strategy that allows users to make the first decision to engage a business. This puts the user in a much better mindset, and you can optimize how and where you engage that user. That way, when the user reaches out to you, they are actually ready to make a purchase.
More Business for Less Money
Ad campaigns only go as far as your money goes. If you put $100 in, then you can expect $100 worth of ads.
An SEO campaign tends to have increasing rates of return if implemented correctly. In the beginning, before Google recognizes your page as trustworthy, your $100 may only bring five leads. Six months from initiation, however, that same $100 may bring you 1000 leads. Organic content does not disappear like ads – it stays up for an indefinite period of time.
SEO is one of the few marketing activities that builds a digital asset for you, with the exceptions of branding work and a few other marketing disciplines. Once you have built a viable asset, all you have to do in future is maintain that asset. Additional SEO budget helps scale your ranking efforts and maintains your existing places in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
What Are Some SEO Best Practices?
To ensure the biggest bang for your SEO buck, you need to understand timing and atmosphere.
How much time do you actually want to put into your organic marketing campaign? If you want to do this on your own, then you should start creating some really excellent content at a consistent rate. This content could take the form of blogs, videos or podcasts. If you cannot keep up the quality or the pace, then you may consider outsourcing to copywriters and building up a reserve of a couple months’ worth of content, e.g. one topic per week shared as a blog, social media, video, and/or podcast.
Consistency is important, but so is location. Google has given local businesses priority in search results for years, especially if the search query involves local keywords (city, neighborhood, near me). Besides consistency, consider creating content for local search prospects as well.
How Do I Get Started with SEO on My Own?
If you do not have the budget to pay for a professional SEO team, then start the ball rolling with a low-frequency content plan. In order to really compete at a professional level, you need to create 10 to 20 pieces of high-quality, relevant long-form content every month. This is a tall order amidst the many other responsibilities you have running your daily operations.
However, you should be able to create two to three great pieces each month, and start getting a foothold. Once these content pieces begin bringing you a bit of traffic, you may be able to leverage the new attention into conversions that you can put into a bigger marketing budget.
Create content that relates to your services but also serves the reader as a resource. In these blogs or articles, link back to your product or service, but only one or two links should be used. Consider where the reader is in the buying cycle to determine what is the right call-to-action for the content. Try to stack content that guides the reader through the buying process until they are ready to raise their hand as a legitimate prospect.
What If I Want a Quick Click Boost?
SEO may not be the best plan for short-term campaigns, although you will see some improvement if you have not implemented it before. However, PPC alongside SEO is often a preferable strategy if you are looking to build your business in the future. Search engine ads are also a quicker way to determine the value of a keyword, since you can get a paid ad on a keyword quickly (within hours). Once you pay for some traffic, you can see if it converts well, before you spend time and money pursuing a keyword in SEO activities.
SEO isn’t a quick answer, but PPC and SEO together can be a strong strategy for now and later results.
From Sprint to Marathon
A PPC campaign is a great way to kickoff and segue into a long-term SEO campaign. Why? You begin producing immediate data from a pay-per-click campaign about keywords and audience movement, and you can quickly see in real time what is working in your industry.
Once you have a few weeks of data to quantify, you know where to focus your organic efforts and what kinds of content to create for better results. This may give you more confidence in the SEO campaign, which, as we stated, may not show the results you want for a few months.
Pairing search engine optimization with a pay-per-click can also help soothe the savage beast of impatience. You build immediate results from the sales campaign while strategizing for a campaign that will serve you well in the future.
Is SEO a One-Time Thing?
SEO requires maintenance. In highly competitive industries, your opponents will always be creating new content. If you stop creating new content while they continue, then they will overtake you. Keep in mind that hundreds of businesses make their way online every day. The digital marketplace is the future of commerce. If you plan to be there in a significant way, then you should go ahead and budget for an ongoing SEO investment.
How Do I Ensure Success in My SEO Campaign?
Do things that seem natural. Google is “training” itself to view webpages as a human would view them. Great content, consistent content and relevant content are what matter. If your core customer likes your content, then Google will eventually come around. Just remember to be patient. You can’t expect Google to come around tomorrow.
In short, prepare for digital battle with SEO as one of your key weapons. As you become more practiced in the use of your instrument, it will serve you with greater efficiency. Trust in the system, and you will reap great rewards over time!