Conversations about SEO often start like this…
I want to rank for these keywords…tell me what you’ll do, how you’ll get me links and when do you think I’ll be on page one and making money.
Every time that happens, inside we die a little. Especially as it’s often followed up with “and I’ve only got £#insert-costs-here budget to spend till you’re making me £#insert-value-here”.
So, after a few deep breaths the conversation must move on. It is folly to explain that high rankings these days are an outcome of good holistic marketing; that high rankings are as much to do with a their activities across the four marketing (or seven if you wish) P’s and that even then, in a digital age those 4 p’s are probably more like the 4 E’s…
See, that’s gobbledegook to most folks and I did qualify that mentioning it was folly…
So other than explaining that it’s not just about SEO and that we offer a holistic digital marketing and that it’s not just about organic traffic, a better way to start the SEO conversation is with these four questions.
Question 1 What is it that you make or do that people want?
More specifically for SEO purposes: What is unique about your proposition and/or What are the expertise that you have that people want?
This obvious comparison here is that first P or E from the marketing mix and from a traditional SEO perspective, it’s the keywords you’ll be targeting.
But here’s the rub – It is not a wish list of what you want to be on page one for! It’s the cracks in the pavement where you’re able to offer something truly unique. It’s unlikely that you are a leader in any mass market – so the answer to this question is as good as your understanding about the personas of your specific customers.
It’s how we work out, at that specific moment of search, when the user really need an answer to their problem, are you going to be there for them?
Question 2 – What is the unique value that you provide that no-one else does?
Think about that for a moment – if you’re offering a “we also do that” website, then you are offering nothing new. In a competitive environment, to get a spot on page one, then you have two options. Either do a MUCH better job at offering what you do, or just offer something different.
There is a superb video that we’ve shared in the past about how to provide unique value. This is a powerful part of any modern successful SEO strategy. However, do not underestimate the amount of time it takes to do. The costs may be high, but the value is even higher!
Question 3 – Who will amplify my message and why?
SEO used to be easy – this amplification of message used to be done by link building en masse. That meant link farms, article marketing, directory submissions etc…Social media didn’t even exist! That’s a fantasy land now and post Penguin, we need amplification from real people.
So there are two parts of this question – the Who and the Why?
Why someone will share your website/webpages is simple. It’s about the reward they get for doing so. It’s not always money, (and see this post about THESE LONG TAIL SEMANTIC KEYWORDS) and in fact, it’s better if that is the case. But sometimes, it is about paying a person or publication to link/share you or either directly or by investing in PR to do so.
Without a doubt, what helps with this process though is having a solid social media strategy already in place which in itself requires an investment of your time as well an investment in content. At this point, you may notice why taking a holistic approach to digital marketing pays dividends in the long run.
Question 4 – What is the process going to be from turning visitors into customers?
This in essence is what is referred to as Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO). It is the analysis of the behaviour of users that reach your site, considering how and why they interact with your site the way that they do in a way the helps you achieve your goals.
Far too often, we hear clients just questioning how to get more organic visitors. All they want is to see that specific number going up as an indication that their “SEO is working”. No.
What you should be wanting to see is more people doing what you want them to do – and they usually do that after multiple visits to your site. So they may first arrive from an organic visit, but then next time they come back directly and sign up to your newsletter and then next time they come from that newsletter and buy.
Funnel marketing has been around long before SEO. But any strategy needs to critically consider how and why someone would move along the funnel from awareness, to consideration, to conversion and then onto advocacy. Assuming it all happens in a single visit, the organic funnel would need consideration of…
• How you appear on Google
• The clarity of message on your website
• The merchandising of your products
• The simplicity of your checkout
• The incentive to build loyalty
So part of any successful SEO strategy should involve an investment in CRO as well as the development resources it takes to build an amazing User eXperience (UX).
So next time you start a conversation about SEO you’ll know how to get the best for your business!