Google often changes their algorithm to maintain their status as the world’s largest and most preferred search engine, and with the newest technology such as voice activated search, the changes just keep on pressing forward. As an industry, we all stay laser focused on the latest developments which aim to make the use of technology more intuitive and everyday life more efficient as a result. Because of the discrepancy between what people are likely to type versus what they are likely to say, it is increasingly important for SEOs to understand how to account for the nuances of natural speech patterns, and further, how they affect search results. Search has come a long way in the last 15 years, and the affect on a company’s ranking in the search results is great.
The Evolution of SEO and the Impact on Lead Generation
In the past, there were many companies out there trying to “beat” the system. In fact, there are sill companies out there claiming to put you at the top of a Google search. Occupying the top spot isn’t magic, it’s actually science. Anybody can do it, if they know how. How do you do it, you ask? There are a variety of digital concepts that must work together so that when implemented in a structured way, all complete the pieces of the puzzle. Good SEO doesn't doesn’t happen overnight. There is no magical switch that you can turn on that will move your company up in the search rankings. By doing the right thing, employing tactics that are real and transparent, that’s how you’ll get to the top of the search. And it works. I know it works, because I’ve been doing it for nearly 2 decades! With each algorithm change, in fact, my clients' position in the rankings have actually become more favorable! Not only that, I’ve had companies seek me out because they see my company name at the bottom of a competitor’s website. That competitor came up in the ranking before they did in a Google search. They call me and ask “can you do for us whatever you did for ABC Company?” Now if that isn’t proof enough that I’ve gotten it right, then keep reading. There is a big difference between generating leads versus generating qualified leads, versus demand generation through digital advertising. You've simply got to understand the difference if you want to be effective.
To generate leads that are qualified, you've got to start by making sure you produce content that is specifically relevant to your target audience. From there, you can make the leads come to your quicker by using a very detailed and targeted digital advertising strategy.
SEO in general is a lot like Digital Marketing. It’s a concept that a lot of people are talking about lately, but not a lot of people fully understand. Good SEO happens when a lot of different strategies fit together. In order to be successful, you have to carefully implement all the strategies. Choosing one strategy over another due to constraints in budget or bandwidth may help improve ranking temporarily, but to win at this competition, you’ve got to: 1. Do it right and 2. Keep doing it.
What is “it” exactly?
In terms of SEO, “it” means quality content which is both relevant, specific, and hyper-focused on your target audience. But that’s not all, “it” needs to be professionally copy-written, industry-specific, written in a way that compels the reader to take action, linked to additional high quality resources, and provided at the exact right step of your target buyer’s journey such that it mirror’s a sales process that includes funneling and nurturing… all while keeping in mind that the buyer's journey is subject to change at any moment in the omni-channel advertising environment that we currently live in. Hmm. Wow. You didn’t know that SEO involved a professional who was good at writing? Consider this, a salesperson may be very good at sales, but the fact of the matter is, what he or she is really good at is shifting their strategy at any point in time based on the conversation. Words, nonverbal cues, and even what is not said can change the conversation for a salesperson. The best salespeople listen, understand the key pain points and problems, and then adapt their approach for the unique needs of each prospect. In marketing, on the other hand, we push the same message to everyone in the hope that it resonates with a few. Digitally, your website is selling your product or service, and the words are static and unchanging…you can’t shift the message mid sale. It takes a very, very different skill set to be able to craft words and combine them with visuals that drive a website viewer to take a particular action. In fact, a website reader can become as distracted as an 8-year old in Disney World for the first time between all of the options available. They literally melt into a puddle of indecision. Click on this, click on that, look over here. The easiest option is to close out the browser window and move on to something else. Boom. You just lost a sale. Want to read more on how to write good copy for the web? Read this article.
Another very real example? How many times do you actually open an email from a stranger, especially one that has an attachment? Let me guess, 0, right? Exactly. A link from a stranger siting in your already too crowded inbox is like the kiss of death; you risk a blank screen, a virus, lost files, your computer could die and then your work-life could be over. Writing a highly effective email campaign for your company, whether it gets sent to existing clients or new ones is very tricky. It’s not something to take lightly. And it’s definitely not something to assign to your intern! My favorite tool for email marketing automation is Aweber. They have very intuitive and easy to use platform that integrates with many different systems to help streamline your operations. I encourage you to click the link above to check them out!
Back to SEO. How can you get it right?
First things first: you’ve got to make the commitment to digital. Is your company in the process of a digital “transformation”? Do you know what a digital transformation is? People define the term “digital transformation” differently in different industries. Lets bring the term “digital transformation” back into focus as a form of “Marketing and Advertising”. Today, in 2018, digital is vastly different even compared to a decade ago, in 2008. But that doesn’t mean that millennials are the only ones who know how to get it right. In fact, I’d venture to say that most of the millennials that I recently interviewed for a digital marketing job do not have the skills to effectively get digital right. Not yet anyway. Why? Because there is something to be said for those who have progressed through the time when there was no such thing as digital in the marketing and advertising industry. Advertising itself really hasn’t changed, the medium changed. Remember that famous quote by Marshall McCluhen: “The Medium is the Message.” I think I first came across that quote more than 25 years ago when I was studying communication in college, but it still reins true. But I digress. In the early 2000s, companies were just getting a presence on the web. They knew they needed a website, but they didn’t fully understand how having a website and using social media would affect their business. Was this a passing trend? Would it bring about more clients and more revenue to them? And how, exactly? Especially if their product or service wasn’t something that could be tangibly sold on their website. Fast forward another decade and the companies who didn’t keep up digitally are out of business or falling fast. Big companies. Big names. ToysRUs is no exception. Want to see a free tool for how your website ranks compared to the website or blog of a competitor? Check out my affiliate partner SEMRush.
So how can you compete online when you really don’t even know where to begin? Well for starters, if you’ve never uttered the words “tech stack” to describe your marketing, my advice is leave it up to the experts to assist you. Competition is fierce. Get in the game, or get out. In fact, the internet will push you out. It’s a kind of like a “digital” survival of the fittest.
I’ve had a few clients over the years pose the argument that they didn’t like or agree with a design theme or copy edit for a digital ad. My advice? Leave it to the experts. We know what works and what doesn’t work in terms of digital marketing and advertising. After you commit to a digital transformation, make sure you don’t leave anything out, including the “creative”.
If you want your business to rank up there in the top of the search, you’ve got to do the work.
I'm a very matter-of-fact person; nothing in life is free. You’re not going to get to the top ranking if you don’t dedicate the time, effort, and budget to make it happen. My advice? Don’t waste time on black-hat tactics such as engaging with people or businesses who offer to post your article on their website or swap links with you. Those are just going to hurt your ranking in the long run. If someone or some company wants to share your article because it’s a quality piece of copy or a quality product, they can do so by linking directly to it, and they certainly don’t need your permission to share it. Those are the types of shares that you do want! Happy customers and people who find your product or service helpful, useful, and relevant are all people who will share, like, comment on and connect your product or service with other like-minded people. Yes, please! More, please! Don’t take customer service for granted, always spend the extra time and effort to go the extra mile, online, for your customer or prospect. This is the public information that can really help make or break your brand credibility online. It’s not the “only” information, of course, but it should factor into your overall digital strategy. Appoint someone to be in charge of your social branding and advertising. As part of an overall digital strategy, this is also a very important component. Your social component is part sales, part marketing, and a 100% visible and very public representation of your brand.
Lets take a look at the top 20 essential components of modern digital, keep in mind they all work together collectively to influence your SEO:
UI/UX Plan Digital Audit and Research
SEO (on-site optimization & content creation)
SEM (PPC, Adwords, Retargeting)
Digital Engagement Planning (i.e.: social media done right)
Digital Advertising (planning and execution)
Digital Campaign Monitoring (i.e.: a proper strategy tweaks this every day)
Editorial (i.e.: the written word, copy on website pages, advertising campaigns, blogs, social posts, etc.)
Content (creation of, visual, professional, could be photos, video, animations) Click Here for my affiliate partner, 99Designs if you need some great, inexpensive design for your company
Digital Assets (professionally created content to accompany well planned digital campaigns)
Structure (of your website’s intuitive layout in conjunction with your digital campaigns) Email Marketing Automation (no, I’m not talking about sending a newsletter; for more on that topic read this)
Inbound Digital Marketing (i.e.: making your website function optimally to sell your product or service and then developing the proper email touchpoints to communicate with your list).
Outbound Digital Marketing & Lead Nurturing (i.e.: transparent outreach that is not spam) Marketing Automation (and the strategy behind getting it right). If you need some more information on this topic, check out my ebook: The Power of Email Marketing
Event Marketing Growth Driven Design
Measurement & Analytics (capturing the data and then understanding what it all means)
Last but certainly not least…Strategy & Planning
All of these components factor in to your digital success, and ultimately your SEO ranking. Ensuring they are all aligned is a key component of elevating your brand above the competition.
Interested in learning more about how to better align your sales and marketing teams for digital success? Hint: It’s all about the data. When sales teams and marketing teams work together to understand the same metrics, magic happens (err, I mean, companies grow!) Contact me to schedule a consultation, or view our services here!