What with Google’s algorithm making constant changes (more than 300 a year), with some of these including core algorithm updates that tie in directly with RankBrain and it’s AI / machine learning technology, writing content for SEO is harder than it’s ever been before. In fact, more than 90 percent of internal SEO teams lack the skills and experience to run an effective SEO strategy. This is why growth-driven corporations invest in a digital marketing agency creating custom content for SEO, and for other strategic channels.
In what is roughly the last 20 years of my life, I have been involved in creating content for SEO, as well as holding positions ranging from CMO to Director of SEO, so I have ridden the storm of Google’s evolving algorithm, seen user behavior change as technology has grown, and have keen insight into why content for SEO fails to produce results for a number of corporations. Here are the top four reasons I can pull from my well of experience.
1. Producing Content for SEO that won’t Help Companies Achieve Goals (Psst, it’s all in the Approach)
When most people think of digital marketing, they tend to automatically think they need SEO services. And they know all too well that SEO fuel comes from content. But in order to choose the right marketing channel you need to have an in-depth understanding of your customers consume information about your products and industry, get a good grasp on whether or not SEO is even the right strategy to use based on your average sales cycle, your customer’s buyer’s journey, and knowing what your real goals are. For example, most companies all want to improve their bottom line and increase their revenue thus enabling year-over year growth.
Based on the above mentioned areas, SEO may not even be your right approach (or at least not as a solo strategy). When seeking a digital marketing agency to create content for SEO, make sure they ask you questions pertaining to your goals, customers and products. In many cases, investing in SEO within a custom growth marketing stack is the right approach, especially if a company has a longer sales cycle and products with a higher price point. If your average customer takes 6 months to make a purchase, then it makes sense to write content for SEO in the forms of blogs and landing pages that support an inbound marketing strategy with downloadable content that educates buyers, and email marketing.
As you can see, larger organizations with longer sales cycles will need content for SEO, for email marketing, and for other inbound-related material to increase sales and really make a sterling improvement to one’s bottom line.
2. Content for SEO that’s “So 2005”, not Ranking for the Right Buyers
In order to attract organic traffic, generate leads, and convert leads to sales, you need to escape the past and write content for SEO that reflects the buyer’s needs while also appeasing Google–a current approach, and not one you would find if you turned back the clock to 2005. Thanks to the RankBrain algorithm, Google is continuously getting better at pairing the right content for the right buyers, but it still has some work to do, as to the marketers who produce content for SEO. Here is a perfect example as illustrated in these screenshots:
Pretend you were just promoted from a store manager to the regional manager. One of your new responsibilities is to increase foot traffic and sales in all the stores within your region. You go to Google to begin some basic research and type in this search query: “how long should buyers spend in a store to make a purchase”. You clearly indicate that you are looking for the time buyers spend “in a store”, yet if you look at the screenshot posing this query, you can see the top results are related to how long it takes to buy a house, and what buyers should know about buying a house:
One of these companies is Homes.com, and their marketing team is wasting valuable time and resources in ranking for a search phrase that won’t convert. Someone typing in this search term isn’t looking for homebuyer data, they might be looking for dwell time data in a hardware store, or in a clothing store.
Now then, a savvy growth marketing agency that writes content for SEO, and that has a client that helps brick and mortar retail chains improve their growth, will discover this, reverse engineer their poor ranking strategy, and create a better approach designed to take over the Google real estate housing this search term.
3. Failure to Discover Alternative, and Better Keywords in Content for SEO
Let’s continue with the above example. In addition to creating a strategy to rank for that search term, you also need to use this example to discover better search terms to rank for. Clearly “buyers” may not be the best noun to use, based on your industry. So let’s see what results come up if we use that search phrase and swap “buyers” for “shoppers”:
As you can see, the number one organic result pairs perfectly with the searcher’s intentions, and the topics under “People Also Ask” are spon-on with the searcher’s needs. Therefore a clever agency writing content for SEO will not only include this version of the search term, but they will also get longtail keyword ideas from “People Also Ask”. Assuming the client is a service provider that helps regional managers hit their growth goals, here are some potential keywords to rank for based on these results:
- Percentage of in-store purchases
- Percentage of purchases made in stores
- Distance customers drive to shop
- How far customers drive to shop
- What age group shops in stores
- Age group that shops the most in stores
There are many more possibilities to include here. Just make sure the search terms are used in the right context to present the best solutions to buyer needs.
4. No Focus on Buyers
Keywords still matter, but if they are used in content for SEO that fails to present readers with the best solution to their pain point, not only will they struggle to rank, but your content will have a high chance of never being seen by the buyers most likely to convert.
The best growth marketing agencies will begin by creating buyer personas to use in writing content for SEO. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of an actual customer. It is common to have multiple buyer personas, each containing telling information about your customers like their gender, age, income level, geographic location, where they work, job title, and job role. In order to get clear data revealing this type of in-depth information, potential buyers either need to willingly give it up (few do, and this can be unreliable) or your Growth Marketing agency will use a powerful CRM like HubSpot that automatically collect this information (as well as the lead’s name and email address) once they enroll into a campaign. When you know their name, you can look them up on LinkedIn, learn more about their job role, and base a buyer persona on these people that will allow you to rank content for SEO that will convert the right buyers.
Here is an example: imagine you own a store that sells scuba diving equipment and diving vacations. Based on the data you collect, your buyer personas could include the following:
- People seeking outdoor activities
- Single people seeking outdoor activities
- Travel groups
- Couples seeking an activity
- Families seeking activities
- Parents looking for activities their kids can do
- Beginner divers
- Experienced divers
- Tech divers
- Companies looking for an employee retreat / team-building activity
The opportunities can go on. Just check Google Trends to see the various contexts in which these keywords are searched, the seasonality (if any), how they apply to a buyer persona, and the search volume as it relates to appropriate keywords. Just make sure you define the needs each persona has, and write custom content that speaks to each group to get more conversions.
Remember, writing content for SEO that will help you hit your revenue targets means you use it within the right approach and strategy. Focus on your customers and their needs, and use data-driven information in the hands of the right people skilled enough to carve out a custom approach that, using all of these points, and the right technology solutions, will redefine content’s place in enabling more sales and establishing your brand as an industry leader.
Learn How SEO Works in a Custom Growth Marketing Stack
WEBITMD has its own modern approach to SEO for clients who will benefit from the service as a solo strategy, and if this describes you, email us or give us a call and we will send you a FREE guide on our modern approach to creating content for SEO. In the meantime, we invite you to download this FREE guide on our custom growth marketing stack. Learn how SEO and other channels help companies with longer sales cycles hit their revenue targets, then give us a call. We would love to learn about your customers, products, and sales cycle.