Unfortunately, most SEO agencies are behind the times when it comes to methods for attracting organic traffic. Too many SEO agencies and service providers tend to focus on volume as opposed to traffic quality. While growing your organic search volume is still a crucial part of a modern SEO strategy this area of focus often does little to increase conversions. Whether you are trying to get your website visitors to fill out a form, set an appointment, or make a direct purchase, this act will hinge on the quality of your organic traffic, and not the quantity.
This article is intended to help organizations, business owners, members of the C-Suite and even other SEO service providers learn what to look for in a growth-driven SEO strategy designed to increase the quality of your organic traffic.
First Things First, Is Your SEO Part of a Growth-Driven Design?
Ultimately, you are investing in SEO not to simply rank well in Google, but to draw people to your website who will convert. Organic search strategies always garner better results for businesses who invest in Growth Marketing Stacks. These are custom digital marketing solutions that combine SEO with other strategies, such as paid media, inbound marketing and social media marketing. They also have the necessary technology tools to organize leads into specific groups and market to them with custom messaging through an easy-to-use marketing automation feature in your CRM.
Sure, SEO alone (if a robust strategy) can really help your company hit its revenue targets, but when it is part of a Growth Stack, the results are night and day from one another in terms of conversions. The best SEO agencies that offer Growth Marketing stacks are able to synch PPC and SEO along with Facebook ads to send high-quality top-of-funnel traffic to a desired landing page that begins a customer journey in which buyers are educated and nurtured until they are ready to make an informed decision–buy your products or invest in your services. However, a Growth Stack is not always a perfect fit. Usually this strategy is ideal for companies that have a longer sales cycle. Four to six weeks from initial exploratory to a closed deal is the ideal time frame necessary for making the investment worth both your time, and your agency’s.
So if your price point is high, and your sales cycle fits the four to six week window, it is worth exploring a Growth Stack as opposed to SEO as a solo service. But whether your SEO is one of many strategies you are using to grow your business, or you are seeking SEO as a stand-alone service, you will want to ensure your content is designed to achieve your goal, so let’s get to the main points. Also keep in mind that Growth Stacks with SEO embody a fast-moving trend in digital marketing that won’t be fading out anytime soon. Businesses see the value in the approach, so before you are dead-set on SEO, see if it makes sense to do this from a growth marketing perspective.
1. Keywords: They Still Matter, but are You Using the Right Ones?
It’s crazy, but there are still old timey SEO agencies that act like it is 2001. They find the relevant keywords with the highest search volume, and stuff their content with them paying little attention to how natural the content reads, who it’s speaking to, and what the context is.
Ever since Google launched Hummingbird and later RankBrain, the bar has been raised rather significantly for writing content and how to use keywords. In fact, today’s entry-level SEO specialist needs to have a background in research, writing and marketing just to run a successful strategy whereas in the past anyone in their mom’s basement would perform the service using tactics that are considered spammy by today’s standards.
Before you choose your keywords, you need to think about how Google’s algorithm currently works, and where it is likely to head into the future. Because Google’s algorithm is powered by machine learning and AI, you will want to write content that both houses and shapes keywords to be more buyer-focused while utilizing longtail variations with contextual clarity. These will naturally have a lower search volume BUT they convert significantly better. And, really, it’s a win / win by targeting the less competitive keywords that convert better because as you start ranking for those and as long as you include the broad keywords with greater search volume, those will eventually start to rank too. Just make sure your content uses context to show association in a manner that informs your audience surrounding common problems. Otherwise you may find yourself drowning in a pool of Jello with no easy way out. In other words, having a longstanding history of content with zero audience targeting, context or the right keywords to empower them just creates a gelatinous atmosphere making it hard for Google to crawl or swim.
2. Your Content Should Be a Therapist and a Teacher
When people search for products or services, there is a pain point behind a problem, and as each customer is unique, so too is the solution they are seeking. Google’s algorithm has the ability to understand search intent, and it ranks content accordingly. When writing content for specific audiences with intimate messaging that ranks while touching on their pain point, you are funneling in a higher grade of traffic more likely to convert.
For example, ranking for “dog training” may get you tons of clicks, but may not convert well because the term is too broad. Search terms like this are also generally related to content that isn’t specific enough and that fails to speak to target buyer groups. But ranking for “train your dog to stop barking” or “videos for house training dogs”. Because you are ranking content focused on achieving a specific goal related to a precise need, using a targeted need, and the content hones in on the buyer’s needs while presenting solutions and educating readers, you will naturally see conversions go up. The best content for SEO addresses needs, sympathizes, and presents solutions while educating people towards making an informed purchase. And remember, when your content makes strong connections with readers, your dwell rate, page views per session, bounce rate, and other metrics all improve and contribute greatly to your overall organic traffic acquisition strategy.
3. Link Your Content, the Right Way
If you fail to use links correctly, you can butcher your ability to rank the right content for the right buyers, even if that content is gold. Think of links as your website’s circulatory system. Just as the human body needs a steady flow of circulated blood and oxygen to maintain health and run at top performance, your website needs to have a method for “SEO juice” to pass from page to page. When this happens, Google is better able to understand what your content is all about, who its intended audience is, and discover how your site is relevant to the needs embedded behind every search query.
First, define your pillar pages. These are typically your homepage and primary product or service pages. The primary pages should all link to the home page. Your blogs should then link to the target pillar page, while linking to an additional blog that covers a subject or topic similar to the one it would share a link with. Links help make great content get the best results. And don’t forget about backlinks from referring domains. Just make sure the backlink has the “follow” attribute and comes from a trusted site with relevant content.